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  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Asia could be described as the world’s great construction site, and is already the focus of a scramble for infrastructure projects. Among countries competing for investments are not only China with its Silk Road initiative, but also Korea, Japan, India and ASEAN, which have prepared their own infrastructural strategies. The plethora of initiatives may have a positive impact on Asia, offering diverse solutions to the infrastructural bottleneck and reforms of existing institutions and modes of assistance. But there is also the risk that fierce competition may result in unprofitable projects, while economic slowdown could cause a decline in funding. For Europe these initiatives create opportunities to take part in new projects, but the EU should be aware that the projects will be implemented mainly in Asia and by Asian countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The transformation of ASEAN into an economic community is a significant step in the organisation’s integration process. The project, formally launched at the beginning of 2016, aims at creation of a single market of more than 620 million people, loosens the flow of goods, services and investment, which should underpin regional economic growth and catch the attention of foreign businesses. However, obstacles to economic cooperation remain, such as limitations on the movement of labour or capital, which shows that the integration process is not yet complete. The EU, which can benefit from a well-functioning market in this region, should share its own experience to support the ASEAN integration process.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although Transnistria, in exchange for meeting certain conditions, was allowed to benefit from the free trade agreement that Moldova signed with the EU, there are plenty of obstacles which could derail the deal. The business community in the breakaway republic is eager to enjoy the fruits of the DCFTA but is reluctant to shoulder the price of necessary reforms, the outgoing leader of the separatist enclave could undermine the agreement for electoral reasons, Russia might be tempted to test the EU’s resolve to defend its trade-related norms, and Moldova could erect bureaucratic barriers for producers from the left bank of the Nistru River. In the light of these many risks, the EU should persistently encourage all sides to stick to their commitments while averting disputes that would undermine enforcement of the DCFTA in Transnistria in a timely manner.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Elections, European Union
  • Political Geography: Moldova, Transnistria
  • Author: Wei Wang, Gemma Estrada, Jurgen Conrad, Sang-Hyop Lee, Donghyun Park
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As demand from global markets declines, slowing exports of manufactured goods from the People's Republic of China means the country must increasingly rely on domestic markets for growth. Unlike manufactured goods, services—those "intangible" products that include everything from transportation to scientific research to real estate services—are geared more toward domestic markets. Services, then, will be key to the rebalancing process. However, while the service sector has grown rapidly in the PRC, it continues to lag behind other countries at similar stages of development. In addition, the sector is dominated by traditional low-end types of services, rather than knowledge-intensive services. Heavy regulatory burdens, barriers to trade in services, and an unfavorable policy environment have been major obstacles to upgrading the sector and improving its competitiveness. Policy reform should focus on strengthening competition to raise productivity, with the goal of increasing not only the number of jobs and contribution to GDP, but also of positioning the service sector to compete internationally and spur export growth.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy, Reform, GDP
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Maaike Okano-Heijmans
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Today’s uncertainty in cross-Strait relations is not without consequence for third parties that maintain ties with both China and Taiwan. To what extent does (and should) the situation also impact on EU’s trade diplomacy with both sides? This policy brief argues that under today’s circumstances, the cold peace in cross-Strait relations is reason to tread carefully — and to stay on course. The May 2016 inauguration of the Taiwanese government led by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Tsai Ing-wen placed a big question mark over the future of cross-Strait relations. Within weeks, Beijing had unilaterally imposed a freeze on (semi-)official talks until the new Taiwanese President acknowledges the so-called 1992 Consensus. While confirming its ‘one China’ policy, the EU may contribute to the stability of cross-Strait relations by being a partner in China’s economic reform and by negotiating EU–China and EU–Taiwan investment agreements in parallel. In this policy brief author Maaike Okano-Heijmans builds on discussions during the 13th Symposium on ‘Sino–EU Relations and the Taiwan Question’, which was held in Shanghai from 9–11 October 2016 and in Taipei from 12–14 October 2016. These second-track dialogues were supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Shanghai Institute of International Studies and the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, European Union
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura, Lurong Chen
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: As mega free trade agreements (FTAs) are reshaping the rules of global governance, there is urgency for member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take proper actions in response to the changing world economic order. On one hand, they should closely observe the progress of negotiations and follow up the issues that are under discussion in mega FTAs. On the other hand, they have to accelerate the pace in concluding the negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura, Lurong Chen, Maura Ada Iliuteanu, Shimpei Yamamoto, Masahito Ambashi
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is essential for economic growth, innovation, and competitiveness. As the global economy is increasingly organised within global value chains, disciplining and enforcing IPR in a coherent manner internationally has become a critical issue in the 21st century trade system. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement flags America's achievement in setting new standards on international IPR enforcement under a plurilateral framework that involves countries from Asia-Pacific. Yet such standards run the risk of becoming the new norm at the international level. Reaching agreement on the text of the TPP signals emerging Asian economies' heightened commitment to IPR enforcement. Some factors that policymakers may want to consider include the following: Efficient IPR protection at the domestic level is integral to efforts that facilitate technology adoption and stimulate incremental innovations. It is crucial to increase public awareness of intellectual property (IP) in general and its associated rights in particular. IP laws and regulations must at least meet the requirements of the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and always aim for higher-level standards. IPR disciplines must be binding and practically enforceable. Asian countries should actively participate in global IPR rule-making. The abundance and quality of human capital will affect not only the level of invention and other innovative activities but also the efficiency of IPR enforcemen
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: What are the arguments for and against centralisation of insurance supervision? What would be the scope of a possible insurance union, and what would the legal basis be? How rapid should the move to insurance union be? This Policy Brief sets out to answer these questions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anubhav Gupta
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: India’s membership in APEC would mitigate two significant problems: 1) India’s relatively poor integration into the global economy; and 2) the emergence of a divisive trade agenda in the Asia-Pacific. This issue brief outlines these challenges and highlights the obstacles and opportunities related to India’s inclusion in APEC. It concludes that this is the right time to start considering India’s membership in the forum and that a strategy is needed to chart a pathway for the country’s eventual accession to APEC.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This paper explores both the role that local content measures can play in advancing sustainable development, and the impact that trade and investment treaties concluded over the past 20 years have had and will continue to have on the ability of governments to employ those tools. Certain local content measures had been restricted under the WTO due to wide agreement by negotiating parties that their costs outweigh their benefits. But the WTO also left a number of local content measures in governments’ policy toolboxes. As is discussed in this paper, however, that is changing, with the range of permissible actions for many countries being significantly smaller than it was even a decade ago. This narrowed policy space, in turn, can limit the steps governments can take to make progress on the universally adopted Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus