The Race Of The Champions

Literally, the crash of 2008 wasn’t a real surprise. Many experts warned of it long before the
whole house of cards collapsed. Once again, the old saying was true that the whole world depends on
the economy of the United States – or is it Wall Street?

Now, in the first quarter of 2010 – which is, by the way, the year of the Tiger – the world
economy in general, and the textile industry in particular, shows signs of revitalization; but this
time, the upswing didn’t come from the ailing Wall Street – it comes from the Far East. In record
time, China has become the top player in the global economy and is the driving force for world
markets, including textiles.

And the Chinese textile industry didn’t sleep last year: The China National Textile &
Apparel Council reports China made an investment of 241.8 billion renminbi in the textile industry
between January and December 2009. This is an increase of 7.9 percent over the same period the
previous year.

In addition, another weapon was established by Asian countries on their path to the
top:  A new free trade zone was started in 2010. The free trade area includes some 2 billion
people with a market volume of some US$470 billion. After the European Union and the North America
Free Trade Agreement areas, this will be the third-biggest free trade zone in the world. The treaty
is also a monetary fund. Some US$120 billion is at the disposal of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus three states. This agreement was founded together with the ASEAN states
and China, Japan and South Korea, and will replace the current so-called Chiang Mai initiative.

There are a lot of advantages. 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, the existing
ASEAN countries can import raw products from China at lower costs to improve their competitiveness.

Hopefully, the world economy will fully recover after being (almost) destroyed by the greed
and voracity of bankers and hedge funds. However, it seems the financial industry hasn’t learned
the lesson. The signs are not very promising: the economy will recover, but bankers are showing the
same old attitude again – more bonuses than ever are ready.

January/February/March 2010