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  • Author: Saori N. Katada
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In 2015, two mega-initiatives took shape that will affect economic relations in the Asia-Pacific region: the US-promoted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Although they address different needs, both are expected to have profound effects on Asia's economic governance in the near future, and will shape economic norms in the Asia Pacific and beyond. Japan has joined the TPP but stayed out of the AIIB, decisions that might seem counterintuitive considering its history of resisting trade liberalization and of promoting infrastructure investment. Is Japan simply favoring its US ally over rival China? Or is it that Japan's position on the TPP and AIIB aligns with its own economic priorities, and enhances its geo-economic advantage? With a US-China competition over economic ideas and regional strategies, Japan occupies a unique position that may allow it to influence the direction of Asia-Pacific economic governance, which is now being battled out by the two "titans."
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Unconventional monetary policy (UMP) has had predictable effects. How exit plays out is scenario-dependent. Quantitative easing has had the predictable effect of encouraging currency depreciation and some partner countries may have attempted to offset these exchange rate effects. Korea presents a particularly interesting case: it is relatively small and relatively open and integrated, in both trade and financial terms, with the United States and Japan, two practitioners of UMP. Authorities have acted to limit the won's appreciation primarily against the currency of China, not the US or Japan. Nevertheless, Korea's policy is a source of tension with the US. Under legislation currently being considered, the currency manipulation issue could potentially interfere with Korean efforts to attract direct investment from the US and create an obstacle to Korea joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Monetary Policy, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jon Dorsch
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: At the end of 2015 the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will announce the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In theory, this agreement should produce an association-wide economic integration. However, following the announcement, and for the foreseeable future, ASEAN member states will continue in significantly less than full regional economic integration. Why? Some observers believe that the AEC plans involve an "overly ambitious timeline and too many ill-thought-out initiatives." Others point to ASEAN's traditional aversion to legally binding agreements. While progress has been made in reducing or eliminating intra-ASEAN trade tariffs, substantial non-tariff barriers to trade persist. However, for most member states, the ASEAN market is relatively small while external markets, especially China, are growing rapidly. Given this outward-orientation for ASEAN trade, is the lack of an unhindered regional market really a problem?
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Peter A. Petri, Ambassador Tang Guoqiang
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The year 2014 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first APEC Ministerial Meeting and the twentieth anniversary of APEC’s Bogor Goals. It’s time to shape the future by building on past achievements. If we look at the past 25 years of economic cooperation and integration in the Asia-Pacific region, I think it can be roughly divided into three stages.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Peter A. Petri, Michael G. Plummer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: ASEAN has become a focal point of the rapidly changing economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN members are increasingly stable and politically confident, and constitute an emerging economic powerhouse. The region is dynamic, with 600 million citizens and a gross domestic product (GDP) that exceeds $2 trillion and is expected to grow 6 percent annually for the next two decades. (The Appendix at the end of this paper reports detailed output and trade projections to 2025.) Through deeper internal integration via the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and external initiatives such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), ASEAN is becoming a driving force in regional cooperation and a much-courted economic partner. The AEC and the RCEP projects are globally significant: the AEC could generate powerful demonstration effects for other developing regions, and the RCEP could become an important building bloc of the multilateral trading system.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Luke Simon Jordan, Katerina Koinis
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Despite the region's economic growth over the last few decades, countries across Asia still face the complex challenge of structural transformation. Low-income economies must build formal industrial and service sectors from agricultural and informal bases; middle-income economies must move up the value chain; and high-income economies must continually generate new capabilities at the frontier of innovation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Charles E. Morrison
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In the past quarter-century Asia has seen vast changes, including increased economic growth, integration, and liberalization. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) process, now marking its 25th anniversary, facilitated these changes through its institution of the first regular meetings of ministers and then leaders. But what role should APEC play in the future? With a continuing diffusion of power, what was once hailed as an imminent "Asian century" is much more likely to be a global one. This international system, however, will have a trans-Pacific core with much of the economic power and potential to provide global leadership for the further development of international norms, rules, and cooperation. Thus, we may be able to refer to an "Asia-Pacific century." Two questions arise: Is North America, with a relatively small share of global population and a declining share of global world product, still relevant? Will the nations on the two sides of the Pacific really be able to use their power effectively to assume global leadership? The answer to the first of these is "yes," and to the second, "it depends."
