Next week, April 23, SEANET, IDEAS and APF/ACSC will jointly sponsor this forum in Kuala Lumpur. I will be there to attend and hear this forum as well as other panel discussions of APF/ACSC.
If I am asked that question, my answer is a quick Yes. Why?
Economic liberalisation (or liberalization) means giving the people more economic freedom to pursue various endeavors.. To produce various goods and services, to have more choices and options as consumers of final products (like food and shoes) or buyers of capital goods (like machines and trucks), raw materials and intermediate products that are used to improve their own production of various goods and services (like laboratory/diagnostic instruments for healthcare).
From a HSBC study in 2012, four ASEAN countries would be in the top 25 largest economies in the world by 2050 — PH, IN, MY and TH. Economic liberalization in these 4 countries plus their rising and young population are the main factors for this good outlook.
Trade and economic liberalization has been very beneficial to developing countries of Asia. Their GDP sizes have been doubling every decade on average.
More liberalization means more access to more products from neighbors and other countries — better products and/or cheaper prices. More laptops and computers, more mobile phones and tablets, more internet service providers, more telecom companies (except in some countries), competing for more subscribers.
More liberalization means more choices, more freedom.