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  • Author: Hongying Wang
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In recent years, the world has seen rapid growth in China’s financial reach beyond its borders. Following the announcement of a “going out” strategy at the turn of the century, many Chinese enterprises have ventured to invest and operate abroad. After three decades as primarily a recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI), China has now emerged as a major FDI-originating country as well. Much of China’s foreign aid is closely entangled with its outgoing FDI, and it has also been rising. Since 2013, the Chinese government has been pushing for a new One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, aiming to connect China with countries along the ancient Silk Road and a new Maritime Silk Road via infrastructure investment. In addition, since 2009, China has actively promoted the internationalization of its currency, the renminbi (RMB). There has been a great deal of anxiety about the motivations behind China’s going out policy and its possible international consequences. Many view it as an expression of China’s international ambition and a strategy that threatens the existing international order; however, that is not the whole story. An equally important but often less understood issue is the role of China’s domestic politics and political economy in shaping its new activism in foreign financial policy. Moreover, it is unclear how successful the going out policy is. The complexity of China’s going out policy was the topic for a recent round table discussion hosted by the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Foreign Policy Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.[1] Participants discussed a number of issues around two broad themes: the impact of domestic political economy on China’s foreign economic policy and the challenges for China’s external financial strategy — in particular, its OBOR initiative.
  • Topic: Markets, Political Economy, Monetary Policy, Infrastructure, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Alex He
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper explores China’s perspectives and practices in its quest for overseas energy supply security and its participation in international energy cooperation since becoming a net oil import country in 1993. It compares the traditional approach, in which China mainly focuses on bilateral means to pursue its overseas energy supply security, and the new concept of energy security, in which greater involvement in global energy governance, in particular in the Group of Twenty (G20), is highlighted to promote China’s energy security. The paper argues that China still retains a bilateral and regional cooperation approach, while making progress in developing closer cooperation with existing major global energy governing institutions. The One Belt, One Road strategy proposed in 2013 is regarded as a strengthened version of the bilateral and regional cooperation approach. Chinese academic circles constitute the main forces advocating China’s more positive participation in global energy governance. The G20 provides significant institutional arrangements to coordinate big powers to govern the international energy markets and to address climate change. This paper suggests that, given China’s growing prominence at the G20, it could be the proper platform for the country to play a more active role in global energy governance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Governance, G20
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Wendy Dobson
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper reviews Indonesia’s economic prospects and what these imply for a closer relationship with Canada. By posing the question “Is Indonesia the next China?,” the author suggests that Indonesia has the considerable economic potential envisaged by foreign investors, but conveys uncertainty as to whether Southeast Asia’s most populous country can make the changes necessary to realize that potential. A review of the economic record and comparison of China’s and Indonesia’s economic structures, endowments and institutions show major differences between the two countries. The paper further questions what it will take to realize Indonesia’s potential, finding the answers to be: human capital development; increased participation in the region’s global value chains; meeting the growing middle-class demand for modern services; raising productivity in agriculture and fishing; and increasing use of the Internet. Failure to make these changes will increase the chances of Indonesia’s growth in per capita incomes slowing and falling into the middle-income trap. Canada’s role will be to monitor closely how Indonesia tackles its five priorities at the same time as it responds to the opportunities to exploit Indonesia’s abundant natural resources, urbanization and its expanding consumer demand for modern services and educational opportunities.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Regulation
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia
  • Author: John Whalley, Li Chunding
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement has now been concluded, but it still faces the challenge of ratification in each of the 12 member countries that are partners to the agreement. China is the world’s second- largest economy, but is not part of the TPP Agreement, which has provoked a great deal of debate in China on the best strategy for China to deal with the TPP. This paper analyzes China’s possible trade strategy, raising three issues for consideration, given the TPP Agreement. First, security of market access should be China’s main concern in any free trade agreement (FTA) negotiation, but the TPP does not include content that is particularly relevant to this issue. Second, the nal TPP Agreement is somewhat less than the high-level, ambitious agreement that has been proclaimed. Third, the rati cation process in all 12 member countries will be slow and may possibly not even happen. This paper sets out four strategies for China: to promote the development of China’s remaining regional and bilateral FTAs; to negotiate a bilateral FTA with the United States; to promote deep domestic reform and opening up by enlarging the coverage of the TPP; and, nally, to negotiate its entry in the TPP as soon as possible, so that the terms of entering the agreement do not degenerate for China.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Céline Bak
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: On the way to Washington, DC, for a September 2015 visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping stopped in Seattle, WA, to sign an agreement aimed at combatting climate change by increasing the business ties between Chinese and US clean technology companies (South China News 2015). Five US states signed the agreement on commerce between China and clean-tech businesses from California, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon and Washington. On the same day, Bill Gates’s energy company, TerraPower, signed an agreement with the China National Nuclear Corporation for joint cooperation on next-generation renewable and fusion nuclear power. In early 2015, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund invested in General Fusion, a Canadian company based in Vancouver, to advance its energy innovation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Zheng Liansheng
