By John Wong
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Additional resources for ASEAN Economies in Perspective: A Comparative Study of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand
At present the share of developing CoWltries in the world trade in manufactures is about 8 per cent, with the developed countries of the West and Japan being their main export outlets. As clearly brought out by various studies undertaken by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretariat in recent years, tariffs, quotas and other trade barriers erected against the manufactured exports from the developing countries are much more restrictive on the whole than those against manufactured exports from the developed world, ironically because labour-intensive products from the developing countries are more competitive than their counterparts from the high:-wage economies ofthe advanced countries.
In fact one of the techniques of industrial co-operation called the 'package deal', recommended by the UN team, has been accepted by ASEAN in a modified form. Under this scheme the ASEAN countries are to negotiate an agreement to allocate among themselves certain large-scale industrial projects for a specified and limited period oftime and to create the conditions, including unidirectional trade liberalisation measures, which would eventually bring about a higher volume of intra-regional trade turnover.
Towards the end of 1977 the ASEAN economies were 24 ASEAN Economies in Perspective still awaiting signs of recovery from the industrial economies of the West and Japan, which have increasingly adopted protectionist measures against the region's industrial exports. In short, ASEAN's vulnerability to adverse economic trends in the industrial countries is the price that it has to pay for operating the trade-propelled mode of economic growth. In view ofthe continuing importance of the external sector in the ASEAN economies we shall single out certain salient policy issues for further discussion.