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As Sino-American competition for influence enters a new stage with the Obama administration's re-engagement with Asia, each power's legacies in the region add to economic, military and diplomatic factors determining which power will be more successful in the competition. How the United States and China deal with their respective histories in regional affairs and the role of their non-government relations with the Asia- Pacific represent important legacies that on balance favor the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia
  • Author: Peter A. Petri, Michael G. Plummer, Fan Zhai
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Two emerging tracks of trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific—one based on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and an Asian track—could consolidate the “noodle bowl” of current smaller agreements and provide pathways to a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). We examine the benefits and strategic incentives generated by these tracks over 2010-2025. The effects on the world economy would be small initially but by 2025 the annual welfare gains would rise to $104 billion on the TPP track, $303 billion on both tracks, and $862 billion with an FTAAP. The tracks will be competitive but their strategic implications are constructive: each would generate incentives for enlargement. Over time, strong economic incentives would emerge for the United States and China to consolidate the tracks into a region-wide agreement. Each track would bring a different template to such consolidation and can be viewed as defining a “disagreement point” in the Asia-Pacific bargaining game. The study is based on an analysis of 48 actual and proposed Asia-Pacific trade agreements and models impacts on variables including sectoral trade, output, employment and job shifts in 24 world regions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia, Australia/Pacific, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: South Korea is arguably the premier development success story of the last half century. For 47 years starting in 1963, the economy averaged 7 percent real growth annually, and experienced only two years of economic contraction: 1980 after the second oil shock and the assassination of President Park Chung-hee, and 1998 at the nadir of the Asian financial crisis. At the start of that period South Korea had a per capita income lower than that of Mozambique or Bolivia; today it is richer than Spain or New Zealand, and was the first Asian and first non-G7 country to host a summit of the G20, the unofficial steering committee of the world economy.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, South Korea, Spain, Mozambique, New Zealand, Bolivia
  • Author: Rajnish Tiwari, Cornelius Herstatt, Mahipat Ranawat
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: India's automobile industry has witnessed an impressive run of sus - tained growth in the past two decades. The total number of vehicles produced in fiscal year 1990–91 was only 2.3 million, but by fiscal year 2009–10 this number had swelled to 14.1 million. Similarly, the value of automotive products exported by India was only US$198 million in 1990, but by 2009 the value had increased nearly twenty-five-fold to US$5 billion, representing an average annual growth rate of 26 percent and catapulting India into the league of the top fifteen exporters of automotive products worldwide
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Michael G. Plummer
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The economic crisis of 2008–09 is the second major crisis in just over a decade that Asia has endured. Unlike the Asian crisis of 1997–98, however, the current crisis originated mainly in the West. Asia's excessive reliance on net exports as the principal driver of economic growth since the 1997–98 crisis rendered it especially vulnerable to external shocks, and most Asian countries have paid dearly. The more open the economy, the more vulnerable it is to such shocks. The newly industrialized Asian economies (Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan), which are among the most open and dynamic in the world, are expected to contract by about 6 percent in 2009.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong
  • Author: Dieter Ernst
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Political debates about globalization are focused on offshore outsourcing of manufacturing and services. But these debates neglect an important change in the geography of knowledge––the emergence of global innovation networks (GINs) that integrate dispersed engineering, product development, and research activities across geographic borders.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Globalization, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Peter A. Petri
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: East Asian trade agreements are often described as a complicated "noodle bowl," which shows links in the region as a snarled, overlapping and intertwined mass. But this is a misleading representation--Asia's regional agreements may in fact be creating an order of a different sort, building the foundations for a stronger regional trading system. Asian trade arrangements can be more constructively seen in terms of a trade agreements matrix, in which multiple negotiations produce an orderly progression of agreements to liberalize all potential bilateral relationships and move the region toward a coherent system of freer trade. The various approaches to deeper economic integration--regional arrangements, trans-Pacific agreements, and global engagement--are complementary paths that should eventually lead to an open global trading system. East Asia is of growing importance in the global marketplace, and adopting an aggressive multitrack strategy--as the region appears to be doing--may be the fastest route toward a new global framework.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia
  • Author: Richard C. K. Burdekin
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Over the past five years, U.S. exports to China have been dwarfed by imports from that country, with the resulting trade deficit igniting a bout of China bashing reminiscent of the Japan bashing of the 1980s. A major culprit in the trade imbalance, according to many U.S. analysts and policymakers, is China's currency: the renminbi, they say, is too cheap relative to the dollar. Some are calling for high tariffs on Chinese goods or for further exchange-rate adjustment that would revalue the renminbi significantly upward, making Chinese goods less competitive. But with just 10.4 percent of total U.S. trade attributed to China in the first half of 2005, it is unrealistic that any renminbi exchange-rate adjustment could rein in the burgeoning U.S. trade deficit. And if the adjustment were drastic the United States could be the big loser: driving China out of the market for U.S. treasuries would most likely have calamitous consequences, not only for the dollar but for U.S. credit markets and for the U.S. economy in general.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North America
  • Author: Ilan Noy
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The banking crises that swept through East Asia in 1997– 1998 set off dramatic recessions in the affected countries and imposed heavy costs on the domestic taxpayers. Fear of further crises prompted searches causes and early warning signs. It soon became apparent that liberalization the domestic financial sectors of the countries in crises contributed to genesis of these crises, but policymakers, regulators, and economists disagree about the reason for this. Initial scrutiny fell on unregulated international capital flows, but a comprehensive study suggests that liberalization can to financial instability either because of insufficient regulation of the financial sector or because of erosion of previously granted monopolies of existing banks. These possibilities suggest varying policy implications for the current state domestic financial systems in East Asia, including the challenges inherent opening up ChinaÂ's banking system to foreign competition as mandated in China–World Trade Organization accession agreement.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Brown, Kang Wu
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific region's dynamic oil market is marked by strong growth in consumption, declining regional oil production, and over capacity in its highly competitive oil-refining sector. Its "key players" are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea—a group that includes the region's five top consumers and three of its major producers—and developments in these countries will have commercial and strategic implications for the whole region. On the consumption side, Japan's slow growth in demand has failed to dampen regional growth, which is now driven by China and India's fast growing thirst for oil. On the supply side, Indonesia's inevitable transition to a net oil importer highlights the trend toward growing dependence on Middle East oil, which already comprises 42–90 percent of imports among the key players. In response to this trend, China, Japan, and South Korea are pushing to acquire overseas oil reserves, with Japan and China already locked in a fierce competition for projected Russian supplies—a type of struggle that will likely become more commonplace.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Indonesia, Middle East, India, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: John Ravenhill
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Western Pacific Rim states have been slow to participate in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). In the past four years, however, more than 40 PTAs involving these economies have been proposed or are being implemented. For the first time, Japan and China have either signed or are negotiating bilateral or plurilateral agreements. The new interest in PTAs reflects the perception that they have been successful in other parts of the world, and is reinforced by dissatisfaction with the region's existing trade groupings. Although arguments can be made in favor of PTAs, they amplify political considerations in trade agreements, may adversely affect the political balance in participating countries, impose costs on nonparticipants, and deplete scarce negotiating resources. Nevertheless, the number of western Pacific Rim states participating in PTAs continues to climb. Northeast Asian countries have been following Europe in exploiting loopholes in WTO rules on PTAs to protect their noncompetitive sectors, thereby strengthening their political positions, which will likely make global liberalization more difficult.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Kang Wu, Fereidun Fesharaki
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Middle East is Asia Pacific's largest energy supplier, satisfying a demand for oil that must keep pace with the region's continued economic growth. This dependence on the Middle East has caused Asia Pacific to join the United States and other Western nations in the hunt for alternative suppliers. Central Asia, located between the Middle East and Asia Pacific and already an oil and gas exporter, is an attractive possibility. With energy production projected to rise rapidly over the next decade, Central Asia is poised to become a major player in the world energy market. But the land-locked region's options for transporting oil and gas to Asia Pacific markets are limited and problematic. Passage via pipeline east through China presents construction challenges; south through Iran, or through India and Pakistan via Afghanistan, is fraught with political difficulties. Not until geopolitics become more favorable to the south-bound options, or technologies make the China route possible, will Asia Pacific be able to tap the energy resources of Central Asia.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, China, Iran, Middle East, Asia