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Drop in the Bucket

July 31, 1988

The June 22 article, "Asian Competitors: Tigers' Bite Hurts, West Complains," represents a jaundiced view now prevailing in the West about four Newly Industrializing Countries (NICs) in Asia--Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.

To call them "tigers" is misleading in the first place. Such a description fits countries like the United States and Japan, which have sharp teeth and strong paws to bite and maul.

The NICs are really peanuts. Their combined GNP, plus that of members of ASEAN (Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations), barely equals Canada's.

After years of "Japan bashing," it now becomes fashionable to whip the NICs for their modest success--a combined trade surplus of about $17 billion. Compared with the $1,250 billion in Third World debt, it's a drop in the bucket. One should bear in mind that the four NICs have just "graduated" from the ranks of the Third World, with the help and support of the West. What a paradox!

DAVID TING

Ottawa, Ontario

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