Asia's Leadership Opportunity

Jun 16, 2010, 14:06 ET from Mercator XXI, LLC

WASHINGTON, June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mercator XXI, LLC President and CEO Christopher G. Caine delivered remarks on Global Economic Dynamics: Their Impact on Asian Leadership and International Relations at the 2010 Shanghai Forum at Fudan University, Shanghai. The Shanghai Forum is a premier conference focusing on Asia and globalization issues.  For five years, the Forum has convened elite members of the international community to exchange perspectives on issues of particular relevance to Asia.

Caine was asked to present on the theme of "The Restructuring of International Relations in Asia."  This sub-forum was chaired by Professor Dingli Peng, Director for the Center for American Studies at Fudan University.  

In his address, Caine stressed the importance of emerging market involvement in the global economy following the financial crisis of 2008, and highlighted forces which should be driving these "new growth economies" towards a more active role in global leadership. "Global economic integration and structural change were defining features of the decade spanning from 2000-2009. Frequently overlooked during this period has been one of the decade's most noteworthy developments – an upheaval in the global economic order."

Caine highlighted among the changes to the global economic framework was the rise of Asia as a center of economic stability:  "Asia's share of the global economy (in purchasing power parity terms) increased from 7 percent in 1980 to 21 percent in 2008. And since 1995, Asia's real GDP has grown more than twice as fast as that of America or Western Europe." Caine noted the efforts of China in particular, citing that, "in 1999, the top five exporting countries were the United States, Germany, Japan, France and Britain. China was the world's ninth-largest exporter. Ten years later, China was the largest."

The Mercator XXI president continued with a warning that Asia's great strides in economic progress "could be jeopardized if these nations do not seek (or are not granted) opportunities for global leadership.  With this progress comes higher living standards, deeper engagement with other economies, and an opportunity for governments to take a more active role in international affairs".

Caine posited that the financial crisis has given these emerging economies a chance to become active leaders in the global economic order.  "Today, the architecture is out of step with the profile of the global economy. The G-7, which includes Canada and Italy but not China or India, accounts for just 55 percent of global economic output and 39 percent of global trade."

Caine identified the emergence of the G-20, whose protocols and responsibilities remain to be established, as the new global framework through which Asia in particular can assume a leadership role. "The sudden emergence of the G-20 reflects the recognition among global leaders that its membership is a more accurate reflection of the global economic order than the G-7, with the member countries generating about 90 percent of global GDP, and accounting for about 80 percent of global trade. But the G-20 is still establishing its protocols."

Caine also emphasized the need for Asia's private sector to lead as well in this push for more global responsibilities: "Just as Asian countries need to exercise leadership on a range of economic issues, so do Asia-based companies now that they are achieving global prominence and success. One element of that leadership is playing a constructive role in helping to shape the new global landscape so it reflects Asia's more prominent role. That means engaging to support trade liberalization and other market access measures."  He called on Asian public and private sector leaders to play an active role in the G-20 government and business summits in Seoul this coming November.

Caine went on to note the business potential derived from inspired and creative leadership.

"Will these opportunities be realized? In the end, that is a question only the people of Asia and elsewhere can answer. But a key determinant will be whether the continent's political and business leaders can exercise leadership around a constructive and enabling reset of the global economic architecture – one that reflects Asia's place in the world and for a fortified and healthier global economy."

Other topics covered at the Forum included Recover & Restructure: Asia's Sustainable Growth, Dynamics of Economic Integration in Asia, Restructuring after the Global Financial Crisis, Emerging Energy & Low Carbon Economy, Re-adjustment of World Economy & Regional Cooperation, Reflection of Asian Cities after the Financial Crisis, Public Policies in a Changing World, and The Impact of China's Economic Recovery.

Several prominent Chinese and international leaders attended the Forum and delivered keynote speeches, including Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan; Tiehui Weng, Deputy Secretary General of Shanghai Government; and Jiaxuan Tang, former State Councilor of China.  The success of the previous Shanghai Forums attracted many VIP's in 2010.  They included Jian Chen, former Undersecretary General of the United Nations; Hans van Ginkel, former Undersecretary General of the United Nations; Luzviminda Padilla, Undersecretary of the Dept. of Labor & Employment, Philippines; Winston Peters, Minister of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand; Etsuhiko Shoyama, Board Chairman of Hitachi Electric Company, Japan; Yamasaki Taku, Member of the House of Representatives, Japan; and Michael Spence, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics.

The take-away from the 2010 Shanghai Forum was an overwhelming consensus that the world order is changing rapidly and that the situation in Asia is becoming more complex than ever.  Asia needs to restructure itself across the board in areas such as economics, politics, social affairs, and culture. This restructuring is essential as it ensures Asia's continuous development. It is imperative that all Asian countries work together to help promote this change.

For a copy of Caine's full paper as presented and more information on Mercator XXI, LLC and the 2010 Shanghai Forum, please visit: