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SEA SBQ

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by

QN Tan

on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of SEA SBQ

How far do Sources A-E support the
view that regional economic cooperation
in ASEAN was not feasible? ASEAN Economic
Development Introduction SOURCE A Inference: THE END Contextual Knowledge: Provenance: SOURCE B Inference: Contextual Knowledge: Provenance: SOURCE C Inference: Contextual Knowledge: Provenance: SOURCE D Inference: Provenance: Contextual Knowledge: SOURCE E Inference: Contextual Knowledge: Provenance: Source E supports the hypothesis with regards to the view that regional economic cooperation in ASEAN was not feasible. It states that ASEAN member states were at different stages of economic growth and had different ideas on how to control their economy, hence making economic cooperation not feasible. ASEAN member states had limited economic cooperation before the 1990s, as stated in the source. ASEAN member states were slowly getting away from being producers of raw commodities and moving towareds their manufacturing sectors but joint industrial projects were not successful due to the nationalism shown by the respective ASEAN 5 technocrats and that the member states thought that there would be little economic returns. Furthermore, the agenda of ASEAN was more focused on security rather than economic cooperation during the 1970s and 80s. The last of confidence of the ASEAN leaders in regional economic cooperation made the aim of establishing free trade in ASEAN unlikely to occur, as the fear of losing more markets than they would gain prevented most ASEAN leaders from engaging in economic discussions. Hence, with such reluctance, lack of confidence and trust in each other, regional economic cooperation was not feasible. Minimal progress was made in promoting intra-ASEAN industrial cooperation before the 1990s as the perception that there were little economic returns for ASEAN member states in such joint industrial projects led to their entrenched zero-sum mentality, and this is evident in how Singapore's investment in Indonesia's US$250 million urea project accounted for only 1% of ASEAN trade. Hence, with the issue of economic cooperation taking a lower priority in ASEANs agenda, regional economic cooperation was not feasible. As a source written by a former top Singapore civil servant, we could expect the source to be reasonably reliable as he has access to privileged information of the government and has been involved in various discussions and negotiations regarding ASEAN. Source D challenges the hypothesis as it shows ASEAN countries adopting a pro-active step to build trust amongst members in matters involving mutual-cooperation. Source D stated “Additionally, they also decided to formulate joint approaches to economic problems.” By openly discussing their weakness actually shows that members view each other as allies and not their rivalry. As such they would not guard each other to protect their national interests; they will place ASEAN development first. In this case, ASEAN give priority to the development of the manufacturing sector. Although their first step to economic cooperation was successful however their intensified effort to promote industrial development in ASEAN has not progress significantly. For example, the Intra-ASEAN trade since 1976 simply failed to take off in real terms and remains stagnant at around 15 percent level, despite the implementation of some regional trade liberalization measures. ASEAN brings to the fore of the weakness of the technique of trade cooperation adopted by ASEAN. This thereby shows the infeasibility of ASEAN economic cooperation as there has been limited success. From 1973 to 1981 Ghazali Shafie has taken the role of Home and Information Minister and was then appointed as Foreign Minister until 1984. His active role in ASEAN diplomacy made his stand extremely credible as he is fully aware of ASEAN current and past situations. His long involvement in the political field allows him to understand the importance of this conference to ASEAN as such Ghazali Shafie only emphasis on ASEAN achievement. His intention to display ASEAN under the good light has made this source loop sided. With diversification in ASEAN exports due to the expansion of their secondary industry, helping to boost ASEAN's overall trade. However the source has neither concrete framework for further economic cooperation nor credits ASEAN for the growth in trade; merely highlighting the potential of intra-ASEAN industrial cooperation. Although ASEAN member states started moving away from being producers of raw commodities to developing their manufacturing sectors by the late 1970s, it was not truly the result of intra-ASEAN cooperation; there was minimal progress made in promoting intra-ASEAN industrial cooperation before the 1990s. Despite joint industrial projects, there was little headway due to exacerbated nationalism, belief that there were little economic returns and security concerns, which dominated ASEAN in the 1970s and 1980s. As the source is a keynote address by Singapore's Trade Department, hence the organization would wish to portray ASEAN in a positive light. Hence, focusing on the member states' individual achievement and potential for future collaboration rather than its inability to work together. The source by former Thai Foreign Minister Thanat Khoman, one of the founding fathers of ASEAN, from an academic journal. With access to privileged information, his opinion would be largely reliable; however as one of the founders, he is likely to portray ASEAN in a positive light, such as using his position to sway public opinion amidst the heavy criticism of ASEAN. The source highlights the economic weaknesses of ASEAN, specifically, the organization's lack of significant economic achievement before the 1990s. Despite the lack of concrete success, Minister Thanat Khoman, remains optimistic about ASEAN's future collaborations. Rather than working together, ASEAN countries were in direct competition with each other due to their similar export-orientated strategies. In fact, the members had more to lose from creating a common market or giving others preferential trading conditions. However, ASEAN economic cooperation did improve after the Cold War with the creation of Asean Free Trade Area [AFTA] in 1992 during the fourth ASEAN Summit held in Singapore. As the source was published in the Straits Times, it is possible that the information is biased as Singaporean newspapers usually do not criticize... Sources A, B and E support the hypothesis that regional economic cooperation in ASEAN was not feasible whereas Sources C and D challenge the hypothesis by highlighting the potential of strengthening economic relations amongst ASEAN countries through trade, which was a decision already made in the beginning years of ASEAN.
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