“If the UK is going to make the most of the freedoms it will have after leaving the European Union, we have to build trade links with the fast-growing economies of Asia” said UK Chancellor Philip Hammond at the International Fintech Conference held in London yesterday.
Hammond’s remarks are yet another confirmation that the British Government is targeting Asian countries for building economic partnerships after leaving the EU. Whilst Hammond referred to India, China, Singapore and South Korea, the obvious tiger economies in the region, others, lesser known, especially in ASEAN, should not be forgotten.
A recent World Bank report forecasts the five fastest growing economies in East Asia and the Pacific as Laos, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar and China. With China as the exception, none of these come to mind as big players in the region. Saying that, they are four of the ten countries in ASEAN, which as a bloc is the third largest economy in Asia. It is the deeper economic integration within this bloc that has contributed to the impressive figures of the GDP growth in these nations.
If the UK is to make a success of Brexit, the British Government needs to avoid the attitude that Asia equals China, and at a stretch, India. There is more to this region, and the UK cannot afford to be negligent in this regard.