东亚论坛:积极参与贸易协定最符合东盟利益
2016-03-01 17:58:34
东亚论坛:积极参与贸易协定最符合东盟利益(2016.03.01)

  提要:近来,中美两国都在积极通过主导区域贸易协定来为自身在亚太地区谋求更大的利益。除经济原因外,中美都希望藉此来达到制约对方在亚太地区影响力的战略目的。在这种环境下,积极参与各项贸易协定谈判最符合东盟国家的利益,而目前,几乎所有的贸易协议对东盟国家都具有重要的战略意义,因为这些协定将继续为东盟与该地区主要国家交往及平衡关系提供新的途径。

  (外脑精华·北京)中美积极推进区域贸易协定

  在2015年11月举行的亚太经济合作组织峰会上,美国和中国在亚太地区贸易协定方面都进一步谋求自身利益。虽然美国为《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》在2015年10月初的达成感到高兴,但中国强调亚太自由贸易区有望建成。

  习近平主席在讲话中承诺将尽早结束《区域全面经济伙伴关系协定》谈判,同时加速开展《中日韩自由贸易协定》谈判。

  除了经济方面,从战略角度来讲,上述各项贸易协定对美国、中国及东盟意味着什么呢?美国和中国将《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》、《区域全面经济伙伴关系协定》及《亚太自贸区协定》之类的贸易协定视为制约对方谋利能力的手段。作为一个崛起的经济强国,中国有意引领东亚机构框架的构建并确保美国和日本都无法在该地区占据主导地位。

  美国的利益在于确保中国经济的崛起不会削弱其在东亚地区的影响力。从美国角度来讲,更糟糕的是东亚国家可能会联手将美国赶出该地区,诚如《东盟+3协定》和《东盟+6》协定那样。东盟希望美国和中国涉足该地区,同时维持自身在更大的亚洲框架中的中心地位。

  《区域全面经济伙伴关系协定》虽由东盟牵头倡议,但该协定是中国通过和平方式达到这些目的的一个桥梁。但《区域全面经济伙伴关系协定》谈判中包括在多边谈判中屡屡发难的印度。这或许会拖后该协定谈判的进程,甚至破坏其各项既定目标。

  为了捍卫自身利益,中国已经同时提议对2002年签署的《中国-东盟自贸协定》进行升级。升级《中国-东盟自贸协定》的决定在2015年底获得支持。其目的是使《中国-东盟自贸协定》的政策与当前商贸活动相匹配。似乎中国希望在东盟地区能自动考虑中国的利益,将中国视为一个经济机遇,而非一个越来越大的威胁。

  由中国在2014年最先提出建立亚太自贸区想法似乎是中国对其被排除在《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》外以及该协议的“高标准”令中国短期内很难参与该协议谈判情况所做的回应。这种态度在习近平主席于2015年亚太经合组织峰会上所发表的讲话中可见一斑。 习近平声称,中国担心该地区“出现分裂”,为此需要加快步伐来建立一个开放和包容的自由贸易区。

  中国在倡导自由贸易区在亚太经合组织论坛上提出关于建立自贸区的倡议也反映出其渴望从一开始就涉足一项贸易协定。由于覆盖21个经济体,亚太经合组织极有可能会更迁就发展中国家的诉求和国内环境。印度不在亚太经合组织成员国也给《亚太自贸区协定》提供了一个比《区域全面经济伙伴关系协定》更易达成的机会。最终,中国希望确保亚太经合组织,而非《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》继续成为连接美国和亚洲的中心论坛。

  美国似乎决心利用《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》将其经济与亚洲经济增长中心连通起来。美国长期以来一直在抱怨发展中国家不公平的贸易行径造成东西方之间贸易严重失衡。

  《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》被视为用来纠正这种失衡的一个途径。这一点在美国总统奥巴马于2011年澳大利亚议会发表的“我们需要公平性的增长,在一种每个国家都遵守相关规则、工人的权利受到遵守以及各国企业能够公平的环境中。”的言论中可见一斑。

  对美国而言,《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》也是对其“转向亚洲”战略的后盾。这是力图转变美国自2001年以来一直专注于打击恐怖主义并且忽视与东盟国家建立正式经济合作看法的一项举措。

  积极参与各项协定符合东盟利益

  东盟国家通常认为美国和中国具有同等重要的影响力,因为两国都会创造麻烦和机会。由于认知到自身的经济和规模存在不足,东盟国家通常有赖于从遵循合作关系和制度框架中谋利。东盟国家在这方面对印度持欢迎态度。目前,对东盟而言,《区域全面经济伙伴关系协定》是最可靠的协定,因为该协定从一开始就承认了东南亚的主导地位。

