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  • Author: Margareth Sembiring
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: International garbage disputes are rare. Lately, however, the world witnesses waves of newsworthy trash saga. From the Philippines shipping containers of rubbish back to Canada, to Malaysia planning to return tons of garbage back to countries of origin, to China’s near-total ban of plastic waste import, it is hard not to wonder whether this is a real sign of rising environmentalism. Have countries begun to think that the environment is worthy of a similar priority as the economy? This Insight argues that behind the seemingly growing pro-environment attitudes, it still remains to be seen whether this trend is sustainable in the long run. Considering that the global waste trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, the balance may tip to favour the economic activities again once the dust has settled back. The paper first looks at a brief description of the global waste trade industry. It then discusses some of the contemporary development in the global waste industry particularly on the issues of waste smuggling and China’s plastic waste import ban. It describes related experiences in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Economy, Trade, Waste
  • Political Geography: China, Malaysia, Canada, Philippines, Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Julius Caesar Trajano
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Philippines and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development, demonstrating their willingness to explore joint development as a pathway to collaboration, notwithstanding their territorial disputes. Recent commentaries on joint development are mostly framed on legal challenges, South China Sea (SCS) rows, geopolitics, and state-centric security issues. However, there have been no extensive discussions on the potential contributions from non-state stakeholders that can make joint development agreements environmentally sound, sustainable, and less political. These stakeholders are the oil companies, fishermen and coastal communities. In this regard, this NTS Insight explores potential roles of these stakeholders in promoting joint initiatives to share and develop resources in the SCS. It argues that the engagement and participation of non-state stakeholders in resource sharing and joint management must be pursued to address key non-traditional security challenges in the SCS. It also examines mechanisms to integrate marine environmental protection and sustainable fishing management into joint development agreements.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, Philippines, Southeast Asia, South China Sea
  • Author: Honzhi Yu, Hongying Wang
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In contrast to the growing profile of the Chinese government in global governance, the engagement of Chinese industrial actors in global rule making is quite limited and uneven. Some Chinese industrial leaders have shown an ambition to participate in global rule making in their respective realms; most of the others still lack interest or capacity. This policy brief identifies three plausible sources of variation among the Chinese industrial actors. It offers suggestions to Chinese industrial actors and to those concerned about China’s role in global governance, with the purpose of reducing misunderstanding and building trust between Chinese industrial actors and businesses, regulators, non-governmental organizations and stakeholders from other parts of the world in developing global standards for good governance.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Olena Ivus, Marta Paczos
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In recent years, Canada has adopted the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Like other modern international trade agreements, CETA, the CPTPP and the CUSMA include protections for innovators’ profits and technologies in the form of intellectual property rights (IPRs) regulations. These trade agreements will have a first-order impact on the volume and composition of trade in goods and innovation with sensitive intellectual property (IP) in Canada, as well as having an impact on global welfare distribution. But is Canada’s membership in these agreements good for Canadian firms looking to compete globally? This paper begins with a review of the IP protections instituted through recent trade deals involving Canada. It discusses the nature and scope of Canada’s IP obligations under CETA, the CPTPP and the CUSMA and explains how these obligations fit within the current Canadian legal framework. The changes in the standards of IPRs under these agreements will have a first-order impact on the volume and composition of trade in IP-sensitive goods, innovation and global welfare distribution and so deserve thorough debate. The paper then proceeds with a broader discussion of the reasons to include IP provisions in international trade agreements and the rationale for international coordination of the IPRs policy. Next, the paper discusses how IP provisions in trade agreements limit the freedom to use IP policy to promote national interests, while acknowledging that the various IP obligations are counterbalanced by several flexibilities, including the right to establish local exhaustion policies. The paper concludes with policy recommendations.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, NAFTA, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Innovation, USMCA
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Canada, Asia, North America, Mexico
  • Author: David M Malone, Rohinton P. Medhora
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper includes essential history of how the multilateral world has evolved over the last 150 years, followed by an examination of several types of multilateral systems: the United Nations and related organizations (including the World Bank group and the International Monetary Fund), and the World Trade Organization; regional organizations; and cross-cutting multilateral or plurilateral groupings with more limited, generally consultative purposes, such as the Group of Seven and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China). It concludes with some reflections on the implications for multilateralism of a defection from its attractions and principles by key actors.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, World Trade Organization, World Bank, Multilateral Relatons, IMF, BRIC
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, India, Asia, Brazil, South America, North America
  • Author: Alex He
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper argues that with more objectives added since its inception in 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has evolved into a much more expansive grand strategy that includes a package of themes and goals. It examines the policy-making process of the BRI by exploring the motivations behind the plan President Xi Jinping proposed and how the initial Silk Road projects have developed into China’s package of strategies over the past few years. The priorities and performance of China’s investments in the BRI are discussed from the angle of geographical distribution, routes and projects, priority sectors and the connection between the BRI and the previous “going out” strategy China started at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The model and the specific ways China finances and invests in BRI projects, to a great extent, decided the nature of the China-led global infrastructure investment plan. BRI financing is reviewed in detail. Based on the geopolitical and geo-economic analysis of the BRI in the previous parts, the implications of the BRI for global governance as it goes beyond the ambitious infrastructure investment plan are revealed. The risks and problems facing the BRI and the controversy and criticism it has encountered are also addressed. Finally, the paper summarizes the BRI’s ever-expanding themes and the problems and risks it faces, and their implications for the future of the BRI.
