As Asian economies grow faster than developed-world economies, and Asian populations and states connect to one another more than ever, Asia’s increasing economic integration could lead to more balanced global growth or toward a more divided world. A November 2010 report from an Asia Society task force combines the ideas of experts across Asia into a practical strategy for how G-20 states can do more to foster economic growth and counter economic nationalism.
The report, Growing Together Beats Falling Apart: Making Asian Economic Integration Work for Asia, the United States, and the World, puts forward a number of recommendations for how Asia-Pacific and other countries can individually and collectively stem the rising tide of protectionism and currency and capital control that threaten to undermine the global economy. These include:
- Regional economic integration within Asia is positive but must not be at the expense of Asia's overall integration with the global economy; all nations must work to ensure that bilateral agreements do not proliferate at the expense of comprehensive global agreements
- More active measures should be taken to maintain and promote open markets based on principles of reciprocity and long-term sustainability
The G-20 should:
- Do more to coordinate economic and trade policies across borders and across continents in order to use the regional strength of Asia to catalyze global growth
- Play a stronger role in enhancing the skills of regulators in a globally interconnected environment, and should develop a regulatory framework for evolving financial markets
- Begin to develop common approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- China and the United States must themselves fight against tendencies in their own countries to raise hidden barriers such as subsidies, inappropriately block foreign investment, or take retaliatory action designed to placate domestic public opinion
- China's currency policy must evolve over time towards a more flexible, open system
- The global intellectual property regime must be respected
- Asian nations and their leaders must recognize that curbing nuclear proliferation, and fostering human rights and gender equality can directly benefit their own growth and security, as well as that of the wider world
- Significant efforts must be made to strengthen the social safety net in places such as China to enhance quality of life and spur domestic consumption
- Extremes of excessive deregulation and excessive state control of economic activity will prove equally dangerous in the long term and must be avoided
The task force was chaired by former Citi Senior Vice Chairman Bill Rhodes, who played a central role in responding to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and co-chaired by McGraw Hill Companies CEO Harold "Terry" McGraw III and former Japanese Vice-Minister of Finance for International Affairs Toyoo Gyohten. Other prominent task force members include former Korean Prime Minister Han Seung Soo, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, and former Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Ishrat Husain. Noted author and Time magazine columnist Zachary Karabell served as Project Director.