Singapore is a member a number of regional economic blocs and this has facilitated the economic integration of Singapore with the region and the world at large. An economic bloc is a large free trade area. A free trade area means a group of countries that have removed barriers to trade between them, barriers like import tariffs and quotas. Trade pacts that define economic bloc specify formal adjudication bodies, e.g. NAFTA trade panels.
Over the years, a number of international, regional economic blocs have been developed to promote trade between member states. Some blocs also have a political significance, eg EU. The different types of economic blocs are free trade areas, customs unions, single markets and economic and monetary unions.
Economic Blocs aids Economic Development
- Availability of a large market i.e. increased effective demand.
- Employment creation
- Economies of scale/lower costs of production
- Leverage on intra-regional comparative advantage
- Pooling of resources human, financial and institutional
- Improved bargaining power.
- Harmonization and standardization of policies, laws and regulations.
- Increased consumer choice.
- Freedom of movement, labor and immigration.
- Right of residence and establishment.
- Common monetary and fiscal policy.
- Social, cultural benefits
- Legalizing frontier traffic
Singapore’s membership of some economic blocks is as follows:
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. APEC is the only inter governmental grouping in the world operating on the basis of non-binding commitments, open dialogue and equal respect for the views of all participants. Unlike the WTO or other multilateral trade bodies, APEC has no treaty obligations required of its participants.
PECC was established in 1980 is a unique tripartite partnership of senior individuals from business and industry, government, academic and other intellectual circles. At present PECC has 26 member committees, including two associate members and two institutional members from all over Asia Pacific region.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. The objective of ASEAN Declaration states is to boost economic growth, social progress, cultural development and to promote peace and stability.
The New Asia Forum was initiated by the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).RIS is specialized in trade and development issues. Its work programme focuses on multilateral trade negotiations, regional economic integration in Asia, new technologies and development and South-South Cooperation.