Wednesday, February 21, 2007

About ASEAN, EAS and Others


The ASEAN is a regional trading group of the South-East Asian nations. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.

The ASEAN region has a population of about 500 million, a total area of 4.5 million square kilometers, a combined gross domestic product of almost US$ 700 billion, and a total trade of about US$ 850 billion.

Though the ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are: (1) to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and (2) to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter, it essentially remains as a regional trading block.

Look at its trade figures. While the combined GDP is almost about the same size as that of India’s, its total trade is more than its GDP. That is where it derives its strength from. Usually it runs a current account surplus with the rest of the world in trade.

Mr. Ong Keng Yong of Singapore is the current Secretary General of ASEAN.

East Asian Summit

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a pan-Asia forum to be held annually by the leaders of 16 countries in East Asia, with ASEAN in a leadership position.

The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on December 14, 2005. The Kuala Lumpur declaration and the Avian Influenza Prevention, Control and Response declaration were signed by the 16 leaders during the first EAS. It was agreed to hold future EASs in conjunction with the annual ASEAN meetings.

The 2nd East Asian Summit was held recently in January, 2007 soon after the 12th ASEAN summit there. The outcome of the 2nd EAS is an agreement on a concerted region-wide effort to harness alternative sources of energy to ensure continuous energy supply for their growing economies in the face of dwindling world oil reserves.

ASEAN + 3 refers to the 10 ASEAN member countries, and China, Japan and South Korea. ASEAN + 6 refers to the East Asian Summit signatories. They include ASEAN + 3 and Australia, New Zealand and India.

China wants to keep India out of the EAS process. Though not openly, it has surreptitiously been lobbying for the exclusion of India. But Japan has not allowed China’s point of view to prevail.

Russia participated in the first EAS as an observer and has expressed desire and even requested to become a member. Their position as a future member is supported by China.

East Timor is a candidate ASEAN member seeking membership within five years (from 2006); presumably new members of ASEAN would also join the EAS.

Pakistan and Mongolia have been proposed as future members by Malaysia.

Papua New Guinea has been proposed as a future member by Australia.

The United States has now stated that it hopes to have some role in the future of the EAS.

The European Union has indicated it wishes to have a role as an observer.

However, ASEAN has decided to freeze new "membership" of EAS for at least two years (which would seem to cover the second and third EAS).

ASEAN Regional Forum

The ASEAN Regional Forum is an informal multilateral dialogue of 25 members that seeks to address security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: ASEAN, Australia, Canada, People's Republic of China, European Union, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor, and the United States. Bangladesh was added to ARF as the 26th member, starting from July 28, 2006.

1 Comment:

Ivo Cerckel said...

The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana wants to attribute IMF votes to China, India and ASEAN, said The Hindustan Times on February 19, 2007.
(EU for inclusion of India, China in global diplomacy,00050003.htm)

This is interesting as ASEAN is a union which is being set around a currency system and as, as a result of this new currency system, and as the IMF has no more role (to fulfil) except that of bailing out the US.

As Professor [of Corporate Strategy and International Business] Linda Lim, Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Michigan, puts it in her Foreword to
Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, and Hooi Den Huan,
“Think ASEAN - Rethinking toward ASEAN Community 2015”,
McGrawHill, 2007,
private actions can and should initiate a process of market-led regional integration that is likely to be not just quicker, but also more efficient [than a government-initiated process], as a result.

After attending the ASEAN Business and Investment Seminar (BIS) in Cebu - Philippines in December 2006 and reading the book I just quoted,
I wonder whether the ASEAN market is not primarily a market which is going to be “exploited” not by SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises), but only by big businesses (Multi-National Corporations - MNCs) which are already operating internationally.

Let me first say this: I am a firm believer in Freedom (and Truth) and thus in the freedom of contract. Nobody can thus be prevented from concluding a contract whereby the partners set up a corporation which eventually becomes a MNC.

I have no problems with private corporations where the partners’ liability does not disappear.

The problem is however that whereas I cannot give legal personality to my dog or my car, the granting of the privilege of legal personality to the PUBLIC corporation at present results in the partners that make up the corporation not being fully liable for the actions of their corporate tool
(Professor Frank van Dun, “The Modern Business Corporation versus the Free Market?”, versus Market.pdf )

When I see that the quoted book refers several times to a corporation with such ASEAN roots as McDonald’s Hamburger Restaurant, I have my deepest doubts as to the real intentions of some of the promoters of ASEAN.

ASEAN wants to integrate the economies of its member states and wants to maintain ASEAN in the centre stage, making the ASEAN concept real in the minds of people, said His Excellency Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN, in His Excellency’s December 09, 2006 address to the ASEAN BIS Seminar in Cebu - Philippines.

Will giving MNCs more leeway to “exploit” the ASEAN market make the ASEAN concept real in the minds of people? Will that maintain ASEAN in the centre stage? I don’t think so.

It is humbly submitted that having an ASEAN PLUS FOUR (ASEAN plus China, Korea, Japan and India) currency in one’s wallet would really make the ASEAN concept real in the minds of people and would maintain ASEAN in the centre stage.

