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Japan, ASEAN leaders set to declare efforts to create East Asian community


28 Nov 2003
Here is some good political news. If you haven't seen it already here's a peace of the article.

Japan and 10 Southeast Asian nations entered a second and final day of summit talks, set to sign a joint declaration envisaging an East Asian community pulled together by possible free trade pacts.

The leaders, who gathered here to commemorate three decades of Japan-ASEAN ties, are scheduled to sign a Tokyo Declaration, proposing the creation of a common East Asian community as a long-term vision.

They are also expected to pledge efforts to strengthen economic partnerships, possibly through free trade pacts to pave the way for the common community.

You can find the rest of the article here: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/031212/1/3glzi.html
A other interesting article related to this news can be found here: http://www.japantimes.com/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20031213a2.htm
Good news?

If it's anything like those "free trade" agreements the US is always trying to ram down the throats of poorer nations, then I'd be worried if I were the other nations, especially the factory hands and peasant farmers. The US uses the "free trade" agreements to lock in its advantages. NAFTA and possible Free Trade Area of the Americas(FTAA) and Central American Free Trade Agreement(CAFTA). Despite the recent lifting of steel tariffs stateside, the US constantly demands others end tariffs yet keeps subsidies to its farmers. (I think a country should be as close to self-sufficient in its food supply as possible and disagree with Japan's decision (recent past or future?) to end subsidies to its rice farmers.) I just think the US should not try to force other countries into ending their subsidies on basic necessities. They say that the "free market" brings prosperity. But that is the exact opposite of how the US developed its industries. Tariffs on imports to protect its basic industries. That is how the US developed, and Britain before them. Other countries should be allowed the same.

Such a policy may be good news for the US and its companies, but certainly not for those in the poorer nations, and not even workers in the wealthy nation either, since jobs exit the country at an even higher rate than before.

The questions I have on this agreement, will it be similar to the one's the US tries to get other nations to sign onto?
And if so, isn't this basically what the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere set out to do? But this time without war.

I hope that doesn't offend too much. I recognize that the US has had actual and de facto colonial possession of most of Latin America since the Monroe doctrine. The trade agreements just do it without US supported local dictators.

And how does Japan's MITI system work into the whole "free market" vs non "free market" issue. Since the "free market" is basically related to "free trade". I'm not demanding Japan end its MITI system or anything, just asking a question on this.
The US's Pentagon system has been compared to Japan's MITI, transferring public funds to private industry. Journalist Bill Moyers interviewed recently retired Pentagon employee Chuck Spinney on the latter half of that sentance.

Is that too much not about Japan?
Comparing and contrasting?

Moyers w/Spinney
Well about FTA's, what you see here happening is that Japan and ASEAN strengthen not only economic ties but also political ties. This future East Asian Economic Community can be compared with the European Community of the past. It always starts with economic issues as the most important, but as you can see in this treaty there also lies a political factor behind it which will get more and more important over time.

So Japan and ASEAN are politically moving to get stronger ties which can lead to what there is in Europe in the longer term. However the first goal is to create this East Asian Economic Community. This development is more similar to what has happend in Europe with the European Community and the later European Union.

Also China and ASEAN want to together create the most populous trade block in the world by about 2010. That economic area will then have about 1.7 billion consumers. So Japan doesn't want to lose influence in ASEAN so therefore it gets more involved economically and politically in that region and organisation. And Japan tries to make those countries become more developed.
So if u ask me it's all moving in the right direction.

Yeah like this attempt to create a FTA will succeed.(thats thinly veiled sarchasm)

I think ASEAN tried to do this a decade ago and it hasn't gone anywhere with it. Almost every political grouping makes pronouncements to this end and they very rarely go anywhere. Don't hold you breath on this one. The only true free trade area is the EU and NAFTA and its difficult to say that if its success will ever be replicated. Many theorists argue that it is European Valuesor the European Experience in politics that has created cooperation so effective. Whether or not that coopeation can be replicated around the world is a very difficult question.
I live myself in the European Union at the moment. But besides that. This future East Asian Community won't be a replication of the European Community. Ofcourse not heh. I'm just saying it will probably have some similarities with that. Ofcourse there will be a distinctive East Asian touch to it hehe which will make it great. And from there the road to even greater things is open.

I just posted to let you know I just got done reading a short book by John Feffer titled "North Korea South Korea US Policy at a Time of Crisis" and he talks a little bit about this economic area you talk about. It sure beats Bush's 'tuff-guy' war mongering.
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