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  • Author: Simon Lester, Huan Zhu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Donald Trump was a trade “hawk” long before he became president. In the late 1980s, he went on the Oprah Winfrey show and complained about Japan “beating the hell out of this country” on trade (Real Clear Politics 2019). As president, he has continued with the same rhetoric, using it against a wide range of U.S. trading partners, and he has followed it up with action (often in the form of tariffs). While many countries have found themselves threatened by Trump’s aggressive trade policy, his main focus has been China. As a result, the United States and China have been engaged in an escalating tariff, trade, and national security conflict since July 2018, when the first set of U.S. tariffs on China went into effect and China retaliated with tariffs of its own. In this article, we explore the U.S.-China economic conflict, from its origins to the trade war as it stands today. We then offer our thoughts on where this conflict is heading and when it might end.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Trade Wars, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Soyoung Han, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Summer Olympic Games are the most globalized sporting event on earth. Until now, the Summer Games had been postponed only three times—in 1916, 1940, and 1944—all because of world wars. So, the announcement that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Games would be postponed by a year is significant, implicit testimony to the destructiveness of the pandemic. The Tokyo Games were expected to continue the evolution of the Games away from the aristocratic European milieu where the modern Olympic movement began. As poverty has declined and incomes across the global economy have converged, participation in the Games has broadened and the pattern of medaling has become more pluralistic, particularly in sports with low barriers to entry in terms of facilities and equipment. This Policy Brief presents forecasts of medal counts at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games had they had gone on as scheduled, setting aside possible complications arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The forecasts are not just a depiction of what might have been. They establish a benchmark that can be used when the Games are eventually held, to examine the impact of the uneven incidence of the pandemic globally.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Sports, Olympics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Rudolf Furst
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The Euro-Japanese rapprochement stimulates the Japanese interest in the new EU member states, which are then matched with Japanese investments and Japan’s global trade strategy. The V4 countries benefit from their geographical position, existing infrastructure and political stability, industrial tradition, and low labour costs, emphasizes Rudolf Fürst.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues, European Union, Political stability, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The first monograph in this series, China’s Economic Slowdown: Root Causes, Beijing’s Response and Strategic Implications for the US and Allies, examined the structural problems in the Chinese economy that have led to a recent permanent slowdown after three decades of double-digit growth rates. The monograph focused on the political and economic costs of the slowdown and efforts to stabilize an economy that has poured far too much national wealth into commercially unproductive areas. Yet the Communist Party is not passively awaiting an unhappy economic fate in connection with its mounting imbalances and domestic economic dysfunction. In many respects, its leaders have been highly creative in seeking solutions that do not entail a weakening of the party’s hold on economic power. On the contrary, the party has been busily shaping and pursuing grand strategic policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) to solve or alleviate many of its domestic political-economic problems. This monograph, part two in the series, examines how the US and its allies can confront and counter these Chinese strategies and initiatives. It will do so by taking seriously the challenge they present and suggesting responses that take into account Chinese vulnerabilities and the points of leverage available to the US and its allies. This linking of China’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, on the one hand, and its ambition and purpose with respect to its outward-focused policies, is essential for effective policy responses. If the domestic is not linked with the external, US policies are much more likely to become complacent, counterproductive, or susceptible to overreaching. In linking analyses of Beijing’s domestic political economy with its external policies, the monograph will challenge some enduring but incorrect grand narratives that play into the hands of the CCP.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Science and Technology, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Eric B. Brown, Patrick M. Cronin, H.R. McMaster, Husain Haqqani, Aparna Pande, Satoru Nagao, John Lee, Seth Cropsey, Peter Rough, Liselotte Odgaard, Blaise Misztal, Douglas J. Feith, Michael Doran
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has introduced a series of new stresses and factors in the US-China relationship. While the world has struggled to contain the pandemic and its tragic repercussions, the People’s Republic of China has used the outbreak to launch a global campaign of misinformation, further its economic coercion through the Belt and Road Initiative, and continue military expansion efforts in the South China Sea. China’s attempt to exploit the pandemic for political, strategic, and economic gain is problematic in the current environment, yet it is consistent with, and a continuation of, China’s long-term strategy. This report offers a global survey and assessment of attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to expand its influence, including by exploiting the pandemic. As the United States and its allies focus on combatting the virus and salvaging their economies, there is an opportunity to better understand China’s strategy and develop a unified response.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Strategic Competition, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report makes the following arguments: From Taiwan’s perspective, the greater its economic presence and importance to the world, the better positioned it is to reduce its dependency on China and maintain its autonomy. This also serves US interests. From the US perspective, deepening the economic relationship with Taiwan in strategic ways will assist it in achieving greater economic distance from China and reducing the extent to which China can capture and dominate global supply and value chains in the future. The US and Taiwanese economies are largely complementary, and this can become even more so. Thus, a deeper bilateral economic relationship will be generally consistent with domestic economic objectives, such as prioritizing high-value job creation and preventing high-value supply chains from remaining in China or leaving the United States. The report offers recommendations to: help prevent the hollowing out of Taiwan’s competitive strengths; help Taiwan broaden and deepen its participation in the regional and international economic space, which is currently being narrowed by China; assist with Taiwan’s desire to lower dependency on China-based supply chains, especially with respect to high-value-added processes; encourage more bilateral investment, intra-industry relations and firm-to-firm activity between the United States and Taiwan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Thomas J. Duesterberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The imperative to return supply chains to the United States for products important to national defense, medical security, and competitiveness in key industrial and technology sectors is not new. The explosive growth of the Chinese manufacturing sector, its mercantilist challenge to the world trading system, and its impact on jobs and industrial leadership in the United States is well known and well documented. This challenge has prompted new research and policies to help reverse the erosion of US supply chains. US technology leadership has been undermined by China’s forced technology transfer, theft of intellectual property, and subsidization of traditional and new higher technology sectors. In turn, the loss of global markets and US manufacturing jobs have resulted in social problems of increasing devastation to communities in industrial areas. China’s economic growth depends, in a historically unprecedented way, on its export model and the suppression of domestic consumption. This results in a cycle of overproduction, expansion of external spheres of economic influence, and dumping of products abroad. In recent years, the United States has begun to challenge the Chinese model. However, much work remains to be done to accomplish the goal of ending mercantilist practices, establishing a level playing field for US producers, and reinvigorating domestic production. Critical supply chains for US national defense and high technology leadership have become overly dependent on China and other foreign sources. The vulnerability of supply chains has been demonstrated by interruptions in supply of key materials by both natural disasters and political decisions such as Beijing’s cutoff of rare earth metals a decade ago. More recently, in July 2020, the production of critical personal protective equipment was interrupted by massive flooding in the interior of China. Beyond Beijing’s unfair practices, China is a continental economy with the ambition to displace the United States as the leader in the global economy of the 21st century and has the economies of scale to represent a serious, long term threat to US leadership and markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these preexisting trends and underscores the importance of bringing industrial supply chains, including medical products, back to the United States. First, the cut-off of medical supplies, not just from China but from Europe and other allies, brought the vulnerabilities of relying on outside sourcing into clearer and more immediate focus. Ninety countries blocked the exports of medical products during the early months of the pandemic. Second, border closures around the world, even within the European Union (EU), added to the worries about supply chain interruptions, including for workers and logistics. Seventy percent of the world’s points of entry restricted foreign travelers at some point as the pandemic grew. Third, border closures and supply chain interruptions increased tensions between nations, especially between the United States and China, which was criticized for its suppression of information at the start of the pandemic. Beijing’s brazen imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong while the world was preoccupied by the pandemic further eroded its global standing, especially in Europe. Fourth, the economic collapse due to the pandemic response again focused attention on the need to create more domestic jobs, including those in the hard-hit industrial sector. Finally, all these developments led allies such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and the EU to advance new policies meant to bring production back to home territories. These trends support initiatives to increase the resiliency of domestic production, even beyond the parameters of defense and medical security.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Manufacturing, Trade, COVID-19, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Liselotte Odgaard
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report addresses China’s approach to development in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Arctic. China has worked through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to meet Russian demands for continued regional primacy in Central Asia, helping Beijing foster economic and social dominance, access strategic energy resources, and treat the Uyghur minorities as a problem of terrorism rather than a development issue. In Southeast Asia, China has worked through the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to meet regional demands for soft and hard infrastructure to legitimize China’s growing strategic presence. China is therefore able to undermine the regional economic and security foothold of the US alliance system and challenge the interpretations of the Law of the Sea that legitimizes the military presence and activities of extra regional powers. In East Africa, China has cooperated with the African Union (AU) and the East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to address regional demands for hard and soft infrastructure without political conditions, to link antipiracy problems to problems of poverty, and to mediate local civil wars. This has helped China establish an economic and strategic foothold at the intersection of the Indian Ocean and Middle East, projecting power far from its shores. In the Arctic, China has established research stations that function as both environmental research laboratories and military surveillance stations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Health, Foreign Aid, Regulation, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Husain Haqqani, Aparna Pande
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The world’s most populous region, South Asia, with almost 1.9 billion people living in eight countries, has so far had fewer reported infections and fatalities per capita from the novel coronavirus than projected in early models. However, the region is unlikely to escape the widespread disruption and damage felt across the globe, and its worst health-care crisis may be yet to come. In South Asia, as in other regions, the COVID-19 pandemic is testing the capacities of states to provide security and effective healthcare and to maintain essential services. It is also having an impact on fragile democratic institutions and societal bonds, in addition to putting considerable strains on the economy. [...] Following is a country-by-country report, with inputs from experts on the ground, on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact in South Asia and its human, economic, and political consequences.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, India, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Fabio Figiaconi, Claudia Adele Lodetti
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: According to the latest World Bank’s “Global Economic Prospects” publication, Covid-19 pandemic will have a negative impact on East Asia causing a -1,2% GDP’s reduction in 2020, that is the region’s first recession since 1998’s Asian financial crisis, while China is expected to slow to 1% this year. Among the various consequences that may materialise, the report highlights the disruption of the global and regional value chains. In addition, as stated by UNCTAD World Investment Report 2020 Foreign Direct Investments’ (FDIs) flows are expected to decrease globally by 40% in 2020 and are projected to decrease by a further 5 to 10% in 2021. This scenario would be detrimental for East Asia’s economies and especially for the network of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) located there, which have had and continue to play a fundamental part in the region’s growth. SEZs are intended as delimited areas within a country’s national borders where businesses enjoy a more favourable regulatory and fiscal regime than that of the national territory, with the aim to draw in FDIs, boost exports, increase trade balance and alleviate unemployment.
