Countries in the Asia Pacific region are adapting to the transforming components of power faster than other countries
The reasons such as the weakening of the international liberal order, which led by the USA, inefficient top-down governance of European Union and the Western economies that are losing dynamism encourage the business people and decision makers to turn their eyes to Asia Pacific as the new centre of gravity of the global balance of power. Throughout history, the concept of “power” has been constantly changing within the literature of international relations. Countries in the Asia Pacific region are adapting to the transforming components of power faster than other countries. Indeed, the region is home to one-third of startup initiatives worldwide. Global investors are monitoring with great interest the existence of an ecosystem that supports startup initiatives, the young population, the increasing access to the internet, as well as the region’s current rapid development in the field of financial technologies (Fintech) compared to other regions. As Parag Khanna noted in his book “The Future is Asian,” the 19th century was European and the 20th century was the “American Century”. The expectation that Asia will make its mark on the 21st century is supported by the following data. The Asia Pacific region is home to global cities which are the heart of world trade and rising star countries such as Vietnam and Singapore in a multipolar order. When examined the data showing the rise of Asia Pacific, the statistics are as follows: Four of the world’s five largest economies are expected to be Asian by 2040. However, the expectation that the 21st century will be an “Asian Century” is also strengthened by the fact that the region hosts 9 of the 10 most busiest ports in the world and has more than half of the global population, more than the rest of the world alone in GDP at PPP terms for the first time since the 19th century, and contributes 60 percent to global economic growth.
It is necessary to analyse the region with a holistic approach in order to understand opportunities/challenges in Asia Pacific as the new playground for global competition and leadership
However, in addition to the opportunities offered by the region, there are issues that can be called problems. These problems can be listed as following; economic inequalities between countries, lack of infrastructure, depending on energy import, high population living below the poverty line, increasing unemployment due to rapidly developing technology, climate change and the consequences of natural disasters that will cause forced displacement. These afore-mentioned problems cause concerns and uncertainties about the future of the region. It is important for us to accurately analyse the transformation in the Asia Pacific region which is more than just major powers such as China and India including a small city-state like Singapore which is leading the global innovation index and the ease of doing business rankings should be taken into consideration. The Belt Road Initiative, which covers almost half of the world’s GDP and plays a crucial role to understand the new role of China in the international global order which should not be defined only as a comprehensive infrastructure project. Since the initiative has been launched by Xi Jinping in 2013, it is closely followed by the international community regarding the changing and transforming power of re-emerging China. ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) sets a good role model. ASEAN, which is expected to be the 4th largest economic power in the world by 2050, is now the most integrated regional economic union after the EU. Increasing level of intra-regional trade contributes greatly to the economic development of the member states, to create employment and to decrease poverty rates. Member countries, which are in the process of rapidly adapting to the new concepts introduced by Industry 4.0, also tend to rise in the IMF Global Competitiveness Rankings. A company operating in one of 10 ASEAN member countries; can reach a population of approximately 650 million, with various customs tariffs and taxing advantages.
ASEAN, which is expected to be the 4th largest economic power in the world by 2050, is now the most integrated regional economic union after the EU
PERSPECTIVE OF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TOWARDS ASIA PACIFIC
Today, a very different point has been reached from the Pivot Asia” strategy, which is known as the legacy of the Obama era in America, which is also a multilateral and comprehensive policy approach towards the Asia Pacific geography. The reason for this change can be attributed to the policy of “America First” in the Administration of President Trump. This policy caused confusion among America’s allies in Asia Pacific. Absence of President Trump in economic and security summits particularly in South Asian region has led to comments and criticism that the American declining focus on the region. However, the importance of multilateral initiatives developed by the United States for building a free and open regional order, as well as the strong bilateral relations with the countries of the region, and multilateral initiatives under the umbrella of ASEAN for Trump administration and Congress are emphasized with different concrete data in the text of the “A Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Advancing a Shared Vision” published by the US State Department in November 2019.
Turkey has been seeking to be more effective in Asia in recent years within the framework of its “Asia Anew” strategy
ASIA PACIFIC REGION;
HOSTS 9 OF THE WORLD’S 10 BUSIEST PORTS
CONTRIBUTES 60% TO GLOBAL ECONOMIC GROWTH
TURKEY’S ASIA PACIFIC AWARENESS
Within the framework of the “Asia Anew” strategy, Turkey has been seeking to be more effective in Asia in recent years and investments from the region to Turkey have been increasing. As of the end of August 2019, FDI from Asia to Turkey nearly doubled and reached to $1.7 billion. The trade volume of 50 billion dollar which is based on approximately 80 percent of imports need to grow with an export – oriented approach is one of the components of Turkish foreign trade policy. It is necessary to analyse the region with a holistic approach in order to understand opportunities/challenges in Asia Pacific being the new playground for global competition and leadership. The region is not only composed of China and India as the giant economic powers. Asia Pacific regions consists of G-20 countries such as Japan, South Korea and Australia, which are home to some of the most valuable brands in the world and the centre of dynamic economies and innovative technologies. It should be kept in mind that the number of competitive economies in the region has also increased thanks to important regional integration initiatives such as ASEAN. Considering all these indicators and analysis mentioned above, it would not be wrong to label the 21st century as an “Asian Century”.
4 OF THE WORLD’S TOP 5 ECONOMIES ARE EXPECTED TO BE ASIAN BY 2040
Coordinator of DEİK Asia Pacific Business Councils Selma Bardakcı
Assistant Coordinator of DEİK Asia Pacific Business Councils Temmuz Yiğit Bezmez