Banking integration in ASEAN gathers pace

Banking integration in ASEAN gathers pace

The ASEAN Economic Community, planned to come into effect in 2015, is expected to liberalise goods, capital and skilled labour flows in the ASEAN region. While there has been considerable progress in the area of trade integration, financial integration still lags behind. The ASEAN Banking Integration Framework, which aims to liberalise the banking market by 2020, could help pave the way for further integration and the entry of ASEAN banks into regional banking markets…”

Source: Economy Watch

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Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order

“…The contemporary quest for world order will require a coherent strategy to establish a concept of order within the various regions and to relate these regional orders to one another. These goals are not necessarily self-reconciling: The triumph of a radical movement might bring order to one region while setting the stage for turmoil in and with all others. The domination of a region by one country militarily, even if it brings the appearance of order, could produce a crisis for the rest of the world.

A world order of states affirming individual dignity and participatory governance, and cooperating internationally in accordance with agreed-upon rules, can be our hope and should be our inspiration. But progress toward it will need to be sustained through a series of intermediary stages…”

Source: Wall Street Journal

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Brace for a new world order

“…Whether we really have to worry about a new cold war is one thing. But we may also have new political/trading blocs that could present different investing challenges. It is, for example, almost regarded as a matter of historical determinism that China will liberalise its currency, its financial services, and introduce much firmer, stronger corporate law and shift to a consumer culture…

…More widely, the Brics bank is yet another fascinating development that could free those countries and others from potential reliance on the long-standing Bretton Woods institutions.

Nothing here necessarily changes the fundamentals of portfolio planning and diversification. It does perhaps add an interesting dimension to strategic asset allocation, certainly for those investors who favour a bigger portion of emerging markets in their portfolios.

It also feels that much of the political and economic landscape is being drawn by individuals. Take Vladimir Putin’s political manoeuvres regarding Ukraine. We won’t be back with the USSR any time soon – the relationships are too complicated – but a huge trade deal with Russia and China eventually promises a fascinating reorientation across Eurasia no matter what bloc Ukraine is in…”

Source: Financial Times

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SCO and Mackinder’s prophecy

There will be a defining geopolitical event next month when India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). This will increase the population of SCO members to an estimated 3.05 billion. We should care about this because it is the intention of the SCO to do away with the US dollar for trade settlement.

The nations joining in September are currently designated as Observer States and the only one left will be Afghanistan, which will presumably join when it can untie itself from NATO. Dialog Partners, defined as states which share the goals and principals of the SCO and wish to develop mutually beneficial relations, include Belarus Sri Lanka and Turkey. Turkey is of special interest because it has been a long-standing NATO member. It had hoped to join the EU but it became clear that this was never going to happen. Instead under the leadership of Recep Erdoğan Turkey is moving towards the SCO.

Erdoğan was re-elected earlier this month by a comfortable majority and it will be interesting to see how quickly Turkey’s new alignment evolves. Erdoğan must be aware that Asia is on the up while the EU declines, in which case Turkey as a front-line state is better off joining the SCO.

The SCO’s influence extends beyond its boundaries, with China and India’s diasporas populating much of the rest of south-east Asia. SCO members, particularly China and India, are also the largest consumers of Middle Eastern energy. And because they write the biggest cheques they have primacy over the west; so the swing away from the petro-dollar towards Asia is in the making. China also has sub-Saharan Africa sewn up, securing vital minerals such as copper from Zambia…”

Source: GoldMoney

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SCO to admit new members

The adoption of these documents at the next SCO summit will give the green light for admitting the four observer-states, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia, to the six-member organization.

Documents will be submitted to the SCO summit for the adoption. The summit will be held in Dushanbe in September. At present, Tajikistan holds the SCO presidency.

The quartet has expressed their desire to join the SCO in the past few years. The four countries have taken part in economic and cultural projects of the organization as observer-states. The desire of India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia reflects the growing authority and influence of the SCO in the eyes of Asian countries, says expert at the Higher School of Economics Alexei Maslov.

At present, the SCO has started to counterbalance NATO’s role in Asia. Consequently, these countries want to take part in the SCO in the capacity of safeguard of their interests. At present, the SCO is strengthening because the American policy towards Asia has been excessively tough and is aimed at suppressing their interests. The American policy contradicts the interests of Asian countries. In this sense, it’s quite natural that India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia expressed desire to join the SCO. There is another aspect that has to be taken into account. The growing role of China in the world shows that many countries are afraid of directly cooperating with it without outside backing. In this context, SCO enters in the capacity of guarantor that China will honour the interests of these countries in the framework of the existing SCO guidelines,” Maslov said.

The admission of India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia will pave the way for the SCO to hold itself out as the centre of power in global politics, says expert at the Institute of International Studies, Leonid Gusev.

If these countries become the SCO permanent members, this means that the organization will turn into a powerful structure. If other countries join the SCO, then we can say about the appearance of an alternative powerful global organization because it will be seriously reckoned,” Gusev said...”

Source: Voice of Russia

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The EU Offers a Model for Unifying the Middle East

“…Most in the Middle East no longer feel the dignity of their ancestors. What Plato called thymos is desperately missing: the political desire for recognition and respect as dignified peoples. A Middle Eastern Union could recreate it.

Calls for unity have been made by regional thinkers and leaders for almost a century. Intellectuals of the past such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, a 19th-century political activist who is still hugely influential in Arab lands, or Said Nursi, an Ottoman theologian of the same era widely relevant in modern Turkey, sowed the seeds of regionalist thought. In polls, most people in the Middle East call themselves Arab or Muslim before, say, Jordanian or Saudi. Pan-Islamic identity still has more resonance than national identity.

Such calls have been echoed by the Saudi king, the president of the United Arab Emirates, Turkey’s prime minister, Jordan’s monarch – and also by more threatening voices among Hamas, Egypt’s Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood. Will the west wait until Islamists and radicals are powerful enough to create their own Middle East, one opposed to us? Or will we help our partners in government harness this momentum? This is the moment to create multilateral institutions that could implant pluralism across the region as firmly as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s constitution did in Turkey almost a century ago…”

Source: Council on Foreign Relations

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Opinion: a summit of Brics without straw

“If you’re an emerging market and there’s a geoeconomic grouping you’re looking for, you’ve got a few to choose from. In Asia there is Asean - ten countries in search of common ground. In Latin America there is Mercosur - five countries in search of common tariffs. And from the Atlantic west to the Black Sea there is Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation – four adjectives in search of a noun…”

Source: Financial Times

BRICS

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