  • Topic: Economics, Geopolitics, Special Economic Zones
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Clara Gillespie
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Under President Moon Jae-in, South Korea has set an ambitious target to move from being “first in the world” in the race to 5G to “first in global quality.” Yet, while a range of industry and government stakeholders are investing heavily in making this vision a reality, a number of factors are likely to weigh on whether or not these efforts yield significant results. These include uncertainties about how to further accelerate development in ways that lead to better returns on investments, and about how to navigate complex geopolitical considerations, including ongoing debates about Huawei’s involvement in 5G network infrastructure. Each of these areas will, in turn, require domestic stakeholders to make complex assessments about potential tradeoffs and risks. Thus, this paper assesses South Korea’s emerging 5G era at the one-year mark, and highlights key successes, setbacks, and ongoing challenges. Building on these findings, the paper concludes by offering several potential scenarios for future development, and suggestions for ways forward.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, 5G
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Peter A. Dutton, Isaac B. Kardon, Conor M. Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: This China Maritime Report on Djibouti is the first in a series of case studies on China’s “overseas strategic strongpoints” (海外战略支点). The strategic strongpoint concept has no formal definition, but is used by People’s Republic of China (PRC) officials and analysts to describe foreign ports with special strategic and economic value that host terminals and commercial zones operated by Chinese firms.
  • Topic: Economics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Port, People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Djibouti, East Africa
  • Author: Egoh Aziz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Nkafu Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has caused waves of horror and anxiety across many nations in the world. Considering the intense unravelling of the pandemic, no exact figure as per the number of confirmed and death cases worldwide is definite because the situation changes almost every hour. However, on April 14, 2020 3:40 GMT, Worldometer reported 210 countries and territories across the globe having a total of 1,925,179 confirmed cases, and a dead toll of 119,699 deaths. The impact of the pandemic is disastrous globally affecting a variety of sectors including the service and supply chain, as well as trade, manufacturing, and tourism. This article aims to provide a synoptic assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on Sino-African trade activities. It stresses that, if African policymakers revamp their efforts to quickly address COVID-19, the human casualty will be less and African economic growth may experience lesser shock as previewed by the IMF. On the other hand, if they relent their efforts, the human casualty will soar while the growth rate may decline. The effect of COVID-19’s outbreak in China has caused a slowdown on exports and services directed towards China.According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of China, in 2018, China’s total import and export volume with Africa was US$204.19 billion, a yearly increase of 19.7%, surpassing the total growth rate of foreign trade in the same period by 7.1 percentage points. Among these, China’s exports to Africa were US$104.91 billion, up 10.8% and China’s imports from Africa were US$99.28 billion, up 30.8%; the surplus was US$5.63 billion, down 70.0% every year. The growth rate of Sino African trade was the highest in the world in 2018. This shows that Sino-African trade has a significant contribution to the growth of African economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Trade, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Cameroon
  • Author: Zaid Ali Basha, Rafat Al-Akhali
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The sustainability of a peace agreement in Yemen depends on two critical economic issues. First, in a conflict that is largely over access to resources, the issues of distribution, control, and sharing of those resources can make or break peace. Therefore, these issues must be addressed head-on during negotiations. Second, where peace agreements lack provisions that create overall economic stability, warfare can resume during the fragile implementation period. The fears over the resumption of conflict after signing a peace agreement are substantiated by several historical events in Yemen, such as the failure of the GCC Initiative.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Natural Resources, Peacekeeping, Peace, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The fishing industry in Yemen faces many structural challenges that have limited its production and potential contribution to overall economic output. Development of the industry’s infrastructure, human capacity and regulation was already poor prior to the outbreak of the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen. Since the war began five years ago the fishing industry has faced increased challenges, including a significant drop in the level of production with the displacement of many fishermen and associated workforce; fish processing plants halting production; surging fuel costs; the decline of local purchasing power leading to a drop in the local demand for fish products; and the disempowerment of the Ministry of Fish Wealth (MFW), among other challenges.
  • Topic: Economics, Oceans and Seas, Economic Development , Fishing
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief summarizes discussions regarding Yemen’s human capital at a “Rethinking Yemen’s Economy” workshop held in Amman, Jordan, on August 24-25, 2019. The workshop participants agreed that Yemen’s human capital accumulation has almost certainly regressed since the current conflict began. However, there is a dearth of reliable data to assess the scope and nature of this regression and thus how to best direct responses. There was also a consensus that many of the obstacles to improving Yemen’s human capital were present prior to the current conflict. In line with these findings, this brief recommends: countrywide population surveys; more funding of development projects over emergency humanitarian assistance; education reforms; and the targeting of sectors with high human capital returns. Crucially, policymakers should not wait for the end of the conflict to implement these recommendations. Investment in Yemen’s human capital now, specifically in geographic areas away from frontline fighting, should hasten the speed of the post-conflict economic recovery and lay the foundations for the sustainable development of the economy beyond the war.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Capital, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: James A. Dorn
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: 1978 has been erratic, with many interruptions along the way. The end result, however, has been eye opening: the Middle Kingdom has become the world’s largest trading nation, the second largest economy, and more than 500 million people have lifted themselves out of poverty as economic liberalization removed barriers to trade. One of the enduring lessons from China’s rise as an economic giant is that once people are given greater economic freedom, more autonomy, and stronger property rights, they will have a better chance of creating a harmonious and prosperous society (see Dorn 2019). Nevertheless, China faces major challenges to its future development. There is still no genuine rule of law that effectively limits the power of government, no independent judiciary to enforce the rights promised in the nation’s constitution, no free market for ideas that is essential for innovation and for avoiding major policy errors, no competitive political system that fosters a diversity of views, and a large state sector that stifles private initiative and breeds corruption. China’s slowing growth rate, its increasing debt burden, environmental problems, and the increasing tension in U.S.-China relations compound the challenges facing Beijing.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, History, Trade Liberalization
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Yiping Huang, Tingting Ge
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: When China began economic reform in 1978, it had only one financial institution, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), which, at that time, served as both the central bank and a commercial bank and accounted for 93 percent of the country’s total financial assets. This was primarily because, in a centrally planned economy, transfer of funds was arranged by the state and there was little demand for financial intermediation. Once economic reform started, the authorities moved very quickly to establish a very large number of financial institutions and to create various financial markets. Forty years later, China is already an important player in the global financial system, including in the banking sector, direct investment, and bond and equity markets. However, government intervention in the financial system remains widespread and serious. The PBOC still guides commercial banks’ setting of deposit and lending rates through “window guidance,” although the final restriction on deposit rates was removed in 2015. Industry and other policies still play important roles influencing allocation of financial resources by banks and capital markets. The PBOC intervenes in the foreign exchange markets from time to time, through directly buying or selling foreign exchanges, setting the central parity, and determining the daily trading band. The regulators tightly manage cross-border capital flows, and the state still controls majority shares of most large financial institutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, Reform, Financial Markets, Banks
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Bradley O. Babson
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since his first-annual New Year’s speech in 2012 setting North Korea’s policy priorities, Kim Jong Un has emphasized his commitment to economic development, notably promising his people that they will never have to tighten their belts again. The Byunjin policy of equally prioritizing economic development and security through nuclear and missile programs reflects Kim’s desire to assure regime stability by delivering broad-based economic development while establishing a security environment that deters external threats and potential domestic unrest. While United States policy has used sanctions and other pressures to stymie Kim’s ambitions, the Kim regime has nonetheless modestly furthered economic development and significantly advanced security through its nuclear and missile testing programs.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Kaesong Industrial Complex, closed since 2016, was the most successful joint economic venture undertaken by North and South Korea. Reopening the manufacturing zone, with improvements to efficiency and worker protections, could help broker wider cooperation and sustain peace talks on the peninsula. What’s new? In 2016, South Korea shuttered the Kaesong Industrial Complex, breaking a modest but productive connection between the two Koreas. Crisis Group’s analysis sheds new light on the economic performance of firms operating at the Complex, demonstrating that the benefits for the South were greater than previously understood. Why does it matter? Beyond helping restart the stalled peace process, a deal to reopen the Complex in exchange for a proportionate step toward denuclearisation by North Korea could produce mutual economic benefits that help sustain South Korean support for talks and encourage Pyongyang’s commitment to peaceful relations. What should be done? As part of any deal to reopen the Complex, Seoul and Pyongyang should take steps to address problems that previously kept it from reaching its potential. The more efficiently, profitably and fairly it works, the better the Complex can help foster and maintain stable, peaceful relations between the Koreas.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Roland Rajah
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: East Asia is no longer reliant on US or Western markets to fuel its growth, giving it more room to manage amid global trade tensions. Heightened global trade tensions and the US desire to ‘decouple’ from the Chinese economy for national security reasons pose significant risks to East Asia’s export-driven growth model. However, the latest data suggests East Asia is no longer so dependent on exporting to the West, with China in particular eclipsing the United States as the leading source of ‘final demand’ for the rest of the region’s exports. This gives East Asia much greater room to manoeuvre, as regional integration is now a more viable platform for growth while US decoupling efforts will likely struggle to find traction in the region.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Markets, Exports
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer , Zhiyaou (Lucy) Lu
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In early 2019, several important members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) submitted noteworthy proposals in a realm of international commerce that has evolved faster than rules to govern it: e-commerce or digital trade. While countries agree on less controversial subjects like banning unsolicited commercial electronic messages, the three leading WTO members—China, the European Union, and the United States—have big differences in their approaches to more challenging issues: data flows, data localization, privacy invasions by data collectors, transfer of source code, imposition of customs duties and internet taxes, and internet censorship. Their differing viewpoints lead Hufbauer and Lu to conclude that the prospect of reaching a high-level WTO e-commerce agreement is not promising. To reach an agreement, either most of the contentious issues must be dropped or the number of participating countries must be sharply reduced. A WTO accord, even of low ambition, would have value if only to establish basic digital norms on matters such as banning unsolicited commercial messages and protecting online consumers from fraudulent practices. A more ambitious accord covering the controversial issues should be negotiated in bilateral and/or plurilateral/regional pacts rather than in the WTO.
  • Topic: Economics, World Trade Organization, Finance, Privacy, Data
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Chad P. Bown, Jennifer A. Hillman
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The United States, the European Union, and Japan have begun a trilateral process to confront the Chinese economic model, including its use of industrial subsidies and deployment of state-owned enterprises. This paper seeks to identify the main areas of tension and to assess the legal-economic challenges to constructing new rules to address the underlying conflict. It first provides a brief history of subsidy disciplines in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization (WTO) predating any concerns introduced by China. It then describes contemporary economic problems with China’s approach to subsidies, their impact, and the apparent ineffectiveness of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures to address them. Finally, it calls for increased efforts to measure and pinpoint the source of the problems—in a manner analogous to how the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development took on agricultural subsidies in the 1980s—before providing a legal-economic assessment of proposals for reforms to notifications, evidence, remedies, enforcement, and the definition of a subsidy.
