January 30, 2018        Reading Time: 2 minutes

Your weekly digest of foreign policy commentary:

Reading Time: 2 min read

Leonid Bershidsky argues that integrating immigrants should be a priority in Europe. Image credit – Bombaert / depositphotos.



In the Pursuit of Growth, India and ASEAN are Natural Partners, Channel NewsAsia, by Tony Cripps, CEO of HSBC Singapore

“India and ASEAN may not have the heft of the US, EU or China’s economies. But they are rapidly becoming economic powerhouses that play a growing role in the global economy.”

  • Tony Cripps argues that as the middle classes of India and ASEAN expand, India and ASEAN have much to gain from cooperation and should take further steps to bolster trade linkages.
    • ASEAN and India are developing trade and investment links through, for example, the India–Myanmar–Thailand Trilateral Highway. However, these efforts are not adequate if India and ASEAN are to fully realise the benefits of trade linkages.
    • India and ASEAN need to fully implement their FTA in goods, finalise RCEP, and increase the entry of foreign companies through global supply chains.
    • India should use its ‘Make in India’ initiative to attract ASEAN manufacturers that are already linked to global supply chains.



How Europe Can Face Up to Reality on Immigration, Bloomberg, by Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg View Columnist, and Founding Editor of the Russian Business Daily Vedomosti

“Europe can’t afford to pick and choose who comes, if it wants to remain economically competitive with a stagnating or declining native population.”

  • Leonid Bershidsky argues that, given Europe’s lack of population growth, integrating immigrants should be a priority. He notes that:
    • If Europe is to benefit from inflows of new people, Europeans need to change their perceptions, that (1) refugees are usually unskilled, and (2) immigrants contribute less than they take in terms of jobs and social support.
    • A report by Bruegel, a Brussels-based think tank, shows that the net fiscal and labour market effects of immigration to Europe – whether positive or negative – are small.
    • Europe should build a system that comprehensively integrates immigrants and maximises their positive impact; one that simplifies the recognition of foreign qualifications and includes an intensive language-learning programme.

Written by Hasitha Jayatilake and edited by Anishka De Zylva.

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