Asian Development Outlook 2005: Promoting Competition for Long-term Development
The annual Asian Development Outlook provides a comprehensive economic analysis of 42 economies in developing Asia and the Pacific. On the basis of the Asian Development Bank's unique knowledge of the region, this 17th edition overviews aggregate trends and medium-term prospects by subregion–East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and the Pacific–in the context of global economic movements. The region's developing economies achieved their strongest performance in 2004 since the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Aggregate gross domestic product for the region expanded by a remarkable 7.3%. Growth was underpinned by a combination of sustained external demand and generally buoyant domestic demand. Spurred by a robust expansion in major industrial countries, continued strong growth in the People's Republic of China and deepening regional integration, exports from regional countries surged. In spite of some moderation of growth among the major industrial countries over the forecast period 2005-2007, the baseline projection is for a continued robust economic performance. But widening growth gaps among these economies cast a shadow on the medium-term sustainability of the current expansion by exacerbating global economic imbalances. A jump in interest rates, instability in currency markets, high oil prices, and the outbreak of epidemics remain significant risks to the region. This issue of the Asian Development Outlook includes a chapter on promoting competition for long-term development in Asia. Restrictions to competition should be removed to enable markets to deliver the benefits of competition both to consumers and to sustainable economic growth. However, competition must sometimes be accompanied by regulation to inhibit firms' use of anticompetitive practices. In addition, competition complements intellectual property protection as both seek to promote innovation and enhance consumer welfare. The key message is that government policy should promote competition to ensure efficient resource allocation, while preserving incentives for innovation.