  • Topic: Economics, World Trade Organization, Tariffs, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Sherman Robinson, Karen Thierfelder
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The terms of the US-China trade war change often, but the tariff escalations have inflicted documented economic damage on both countries. Expanding the conflict will only increase the damage and reverberate across the world economy. This Policy Brief uses a computable general equilibrium model of the global economy to analyze three scenarios that could unfold in coming months. The first scenario is the current situation (as of June 2019). Two additional scenarios assume implementation of proposed US tariffs and Chinese responses. The models project the situation after the two countries and the rest of the world adjust across a time horizon of three to five years. For the United States, higher tariffs raise prices and reduce demand for consumers and producers. For China, the tariffs raise the prices of consumer goods but have less direct impact on producers, because the Chinese have exempted some intermediate inputs. US exports and imports decline under all three scenarios. But China can successfully divert its exports away from the United States and escape maximum economic damage.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Markets, Finance, Trade Wars, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For years China has been one of the world’s most rapidly growing sources of outward foreign direct investment. Since peaking in 2016, however, Chinese outward investments, primarily to the United States but also the European Union, have declined dramatically, especially in response to changes in China’s domestic rules on capital outflows and in the face of rising nationalism in the United States. Concerns about growing Chinese influence in other economies, the ascendant role of an authoritarian government in Beijing, and the possible security implications of Chinese dominance in the high-technology sector have put Chinese outward investments under intense international scrutiny. This Policy Brief analyzes the most recent trends in Chinese investments in the United States and the European Union and reviews recent political and regulatory changes both have adopted toward Chinese inward investments. It also explores the emerging transatlantic difference in the regulatory response to the Chinese information technology firm Huawei. Concerned about national security and as part of the ongoing broader trade friction with China, the United States has cracked down far harder on the company than the European Union.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, National Security, Foreign Direct Investment, Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Takashi Tashiro
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For many years, the Japanese government has promised an eventual return to primary budget surpluses, but it has not delivered on these promises. Its latest goal is to return to primary balance by 2025. Blanchard and Tashiro, however, argue that, in the current economic environment in Japan, primary deficits may be needed for a long time, because they may be the best tool to sustain demand and output, alleviate the burden on monetary policy, and increase future output. What primary deficits are used for, however, is equally important, and the Japanese government should put them to better use. The authors recommend that, given Japan’s aging population, the government should spend on measures aimed at increasing fertility—and by implication population and output growth—which are likely to more than pay for themselves.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Budget, Fiscal Policy, Deficit
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In 2018, the United States suddenly increased tariffs on nearly 50 percent of its imports from China. China immediately retaliated with tariffs on more than 70 percent of imports from the United States. This paper assesses what happened in 2018 and attempts to explain why. It first constructs a new measure of special tariff protection to put the sheer scope and coverage of the 2018 actions into historical context. It then uses the lens provided by the 2018 special tariffs to explain the key sources of economic and policy friction between the two countries. This includes whether China’s state-owned enterprises and industrial subsidies, as well as China’s development strategy and system of forcibly acquiring foreign technology, were imposing increasingly large costs on trading partners. Finally, it also examines whether the US strategy to provoke a crisis—which may result in a severely weakened World Trade Organization—was deliberate and out of frustration with the institution itself.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Bilateral Relations, Trade Wars, Donald Trump, Imports
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Felipe González, Nicolas Véron
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China's rapid rise and unique economic system and the increasingly aggressive and disruptive US trade policy are posing an unprecedented threat to the global rules-based trading and economic system. The European Union has critical interests at stake in the current escalation, even as it has so far been comparatively spared from US trade policy belligerence and China's reactions. In this context, the European Union should adopt an independent and proactive stance, building on recent efforts and going beyond them. The European Union, even more than the United States or China, has a strategic interest in the preservation of the global rules-based order embodied by the World Trade Organization (WTO). It must play a leading role in steering WTO reform and modernization, working closely with broadly aligned third countries such as Japan and other players. It should expand its outreach beyond its immediate negotiating counterparts in both the United States and China, and leading European officials at both the EU and member state levels should work at better understanding China. While strengthening its domestic policy instruments to address new challenges, such as the screening of foreign direct investment for security purposes, the European Union must also resist its own temptations of protectionism and economic nationalism. In support of these objectives, the European Union should prepare itself for difficult decisions, which may involve revising some of its current red lines in international trade negotiations. Conversely, the European Union should stand firm on principles such as refusing one-sided agreements and rejecting abusive recourse to national security arguments in trade policies. The European Parliament, in working with the European Council and the European Commission, will have a critical role to play in steering the European Union through these challenging times.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Trade Wars, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In 2016, the United States elected an avowedly protectionist president. This paper uses US county-level electoral data to examine this outcome. The hypothesis that support for protectionism was purely a response to globalization is rejected. Exposure to trade competition encouraged a shift to the Republican candidate, but this effect is mediated by race, diversity, education, and age. If the turn toward protectionism is due to economic dislocation, then public policy interventions could mitigate the impact and support the reestablishment of a political consensus for open trade. If, however, the drivers are identity or cultural values, then the scope for constructive policy intervention is unclear.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Donald Trump, Protectionism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Contrasting China at various stages of reform to Japan and Korea at analogous stages shows China as less successful. The payoff is personal income, where China’s growth in local currency terms is similar to Japan’s. But it is slower than Korea’s, and, in comparable dollar terms, China is far behind Korea and Japan 40 years into the respective “miracles.” In evaluating key contributors to income gains—agricultural productivity, labor quantity and quality, leveraging, and innovation—China failed to extend education in the first 25 years of reform. A recent failure is the explosion in leveraging in the past decade. Other indicators of success roughly match Japan but trail Korea. China’s size makes it important even with less development success. For example, Chinese research and development spending affects the world while being inadequate to offset aging and indebtedness. When projecting economic size, though, trend extension is misleading. Korea and Japan illuminate how innovation and other factors will alter China’s trajectory.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: When will China pass the US in economic size? “The year 2030” is not a bad estimate, but so is “never.” Claims that China’s economy is already the world’s largest may be exaggerated by up to 30 percent. They are also dubious because purchasing power parity often does not hold. National wealth is not well measured, either, but shows the American lead expanding. The more popular belief that China is smaller than the US but will catch up soon is similarly unconvincing. Chinese government statistics are unreliable, since Beijing publishes sanitized data and many transactions may be close to worthless. More important, projections of Chinese growth are sensitive to unjustified optimistic assumptions. Debt and aging indicate true Chinese growth is lower than reported, and low growth now could put off Chinese catch-up indefinitely.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karen E. Young
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Arab Gulf states are expanding their political and economic ties with China as a bridge strategy to create a next-generation energy market in traditional oil and gas products, as well as petrochemical production and future market access in expected areas of consumer growth. China is also a competitor in some areas where Arab Gulf states are investing in infrastructure, ports, and political outreach to secure new security partnerships, particularly in the Horn of Africa. China and the Arab Gulf states share a model and vision of economic development that is state centered and profitable to state-owned enterprises and financial institutions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: James Schwemlein
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Great power politics is resurgent in South Asia today. China’s growing military ambition in the region is matched in financial terms by its Belt and Road Initiative, the largest and most advanced component of which is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. What remains unclear is how the United States should navigate the new dynamic. This report, which is based on research and consultations with experts worldwide, addresses the question of how the India-Pakistan rivalry will play into the emerging great power competition.
  • Topic: Economics, Power Politics, Infrastructure, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: WIlliam Schneider
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Modern consumer society has rapidly evolved from domination by “things” to domination by information. Once upon a time, for example, a car was an object for personal transportation in which anything more than basic information about speed and fuel level came from and through the driver. Now, the automobile itself provides and processes information with which drivers interact at a much richer level. Back-up cameras, blind spot and lane drift warning lights, hands-free wireless telephony, and GPS have transformed the driving experience fundamentally, even ahead of the truly revolutionary era of self-driving cars. A large and growing fraction of the world’s day-to-day life of individuals, objects, and institutions will be indelibly stored with an electronic “footprint.” The intelligence value of this information from a national security perspective exclusively accessed through a modern communications system dominated by China – 5G – is immense and profoundly threatening. The new dominance of information is simultaneously bewildering and promising. Moreover, as rapid as the pace of development has been over the past decade, it will soon quicken—with broad implications for almost every aspect of human life. An important aspect of this shift has been the convergence of rapidly developing and mutually reinforcing technologies into an infosphere that will incorporate almost all information-based communications and data services in the global information infrastructure. Not coincidentally, an integrated infosphere meets aspirations held by the People’s Republic of China to dominate and control the global information infrastructure. Beijing’s investments in 5G reflect an understanding that this technology is the gateway to control the world’s information infrastructure and growing realm of 5G-dependent technologies. A Chinese-dominated infosphere is, in fact, the “digital road” component of its Belt-and-Road-Infrastructure (BRI). While U.S. policymakers have yet to fully grasp the implications of this emerging infosphere, the components below reflect the enabling dimensions that support China’s effort to dominate the global information infrastructure.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Internet, 5G, Information Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Patrick M. Cronin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: During an era in which strategic gravity is shifting to Asia, the United States cannot be careless in tending to its alliances with Japan and South Korea (the Republic of Korea, or ROK). The three countries face persistent threats from North Korea and from China’s semi-transparent bid for regional hegemony. Meanwhile, rocky relations between Tokyo and Seoul are jeopardizing vital U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific. The latest disagreement between America’s premier allies raises new questions about alliance strategy, commitment, and burden-sharing. These fissures have become exacerbated as the U.S. pressures allies to increase their contributions to regional security and reciprocal trade. [...] This report seeks to explain why the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK alliance are still a vital means of achieving overlapping strategic interests. At the same time, it also argues that keeping these alliances fit for purpose requires radical change rather than business as usual. Both a rapidly changing security environment and growing intra-alliance squabbling pose dangers that require U.S. leadership. This report concludes with specific ideas for advancing bilateral and trilateral cooperation in the coming months and years, without trying to achieve too much too quickly.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Security, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Uri Dadush, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Tianlang Gao
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: China and the European Union have an extensive and growing economic relationship. The relationship is problematic because of the distortions caused by China’s state capitalist system and the diversity of interests within the EU’s incomplete federation. More can be done to capture the untapped trade and investment opportunities that exist between the parties. China’s size and dynamism, and its recent shift from an export-led to a domestic demand-led growth model, mean that these opportunities are likely to grow with time. As the Chinese economy matures, provided appropriate policy steps are taken, it is likely to become a less disruptive force in world markets than during its extraordinary breakout period.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, European Union, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Jianwei Xu
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: China’s economic ties with Russia are deepening. Meanwhile, Europe remains Russia’s largest trading partner, lender and investor. An analysis of China’s ties with Russia, indicate that China seems to have become more of a competitor to the European Union on Russia’s market. Competition over investment and lending is more limited, but the situation could change rapidly with China and Russia giving clear signs of a stronger than ever strategic partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Bilateral Relations, Governance, Investment, Exports
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Andreas Goldthau