I therefore wonder whether, as I said in the paper “A Currency for the ASEAN market – Freegold”, which I made available to the participants at the ASEAN BIS seminar in Cebu – Philippines in December 2006, it would not be time to realise that these objectives can only be achieved if ASEAN does not tolerate currencies' exchange rates dominating trade but adopts the opposite policy of allowing ASEAN to consolidate (store) its produced wealth in Freegold.

Do we cling to the dollar-IFMS (International Financial and Monetary System) or do we opt for ASEAN Freegold, for the ASEAN gold-euro?

Nothing prevents ASEAN PLUS FOUR from copying what the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) is doing and keep gold (the Mona Lisa) in the strong rooms (the Louvres) of its central banks and marking it to market price on a quarterly basis. Every individual in an ASEAN PLUS FOUR nation would then be free to copy the concept of Freegold. By the same token, the ASEAN PLUS FOUR concept will have been made real in the minds of people and ASEAN PLUS FOUR will have been maintained in the centre stage. How else could ASEAN possibly integrate the economies of its member states?

This, Freegold, is the total opposite of the absurd IMF virtual SDR-situation

Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of International Monetary Fund members.
It is neither a currency, nor a claim on the IMF.SDRs are defined in terms of a basket of major currencies used in international trade and finance.
At present, the currencies in the basket are the euro, the pound sterling, the Japanese yen and the United States dollar.
The amounts of each currency making up one SDR are chosen in accordance with the relative importance of the currency in international trade and finance.
The determination of the currencies in the SDR basket and their amounts is made by the IMF Executive Board every five years.

This seems to indicate that SDRs constitute the reserve of the inexistant IMF-currency.

Article IV, Section 2, of the IMF Articles of Agreement says that exchange arrangements may include inter alia (under (b) (ii)) cooperative arrangements by which members maintain the value of their currencies in relation to the value of the currency or currencies of other members.

Freegold is the opposite of this absurd (virtual) situation.

The IMF wants its members to use/take the SDRs as reserve.

We, the ASEAN PLUS FOUR - People in the know of the fact that the dollar-International Financial and Monetary System (IFMS) cannot be expected to start making the CONCEPT OF GOLD-WEALTH-RESERVE public, want Freegold as reserve.

In this situation, the IMF has no more role (to fulfil) except that of bailing out the US.

In this situation, Freegold in the European (and ASEAN PLUS FOUR) Systems of Central Banks (EA4SCB) have the same role to fulfil as the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.

A wealth reserve in the strong room (the Louvre) of a Monetary Union with a currency, the euro.

Every individual, not the ASEAN PLUS FOUR, is now free to copy the concept of Freegold (Freely priced gold, no longer “fixedly” priced gold) as wealth reserve (no backing or redeemability).

Just like anybody can come to ASEAN and determine for herself what is the nature of the ASEAN economy and can then appreciate and/or copy it.

ASEAN PLUS FOUR is a UNION which is in the process of being set up around a currency system-in-the-make on euro lines.

ASEAN PLUS FOUR knows that Free Trade is not possible without Free Migration. That’s why for the moment, ASEAN is working to facilitate intra-ASEAN migration for skilled labour.
The ASEAN PLUS FOUR gold yuan will be introduced
on the sidelines of the June 2007 Cebu ASEAN, ASEAN PLUS FOUR and EAST ASIAN TOURISM SUMMITS,
after the Greater Depression will have started in the US.

In April 2007, nine practical consequences of the unfolding crisis will converge:
1. Acceleration of the pace and size of bankruptcies among US financial organisations: from one per week today to one per day in April
2. Spectacular rise of US home foreclosures: 10 million Americans out on the street
3. Accelerating collapse of housing prices in the US: - 25%
4. Entry into recession of the US economy in April 2007
5. Precipitous rate cut by the US Federal Reserve
6. Growing importance of China-USA trade conflicts
7. China's shift out of US dollars / Yen carry trade reversal
8. Sudden drop of US dollar value against Euro, Yuan and Yen
9. Tumble of Sterling Pound

(East Asia = Asean Plus Four plus New Zeeland and Australia = ASEAN PLUS SIX
The currencies in the latter two countries are called dollars
(and thus follow the (mis-)fortunes of the US dollar).
Like the pound sterling, those currencies will collapse together with the US dollar.
That’s why the gold ASEAN will be limited to the ASEAN PLUS FOUR
will NOT extend to East Asia or ASEAN PLUS SIX.)

In the meantime, the People’s Bank of China is wondering into what to diversify its foreign exchange reserves.
Stop doubting, Beijing! Go gold!

ASEAN PLUS FOUR knows Free Trade is impossible without Free Migration.

That's why ASEAN is concentrating on tourism to introduce free migration for skilled labour through the backdoor.

The gold yuan will display to the world not only that tourism opens the backdoor to allow Free Migration of Skilled Labour but also that as
Governor of Jilin Province, China , Wang Min, said in his Welcome Address
“Tourism serves as the messenger of peace and also as a bridge in enhancing friendship and cooperation.”

Ivo Cerckel de Siquijor