Indians welcome eco globalisation & regional integration ? TNS, WEF pan-Asian survey

NEW DELHI: The World Economic Forum?s (WEF) East Asia Economic Summit in Singapore opened last week to the backdrop of a survey carried out in ten Asian countries.

Commissioned by the WEF and conducted by leading global market information company TNS, the findings of the study reveal the views of Asians towards globalisation, economic liberalisation, open borders and Asia?s new generation of leaders.


Whilst more than half of Asians feel positively about the impact of economic globalisation and nearly three quarters want increased cooperation between Asian countries, an overwhelming majority are opposed to a free flow of workers within the region with an open border policy.

Indians reflect a similar outlook towards the impact of economic globalisation, like their other Asian counterparts. At the same time, a majority of respondents pointed to employment as a major concern and called on their next generation of leaders to prioritise job creation.

The survey suggests that Asia?s next generation of leaders have a lot to live up to. In addition to economic reform and development, they will need to focus on ending corruption and introducing more democracy. However, they will not be without support ? 40 per cent of respondents said they were willing to pay higher taxes to stimulate faster development both in their own country and in the region.

Proportionally more respondents in India (72.2 per cent) are willing to pay taxes to stimulate faster development in both their own country as well as in other Asian countries. Indians also identified the ?education system? as the most necessary area of improvement, which governments should strive for.

The business community was also under the spotlight in the survey. Approximately half of the study?s respondents reported that they trust companies operating in their own countries expressing that corporations acted in the best interests of society - particularly, providing employment, which was perceived by the vast majority (86.2 per cent) as the main role of the corporate sector in society. However, in India, "To be innovative and make advancements" is thought to be the main role of companies in a society, followed closely, by its foremost role "To provide employment."

Other key findings include:

* Respondents from the Philippines felt, more than any other country, that globalization had negatively affected their lives (28.4%).

* In Hong Kong, with the lowest rate of corporate tax in the region, respondents ranked ?pay tax? as the primary function of business in society.

* Proportionally more respondents in India (72.2 per cent) than in Singapore (25.2 per cent) are willing to pay taxes to speed up development in the region.

Commenting on the findings, World Economic Forum Director for Asia Frank-J?rgen Richter said, "The study adds a new dimension to the Summit?s discussions by indicating the relevance of our programme ? on regional integration, the challenges of globalisation and the role of business in society."

TNS Regional Director for North Asia David Richardson added, "We are honoured to be associated with the World Economic Forum and applaud its efforts to explore new angles of cooperation. We hope that the findings from this survey will provide some support to this."

The World Economic Forum held its 12th East Asia Economic Summit in Singapore from 12 to 14 October. This year 800 participants from 32 countries came together for discussions and decision-making on the Summit?s theme "Asia? Future: Recapturing Dynamism."

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