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Global energy demand is shifting to Southeast Asia. This new trade flow is altering market power because it not only follows natural economic development, but also results from strategic trade and investment policies that promote national interests. In this context, the EU needs to account for the geo-economic side effects of the new European Green Deal.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, European Union, Risk, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Umar Farooq, Asma Shakir Khawaja
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The article is intended to find out the geopolitical implications, regional constraints and benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Researcher reviewed both published research articles and books to find out geopolitical implication, regional constraints and benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. For this purpose, researcher also reviewed newspapers articles and published reports by government and non-governmental stakeholders working on CPEC. Review of the articles and reports indicated that CPEC had enormous benefits not only for China and Pakistan but also for the whole region. But different internal and external stakeholders are not in favor of successful completion of this project. Extremism, sense of deprivation, lack of political consensus, political instability are some of the internal constraints. On the other hand, Afghanistan, India, Iran, UAE and USA are posing constraints to halt the successful completion of CPEC.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Iran, South Asia, India, Asia, Punjab, United Arab Emirates, United States of America
  • Author: Kanwal Hayat, Rehana Saeed Hashmi
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: China claims South China Sea as its sovereign domain where it possesses the right to intervene militarily and economically. However, USA considers South China Sea as a common global passage where rule of law and freedom of navigation should prevail.These diverging viewpoints coexist in a wobbly peace environment where both US and China want their own version of international law to be applied and have occasionally resorted to minor armed conflicts over this issue. Every state claiming authority over South China Sea is willing to use coercion in order to get what they want, however, the extent of how far they are willing to go is not clear. This is resulting in a show of gunboat diplomacy involving maritime force of influential states that strives to manipulate the policy makers of the relevant nations (Costlow, 2012). The paper will focus on the situation in the South China Sea. South China Sea is not only claimed by China but various other Asian nations. Does this territorial strife possess the power to turn the region into a war zone? Being one of the most active trade routes in the world having complicated geography and the diverging regional and international interests makes it very sensitive area. China being the emerging economic giant gives competition to the USA in many spheres. Although America has no territorial claim in the South China Sea, it has strategic and economic interests. Where China wants a complete hegemonic control of the area, USA wants to find a way where free unchecked trade could be the future for all.Accompanied with numerous other South Asian nations claiming various portions of the region, a constant tension exists in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Sovereignty, Territorial Disputes, Hegemony, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, Oceans
  • Author: A. Z. Hilali
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a set of projects under China‟s Belt and Road initiative, marks a new era of economic ties in a bilateral relationship between the two traditional friends. The multi-dimensional project will not only reform Pakistan economy but it will serve for people‟s prosperity and will help to revive the country economy of both countries. The visions of project partners are clear and the goals of the short term, mid-term and long-term plans of CPEC have been identified. So, the CPEC is not just a transit route for China and Pakistan‟s exports but it will transform Pakistan‟s economy and overcome its problems such as unemployment, energy, underdevelopment, and overall external economic dependency by building capacity in all necessary sectors. Therefore, CPEC could promote economic development and growth which will open new avenues and investment to the country which is based on shared partnership of cooperation, mutual benefits and sustainability. Thus, the CPEC is a grand porgramme and will deliver the economic gains to both China-Pakistan and it can be executed more efficiently and in a balanced way to serve the interests of both the countries. The project of CPEC is also important to China‟s energy and strategic security with reference to South China Sea and other regional and global players. Thus, CPEC could bring economic avenues to Pakistan and can improve regional economic and trade activities for greater development and prosperity. It has perceived that the project will not only foster socio-economic development but it will also reduce the level of political humidity and will be source of peace and harmony between the traditional adversaries. It has also assumed that regional economic integration through CPEC could be a harbinger to resolve the political differences by economic cooperation and regional economic connection could make 21st century the Asian century setting aside the perennial political issues to start a new beginning. Thus, in a longer perspective the CPEC can foster an economic community in the entire region of Asia and beyond if its vision is materialized in its true sense. The time will prove that the CPEC reap its fruits and will be advantages for not only Pakistan and China but for the entire region.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Power Politics, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Liudmila Zakharova
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The New Northern Policy, proclaimed by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Vladivostok in September 2017, is designed to boost economic cooperation between Russia and South Korea. However, two years after a special presidential committee was created to plan and coordinate joint economic efforts, few results have been achieved. Bilateral trade has continued to increase with limited change to its structure: Russia mostly sends its mineral resources to South Korea and receives industrial products in return. New ROK investment in the Russian Far East has yet to occur, despite South Korea’s efforts to assist its businesses in finding profitable Russian projects. Seoul tried to convince Moscow that concluding a free trade agreement in the near future is necessary for intensified cooperation, but Russia prefers a more gradual approach to trade liberalization. InterKorean rapprochement in 2018 laid a foundation for further progress in the implementation of multilateral economic projects involving Russia if the international sanctions against North Korea were to be eased. Therefore, bilateral relations between Russia and the ROK can also be viewed from the perspective of promoting regional cooperation with North Korean participation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jiwon Nam, Kristin Vekasi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Tensions between South Korea and Japan are frustratingly persistent. Despite the shared interests of both countries, such as economic development in Southeast Asia, and keeping a robust alliance with the United States, South Korea and Japan maintain a bellicose relationship because of unresolved historical misunderstandings and territorial disputes. Inconsistent diplomatic policies and lack of strong leaders have made it difficult to prevent unnecessary hostility between South Korea and Japan. Fear of losing support has prevented politicians from pursuing friendly policies towards each other. Businesspeople, too, have been reluctant to pursue friendly policies towards each other, because of preconceived risks of being targeted for backlash. An examination of economic data shows these risks are minimal, and political tensions do not affect business or consumer behavior. Current efforts from both Korean and Japanese business organizations to improve cooperation include student exchange programs, recruitment processes, and public diplomacy. We urge the business community to advocate more to improve bilateral relations. Economic relations alone are insufficient to handle the task of improving a difficult relationship; there is also a need for leadership. In South Korea-Japan relations, the business community should step in and provide that role.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Business , Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North America, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Théo Clément
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: While North Korea has developed Special Economic Zones for several decades now, these zones have attracted little attention from foreign investors, due to a mix of lack of economic reforms in the DPRK, the tense geopolitical situation, and China’s peculiar economic engagement towards North Korea. With the denuclearization process and North-South dialogue moving forward, this situation could change as South Korea’s announced policy of economic engagement with the North could provide Pyongyang the opportunity to play Beijing against Seoul to maximize its interests and attract foreign investment in Special Economic Zones from partners keen to maintain close ties with the DPRK.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Investment, Trade, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Joseph Halevi
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The paper highlights the position of German authorities, showing that they were quite lucid about the fundamental weaknesses inherent in a process that separated monetary from fiscal policies by giving priority to the centralization of the former. Instead of repeating the well known critiques levelled against the EMU – for which readers are referred to the unsurpassed treatment by Stiglitz, the essay highlights the splintering of Europe in the way in which it has unfolded during the 1990s and in the first decade of the present millennium. In particular the early economic and political origins of the terminal crisis of Italy are located between the late 1980s and the 1990s. France is shown to belong increasingly to the so-called European periphery by virtue of a weakening industrial structure and persistent balance of payments deficits. The paper argues that France regains its central role by political means and through its weight as an active nuclear military power centered on maintaining its imperial interests and posture especially in Africa. The first decade of the present millennium is portrayed as the period in which a distinct German economic area had been formed in the midst of Europe with a strong drive to the east with an increasingly powerful gravitational pull towards the People’s Republic of China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Political Economy, History, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Asia, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Strong labor protections for ordinary workers are often portrayed as a ‘luxury developing countries cannot afford’. No study has been more influential in propagating this perversity trope in the context of the Indian economy than the QJE article of Besley and Burgess (2004). Their article provides econometric evidence that pro-worker regulation resulted in lower output, employment, investment and productivity in India’s registered manufacturing sector. This paper reviews existing critiques of Besley and Burgess (2004), which highlight conceptual and measurement errors and uncover econometric weaknesses. The paper takes a step beyond these: it reports a failure to replicate Besley and Burgess’ findings and demonstrate the nonrobustness of their results. My deconstruction is not only about the econometrics, however. I show that Besley and Burgess’ findings are not just inconsistent with their theoretical priors, but also internally contradictory and empirically implausible, taxing any person’s capacity for belief. The paper, written by two ‘useful economists’, exhibits a gratuitous empiricism in which priors trump evidence. On all counts, it fails the test of being useful to the purpose of ‘evidence-based’ public policy advice.mp Evidence and Progress Gets Stalled
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Inequality, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: José Galdo, Bayarmaa Dalkhjavd, Altantsetseg Batchuluun, Soyolmaa Batbekh, Maria Laura Alzúa
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Because of its high incidence and potential threat to social cohesion, youth unemployment is a global concern. This study uses a randomized controlled trial to analyze the effectiveness of a demand-driven vocational training program for disadvantaged youth in Mongolia. Mongolia, a transitional country whose economic structure shifted from a communist, centrally planned economy to a free-market economy over a relatively short period, offers a new setting in which to test the effectiveness of standard active labor market policies. This study reports positive and statistically significant short-term effects of vocational training on monthly earnings, skills matching, and self-employment. Substantial heterogeneity emerges as relatively older, richer, and better-educated individuals drive these positive effects. A second intervention that randomly assigns participants to receive repetitive weekly newsletters with information on market returns to vocational training shows positive impacts on the length of exposure to and successful completion of the program. These positive effects, however, are only observed at the intensive margin and do not lead to higher employment or earnings outcomes.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Labor Issues, Employment, Youth, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: Mongolia, Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Barton
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: As China and President Xi Jinping signature foreign policy programme, the BRI has become in a very short space of the time one of the world’s largest and most active international infrastructure development drivers. The BRI is helping, in a significant manner, to meet the increasing demand for infrastructure development and upgrades in emerging markets – a trend that is unlikely to slow anytime time soon, especially given the initiative’s current importance to the Chinese government. For the British government (from here onwards ‘government’), although the UK is unlikely to be a prime destination for BRI projects (for now), the BRI stakes are high. Not only do BRI projects impact the economic wellbeing of a number of countries of strategic importance to the UK, but the government cannot remain passive in the emerging geopolitical context of infrastructure development and financing rivalry. In addition, in light of its relative post-Brexit geopolitical isolation, the government needs to adopt a firm and unequivocal political stance in dealing with its Chinese counterpart should the UK itself become the recipient of BRI projects.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Brexit, Multilateralism, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, United Kingdom, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Even before the current conflict, Yemen’s public finances suffered from an overdependence on energy exports, one of the lowest tax collection rates in the world, and chronic budget and balance of payments deficits. The government’s consistent operating deficits were funded through domestic debt instruments – drawing investment away from the private sector – borrowing from its own central bank, and foreign loans. Meanwhile, current (or recurring) expenditures dominated government spending relative to capital investments, indicating the state’s poor track record in development initiatives.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Tax Systems, Exports, Economic Development , Capital Controls
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the issue of Yemen’s bloated public sector. Due to decades of corruption and patronage appointments, among other factors, public sector salaries were already a source of fiscal stress prior to the ongoing war. Previous efforts to downsize the public sector, notably those supported by the World Bank, produced few tangible results, as this brief outlines. During the conflict, the internationally recognized Yemeni government and the armed Houthi movement have added to the public sector payroll — particularly in the military and security apparatus — as the economy has contracted. Amid consistently large budget deficits, the inflated public sector wage bill is fiscally unsustainable and threatens to undermine economic recovery and future stability in Yemen.
