Asia needs to be unified under new world economic order

Asia needs to be unified under new world economic order

The vice president of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), Pedram Soltani, has called on Asia’s private sector and civil institutions to enter the continent’s policymaking process in a bid to help develop its economy.  

“The old world order is going through several basic changes. The first is the emergence of new economic powers”, said Soltani in a speech entitled "The New World Order: The Era of Fundamental Changes" during the 32nd Conference of Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), held in Istanbul in November.  

Outlining the ongoing changes, the vice president of Iran Chamber of Commerce highlighted the importance of new Asian economic powers, such as China and India, and emphasied that the power and wealth are moving from developed to developing countries. “We can call this the easternisation of power and wealth”, said Soltani.

“An International Monetary Fund report has found out that developing countries GDP will rise from 47% in 2015 to 53% in 2025”, he added. “The US Intelligence Community has also predicted that Asia will leave Europe and the US behind in GDP, population, military spending and investment in the IT sector by 2030. All these factors show a clear shift of power to Asia.”

US President Donald Trump has been attacking the international treaties and agreements, which his predecessor Barack Obama signed, and has withdrawn from some of them such as the Paris Agreement on combating the climate change, Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico). The Trump administration, which is spearheading the “American First” campaign, alleges these treaties jeopardise the US national interests. “The current world order, known as the Bretton Woods system of monetary management, was established by the US itself [in 1944]. But now, the country says this order goes against its own interests. That is, the US is questioning the frames it built itself”, emphasied Soltani.

The non-profit organisation the World Data Lab has estimated in its latest report that the middle class is growing rapidly and most of this growth will take place in Asia. The World Data Lab defines middle class as someone earning between $11 and $110 per day, on a 2011 purchasing power parity basis, a benchmark used by many organisations and governments, including India and Mexico. This is the third change that is making Asia more appealing, according to Soltani.

“According to the Brookings Institution think-tank in Washington DC, 880 million out of a billion people who will make their leave poverty and enter the middle class ranks, live in Asia”, said the Iran Chamber vice president who went on to add: “India and China will be the first and second Asian countries in this ranking with 350 million and 280 million people respectively”.

Soltani also referred to the World Bank data which show the Asian middle class is comprised of 1.4 million people but it will rise to 3.4 billion people by 2030.   

“Another study about the income rise of the world population between 1988 to 2008 reflects that the middle class in Asian countries, especifically China, have seen the highest rise of 90% while the European middle class has seen the worst loss of 10%”, said the Iran Chamber of Commerce vice president addressing the Istanbul conference. “That’s why the developed countries are most angered by the world trade and we see the rise of populist and protectionist governments taking power”, added Soltani.

According to the vice president of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, China and India are and will be the symbols of Asia’s growing influence. “The 21st century belongs to Asia. China and Asia have tried to get their own share of the world organisation’s power structure such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), founded by China, or the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation”, Soltani said.  

The Iran Chamber of Commerce vice president believes the developed countries are trying to сheat as “they fear emerging economies such as China and India are benefiting more than their own economies which have been enjoying a good growth during the past 50 years”. He then called on the developing and underdeveloped Asian countries to come together and stop this policy.  

Unlike Europe and Africa, Asia lacks a continent-wide organisation that welds together its countries and economy. “Our continent is rich in cultural, ethnic and economic diversity. However, we don’t have a unified organisation that helps coordinate our policies”, criticised Soltani who lamented that Iran has not been able to be a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.  

He later highlighted the role of the private sector and the civil society to take the lead in Asia’s policymaking process to help push the continent towards a unified group of countries that follows the “economic trains” of China and India.

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