It doesn’t matter if the new decade starts in 2010 or 2011, a new area starts in 2010 with a new
free trade agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). On top
of that, an important era starts Feb. 14, 2010: the Year of the Tiger.
The Year Of The Tiger
In the Chinese zodiac, the Tiger is the most important sign next to the Dragon. Tigers are
brave and competitive, but also unpredictable. But 2010 is not just an ordinary Year of the Tiger;
2010 is the Year of the Metal Tiger, the first one since 1950. Metal Tigers are said to be
determined, competitive and sharp. If the target is decided, they never let it out of sight, and
there is no way to stop them from achieving it.
Creative in their passion, says Chinese astrology, Tigers will never bore their partners.
They’re expressive, polite and trustworthy, but watch out: Tigers tend to dominate their
relationships. And, yes, they can be stubborn and have a slight tendency to be selfish, but
overall, Tigers are extremely generous. Tigers love to be challenged and will accept any challenge
if it means protecting a loved one or protecting their honor.
Free Trade Zone With 2 Billion People
Maybe that’s why the newly built free trade zone will start in 2010, because Tigers don’t
worry about the outcome; they know they’ll always land on their feet. And there is a lot of land
under the new free trade zone:
The area will include some 2 billion people with a “domestic” market volume of an estimated
US$470 billion. After the European Union and the North America Free Trade Agreement zones, this
will be the third-largest free trade zone in the world. With its start, China and the six first
ASEAN countries — Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — will
abolish 90 percent of their customs duties. The remaining countries — Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and
Myanmar — will follow suit in the next five years.
There are a lot of advantages for every country: China and the ASEAN states complement one
another in many ways: On the one hand, China has easy access to the other countries. On the other
hand, the existing ASEAN countries can import raw products from China at lower costs to be more
competitive with other countries. The subtle irony of the new agreement is that ASEAN was founded
in 1967 as a weapon against China and communism. This aversion vanished in recent years —
definitely after 1997, when the Asian financial crisis occurred and the Asian states became more
open to China than to Western countries.
On top of that, the name of that crisis in Asia is called “IMF crisis” after the
International Monetary Fund. That’s probably one of the reasons the new treaty also involves a
monetary fund. A total of US$120 billion is at the disposal of ASEAN plus three states. This
agreement was established together with the ASEAN states and China, Japan and South Korea; and will
replace the current so-called Chiang Mai initiative. This accord is up to now a network of
bilateral agreements and is the foundation of the new monetary fund. China and Japan each will
mobilize US$38.4 billion; South Korea, US$19.2 billion; and the ten ASEAN states, the remaining
To come back to the Year of the Tiger: Funny enough or not, along with occupations like
office managers, travel agents, actors or pilots, the Chinese literature mentions other suitable
jobs for Tigers: writers, musicians and chauffeurs. I am a Tiger, play guitar and drive a car. Got
January 20, 2010