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

1,074 new dengue cases in Chinese province
Beijing, Oct 18 (IANS) China's Guangdong province has reported 1,047 new cases of dengue fever, health authorities said Saturday. Six people have already died in Guangdong -- five in Guangzhou and one in adjacent...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Blake Lively 'always' wanted to be mum
Blake Lively has ''always'' wanted to be a mother. The 27-year-old actress is expecting her first child with husband Ryan Reynolds and she admits she's been dreaming of this moment since she was a youngster. Speaking...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kris Jenner 'torn apart' by Bruce's new relationship
Kris Jenner feels ''torn apart and angry'' that Bruce Jenner is dating her former assistant. The 58-year-old matriarch split from the 64-year-old Olympic gold medalist last October following 22-years of marriage but is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini won't move to France
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini doesn't want to move to her husband's home country of France. The 'X Factor' judge, 31, who comes from Newcastle, is adamant she won't be relocating any time soon to suit her new spouse Jean-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lance Bass sets wedding date
Lance Bass has set a date for his wedding. The former *NSYNC singer and his partner Michael Turchin, who have been dating for two-and-a-half years, are to tie the knot on December 20, 2014, a representative for the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Nepal avalanche toll reaches 39
Kathmandu, Oct 18 (IANS) At least 39 climbers died while hiking on a key Nepali route after it was hit by a major snowstorm and avalanches earlier this week, BBC reported Saturday citing officials. Over 350 stranded...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jake Gyllenhaal says society is complicit in 'nightcrawling'
Jake Gyllenhaal says almost everybody in society ought to relate to his new movie 'Nightcrawlers'. The eagerly-awaited film concerns those people who monitor police scanners and then race to crime scenes to film eye-...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
India eves look for first win in AFC U-16 qualifiers
Dhaka, Oct 18 (IANS) India will hope to register their first win of the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Women's Championship qualifiers when they take on hosts Bangladesh in a crucial encounter at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Moyes mulling return to management
London, Oct 18 (IANS) Former Manchester United manager David Moyes said that he is ready to revive his managerial career six months after being sacked by the 'Red Devils'. "I am ready to return. I have enjoyed the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ebola fears loom over Ghana hosting AFCON
Accra (Ghana), Oct 18 (IANS) The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) cautioned the government Saturday against hosting the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), despite a request by the Confederation of African Football (...
Read more on Sport Balla