  但是,《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》、《中日韩自由贸易协定》和《亚太自贸区协定》之类的其他通路对其团结性和中心地位构成了威胁。这一点在《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》中可见一斑,因为该协定缔结国中只有4个东盟成员国,而且其他6个东盟成员国短期内很难加入该协定。习近平主席在2015年亚太经合组织峰会上对《中日韩自由贸易协定》的倡议以及中国表达的有兴趣最终加入《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》的立场可能将动摇东盟渴望确保的中心地位。

  但是,目前,几乎所有的贸易协议框架对东盟国家都具有重要战略意义。尽管涉及资源成本,这些协定将继续为东盟与该地区的主要国家打交道及他们之间的平衡关系提供新的途径。

  

  英文原文:Trade agreements are in ASEAN’s best interests

At the last Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November 2015, the United States and China advanced their own set of interests with respect to trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region. While the United States celebrated the conclusion of its Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in early October 2015, China stressed the potential of a Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

In his speech, President Xi Jinping promised to work to ‘finish at an early date negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), while accelerating talks on a China–Japan–South Korea FTA.’

Economics aside, what do each of these trade agreements mean for the United States, China and ASEAN from a strategic perspective? The United States and China view trade agreements like the TPP, RCEP and FTAAP as ways to limit each other's ability to compete in their respective areas of interest. China, as a growing economic power, has an interest in leading the East Asian institutional architecture and needs to ensure that neither the United States nor Japan will dominate the region.

The United States' interest lies in making sure that China's economic rise does not lead to a reduction of US influence in East Asia. Even worse, from a US perspective, is the possibility of East Asian countries coming together to exclude the United States from the region, as in the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 arrangements. ASEAN wants both the United States and China to be engaged in the region, while maintaining its centrality in the broader Asian architecture.

RCEP, though led by ASEAN, is one of the mediums for China to meet these ends in a peaceful manner. But RCEP includes India, which has a record of being difficult in multilateral negotiations. That may slow the agreement's progress or even derail it from its stated objectives.

In order to safeguard its interest, China has simultaneously proposed an upgrade to the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement signed in 2002. The decision to upgrade was endorsed in late 2015. Its aim is to align ASEAN-China FTA policies to current business practices. It seems that Beijing wants those in the ASEAN region to automatically take into account Chinese interest and to view China as an economic opportunity rather than a growing threat.

The idea of FTAAP, championed by China since 2014, seems to be in reaction to China’s exclusion from the TPP and that agreement’s ‘high standards’ - standards that may prohibit Beijing from joining the pact anytime soon. This attitude can be observed in President Xi's speech at the 2015 APEC Summit. As Beijing 'worries about fragmentation' in the region, Xi stated, it asks for the accelerated realisation of an open and inclusive FTAAP.

Beijing's advocacy for FTAAP at the APEC forum also reflects its desire to be part of an agreement from its inception. As APEC covers 21 economies, it is highly likely to be more accommodative to developing countries' needs and their domestic environments. The absence of India in APEC also gives the FTAAP a better chance of success compared with the RCEP. Ultimately, Beijing wants to ensure that APEC, rather than the TPP, remains as the central forum connecting the United States and Asia.

The United States seems determined to use the TPP to connect its economy to the growth centres of Asia. It has been long complaining about unfair trade practices among developing countries leading to significant trade imbalances between the West and the East.

The TPP is seen as a way to rectify such imbalances. This was reflected in President Barack Obama’s address to the Australian parliament in 2011: ‘We need growth that is fair, where every nation plays by the rules - where workers’ rights are respected and our businesses can compete on a level playing field'.

For the United States, the TPP also serves to emphasise its strategic 'pivot to Asia'. This is an attempt to reverse the belief that the United States has been preoccupied with fighting terrorism since 2001 and that it is making a lukewarm effort to reach out to ASEAN states with formal proposals for economic cooperation.

ASEAN countries tend to view both the United States and China as matters that cause both anguish and opportunity. Acknowledging their own economic and size-based weaknesses, ASEAN countries' interests generally lie in following cooperative relationships and institutional frameworks. They welcome India in this regard. Currently, RCEP is the most reassuring agreement for ASEAN, as it has acknowledged Southeast Asia's centrality from the beginning.

But the other approaches, such as TPP, China–Japan–South Korea FTA and APEC-FTAAP, threaten its unity and centrality. This can be observed in the TPP - the agreement includes only four of ASEAN’s 10 members and its entry conditions make it difficult for the other six to join anytime soon. President Xi's advocacy of the China-Japan-South Korea FTA during 2015's APEC Summit, as well as China's expression of interest to eventually join the TPP, could endanger ASEAN's cherished desire for centrality.

Still, at the moment, almost all trade agreement frameworks are of high strategic importance for ASEAN countries. Despite the resource costs involved, these agreements will continue to offer new ways for ASEAN to engage and balance the region's major players.

Sanchita Basu Das is Fellow and Lead researcher (Economics) at the ASEAN Studies Centre and Coordinator of the Singapore APEC Study Centre, both based at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore.

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来源:东亚论坛,作者:Sanchita Basu Das
作者:Sanchita

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