Le prochain axe de l'Asie

SÉOUL - Le mois dernier, les dirigeants de la Chine, du Japon et de la Corée du Sud ont accepté d'entamer des négociations à la fin de l'année sur un accord trilatéral de libre-échange. Si les discussions aboutissent, il faudra redessiner la carte du commerce mondial. Un accord de libre échange qui compte respectivement les deuxième, troisième et douzième plus grandes économies (en termes de parité de pouvoir d'achat en 2011), avec une population de 1,5 milliard, diminuerait l'Union européenne et l'Accord de Libre-Échange Nord-Américain (ALÉNA), comprenant les États-Unis, le Canada et le Mexique.

En effet, l'Asie du Nord-Est deviendrait le troisième axe principal d'intégration économique régionale, après l'UE et l'Accord de Libre-Échange Nord-Américain (ALÉNA). Jusqu'ici, la région a été incapable d'institutionnaliser la coopération économique aussi vigoureusement que l'Europe et l'Amérique du Nord. Mais si les propositions discutées à Pékin le mois dernier se réalisent, l'accord de libre-échange qui pourrait devancer l'ALÉNA dans son degré d'intégration et d'importance pour l'économie mondiale.

En outre, la formation d'un accord de libre-échange Chine-Japon-Corée du Sud va très probablement déclencher une réaction en chaîne. Par exemple, l'impulsion pourrait augmenter au Sud et stimuler l'ANASE, qui a des accords de libre-échange bilatéraux avec chacun des trois pays, à rejoindre le groupe. Une telle tournure des événements équivaudrait à établir la région de libre échange de l'Asie de l'Est, que l'ANASE+3 avait envisagée environ il y a dix ans. Si cela se produisait, d'autres pays - comme l'Australie, la Nouvelle-Zélande et surtout l'Inde - pourraient suivre le mouvement.

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