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How's the Asian century turning out for you?

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03.09.2019

Remember the fanfare about the Asian century? It's seven years since the Gillard government’s much vaunted white paper on the topic predicted Asia’s increasingly wealthy middle class would create huge opportunities for Australia.

"As the global centre of gravity shifts to our region, the tyranny of distance is being replaced by the prospects of proximity,” it said.

"Australia is located in the right place at the right time—in the Asian region in the Asian century.”

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping during the G20 summit in Japan in June.Credit:AP

The economic scenario has largely played out as expected. Since the white paper was released in 2012 China’s share of world GDP has grown from around 15 per cent to 20 per cent, based on purchasing power parity. India’s share of the global economy has doubled from 4 per cent to 8 per cent since the turn of this century.

But the politics of the Asian century is proving far more tumultuous and complicated than anticipated.

As the century's 20-year mark approaches challenges posed by Asia’s economic transformation can be found everywhere from Australia’s university campuses to the G7 meeting table.

Donald Trump has been a factor. His tariff war with China has roiled financial markers and raised fears of global recession.

America’s frustration with........

© The Age