Understanding China: Chinese Global Production Networks in ASEAN.

AuthorChandran Govindaraju, V.G.R.
PositionBook review

Understanding China: Chinese Global Production Networks in ASEAN, edited by Young-Chan Kim.

Switzerland: Springer, 2016. Pp. 288.

China's success in globalization with its heavy interventionist strategy, including its current "Made in China 2025" programme, has attracted wide attention from policymakers and scholars. In fact, this topic has gained additional academic interest due to the recent U.S.-China trade war. The book Understanding China is a compilation of articles on China's trade and investment policies and the respective implications for ASEAN member states. While this is not the only book that discusses China's relationship with the world, it differs from the rest in that it mainly focuses on the China-ASEAN ties, offering a macro/holistic perspective of this unique regional relationship. The authors also examine China's involvement in selected free trade agreements and its political relationship with ASEAN. More importantly, specific empirical country-based case stuthes offer new insights on the subject.

Gao and Zhang's opening chapter provides an overarching view of China's integration within ASEAN. The authors engage in a painstaking exercise of decomposing the trade patterns between the economic giant and ASEAN member states, despite limitations in data availability. Trade in value added and currency swap agreements provide additional information for assessing the economic value of these ties. The editor, Kim, further provides a rich discussion and a historical as well as a comparative evaluation of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) from the perspective of the United States, followed by Japan's involvement in the former agreement. The chapter also examines how China could potentially contribute to the agreements. In the subsequent chapter, Lean and Smyth offer general observations on trade and investment patterns in the context of Malaysia-China relations. This chapter, however, would have benefited from an in-depth analysis of the types of investment between both nations and their impact on Malaysia's trade performance. In fact, some discussion on heavy Chinese presence in Malaysia's construction, ICT and solar energy sectors would have provided an interesting perspective on the topic.

In the case of the trade relationship between Indonesia and China, Fukuoka and Verico use standard trade analysis tools to reveal, for example, their respective comparative advantages...

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