Meeting the Challenges
The last few months of 2012 brought leadership changes in China, Japan and South Korea — three important trading partners for Thailand and Asean — so their implications are worth examining.
China’s leadership change in November, with Xi Jinping taking over as president from Hu Jintao, was part of a long-expected handover within the ruling elite, and isn’t expected to lead to any significant change in direction for the country’s economic policy. For example, the country’s 12th five-year plan, for 2011 to 2015, was already in place.
Japan’s leadership change has been more significant. The Liberal Democratic Party, led by Shinzo Abe, reversed the crushing defeat it suffered three years ago at the hands of the Democratic Party Japan. With a comfortable parliamentary majority (in coalition with the much smaller New Komeito Party), the new government should have no trouble implementing its economic stimulus policies in an attempt to overcome deflation and kick-start an ailing economy.
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