australia part of asia??? - not!!!

  1. Yak
    13,672 Posts.
    For any of those with their heads still so far up where the sun dont shine who believe we are part of Asia and they accept us.....grow a brain!

    SE Asia to form huge trade bloc
    By Kimina Lyall in Bali
    October 8, 2003

    ASEAN leaders yesterday signed a watershed agreement to move Southeast Asia towards a European Union-style economic community.


    Leaders from South Korea, China and Japan in Bali / AAP


    Pledging to have the ASEAN Economic Community in place by 2020, the pact of 10 nations - representing 500million people and a combined gross domestic product of more than $US700billion ($1000billion) - aims to shatter tariff and non-tariff barriers and create a "single market and production base" in the region.

    In a move that further isolates Australia, the 10 leaders - representing military dictatorships, communist regimes and an absolute monarchy as well as burgeoning democracies - signed the Bali Concord II.

    After the signing, Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri said: "We have just witnessed a watershed in the history of ASEAN."

    She said the document "will establish an ASEAN community that will make it possible for our children and their children to live in a state of enduring peace, stability and shared prosperity".

    Yet despite the progress, the leaders retreated on an anticipated condemnation of Burma's military rulers and their treatment of democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi.

    Chinese premier Wen Jiabao seized upon the prospect of a new regional power to envisage that a China-ASEAN trade agreement, being negotiated, would create a liberalised zone of 2billion people and GDP of $US3trillion by 2010.

    The vision of an "ASEAN Economic Community" will bolster the grouping's negotiations for free trade zones with China, India and Japan that aim to be completed over the next eight years.

    The leaders of those three countries, along with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, are at the ASEAN summit.

    The potential northern powerhouse further isolates Australia, after officials this week said a similar "ASEAN plus Australia" meeting, mooted last year, was off the agenda.

    It also places more pressure on officials attempting to finalise negotiations for an Australia-Thailand free trade agreement this week ahead of the meeting between John Howard and Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at APEC this month.

    "We are more interested in looking to our east to northeast Asia, and west to South Asia," said one official, explaining that developing the economic relationship with Australia was not a priority for the region.

    While the ASEAN leaders forged ahead with the economic deal, they backed away from an anticipated condemnation of Burma's military rulers and their treatment of Ms Suu Kyi.

    In a statement, the 10 leaders said Burma's "road map" for democracy was a "pragmatic approach that deserves understanding and support".

    They "welcomed the recent positive developments" in Burma, a reference to Ms Suu Kyi's transition from military detention to house arrest.

    It appears that only Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi - a dialogue partner in an additional ASEAN forum and not a member of ASEAN - demanded her "immediate release".

    The Bali Concord document looks to establish ASEAN as a "single market and production base" by introducing mechanisms to strengthen cross-border ties and reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers.

    Pushed largely by Singapore and Thailand, the leaders hope that investors will spread manufacturing bases across the 10 countries, capitalising on the various cost-effectiveness of their member countries.

    Before the meeting yesterday, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said investors were unable to capitalise on the current ASEAN free trade agreement because the tariff reductions were countered by entrenched problems with Customs, logistics and financial services.

    Most southeast Asian nations have watched foreign direct investment drift towards China since the 1997 financial crisis, with the region now attracting only a fifth of the level of investment in China.

    Strong on rhetoric, the document, which also aimed to set up an "ASEAN Security Community" and an "ASEAN Social-Cultural Community" avoided the mention of either democracy or human rights.

    But it promises to "accelerate regional integration" in 11 priority sectors, "facilitate movement of business persons, skilled labour and talents, and strengthen the institutional mechanisms of ASEAN".


 
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