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The shadow banking system was defined in 2007 by Paul McCulley, the managing director of Pacific Investment Management Company, but it began to receive significant attention in the immediate aftermath of the GFC. Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, the regulatory agencies of different countries, international organizations and think tanks have all carried out in-depth research into shadow banking and have released a series of results. Regulatory reforms have also addressed shadow banking, the most important of which is the US Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which aims to restrain the expansion and risk taking of shadow banking in the United States. The United Kingdom and the European Union have also adopted reforms and built up a supervisory system to track the risks of the shadow banking system.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Ming Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Due to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the Chinese government began to promote renminbi (RMB) internationalization in order to raise its international status, decrease reliance on the US dollar (USD) and advance domestic structural reform. RMB internationalization has achieved progress not only in cross-border trade settlement, but also in the offshore RMB markets. However, the rampant cross-border arbitrage and the relatively slow development of RMB invoicing compared to RMB settlement are becoming increasingly problematic. RMB internationalization has exerted significant influence on not only the Chinese economy but also other emerging market economies. RMB internationalization complicates domestic monetary policy, exacerbates the currency mismatch on China's international balance sheet and increases both the scale and volatility of short-term capital flows. It offers emerging economies another alternative for pricing domestic currency and investing foreign exchange reserves. Its overall impact on the international monetary system's stability will depend on how the capital account is liberalized and the consistency and transparency of Chinese monetary policy. This paper concludes with five recommendations for Chinese policy makers to promote RMB internationalization in a sustainable way that is conducive to international stability.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: John Whalley
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (SPFTZ) founded in September 2013, is a trial for China's new round of “reform and opening up” (China.org.cn 2008). The SPFTZ has promised liberalization on capital account and trade facilitation as its main objectives. This paper discusses reasons why China needs such a pilot zone after three decades of economic development, examines the differences between the SPFTZ and other free trade zones (FTZs) and highlights the developments of the SPFTZ since its inception. The SPFTZ's initial impressions are assessed, especially its impact on the opening of China's capital account and financial liberalization. The hope is that the success of the SPFTZ, and more pilot policies replicated in China, will give rise to a more balanced Chinese economy in the following decade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Fan He, Qiyuan Xu
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: With a balance between radicalism and gradualism, renminbi (RMB) cross-border settlement covers all of the items in China's balance of payments (BoP), including financial accounts, although some of these accounts are still controlled by means of quotas and administrative approval. By the end of the first quarter in 2014, the amount of RMB trade settlement had reached ¥11 trillion since the pilot scheme was launched in July 2009. RMB cross-border settlement has become increasingly important for monetary authorities in terms of macroeconomic policy frameworks. This is especially the case with the more sophisticated conditions in global monetary markets, which result not only from the nontraditional monetary policies employed by the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan, but also the ongoing quantitative easing (QE) tapering by the US Federal Reserve and the spillover effects on emerging economies. It is increasingly important to evaluate the potential influence of RMB internationalization on China's macroeconomy. A framework, which includes monetary supply and demand, was created to analyze the influences of RMB cross-border settlement on China's domestic interest rate, asset price and foreign exchange (forex) reserves. RMB settlement behaves in different ways with the various items in BoP, such as imports, exports, foreign direct investment (FDI), overseas direct investment (ODI), RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII), RMB Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (RQDII) and cross-border loans. It was found that RMB settlement in different items leads to different effects on China's economy. For RMB export settlement, RMB overseas direct investment (RODI) and RQFII at the initial stage, RMB settlement does not affect China's interest rate and asset price. In addition, more favourable to the People's Bank of China (PBoC), foreign exchange reserves increase less with these reforms; therefore, they should be promoted with priority. However, it is necessary to stress that all settlements should be based on real transactions in order to prevent fake exports. For RMB import settlement, RODI and RQDII at the initial stage, these pilot schemes exert influences on China's economy through interest rate changes, causing an additional increase of forex reserves. Although other short-term items in the financial account could also impact the interest rate, the items in this group are either based on real business such as trade and investment or on financial transactions at the initial stage on a small scale. Therefore, this group has a relatively moderate influence on the interest rate. It is important to remember that this negative by-product is a result of the assumption that the PBoC targets exchange rate stability. If the PBoC sets the exchange rate system to be flexible enough, then such pilot schemes will not cause an increase of forex reserves. It is thus essential to advance exchange rate regime reforms to keep up with the steps of RMB internationalization. With the progress in RQDII and RQFII, the endorsement of issuing dim sum bonds for capital backflows and with the increase in lending from the offshore to the onshore market, these types of RMB cross-border settlements will not exert pressure on forex reserves; however, they do have an impact on the money market. If the amount of RMB flowing through these items is large enough, the interest rate and asset price will be significantly affected, and could be in conflict with the intended monetary policy. These types of transactions are the most risky to monetary authorities; therefore, they should be cautious regarding these items. In the short term, RMB settlements in these kinds of items should be regulated with quotas. In the medium to the longer term, these items should be opened in a gradual way.
  • Topic: Foreign Exchange, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: China’s coal consumption fell marginally in 2014, the first such drop this century, in large part as a result of its policies to address its severe air pollution, develop renewable and alternative energy, and transition its economy away from heavy industry. China should take advantage of its current circumstances to adopt an aggressive national coal consumption cap target and policy to peak its coal consumption as soon as possible, no later than its next Five Year Plan (2016–2020), so that it can peak its CO2 emissions by 2025. It can achieve this target by building upon its existing achievements in developing clean energy such as wind and solar power, and by prioritizing renewable energy development over coal in its western expansion. China can help lead a transition to clean energy that will contribute greatly to global efforts to keep warming to no more than 2°C, and can serve as a model for other developing countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: China