El aumento del regionalismo en Asia

Esta semana, Estados Unidos y Singapur limaron los últimos obstáculos para un acuerdo de libre comercio (ALC). Pactos como este se están extendiendo como el fuego por toda Asia.

Hasta hace poco, la mayoría de los países del este asiático buscaban políticas de comercio no discriminatorias a través de una liberalización unilateral, la Comunidad Económica de Asia-Pacífico, y la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC). Como muestra el acuerdo entre Estados Unidos y Singapur, las iniciativas regionales y laterales discriminatorias se están haciendo más populares. Ahora parece plausible un bloque económico del este asiático formado alrededor de Asia y/o Japón. ¿Harán todos estos acuerdos que la región se ponga al margen de la OMC?

Los países del este asiático tienen políticas de comercio relativamente liberales y están razonablemente bien integrados a la economía global. Esto, sin embargo, oculta enormes diferencias. Hong Kong y Singapur son puertos libres. Corea del Sur y Taiwán se liberalizaron sustancialmente en los últimos años. Malasia es bastante abierta, pero con una protección significativa, especialmente en los servicios. El proteccionismo tailandés sigue siendo alto. Indonesia y las Filipinas están sumidas en la inestabilidad política y económica. Myanmar, Vietnam, Camboya y Laos son muy pobres y tienen mayores niveles de protección.

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