The prospect of Asian economies soon overcoming the US economy could be worrisome, but Australian Consul-General Chris De Cure argues that it should not distress Americans, especially Alaskans.
“Don’t assume Asia’s growth is a threat. View it as an opportunity.” De Cure advised August 26 at the Hilton. The event is part of the Alaska World Affairs Council.
De Cure pointed out many things that Alaskans and Australians can look forward to with the rising economies of many key players in Asia such as China, India and Japan.
“We both have energy and mineral resources that these countries are desperate for.” De Cure said.
He also pointed out that the Anchorage International Airport serves as a pit stop for virtually everything crafted in Asia. Some of the goods stay here, as well.
Zach Menzel, a current Business major at UAA, agrees.
“Consumer tendencies of most students favor products imported from the Asian hemisphere, whether it be their Levi’s blue jeans manufactured in Thailand or a variety of electronics manufactured in China or Japan.”
As the Consul-General, De Cure is in charge of overseeing relations between Australia and the United States, as well as dealing with specific events involving Australian citizens in the US. He also speaks at events in the US on behalf of Australia.
He focused on the ties between Australia, Alaska, and China. While these three countries seem like an odd combination at first, De Cure made the point that Australia considers itself part of the Asian hemisphere of the world, and Australia is also one of the United States’ closest allies.
Overall, his message had a frank but uplifting tone.
“(China) has every chance of surpassing the United States and the European Union as a group to become the world’s largest economy sometime in the next 20 years or so.” De Cure went on to balance that statement by reassuring Alaskans that the United States should not necessarily see the economic shift as a bad thing.
“The perception that somehow the effect of China as an economy might overtake the US as the largest economy (is) a sign of decline in the US, I think that’s just not right. However, De Cure talked about some valid concerns to be had, especially in China. He went on to list a number of issues, including human rights, Chinese military, weapon production and advancement, and the US trade deficit with China. He then quickly pointed out that Australia has a surplus with China.
While De Cure seemed knowledgeable about many of the current issues between the United States and Asia, he lacked much advice on how to halt these growing concerns, except by saying that encouraging a sense of global community with China would ease tensions.
Erik Peterson, UAA International Studies/ Japanese major, feels that it is an important part of the world to study.
“There’s a reason why I focus on Asian studies, because as he said Asia is going to grow to be more than half of the world economy.” Peterson said. “We’re definitely going to see a shift from a primarily European and American dominated world economy to an Asian and American economy.”
Peterson also noted many resources for UAA students who want to become involved and educated.
“If you look at UAA’s language offerings we already have a great Japanese program, the Chinese program is growing, we have the Confucius Institute and as I’ve heard the Korean program is going. UAA students can invest in their future by taking these classes or just generally becoming knowledgeable about Pacific trade issues.”