The relationship between China and ASEAN combines aspects of both cooperation and tension, which are equally important for understanding the partnership between both sides moving forward.
China’s development provides huge opportunities for ASEAN economies. China and ASEAN are obviously already important trade partners to each other. The upgrade represented by the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and other regional FTA arrangements under negotiation, are expected to harmonize the trade policy framework of the region further. With his landmark “One Belt One Road (OBOR)” Strategy and supportive resources deployed, including financial ones such as the significant China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), China’s top leader Xi Jinping hopes to lift the value of trade with countries under the OBOR umbrella, including ASEAN countries, to $2.5 trillion within a decade.
But there are other elements more than just a boost to trade brought to the China-ASEAN partnership by the OBOR strategy and factors affecting the strategy’s fate. These elements and factors, such as a lift to China’s slowing economic growth and expansion of China’s global influence, should be reviewed from a Chinese leaders’ perspective given domestic changes and challenges they are facing. It should also be seen from the perspective of the United States, the most important counterweight of China in the region.
And besides the seemingly tighter economic ties, China and several ASEAN countries have their own direct interest conflicts and a number of countries fear how China will wield it’s growing power, particularly noteworthy with the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
During his talk, Randal Phillips will decode the Chinese government’s real intentions and goals behind this strategy, what would be the challenges to the strategy’s success from a multilateral perspective and what it means for business in ASEAN countries.
About the Speaker:
RANDAL PHILLIPS is Managing Partner for Asia of the Mintz Group, and correspondingly manages the Group’s activities across Asia.
Randy spent 28 years with the Central Intelligence Agency’s National Clandestine Service, most recently serving as the Chief CIA representative in China. He has an extensive background in foreign field operations, policy and program management, and leadership development. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Bahasa Indonesian.
Randy has lived and traveled extensively throughout China and elsewhere in Asia for the U.S. Government. Additionally, he has managed worldwide and regional programs from Washington. Randy has extensive relationships with officials and business leaders throughout the continent, and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.
Randy has deep expertise on issues relative to Asia, with particular emphasis on China. This includes an intimate knowledge of the full range of political, economic, trade, investment and security issues involving China, from a bilateral as well as a multilateral perspective. Randy has extensive experience unraveling a variety of complex matters involving finance, trade and fraud.
Randy has a B.A. in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs from Miami University, and a Masters of International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.