Anglo-chinese School (international)



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Anglo-chinese School (international)



Singapore for ASEAN or ASEAN for Singapore:

A look at the role of a small island state in a regional trade bloc.

By Joel Nathaniel John Godfrey

Candidate number: 3071 - 033


Abstract:

Since this essay will be studying the effects of a trading bloc on its members and vice-versa, this extended essay will be following the global interactions HL extension of Geography. More specifically this essay will concentrate on the trade (financial flows), international organizations and forums (political outcomes) and trading blocs (political outcomes) part of the syllabus.

For nearly as long as Singapore has been an independent state, Singapore has likewise been one of the first members of ASEAN. Yet ASEAN’s contributions to Singapore and Singapore’s contributions to ASEAN are not well known.

This essay is based upon two hypotheses, both of which require studying Singapore’s contribution within ASEAN and ASEAN’s contributions to Singapore’s progress and then evaluating which contribution is greater. The first hypothesis states that Singapore gains most from having free trade within ASEAN. This was done by comparing trends between trade with ASEAN and Singapore and trade with Singapore and the rest of the world, before and after the creation of AFTA. This hypothesis seemed to be correct. It was clear to see during times where the world economy was doing well, AFTA created an even more rapid rate of increase in exports from Singapore.

The second hypothesis states Singapore has contributed to political change in other ASEAN countries, but Singapore has not changed politically because of its membership in ASEAN. This was tested by researching ASEAN’s involvement in Singapore’s main political problems and Singapore’s involvement in political problems of other ASEAN nations. It was concluded that ASEAN has had no visible involvement in Singapore’s politics and Singapore has had both a positive and negative impute in solving political problems in ASEAN.

(271 words)



Contents:

  • Introduction…………………………………………………………………….. page 3

Background……………………………………………………………………….page 4

Aims………………………………………………………………………………page 6

Hypothesis………………………………………………………………………..page 7


  • Method of evaluation……………………………………………………………page 9

  • Presentation and analysis of Economic Data………………………………….page 13

  • Presentation and analysis of Political Literature and data…………………..page 25

  • Conclusion and Evaluation…………………………………………………….page 27

  • Biblography……………………………………………………………………..page 28

Introduction:

This extended essay aims to find out what impacts ASEAN membership has upon Singapore and what impacts Singapore’s ASEAN membership has on the rest of ASEAN.

This essay will only be looking at the political and economic impacts of ASEAN on Singapore and of Singapore on other ASEAN members, not the environmental or social-cultural impacts. The social-cultural impacts are being ignored because the profits and losses of social change are very difficult to measure and, furthermore, views and opinions on social change tend to contain a large degree of bias.

Also the most important parts of ASEAN have been AFTA (ASEAN free trade area), the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) Declaration and the ASEAN summits where most of the issues discussed are not social-cultural issues.

Environmental impacts are being ignored in this essay, because any environmental effects of ASEAN should only be caused indirectly by the political or economic changes; therefore there is more room for error if an indirect impact of ASEAN is being looked at instead of a direct impact.

This essay will be studying trade (financial flows), international organizations and forums (political outcomes) and trading blocs (political outcomes). All of which are part of the IB geography syllabus.



Background:

ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN consists of all of South East Asia excluding Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. ASEAN is an international organization which aims to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region without interference in the internal affairs of one another.1

At the moment, this is done by:


  • Creating a free trade area (some of the newer member nations within ASEAN are still allowed to have tariffs within ASEAN for an extended time period) between ASEAN members, Australia and New Zealand (ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA)).2

  • Holding summits in which members of parliament of each nation meet together and discuss issues faced in the region.

  • Letting citizens of one member nation visit another without a visa.

  • The Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) Declaration.

  • Many other minor declarations.

Also one should be aware that there are plans to increase the powers of ASEAN and by 2015 ASEAN will become the ASEAN Community3; however this essay will not look too much into this future ASEAN Community. Firstly, it would be too theoretical and uncertain to predict its affects in the future. Secondly, and more importantly, the blueprint for the ASEAN community is too in-depth and broad this essay could not explain it in 4000 words.

Singapore:

Singapore is one of the world's most prosperous countries with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world’s busiest in terms of tonnage handled) and its per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is equal/higher to that of the leading nations of Western Europe.4

In addition to this, there are certain things that make Singapore stand out from the rest of ASEAN:

Firstly, Singapore is the only nation in which the majority of residents are ethnically Chinese (74.1%5 to be exact). This is an important thing to note because in several places in South-East Asia Chinese residents have faced much discrimination and dislike – particularly in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Secondly, Singapore is a city state, therefore making it by far the smallest (712.4km2) and most densely populated of ASEAN nations (7,126 people per km2)6.

ASEAN Statistics:7



As stated previously the GDP per capita of Singapore is exceptionally high whether you use real GDP or GDP ppp (purchasing power parity). The only other nation within ASEAN that has a comparable GDP per capita is Brunei, but Brunei’s population is too small (small even in comparison to Singapore) to have a GDP comparable to the main powers within ASEAN like Indonesia, whereas Singapore's population and GDP per capita are high enough to have a GDP larger than the Philippines or Vietnam.



Aims:

Map of ASEAN: 8


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