An Optimistic Outlook for ASEAN and China

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An Optimistic Outlook for ASEAN and China

A conversation with a longtime Asian economic trend watcher.

An Optimistic Outlook for ASEAN and China
Credit: Photo supplied

Bart Edes is currently a Professor of Practice at McGill University in Montreal, after spending decades in the field working in international trade and development policy and analyzing the transformative trends that are reshaping East Asia and the world.

Edes has a refreshing outlook for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, and their relationships with the West, which are constantly under scrutiny amid trade wars and constant talk of a potential conflict.

He told The Diplomat’s Luke Hunt that ASEAN and China are well positioned to emerge from the pandemic as drivers of world growth despite the challenges, including Xi Jinping and his absolute grip on power as China’s paramount leader.

COVID-19 remains the main concern, particularly the new Omicron variant, which could extend the pandemic by up to another two years with business and government wishing the world could return to life as we knew it before the novel coronavirus.

Edes says that’s not going to happen but extraordinary growth in areas like e-commerce, which is expected to be worth about $1 trillion by 2030, free trade deals and pacts like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will act as a stimulus for growth.

Edes is a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. and is a distinguished fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in Vancouver.

He is also a former senior staffer at the Asian Development Bank, a principal administrator for communications at the OECD, and an international economist at the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration.

Luke Hunt can be followed on Patreon and Twitter.