Asia's Week: Key Players Aren't Yet to Finish Line

Apr 25 2014, 5:36pm CDT | by

This week in Asia, at least economically, is ending with a mark of “incomplete.”

Most notably, if unsurprisingly, there was no breakthrough in negotiations for a TransPacific Partnership trade agreement.  So the attention on U.S. President Obama’s stop in Japan diverted to his apparently stout defense of his hosts’ claims to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. That’s big stuff but of unclear commercial effect.  A multilateral reduction of trade barriers would be of obvious economic magnitude, which is why domestic interests are resisting so mightily. The onus is being put on Japanese farmers, although some also wonder when the auto industry there will see real import competition.

So Japan treads water but what about its great emerged rival, China? Financial disturbances continued around the real-estate sector, and general nervousness keeps dragging the yuan currency down.  Nearly everyone thinks the central government will step in to rev things up again in time. Unless, that is, the Chinese economy is getting so big and interconnected with world markets that it could have a mind of its own.  This story, too, still needs to play out.

India will wait a few more weeks to find out who all those millions of people are choosing in the ongoing national election. Exit polling suggests a dominant showing for Narendra Modi of the opposition (and mostly pro-domestic busines) BJP party.  But Indian polls have been wrong not so long ago. Clearly, there’s an undercurrent of discontent, and the chance for something momentous to happen, even if some of the old vote buying persists.

Even before India gets a groove back, Japanese investors have been especially eager to get in. It doesn’t always turn out well, but the bigger entities can show the sort of patience required in the Indian market. McKinsey Global Institute, meanwhile, calculated this winter that better than half the Indian population cannot meet essential needs (being “empowered,” in the consultancy’s terms, as opposed to merely escaping dire poverty) because close to half of public services don’t reach them. It asks more spending on health care, water and sanitation and less on food subsidies and make work. If the “efficiency” of the social plan were much improved and a bit more was spent, India would actually get a handle on things.  Even the Japanese may not wait around for that, but maybe Mr. Modi will find an honest minister to read the report.

Thailand’s democratic story also is incomplete, because the opposition is still working on ways to keep the prime minister from holding an election, and thereby remaining in office. Things are said to be coming to a head soon.  Better not dilly dally, Southeast Asia: the Vietnamese tiger could start to roar again.  The finance minister there is talking as if foreign investors could enjoy majority ownerships at last. That plus a little rule of law and the halting Asian rivals may be surprised in how fast interest shifts to Vietnam.  It’s closer to Japan anyway.

All these stories should be clearer–if not fully complete–by the latter half of 2014Obama’s trip, though it will end after stops in Malaysia and the Philippines and the cameras will go home, will play out diplomatically over these next several weeks as well as we watch China’s response. If it ever led to a completed trade pact, it could play out economically for years to come.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
Our sister site I4U News is giving away a brand new iPad Air or if you can wait an iPad Air 2. This is an $499 value.
 
 
Your Parent Or Kid Moved In: Are You Covered?
A record 57 million Americans now live in multigenerational family households — double the number in 1980, according to a new Pew Research Center study. And I bet many of them have the wrong homeowner’s or renters...
 
 
Pandora Looks to Challenge Terrestrial Radio's Dominance in Cars
Pandora Media is one of the largest Internet radio providers in the U.S. with more than 75 million active users. While the company’s active user count has increased at a robust pace historically, it is likely to slow...
 
 
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
It’s January 2026. New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner gets out of his driverless car and triumphantly marches before the gathered press to introduce his prized new free agent. It’s a record-breaking contract—over...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Gwen Stefani wants to 'disappear' from her children
Gwen Stefani is tempted to escape her everyday stresses by going to a motel. The 45-year-old beauty - a mother of three children - says that although she loves her kids, she dreams about disappearing from them at times...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ed Sheeran dances his way to weight loss
Los Angeles, Nov 25 (IANS) Singer Ed Sheeran has lost weight and he credits dance classes for transforming his looks. The 23-year-old is flaunting a lean figure after spending weeks training with professional dancer...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
P. Diddy 'regrets not pursuing relationship with Cameron Diaz'
P. Diddy regrets not pursuing a romantic relationship with Cameron Diaz. The music mogul and the actress were said to have dated between 2008 and 2012, and it's been claimed Diddy, 45, wishes he took their union further...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kendra Wilkinson says Hugh Hefner offered her an escape
Kendra Wilkinson entered the Playboy Mansion because it offered her an escape route. The blonde beauty is currently appearing in 'I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!' and has been reflecting on her relationship with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Halle Berry accuses ex of racism
Gabriel Aubry made ''completely and totally unacceptable'' racial slurs against Halle Berry, a court has been told. The 48-year-old actress, who dated the French-Canadian model between 2005 and 2010, has taken her...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Chris Hemsworth loves teasing his wife
Los Angeles, Nov 25 (IANS) Actor Chris Hemsworth says he loves to tease his wife Elsa Pataky by pretending that he cannot understand her, when he gets distracted. The 31-year-old, who was named People magazine's...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
What makes Nicki Minaj shy?
Los Angeles, Nov 25 (IANS) Nicki Minaj has flaunted sensual outfits with confidence several times, but she says she has felt "shy" about them sometimes. The 31-year-old, who recently donned an all-black ensemble at...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ebola crisis may result in more hunger: UNDP report
United Nations, Nov 25 (IANS) Wild price swings caused by the Ebola health crisis are making it more difficult for households to feed themselves and make a stable living, according to a new UN report released Monday....
Read more on Business Balla
 
US court sentences Mexican drug trafficker to 22 years
Chicago, Nov 25 (ians/EFE) a Mexican man was sentenced Monday to 22 years in federal prison for smuggling cocaine to Chicago. "I tell you on behalf of all citizens of Chicago... we are tired of this drug trafficking...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Justin Bieber named highest-earning entertainer under 30
Justin Bieber is the highest-earning entertainer under the age of 30, according to Forbes. The controversial musician earned as much as $80 million during the 12-month period between June 2013 and June 2014, in part...
Read more on Celebrity Balla