Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
March 28, 2006
Wealthy nations shouldn't fear rise of China and India, former U.S. trade negotiator says
The economic rise of China and India should not be seen as a threat by the U.S. and other rich nations but instead be welcomed, former U.S. trade negotiator Clyde Prestowitz said Tuesday.
Prestowitz, founder of the Economic Strategy Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, said the integration of China and India into the global economy could benefit developed countries by providing cheap services and manufacturing and creating markets.
Trying to hold them back by impeding their exports will likely fail, said Prestowitz.
"Efforts to block imports from China or India are not going to work," he said. "We can benefit from trade with developing nations, but this all has to be handled by the leaders of all these countries in a sensible way."
He said that while the two countries face daunting difficulties, they are already making huge strides, with China heavily involved in high-tech manufacturing and India offering services ranging from cheap health care to various businesses over the telephone.
Prestowitz, speaking to the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Japan, noted that about 10 percent of Chinese and 10 percent of Indians are considered "highly skilled" - or together about 230 million - close to the entire population of the United States.
"It's true these are poor countries on average, but these are big populations," said Prestowitz, who served as a trade negotiator in the Reagan administration. "We've been talking about globalization for a long time, except half of the population has been out. Now they're in."
He also noted, however, that they both face "huge, huge" problems, from political uncertainty to poor infrastructure, rural povery and corruption.
Should they fail to develop, he said, the sheer numbers of people involved could be calamitous.
"The failure of these countries implies hundreds of millions of refugees, SARS to the power of 10. Who knows what kind of wars and weapons of mass destruction could result from this kind of failure on an enormous scale," he said. "We need to help these countries meet these daunting challenges, and if we do we can benefit."