  • Topic: Economics, World Bank, Budget, Inflation, Public Sector, Fiscal Policy, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The business and investment climate for private sector actors in Yemen has long been challenging. The current conflict has expanded and magnified these changes such that today Yemen is last or near last in a host of global business competitiveness indexes. Many businesses across the country have closed and moved their capital elsewhere, while many of those that remain open have had to make drastic cuts to their workforces. However, relative to the public sector – which has seen the near collapse of most government institutions – the private sector has shown a far greater degree of resilience. Businesses have stepped in to replace absent government services in many areas, allowing access to basic commodities and providing livelihoods for millions of Yemenis.
  • Topic: Economics, Business , Economic Development , Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Rafat Al-Akhali, Osamah Al-Rawhani, Anthony Biswell
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief offers recommendations to maximize the effectiveness of governance in post-conflict Yemen – whatever the composition or structure of the government. It presents three case studies on government models previously introduced in Yemen, Tunisia and Lebanon after periods of instability. These case studies offer useful lessons on the challenges, risks and opportunities of forming transitional governments in post-conflict contexts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Government, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice, Conflict, Peace, Transition
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Hannah Patchett, Dr. Fawziah Al-Ammar
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief sheds light on how the ongoing conflict in Yemen has affected women’s participation in the workforce. It finds that the protracted conflict has, on the one hand, pushed more women into the workforce and new labor markets, in some cases into professions previously dominated by men. While some women have established new enterprises, often home-based businesses, others have engaged in poorly paid physical work in response to the economic crisis and the loss of male breadwinners. On the other hand, the war has imposed new constraints on an already low women’s participation rate. This policy brief recommends that micro-economic initiatives to bring women into the workforce must be accompanied by long-term efforts to address socio-economic structures that have historically constrained women’s access to the workforce. Interventions must be guided by local consultations with women and men from all demographics, and must promote work that is fairly paid and provides security and social protection. Quota systems could ensure that women play an active role in recovery and reconstruction efforts; women must also be engaged at all decision-making levels in peace building efforts and in post-conflict Yemen.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Women, Microeconomics, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Nearly five years of conflict in Yemen have created a humanitarian catastrophe that has brought the country to the brink of famine. The economy has collapsed and fighting has ravaged the country’s infrastructure. The reconstruction and recovery of Yemen will demand rebuilding the economy, restoring state institutions and infrastructure and repairing the social fabric. As yet, no official, donor-led, comprehensive reconstruction process is underway. The Development Champions emphasize that reconstruction and recovery efforts must begin immediately, even while the conflict is ongoing. Urgent humanitarian interventions should be linked to Yemen’s long-term economic recovery. The reconstruction of Yemen should aim to transform the country, and not only to restore the status quo ante. Yemenis and local institutions must be involved in this process from the planning stages to ensure legitimacy and local ownership; ultimately, local actors will be responsible for implementing these plans. With these factors in mind, the Development Champions held in-depth discussions to develop recommendations and guidelines to ensure the reconstruction and recovery of Yemen is a comprehensive, effective process that has a long-term positive impact. This policy paper presents those recommendations. They include measures to link immediate humanitarian interventions to Yemen’s long-term economic recovery; mechanisms to address fiscal challenges and enhance social protection; guidelines to create new jobs, rebuild infrastructure and strengthen the rule of law; and strategies to enhance local governance and local inclusion in the reconstruction process.
  • Topic: Economics, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Mansour Ali Al Bashiri
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In December 2018, 23 of Yemen’s leading socioeconomic experts convened in Amman during the Fourth Development Champions Forum to discuss economic confidence-building measures in the peace process in Yemen. The discussions at the Forum, which is part of the Rethinking Yemen’s Economy initiative, touched on a number of economic mechanisms that could be implemented to build confidence. These included supporting the Central Bank as an independent institution that serves all of Yemen; ensuring the deposit of public revenues in all governorates at the Central Bank headquarters in Aden; and opening ports and ensuring the free movement of goods, humanitarian aid and people between governorates. The Forum focused on the payment of salaries and pensions to all civil servants due to the critical importance of the issue; this policy brief presents the outcomes of this discussion. As a key step to simultaneously address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and build confidence between the parties engaged in the peace process, the Development Champions recommend that the Yemeni government resumes salary payments to all civil servants working in the administrative apparatus of the state registered in the Ministry of Civil Service database of 2014 across Yemen, prioritizing payments to education and health workers. The Yemeni government should also continue to provide liquidity to guarantee the payment of pensions to all public sector retirees. Meanwhile, Ansar Allah should allow all state revenues in areas under their control to be deposited into the accounts specified by the Central Bank of Yemen temporarily headquartered in Aden, and all parties should work toward the restoration of the Central Bank as a national institution that serves all of Yemen. The Development Champions call on regional and international donors to cover any funding gap to support the payment of salaries and pensions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Labor Issues, Income Inequality, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief outlines recommendations for the immediate priorities of the Government of Yemen, both to achieve quick wins and to prepare the ground for medium and long-term success. These recommendations are the outcomes of in-depth discussions held during the fourth Development Champions Forum convened on December 8-11, 2018, in Amman, Jordan. They are designed to offer Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed and his cabinet a set of practical measures to help the government build on the momentum and increased visibility it achieved in the final quarter of 2018. The immediate priorities recommended by the Development Champions include steps to support the stabilization of the local currency. an area in which tangible progress has already been made. The Champions also urge the government to regularize the payment of public sector salaries and pensions. Another immediate priority for the government should be to take steps to stabilize and transform Aden, the Champions suggest, based on the shared consensus that the southern coastal city could become a model for the rest of Yemen. The Champions emphasized that developing Aden would depend on improving the level of security across the governorate. While recognizing that the government faces immediate challenges that demand attention in Aden and across the country, the Development Champions urge the government to plan and implement procedures to prepare for the country’s medium and long-term future. These strategies should address the root causes of Yemen’s socio-economic instability, and not just its symptoms. Among the most important actions to prepare for long-term priorities is the expansion of the roles and responsibilities of local government authorities, the Champions concluded. During the conflict, decision-making authority has filtered down to the local level and become far more decentralized. The government should build on this new reality to reconfigure the state and its relationship with local government authorities.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Public Sector, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Troy Stangarone
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Following a relatively successful period for U.S.-South Korea economic relations under the Bush and Obama administrations, Washington and Seoul have entered a new period of economic tension in the Trump administration. Unlike prior U.S. presidents, who placed a priority on negotiating fair rules in the United States’ economic relationships, President Trump has prioritized outcomes. As a result, one of his administration’s earliest moves was to renegotiate the KORUS Free Trade Agreement. While the results of the renegotiation were modest, they may help to expand the sale of American automobiles in the Republic of Korea in the long-run. The largest outcome of the negotiations may be to protect the Ford Motor Company from South Korean competition in the U.S. market as the company transitions to sales focused on light trucks. While the renegotiation has eased tensions for the moment, the prospect of economic engagement with North Korea, the Trump administration’s continued use of national security to erect trade barriers, and the emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles could result in growing tensions in the relationship.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Negotiation, Free Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anshuman Rahul
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy International Relations
  • Institution: Postgraduate Program in International Strategic Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Abstract: The OBOR initiative of China often termed as ‘Modern-day Silk Road’ is based on President Xi Jinping’s epic vision to make ‘China Great Again’ by reviving the Silk Route of ancient times. This initiative aims to engage Eurasia economically by creating a network of infrastructure. In this regard, the article attempts to understand the geo-politics behind India’s refusal to join OBOR and strategic response to counter the most appealing economic engagement of the present era but considered to be a debt-trap by India.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Military Strategy, Silk Road
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Sandro Knezović
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The European strategic landscape has changed dramatically over the course of the last decade. The post-Cold War mantra about the obsolescence of conventional threats in the wider European space proved to be short-sighted with developments at its eastern �lanks, while security dysfunctions in the MENA region and their immanent consequences for the safety of European citizens have loaded a heavy burden on compromise-building and decision-making in the �ield of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the EU. Furthermore, the approach of the new US administration to European security and the strategic consequences of Brexit have changed the wider framework in which security of 'the Old Continent' is to be determined, hence stimulating European leaders to rethink European security in a strive for strategic autonomy of their own. The very ambitiously phrased EU Global Strategy that came out in June 2016, served as both catalyst and umbrella document for such an endeavour. However, in order to achieve measurable progress in responding to contemporary security challenges, it was clear that the EU needs to develop a structural way for member states to do jointly what they were not capable of doing at the national level. This is so especially in the environment in which China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are championing the defence spending, right after the US, while European states are signi�icantly trailing behind. The fact that the EU collectively is the second largest military investor and yet far from being among the dominant military powers only emphasises the burning issue of ef�iciency of military spending and the level of interoperability among member states’ armies. High-level fragmentation of the European defence market and the fact that defence industries are kept in national clusters is clearly contributing to that. The reality on the ground is obviously challenging traditional methods of co-operation that operate mainly in ‘national boxes’ and calling for a paradigm change in the wider policy context of CSDP. However, it remains to be seen to which extent will this new security environment actually be able to push the European defence policy context over the strict national boundaries.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Chun In-bum
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: As the focus shifted from North Korea’s military advances in 2017 to its diplomatic offensive in 2018, we should not lose sight of the strategic thinking behind gaining the maximum time to develop the capacity to extend its military threat. At present North Korea needs time to perfect its nuclear strike capability. It has been very successful in developing missile capabilities, but it needs additional time to achieve its goals. Starting with high-level North-South talks on March 5, 2018, the DPRK has just gained what it needs most: time. Whenever the first talks begin with the United States and the DPRK, there should be no surprise if the DPRK comes with an improved capability to threaten the alliance. Thus, for an extended period in 2018, as diplomacy proceeds, we should expect a subdued North Korean approach: not flaunting its nuclear weapons and missiles, while striving to boost capabilities for the struggle ahead. In the seven years since Kim Jong-un officially inherited the leadership of the DPRK, his stated policy has been byungjin ( 병진, 竝進), the pursuit of both economic and military development. In conjunction with purges and efforts to eliminate rivals, byungjin may, in part, derive from Kim’s efforts at the outset of his tenure to consolidate political power. Through it, Kim displayed moderate economic flexibility, thereby gaining favor with the North Korean people through facilitating an improvement in living standards. It is tempting to see byungjin as a sign of the regime’s weakness, or as an indication of moderation, either of which would prompt the eventual collapse of the Kim regime. Correspondingly, one might see it as a reflection of Kim’s immaturity, inexperience, and lack of political and strategic acumen. These viewpoints reflect mirror imaging more than a sophisticated understanding of North Korea. Byungjin may be more of a political device and a strategic communications element of a grand strategy, as opposed to the regime’s strategy. It may be a significant instrument in the regime’s effort to maintain elite cohesion and focus the energies of the North Korean people toward productive pursuits that likewise add to the regime’s legitimacy and staying power. It by no means suggests any diminishing of the priority of making advances in nuclear and missile development in order to pose a more serious threat. Since taking power, Kim’s regime has fired close to one hundred missiles of wide variety and range compared to thirty-one for his father and grandfather combined. He has also conducted four nuclear tests, boasting of a thermal nuclear capability. During his 2018 New Year’s address, Kim Jong-un proclaimed that the DPRK had perfected its nuclear and intercontinental missile capabilities, supporting North Korea’s constitutional claim to be a nuclear power. Despite an upsurge in diplomacy after this address, we should keep our eyes on its military advances.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Security, Military Strategy, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: William B. Brown
