BPEA | 1996 No. 2

East Asian Liberalization, Bubbles, and the Challenge from China

1996, No. 2

FOR THE PAST ten years, the economic growth and industrialization of many East Asian countries has been impressive by any measure of performance. The newly industrializing economies (NIEs) and China have sustained exceptionally high rates of growth, ranging from 6.1 percent in Hong Kong to 10.2 percent in China. Equally impressive has been the extent to which these countries have been able to pursue economic integration among themselves, while also deepening their trade and financial relations with the rest of the world. Intraregional trade as a share of the region’s total trade jumped from 31.4 percent in 1984 to 42.2 percent in 1994. Under the auspices of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), these countries have committed to a rather ambitious schedule of trade liberalization with the goal of free trade in the region by 2020, without forming an economic bloc. A number of recent studies also suggest that financial flows between East Asian countries have risen markedly in recent years, thereby allowing their financial markets to forge stronger intraregional linkages and gradually to become integrated into the markets of North America and Europe.