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  • Author: Dieter Ernst
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This special report assesses the challenges that China is facing in developing its artificial intelligence (AI) industry due to unprecedented US technology export restrictions. A central proposition is that China’s achievements in AI lack a robust foundation in leading-edge AI chips, and thus the country is vulnerable to externally imposed supply disruptions. The COVID-19 pandemic has further decoupled China from international trade and technology flows. Success in AI requires mastery of data, algorithms and computing power, which, in turn, is determined by the performance of AI chips. Increasing computing power that is cost-effective and energy-saving is the indispensable third component of this magic AI triangle. Research on China’s AI strategy has emphasized China’s huge data sets as a primary advantage. It was assumed that China could always purchase the necessary AI chips from global semiconductor industry leaders. Until recently, AI applications run by leading-edge major Chinese technology firms were powered by foreign chips, mostly designed by a small group of top US semiconductor firms. The outbreak of the technology war, however, is disrupting China’s access to advanced AI chips from the United States. Drawing on field research conducted in 2019, this report contributes to the literature by addressing China’s arguably most immediate and difficult AI challenges. The report highlights China’s challenge of competing in AI, and contrasts America’s and China’s different AI development trajectories. Capabilities and challenges are assessed, both for the large players (Huawei, Alibaba and Baidu) and for a small group of AI chip “unicorns.” The report concludes with implications for China’s future AI chip development.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Sanctions, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Dan Ciuriak, Maria Piashkina
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The rapid digital transformation occurring worldwide poses significant challenges for policy makers working within a governance framework that evolved over centuries. Domestic policy space needs to be redefined for the digital age, and the interface with international trade governance recalibrated. In this paper, Dan Ciuriak and Maria Ptashkina organize the issues facing policy makers under the broad pillars of “economic value capture,” “sovereignty” in public choice and “national security,” and outline a conceptual framework with which policy makers can start to think about a coherent integration of the many reform efforts now under way, considering how policies adopted in these areas can be reconciled with commitments under a multilateral framework adapted for the digital age.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Reform, Digital Economy, Multilateralism, Digitization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • 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: Hongying Wang
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Following the global financial crisis, international financial standard-setting bodies granted emerging economies unprecedented representation. Some observers expected the existing system of international financial regulation to be undermined by the larger number of players and their diverging interests from the traditional standard setters. This paper examines whether China, the largest emerging economy, has influenced the international financial regulatory regime. It finds that China has, by and large, been a “rule taker” so far, but points out some important signs of change. It argues that with improved technical capacity, greater stakes in international financial standards and rising structural power, China is poised to increase its participation in the making of international financial standards.
  • Topic: Regulation, Global Political Economy, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Anton Malkin
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper provides a reassessment of Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) — China’s industrial policy framework aimed at helping the country overcome the much-maligned middle-income trap — in the context of global trade governance. It suggests that China’s industrial policies have been viewed too narrowly — without sufficient attention to longer-term global governance issues — by a large segment of the global business and policy-making community. The paper argues that the general aims of MIC 2025 and the policies that underpin them are not unreasonable, given the increasingly prevalent dilemmas in global trade that China’s leaders are grappling with. These include problems of international development arising from growing global industrial concentration — driven by the growth of the intangible economy — and China’s shrinking access to importing and developing technological components (such as semiconductor chips) that are increasingly characterized as “dual-use” by China’s trading partners. This suggests that resolving the concerns of China’s trading partners regarding China’s industrial policies requires global trade governance reform to ensure an equitable, rules-based global trading order that addresses the legitimate needs of developing and middle-income economies in acquiring foreign-owned technological components and know-how, for the purposes of economic development. The paper concludes by outlining specific recommendations for Canada’s policy makers in improving their economic relationship with China in the context of MIC 2025.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology, Governance, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Asia, North America
  • Author: Robert McDougall
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The impasse in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the appointment of new members of the Appellate Body is just one symptom of crisis in cooperation on trade. Driven by skepticism about multilateralism and binding dispute settlement, and by a growing strategic and economic rivalry with China, the current US administration has elevated longstanding US concerns about WTO dispute settlement to new heights. The inability of WTO members to exercise their collective authority to interpret the meaning of their WTO commitments has meant that the Appellate Body is effectively not subject to any checks and balances. As other WTO members blocked US efforts to negotiate more member control, the United States increasingly turned to unpopular unilateral mechanisms, culminating in the current block on new appointments as part of its more disruptive trade policy. Assuming the United States will eventually return to rules-based trade, restoring the WTO dispute settlement system to full capacity and enhancing its legitimacy will likely require some changes. This might include improving mechanisms for political oversight, diverting sensitive issues from adjudication, narrowing the scope of adjudication, improving institutional support and providing members more say over certain procedures. Preserving compulsory, impartial and enforceable dispute settlement in the WTO will require an accommodation of different perspectives on how the system should function. Achieving this, in whatever form, will contribute to maintaining and even strengthening multilateral cooperation on trade.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Global Political Economy, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America