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: This chapter takes the perspective of North Korea’s leadership as it confronts difficult economic problems in the remaining months of 2018. The major current and potential issues are listed and prioritized. Short and longer-term remedies are presented, each with trade-offs that affect other economic and policy issues. Given the absence of direct reporting from North Korea, the issues and debates presented are speculative, designed to give the reader a more comprehensive understanding of North Korea’s current problems than is ordinarily presented in western media. Kim Jong-un’s recent diplomatic offensive, reaching out to South Korea, China, and the United States is, in this view, suggestive of these internal economic troubles in addition to the nuclear security issues. The troubles are both short-term—the collapse in trade with China in just the past few months—and long-term, the slow-motion collapse of the communist country’s “command” economy. And much more than in the past, the problems relate to the regime’s unusual and dangerous monetary system, money being a normal issue for most governments but a relatively new one for this still partially rationed, or planned, oriented system. The leadership may have little choice but to let the domestic economy move further from the plan—allowing decentralized market and private activities more sway—than ever before. This would help cushion the central government from losses due to the sanctions and open the door to a much more prosperous future. Without major moves in this direction, inflation and unemployment may cascade into social crisis. It should be noted, that the recent Assembly Meetings, which annually focus on the economy, gave little official indication of policy changes, only a sense of digging in further to protect the regime from outside forces. But just a week later, Kim may have telegraphed an upcoming sea change when, in his address to the Party Central Committee plenum, that he is instituting a new Party Line, socialist economic construction, as the total focus of the Party and the country. Major changes, if they are to occur, will likely come after the upcoming important summits with South Korea and the U.S.1 There is little doubt that the economy in 2018 is in very poor condition, delivering one of the worst productivity rates—productivity in terms of labor and of capital—in the world, but it is important to recognize that this is due not to natural circumstances but to decisions the government has made over the years, and trade-offs it has already made. This suggests that astute government policy can create solutions and restore growth. Remedies of the sort expressed here, for example in liquidating, that is selling or leasing state assets to private buyers, raising fixed prices for state delivered electricity and for water and other utilities, and giving large pay raises to the millions of state workers who now rely on rations, while culling their numbers, would require difficult economic and social trade-offs; one might say there is no free lunch for Kim and his regime although no doubt they are looking for one, even in these summits. The chapter discusses just what kinds of decisions might be made and the likely consequences. Negotiations being set with South Korea and with the United States, and likely more discussions with China, may weigh heavily in how far Pyongyang will be willing to go in these respects. In my view the regime will be looking for: outright aid, payments for pushing back the nuclear weapons program, and premature relief from sanctions, which would only give the regime time to avoid the hard choices needed to permanently fix the broken economic system.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Sanctions, Services, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Sanchita Basu Das
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are involved in several regional economic arrangements, not only their own ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), but also those in a bigger geographic area, such as the ASEAN+1 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). A subset of these countries are partaking of Asia-Pacific deals, namely the latest Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Some are pursuing bilateral deals in pursuit of deeper economic cooperation. Finally, all ASEAN countries are members of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which although not labelled a trade agreement, is concerned with trade-related measures including transport infrastructure, policy coordination, economic connectivity through trade and investment, customs modernization, financial cooperation, and people-to-people linkages. A common feature of all these trade agreements is that they are not just focused on removing restrictions on trade, i.e. lowering import tariffs and quotas, but are much more comprehensive and include issues like trade in services, investment, labor, intellectual property rights, regulatory standards, and health and safety rules. All of these agreements deal with cooperation measures beyond national borders and can be called deep economic cooperation. They go beyond the WTO framework and are often labeled “new regionalism,” understood as state-led projects in the context of global developments. The extent of deepness varies, mainly depending on the participating countries’ development stage and the economic competitiveness of domestic sectors. What do the ASEAN countries aim to achieve? Theory has elucidated that governments have motives ranging from politics to economics when entering an economic cooperation arrangement. The political motives could be confidence building, i.e. if an international relationship was blemished by a history of conflict, economic cooperation can introduce a process of confidence building.3 For smaller countries, it could be seen as a means to increase bargaining power with the international community. Countries often see economic cooperation as a means to hasten their domestic economic reforms so as to increase attractiveness to foreign investors.4 Governments could follow a regionalism exercise also to defend domestic interests that are threatened by regionalism elsewhere. As for the economic motives, countries prefer cooperation among a limited number of players as it enables continued protection in a bigger geographical space and shuns producers from non-members. This enables them to exclude “politically sensitive,” noncompetitive domestic sectors completely from trade liberalization. Finally, regional economic arrangements are essential for creating economies of scale for producers and offering a larger market for consumers, which increases attractiveness to potential investors. This chapter elaborates on ASEAN’s perspective on economic regionalism in the Asia-Pacific. It examines key initiatives that ASEAN countries are currently negotiating or implementing in their national economies, discusses economic and strategic motives, and views the future of regionalism from an ASEAN perspective. It concludes that although the ASEAN countries are facing some uncertainties in their pursuit of economic regionalism, they will continue to support the endeavor as it serves their economic structure of openness. The countries have realized the benefits of economic integration in terms of confidence building of investors, thereby bolstering economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Economic growth, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election and immediate pullout from the TPP, a scramble ensued over how to proceed with constructing a regional trade order centered on East Asia. For China this brought closer scrutiny of its pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In the case of Japan, questions followed about what to do with the residue of TPP. Others, notably countries in Southeast Asia, were left contemplating the balance between eastern exclusive regionalism and the western presence in regionalism. In the background were efforts in South Asia aimed at advancing economic integration with East Asia. A kind of free-for-all was in progress without the moorings that had been lost after the paradigm of competition between a U.S.-led TPP and a China hub-and-spokes BRI no longer was guiding the strategic calculations of Asian countries. Then, in March 2018 came Trump’s disruptive tariffs, threatening to set a trade war in motion. Four chapters explore the challenge of advancing a regional trade order in East Asia in the new circumstances of 2017-18. Tu Xinquan in Chapter 10 questions whether BRI is a path toward regionalism, delving deeply into the Chinese strategy for BRI. T.J. Pempel follows in Chapter 11 by exploring Japan’s thinking about TPP and the process of refocusing on TPP- 11 following the U.S. withdrawal. Chapter 12 by Sanchita Basu Das offers a hopeful ASEAN perspective on economic regionalism. Finally, in Chapter 13 Pradumna Bickram Rana traces thinking about re-energizing economic integration between South Asia and East Asia. With no finality to the RCEP talks and the recently concluded TPP-11 pact still taking shape and Trump’s “America First” trade policy casting a dark shadow, we aim to capture signs of a new trade order at a time of flux.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Integration, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, East Asia, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Choong Yong Ahn
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The Moon Jae-in administration in South Korea has taken a two-pronged approach to ensure urgently needed job creation and inclusive growth. Although measures towards each set of economic policies have been implemented since Moon took office in May 2017, what’s often referred to as “incomeled growth” has been prioritized over innovative growth. The income-led growth model is largely driven by domestic consumption through pro-labor distributional policies including a wage hike to raise the disposable income of low- and middleincome individuals, thereby triggering equity with growth. Focused more on the supply side, the innovative growth model encourages startups to create jobs and innovate. It is a great challenge for Korea to pursue growth and equity through both sets of policies. After a year in office, the Moon administration’s economic agenda, often referred to as J-nomics, has not fully produced the intended policy objectives in terms of job creation and growth. To mitigate a declining potential growth rate and pursue robust and inclusive growth, the twin policies need to be rebalanced, reprioritized, and interconnected in a mutually reinforcing manner to empower the private sector to play a bigger role. As a mid-sized open economy, Korea requires global market competitiveness on the supply side to create decent jobs by buoying entrepreneurship and innovation. Structural reforms in the labor market combined with deregulations necessary for the advent of disruptive 4th-industrial-revolution technologies must be expedited. Furthermore, a new business ecosystem in which win-win collaborations between globally-oriented conglomerates and small businesses must be encouraged to replace a zero-sum business culture.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Global Markets, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jin Kyo Suh
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Beef trade was a major sticking point between the United States and South Korea in ratifying the KORUS FTA. The outcome of the renegotiations that led to the March 2018 agreement in principle did not impact sections pertaining to beef in the agreement, though looking at how beef trade would have been affected should the talks have failed highlights the importance of the agreement to both countries, but particularly the United States. This paper estimates the demand for imported beef in South Korea by source and product by using the production version of the Rotterdam demand system and assesses what the potential impact of U.S. withdrawal from the KORUS FTA would have been on beef trade between the U.S. and South Korea. The results suggest U.S. withdrawal from the KORUS FTA would have resulted in a considerable increase in Australian beef exports to South Korea, largely at the expense of U.S. beef. This is because there is significant price competition between beef imports from the United States and Australia. Furthermore, Korean consumers substitute American beef for Australian beef when the relative price of U.S. beef rises.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Exports, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Yi Huang, Chen Lin, Sibo Liu, Heiwai Tang
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: On March 22, 2018, Trump proposed to impose tariffs on up to $50 billion of Chinese imports leading to a significant concern over the "Trade War" between the US and China. We evaluate the market responses to this event for firms in both countries, depending on their direct and indirect exposures to US-China trade. US firms that are more dependent on exports to and imports from China have lower stock and bond returns but higher default risks in the short time window around the announcement date. We also find that firms' indirect exposure to US-China trade through domestic input-output linkages affects their responses to the announcement. These findings suggest that the structure of US-China trade is much more complex than the simplistic view of global trade that engendered Trump's "Trade War" against China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy, Trade Wars, Exports
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Corruption, or the abuse of power for private gain, has been deeply entrenched in the Yemeni political economy for decades. Over the course of the ongoing conflict, however, as the war has fragmented and regionalized the country, state capture in Yemen has become far more complex. In the war economy, patronage networks are now emerging among previously marginal or unknown figures. The financial involvement of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has extended patronage across national borders. Alleged collusion between Houthi-affiliated importers and officials allied with the internationally recognized Yemeni government indicates patronage networks that potentially cross the frontlines of the war themselves. As greater numbers and a wider variety of actors profit from illicit activity in the war economy, vested economic interests in continued conflict become more entrenched. If state capture is among the main drivers of Yemen’s war economy, then post-conflict recovery must include a strong anti-corruption agenda. Policymakers must begin planning to address corruption as a part of a potential post-conflict strategy. Given the multi-faceted pervasiveness of corruption in Yemen, any anti-corruption agenda must aim to understand the complex configuration of patronage networks in Yemen, to be introduced gradually, and to get the buy-in of as wide a group of Yemenis as possible. Without these basic building blocks, more specific policy changes such as encouraging transparency or reducing conflicts of interest may founder. Corruption has become deeply entrenched in Yemen; any post-conflict anti-corruption agenda must be great in scope and long-term in vision.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government, War, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Ning Wang
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The ultimate success of China’s search for economic prosperity, cultural renaissance, and a “peaceful rise” depends, in large part, on whether a free market for ideas can reemerge and flourish in China. The concept of the “market for ideas” (sixian shichang) was first introduced to a Chinese audience by Ronald Coase and myself in How China Became Capitalist (Coase and Wang 2012, see also Coase 1974). It quickly won acceptance among academics and the media. China is the only leading economy where the production and communication of ideas remains under strict state control. Universities, the primary venue where new ideas are produced, are run by the state. Newspapers, radio and TV stations, and publishers are all controlled by the state; ideas unwelcome by the state have a hard time to see the light of day. Because the freedom to supply ideas, choose ideas, and criticize ideas is severely limited, the creativity of the Chinese people is underutilized and their innovative potential undertapped.
