How will Russia answer Asian challenge?

On the 18th January expert discussion “Global competition: Asian challenge” took place on the Gaidar Forum. Issues of the discussion were Asian countries economic growth rates, integrational and infrastructural initiatives of governments as a reaction on the situation, new rules of world and regional trade, and answers if Russia to the Asian challenge. Speakers raised the following questions: why economic growth rates of several countries were falling; what would be the new rules of the world and regional trade.

The discussion was opened by Nataliya Stapran, Director, Department for Project Support in the Asia-Pacific Region, Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. “The benefits previously determining the dominance of Asian countries on the market are no longer enough for good economic growth”, - the moderator marked. – “Nowadays we do not see separation between developed and developing countries. Digital Era made them all equal”.

Arturo Bris, Director, IMD World Competitiveness Center, marked the diversity of Asian countries and their different competitiveness grade. The expert distinguished the absence of economic and political unity (united currency, in particular) as the main problem of the region. The key factors, Arturo Bris believes, are education, culture and infrastructure. The last one is crucial because of a predicted growth in future infrastructural investments.

Xiang Bing, Founding Dean, Professor of China Business and Globalization, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, supported the previous speaker. However, he pointed out that despite of political diversity of China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, they still have one common element – the Confucianism. Due to that total GDP of China in 2016 made 13 trillion US dollars. As the main growth factors a new wave of urbanization, liberalization of a number of sectors, economic deregulation were also named.

Jonathan Fenby, Chairman, China team, Managing Director, European Political Research, Trusted Sources, devoted his speech to what was China at present. “Will China dominate? The answer is no. No one can dominate today”, - the expert started. As for the Confucianism, the expert claimed: “The Confucianism is a good cover for many things”. According to the speaker, the weakening centralization is one of the problems Chinese economy is facing now. “China must return the control of the central government”. Jonathan Fenby pointed out that the party has the major power in China.

Frank Pieke, Professor of Modern China Studies, Leiden University also underlined the influence of the Communist party on Chinese economy and called it a dangerous tendency, because plan-setting is difficult in this case. “There are two points of view on the party: widely accepted concept and special concept”, - the speaker marked. – “According to the first, China is getting more global and will finally become the same as all the other countries, it will develop by traditional laws of evolution. According to the second, China is not a country but a civilization which cannot be described in traditional ideas and theories”.

Irina Timonina, Dean, Department of International Relations, RANEPA, devoted her speech to another representative of the Confucianism – Japan. The country is now losing its leadership. The main reasons for this, the expert presumes, is the loss of competitiveness in the spheres Japan traditionally prevails.

Yaroslav Lisovolik, Chief Economist, Eurasian Development Bank, said: “World liberalism experiences difficult times. Nowadays there is no model, no common approaches”, which creates a number of contradictions between regions. The expect believes that one of the decisions made by Russia must be coordination and development of clear strategy concerning Asian countries”.


The organizers include the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute) and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

The program outline is available at the forum website.

Participation is free; preliminary registration is required.

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