Role of Government: In the post-colonial period, the national governments of the newly independent South-East Asian Countries, influenced the course and direction of economic growth through their ownership of the railways, water and air transportation, banks and the extractive manufacturing industries.
The state-control included advice and directives to the private sector about the trends and volume of capital investment in specific areas in a given time frame, formulation of fiscal, taxation, foreign exchange and trade policies and grant of licenses ; stimulation of private capital operations through what may be called the “impulse sector” covering infrastructural areas like house building, technical and experimental research. The participation of the state in the economic and social processed development only served to emphasize the main proposition that economic growth be left to the mercy of free play of the market forces alone.
Economic Cooperation: Regional economic cooperation which covers industry, agriculture, transport, trade and foreign exchange arrangements cannot develop without evolving uniform customs duties, abolition of monetary and other economic cooperation, or the conclusion of effective arrangements to meet basic economic problems of mutual interest. These countries tackled this problems with active mutual cooperation and farsightedness.
Economic Relations: Notwithstanding the long tradition of economic relations among the Tiger nations, these have been deepended, diversified and broadened recently. These countries took effective measures in developing and strengthening economic relations of interdependence and in deepening the division of labour among them.
Small-Scale Industry: Support to the small-scale industry was one of the cornerstones of government policy because importance of this sector was second only to agriculture in their multi-structural economies. Small-scale production accordingly played an extremely significant role in export promotion, particularly in leather goods, ceramics, silk, metalwork and handicrafts. A large part of such export went to neighbouring countries.
Export Promotion: The foreign trade legislation of these developing countries gave special concessions for exporters of certain commodities which constituted a large proportion of exports to the neighbouring Asian markets. These concessions were utilized mainly by firms involved in trading with such countries. Thailand gave concession to firms trading in rice, 75 per cent11 of which was exported to neighbouring countries.
State as Catalyst: The government, besides encouraging the efforts of private capital in regional trade, itself took part in it. As a rule, the state played the role of a middleman through its foreign trade agencies, which acted on behalf of the local private and mainly small producers in the foreign markets.
Economic Integration: Beside all these major policy decisions, coordination or harmonization of the plans of national development of integrating countries was another major strategic decision taken to promote development. Such planning for the development of each national economy is one of the most important tasks of the state to enable it to mobilize internal and external resources in order to satisfy the national needs in a centralized manner.