  • Topic: Economics, History, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Gabriel Jonsson
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines the United Nations Development Programme’s role in South and North Korea’s economic development. The UNDP is not only the UN’s lead agency for economic and social development, it is one of the few UN organizations to have worked with both countries in traditional bilateral arrangements, as well as a in multilateral initiative. Operating in South Korea from 1963 to 2009, the UNDP contributed to the nation’s economic development by complimenting the government’s policies. However, its role was minor compared to the government’s own actions. Nonetheless, South Korea has served on the UNDP board four times since its UN admission in 1991, raising the country’s diplomatic standing. After North Korea joined the UNDP in 1979, the organization’s work in the country focused on improving food production and supporting industrial development. These activities helped improve the economic crisis since the 1990s. In the 1990s, the UNDP provided humanitarian assistance and scholarships to develop human resources. Pyongyang officials restricted the UNDP’s work throughout the time it was active in North Korea. These violations led the UNDP to suspend operations in 2007. Since the early 1990s, the UNDP has supported the Tumen River Area Development Program, the only initiative that involved the two Koreas, as well as China, Russia and Mongolia. Although the UNDP facilitated initial contacts, it was unable to overcome longstanding animosities and disagreements. The successor Greater Tumen Initiative continues to languish.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, United Nations, United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United Nations
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: At the height of the Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union used money and weapons to build satellite states; today China and India are using satellites in space to win influence and secure their geo-political and economic interests. They see each other as competition in the global satellite launch business. So how do the Indian and Chinese space programs compare? In which areas is competition likely to be most intense?
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Space
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Inayat Kalim
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Development of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with all its associated projects, favorably influences the geo-strategic and geo-economic prospects of China. Geo-strategic location of Gwadar further facilitates China to capture transit trade with Central Asia, Afghanistan and the Middle East and influence this regional accessibility with a viable and secured corridor for further expansion of regional economic cooperation. Since the emergence of China as an energy importer in late 90s, it has adopted a „go out‟ strategy to secure energy assets through procurement and long term energy investment in the energy rich countries, mostly in the Persian Gulf states and convert historical routes into a modern grid of energy pipelines, roads and railways for its energy supplies. The strategy aims at using financial means such as building new seaports, infrastructure development and military and hydrocarbon cooperation between regional countries to establish an artery for ensuring uninterrupted crude oil supply to its territory. This Chinese approach has been referred by many intellects around the globe as the revitalization of the Silk Road Strategy to link China with surrounding regions to generate immense economic dividends.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Geopolitics, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Li Si-qi, Tu Xin-quan, Liu Bin
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The article focuses on the China-Korea FTA, analyzing the background of China-Korea bilateral economic relations, the characteristics of the China-Korea FTA and more importantly, the implications and future prospect of this free trade pact. So far, the China-Korea FTA is considered to be the most comprehensive compared with China's previous FTAs and may be the largest in trade terms among all the FTAs concluded by Korea and China, playing a positive role in advancing economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region. However, with lots of exceptions to tariff elimination and market access, as well as a 20-year transition period, the present version of the China-Korea FTA is far from the best in terms of the depth of liberalization and the scope of obligations on trade and investment rules. The recent bilateral diplomatic tensions due to the decision of deploying the THAAD missile system by the Korean government may also jeopardize bilateral economic ties between China and Korea, and further increase uncertainties of the China-Korea FTA. It remains to be seen whether the Chinese and Korean governments will handle this issue smoothly under the present sensitive political atmosphere and achieve substantial progress in follow-up FTA negotiations on services and investment.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Kim Gyu-Pan
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Korea's economic relations with Japan, which were re-established as a result of the diplomatic normalization between the two countries in 1965, have transformed from dependent to interdependent. The extraordinary economic growth that Korea accomplished during the post-war period was largely due to intermediate goods imported from Japan, and technical cooperation and joint ventures with Japanese enterprises. However, in the 21st century, the dependence of Korean firms on Japanese technology has somewhat declined as global enterprises have appeared in Korea. In contrast to the post-war economic boom, Japanese companies now prefer to cooperate with their Korean counterparts, resulting in joint business ventures between Korean and Japanese firms being continuously developed. This reversal in the economic ties between Korea and Japan can be attributed to several reasons including: the rise of China; Japan's two lost decades; and Korea's push for domestic structural reform as well as economic globalization after the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997. Nonetheless, the issue of Korea's trade imbalance with Japan, which was established during the post-war period, still remains thereby serving as a serious impediment to FTA negotiations between Korea and Japan as well as Korea's TPP negotiations.
  • Topic: Economics, History, Bilateral Relations, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Lim Soo-ho, Hong Seok-ki
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Since the collapse of industry during the 'Arduous March' (1995-1997), Pyongyang has continuously launched reconstruction plans but has failed to see a rebound. The key is to restore industrial linkages; however, the DPRK allocated a majority of state investment to the defense industry under the 'Military First Economic Policy.' As long as the 'strategic sector' retains priority, a sound outcome seems to be out of reach. In reality, North Korea's comparative advantage lies on labor-intensive business, with abundant labor forces at a low cost. After unification, such industries will have bright prospects with technology and capital not only from South Korea, but also from China and Japan. The economic integration scenario of the two Koreas -- whether radical or gradual -- will decide industrial policies for the upper half of the peninsula in the post-unification era.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, History, Reconstruction, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Younsung Kim
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Companies in industrialized nations have embraced environmental protection and sustainability as part of their international competitive strategies. The trend toward proactive environmental management has also grown in Korean firms, as consumers, investors, local policy networks, and the Lee Myung-bak administration’s green growth policy initiatives have provided an impetus for the greening of South Korean firms. However, despite heightened firm interest in environmental responsibility, there is little understanding of which types of sustainable activities Korean firms have implemented. Analyzing sustainability reports from 30 large Korean firms, this study finds that Korean firms are more likely to employ lower-order sustainability practices that can help prevent pollution and modify existing processes and products to reduce environmental impact. However, their focus on innovating clean technologies seems to be limited. To transition to a low-carbon, green economy, the Korean government should consider green growth policies that foster firms’ investments in higher-order sustainability strategies and scale up corporate sustainability more broadly in the Korean business community.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Nimmi Kurian
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: It is intriguing that despite a liberal economic narrative of borders as bridges, the transHimalayan trader has remained a rather forlorn and forgotten metaphor. This absence has however neither been voluntary nor anticipated but instead can be traced to fundamental flaws in India’s subregional discourse with its bias toward state-led formal institution building. Far from being marginal, the trans-Himalayan trader was in fact the central protagonist, as can be seen from a reading of the social and economic history of India’s borderlands. While this is not an attempt to read back into history a larger-than-life role for the border actor, it is a cue for India’s subregional discourse to imaginatively re-engage with the expertise and rich form of social capital that the transborder trader represents.