  • Topic: Development, Imperialism, Infrastructure, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Patrick Leblond
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: On the margins of the Group of Twenty leaders’ meeting in Osaka, Japan on June 28-29, 2019, Canada and 23 others signed the Osaka Declaration on the Digital Economy. This declaration launched the “Osaka Track,” which reinforces the signatories’ commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on “trade-related aspects of electronic commerce.” In this context, unlike its main economic partners (China, the European Union and the United States), Canada has yet to decide its position. The purpose of this paper is thus to help Canada define its position in those negotiations. To do so, it offers a detailed analysis of the e-commerce/digital trade chapters found in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), the North American Free Trade Agreement’s replacement, in order to identify the potential constraints that these agreements could impose on the federal government’s ability to regulate data nationally as it seeks to establish a trusting digital environment for consumers and businesses. The analysis leads to the conclusion that Canada’s CPTPP and CUSMA commitments could ultimately negate the effectiveness of future data protection policies that the federal government might want to adopt to create trust in the data-driven economy. As a result, Canada should not follow the United States’ position in the WTO negotiations. Instead, the best thing that Canada could do is to push for a distinct international regime (i.e., separate from the WTO) to govern data and its cross-border flows.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, European Union, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Canada, Asia, North America
  • Author: Paul Saunders, John Van Oudenaren
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the National Interest
  • Abstract: The report provides a synthesis of Japanese and American expert perspectives on the recent history, current state and future prospects for Japan-Russia relations. The authors examine the political, diplomatic, security, economic and energy dynamics of this important, but understudied relationship. They also assess how the Japan-Russia relationship fits within the broader geopolitical context of the Asia-Pacific region, factoring in structural determinants such as China’s rise and the level of U.S. presence in the region. Finally, the authors consider potential policy implications for the United States, paying special attention to how shifts in relations between Tokyo and Moscow could impact the U.S.-Japan alliance. As Saunders observes in his introduction to the volume, the currently shifting strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a central factor in Tokyo and Moscow’s efforts to foster constructive relations, also raises a host of questions for the US-Japan alliance. What are the prospects for Japan-Russia relations? What are Russian and Japanese objectives in their bilateral relations? How does the Trump administration view a possible improvement in Russia-Japan relations and to what extent will U.S. officials seek to limit such developments? Is the U.S.-Russia relationship likely to worsen and in so doing to spur further China-Russia cooperation? Could a better Russia-Japan relationship weaken the U.S.-Japan alliance? Or might it in fact serve some U.S. interests?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Frank Umbach
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is officially neither a Chinese “Marshall Plan” nor a geopolitical master strategy. At present, it involves 84 countries, rising from 65 countries in 2015, and 15 Chinese provinces. Over the last year, the number of countries being concerned or ambivalent about China’s motivations and strategic objectives behind the BRI have increased. Despite officially supporting China’s BRI, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also warned last April, that China is supporting unneeded and unsustainable projects in many countries, leading to heavy and unpayable debt burdens. In ASEAN, Chinese investments are welcomed but there are also misgivings about the BRI’s strategic objectives which may constrain ASEAN’s policy options. As China is presently and will remain the single most influential country in global energy markets in the next decades, it is not surprising that its infrastructure plans of building railways, highways and ports are often interlinked with China’s energy and raw materials projects abroad and its domestic energy policies. This paper analyses the energy dimensions of the BRI and its strategic implications for its wider economic, foreign and security policies in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Military Strategy, ASEAN, IMF
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Steve Chan
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This short essay introduces some concepts and propositions from social science research that I personally find helpful in understanding the ongoing Sino-American trade dispute. Naturally, they are not meant to suggest a comprehensive or exhaustive list of factors that inform this topic. Given the purpose and the limits of my essay, I also do not engage any specific theory or method, such as the efficient-market hypothesis or game theory pioneered by well-known Nobel laureates (e.g., Burton Malkiel and Eugene Fama1; Thomas Schelling2).
  • Topic: Conflict, Trade, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia-Pacific