|摘要: ||The idea of a free trade area between ASEAN members and China (A SEAN-China FTA
(ACFfA» was brought forth in 1997 at the seventh ASEAN Summit in Brunei. After a two
yearlong study that began in late 2000, ASEAN member states agreed to integrate China into the
free trade area. Although no details have been worked out yet, the agreement appears to be a
paradoxical one. On one hand, ASEAN members have used AFfA as an instrument to compete
with China for investment and are therefore concerned with losing this form of leverage. On the
other hand, ASEAN members view the proposed zone as a potential source of great revenue due
to the additional export market the area provides. Costs and benefits aside, ACFfA will result in
the world's largest market, an entity with 1.7 billion people and a total Gross Domestic Product
of roughly $2 trillion.
ASEAN countries were not originally interested in inviting China to join. However, as
China's economy has blossomed, it has become more important to the region both economically
and politically. Therefore, ASEAN made the decision that it would be beneficial to invite China
to join its Free Trade Area, AC FTA signed in November 7, 2002 at the ASEAN Summit in
Phnom Penh. Had China not become the economic powerhouse that it is today, and had China
not been so aggressive towards winning ASEAN support, then other candidates, such as Japan or
Korea, would have overshadowed China's bid to form ACFfA.
ASEAN perspective would be "ASEAN as a whole", to balance the big power in East Asia,
Most of the 6 older members and the 4 newer members of ASEAN welcome AC FTA (so called
'ASEAN way'), although each country has individual concerns. ASEAN states will be cautious
in their response to China's proposal due to concern about their economic competition with
China, as well as historic and sovereignty issues. ASEAN states have especially been impressed
by China's aggressive and concerted efforts toward ASEAN.
For China's side, China has pursued these aggressive efforts in order to create a friendly
environment in which political and economic security can thrive. In so doing it has established
good diplomatic relations with ASEAN states. These relations have helped maintain a stable
regional environment and have offset some of China's concerns about U.S. policies in the region.
Especially, China's "good neighbor and friendly understanding" policy has allowed China more influence with ASEAN and this in tum, led to ACFTA. China do hope ASEAN-China Free Trade
Area would be in a good growth and good indicator of the East Asian regional economy.
For the U.S. side, Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has not paid much
attention to the Southeast Asian region both militarily and politically. This has resulted in less US
influence in the area and ASEAN states felt more unhappy and uncomfortable. Recently,
however, President George W. Bush, under pressure from ASEAN for the US to become more
involved, proposed the Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI) proposal on 25 October, 2002 at
the Los Cobos APEC Summit Meetings, followed regarding US-Singapore bilateral PTA, and
more will come between the U.S. and Malaysia, and Philippines.
After Iraqi war in 2003, the U.S. has justified she is now most powerful in the world,
ASEAN governments have been perceiving the unilateralism in global political and economic
affairs still need to debate among most big powers. The situation is still very ambiguous and
uncertain in Southeast Asia, there is the main obstacles to East Asian regional co-operations; for
example, the differences between China and Japan, the future of the US role in Asia after 911. In
other words, subjectively ASEAN and China both expect the pretty scenario in the future, but
objectively there will be many uncertainties and shifting situations in the upcoming decade.
The U.S. should firstly examine more seriously her Southeast Asia policies, regional
economy to meet strategic interests of the U.S. concern; in other words, the U.S. could review its
Southeast Asian policy from the closer Sino-A SEAN relations and carefully observe if two sides
successfully build ASEAN-China Free Trade Area in the future decade before 2010. Secondly,
the U.S. should reconsider what she needs to negotiate bilateral or multilateral PTA with the
ASEAN member states.