  • Topic: Economics, History , Borders, Trade
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, Himalayas
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: This study investigated the economic and social impact of mobile internet technology across the economies of South East Asia. In-house econometric research established the relationship between mobile internet penetration and key enablers of supply side growth including productivity and labour force participation. These results were applied to a group of economies in South East Asia to quantify the economic benefits of observed and forecast future increases in mobile internet penetration. Overall, increased mobile internet penetration is forecast to create an extra $58.1 billion in GDP and one million new job opportunities by 2020.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Internet
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • 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: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: China’s increasingly significant economic and security interests in the Middle East have several impacts. It affects not only its energy security but also its regional posture, relations with regional powers as well as the United States, and efforts to pacify nationalist and Islamist Uighurs in its north-western province of Xinjiang. Those interests are considerably enhanced by China’s One Belt, One Road initiative that seeks to patch together a Eurasian land mass through inter-linked infrastructure, investment and expanded trade relations. Protecting its mushrooming interests is forcing China to realign its policies and relationships in the region. As it takes stock of the Middle East and North Africa’s volatility and tumultuous, often violent political transitions, China feels the pressure to acknowledge that it no longer can remain aloof to the Middle East and North Africa’s multiple conflicts. China’s long-standing insistence on non-interference in the domestic affairs of others, refusal to envision a foreign military presence and its perseverance that its primary focus is the development of mutually beneficial economic and commercial relations, increasingly falls short of what it needs to do to safeguard its vital interests. Increasingly, China will have to become a regional player in competitive cooperation with the United States, the dominant external actor in the region for the foreseeable future. The pressure to revisit long-standing foreign and defence policy principles is also driven by the fact that China’s key interests in the Middle East and North Africa have expanded significantly beyond the narrow focus of energy despite its dependence on the region for half 1 China has signalled its gradual recognition of these new realities with the publication in January 2016 of an Arab Policy Paper, the country’s first articulation of a policy towards the Middle East and North Africa. But, rather than spelling out specific policies, the paper reiterated the generalities of China’s core focus in its relations with the Arab world: economics, energy, counter-terrorism, security, technical cooperation and its One Belt, One Road initiative. Ultimately however, China will have to develop a strategic vision that outlines foreign and defence policies it needs to put in place to protect its expanding strategic, geopolitical, economic, and commercial interests in the Middle East and North Africa; its role and place in the region as a rising superpower in the region; and its relationship and cooperation with the United States in managing, if not resolving conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Economics, Imperialism, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Middle East, Asia, North Africa
  • Author: Benjamin Selwyn
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis is part and parcel of mainstream development discourse and policy. Supplier firms are encouraged, with state support, to ‘link-up’ with trans-national lead firms. Such arrangements, it is argued, will reduce poverty and contribute to meaningful socio-economic development. This portrayal of global political economic relations represents a ‘problem-solving’ interpretation of reality. This article proposes an alternative analytical approach rooted in ‘critical theory’ which reformulates the GVC approach to better investigate and explain the reproduction of global poverty, inequality and divergent forms of national development. It suggests re-labelling GVC as Global Poverty Chain (GPC) analysis. GPC’s are examined in the textiles, food, and high-tech sectors. The article details how workers in these chains are systematically paid less than their subsistence costs, how trans-national corporations use their global monopoly power to capture the lion’s share of value created within these chains, and how these relations generate processes of immiserating growth. The article concludes by considering how to extend GPC analysis.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Labor Issues, Inequality, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Joseph Felter, Benjamin Crost
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Many governments and international experts consider a move towards high-value export crops, such as fruits and vegetables, as an important opportunity for economic growth and poverty reduction. Little is known, however, about the effects of export crops in fragile and conflict- affected countries. We exploit movements in world market prices combined with geographic variation in crop intensity to provide evidence that increases in the value of a major export crop exacerbate conflict violence in the Philippines. We further show that this effect is concentrated in areas with low baseline insurgent control. In areas with high insurgent control, a rise in crop value leads to a decrease in violence but a further expansion of rebel-controlled territory. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that insurgents gain strength from extorting agricultural exporters and that insurgent strength has a non-monotonic effect on conflict violence because strong insurgent groups can establish local monopolies of violence.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Violence, Exports
  • Political Geography: Asia, Philippines
  • Author: Chenggang Xu
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: After more than three decades of economic reform, China has transformed from being one of the poorest economies in the world to being the second-largest economy measured by nominal exchange rates, or the largest economy measured by purchasing power. As such, it is important to elucidate the determinants of China’s future development. This article will focus on China’s institutions. I argue that although the size of China’s economy is extremely important in terms of its impact on the global economy, it is misleading to ignore political and economic institutions. Indeed, forecasts based on extrapolating past trends could be erroneous (see Pritchett and Summers 2014). China was the largest economy in the world before the end of the 19th century but then lost ground to Western nations that established the rule of law and free trade. To understand China’s past and future development, one has to examine its institutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Reform, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The relationship between the European Union (EU) and Asia is in flux. The EU intensified its economic ties to Asia and boosted its security cooperation in the region in 2011 and 2012. But new challenges, including the crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, have made it difficult to sustain this incipient momentum. There are a number of steps that EU and Asian governments can and should take to continue to strengthen their relations.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia
85. Pivot 2.0
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Opinion surveys demonstrate that a majority of Americans consider Asia the most important region to U.S. interests and a majority of Asian experts support the Obama administration's goal of a “pivot” or “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region.1 Yet doubts have also grown about whether the pivot can be sustained by a president politically weakened by the 2014 midterm results, constrained by budget sequestration, and pulled into crises from Ukraine to Iraq and Iran. On issues from immigration to Cuba policy, the Obama administration and the incoming Republican Congress appear set for confrontation. Yet Asia policy remains largely bipartisan—perhaps the most bipartisan foreign policy issue in Washington. It is therefore critical—and practical— to ask that the White House and the Republican leadership in the Congress chart a common course on policy toward Asia for the next two years. This report outlines concrete areas for action on trade, China, defense, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A trifecta of international gatherings – the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Beijing, the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Nay Pyi Taw, and the G-20 gathering in Brisbane – had heads of state from around the globe, including US President Barack Obama, flocking to the Asia-Pacific as 2014 was winding to a close. North Korea was not included in these confabs but its leaders (although not the paramount one) were taking their charm offensive almost everywhere else in an (unsuccessful) attempt to block a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Pyongyang's human rights record. More successful was Pyongyang's (alleged) attempt to undermine and embarrass Sony Studios to block the release of a Hollywood film featuring the assassination of Kim Jong Un.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Daniele Fattibene
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has come to the fore in the wake of the crisis over Ukraine. Growing tensions with the West over the common neighbourhood, coupled with economic sanctions, have accelerated this trend, with China gaining in strength as both an economic and military partner to Moscow. The Kremlin’s propaganda has sought to convince the broader public that Russia’s strategies in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Arctic region are a complement to China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt. Nonetheless, behind the headlines huge potential problems jeopardise the emergence of a durable Sino-Russian consensus in Eurasia. Against this backdrop, the EU should opt for “strategic patience.” This would be a far more effective policy choice than finger pointing, which only deepens the mutual ideological clash between the EU and Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-69-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Zhao Minghao
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Council has mandated the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, to draft a Global Strategy by June 2016. Given Europe’s status as a global power, such a strategy must respond to Europe’s own challenges as well as to the new grand strategies of other major players in world politics, like China. To better understand the central tenets of the Chinese leadership’s strategic thinking, two keywords are most important – the “Four Comprehensives” and the “One Belt and One Road” (OBOR). As an initiative mainly focusing on promoting Eurasian integration and reshaping Chinese geo-economic advantages, the OBOR is highly consequential to China’s interactions with Europe and the rest of the world at large in the decades to come. How to take advantage of the OBOR, create new EU-China synergies, and tackle relevant challenges are questions the EU leaders should be attentive to.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-61-3
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Jeffrey Schott, Eujiin Jung, Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Of all the free trade agreements (FTAs) concluded by Korea with its major trading partners since the turn of the century, the Korea-China FTA may be the largest in trade terms. It is, however, far from the best in terms of the depth of liberalization and the scope of obligations on trade and investment policies. Korea and China agreed to liberalize a large share of bilateral trade within 20 years, but both sides incorporated extensive exceptions to basic tariff reforms and deferred important market access negotiations on services and investment for several years. Political interests trumped economic objectives, and the negotiated outcome cut too many corners to achieve such a comprehensive result. The limited outcome in the Korea-China talks has two clear implications for economic integration among the northeast Asian countries. First, prospects for the ongoing China-Japan-Korea talks will be limited and unlikely to exceed the Korea-China outcome. Second, Korea and Japan need to strengthen their bilateral leg of the northeast Asian trilateral and the best way is by negotiating a deal in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Adam S. Posen, Nicolas Veron
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Given no generally accepted framework for financial stability, policymakers in developing Asia need to manage, not avoid, financial deepening. This paper supports Asian policymakers' judgment through analysis of the recent events in the United States and Europe and of earlier crisis episodes, including Asia during the 1990s. There is no simple linear relationship between financial repression and stability—financial repression not only has costs but, so doing can itself undermine stability. Bank-centric financial systems are not inherently safer than systems that include meaningful roles for securities and capital markets. Domestic financial systems should be steadily diversified in terms of both number of domestic competitors and types of savings and lending instruments available (and thus probably types of institutions). Financial repression should be focused on regulating the activities of financial intermediaries, not on compressing interest rates for domestic savers. Cross-border lending should primarily involve creation of multinational banks' subsidiaries in the local economy—and local currency lending and bond issuance should be encouraged. Macroprudential tools can be useful, and, if anything, are more effective in less open or less financially deep economies than in more advanced financial centers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Tomas Hellebrandt, Paolo Mauro
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Over the next two decades the structure of world population and income will undergo profound changes. Global income inequality is projected to decline further in 2035, largely owing to rapid economic growth in the emerging-market economies. The potential pool of consumers worldwide will expand significantly, with the largest net gains in the developing and emerging-market economies. The number of people earning between US$1,144 and US$3,252 per year in 2013 prices in purchasing power parity terms will increase by around 500 million, with the largest gains in Sub-Saharan Africa and India; those earning between US$3,252 and US$8,874 per year in 2013 prices will increase by almost 1 billion, with the largest gains in India and Sub-Saharan Africa; and those earning more than US$8,874 per year will increase by 1.2 billion, with the largest gains in China and the advanced economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Ajai Chopra
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Growth in developing Asia will need to rely more on improvements in productivity growth and less on capital deepening. Although there is no single reform path to spur productivity growth, financial system deepening is central to a more efficient allocation of capital across sectors and can facilitate innovation and technology transfer. But malfunctioning financial systems can also result in the misallocation of resources, making it important that policymakers focus less on increasing the size of the financial sector and more on improving its intermediation function. Chopra discusses the steps to mobilize Asia's ample private savings for long-term financing, especially to tackle the region's infrastructure deficit and improve access to financing for small and medium enterprises, which can help raise productivity. As many countries in Asia shift from a development model based on technology absorption to one that promotes innovation, specialized finance and investors can play a critical role in allowing innovative firms to conduct research, adopt technologies necessary for inventions, and ultimately commercialize innovations.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The financial sectors in Asian emerging-market economies are now relatively unlikely to provoke new financial crises, either because of reforms after the East Asian financial crisis in the later 1990s or because of the dominance of state-owned banks not subject to bank runs. Financial intermediation is surprisingly high and is consistent with higher rates of saving and investment and hence growth in the main economies of the region (as compared to, say, counterparts in Latin America). Nonetheless, there are sharply diverging patterns (e.g., high foreign ownership of banks in Korea versus minimal presence in China) and differing national structures (bank dominated, portfolio oriented, and diversified) within Asia. Cline recommends establishing long-term plans to improve efficiency in state-owned banks or reduce their dominance and pursuing bank capitalization targets at least as ambitious as those of Basel III. Cline also calls for ensuring adequate regulation of growing nonbank intermediaries, reversing a recent trend toward national barriers to foreign banks in some economies, and improving the legal security of bank regulators.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Sarah Detzner, James Copnall, Alex de Waal, Ian M. Ralby, Joshua Stanton, Ibrahim Warde, Leon Whyte, Richard Weitz, Jessica Knight, John H. Maurer, Alexander Tabarrok, Alex Nowrasteh, Tom Keatinge, Emily Knowles, Karolina MacLachlan, Andrew Lebovich, Caroline Troein, Anne Moulakis
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The Fletcher Security Review: Managed and edited by students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, we build on the Fletcher School’s strong traditions of combining scholarship with practice, fostering close interdisciplinary collaboration, and acting as a vehicle for groundbreaking discussion of international security. We believe that by leveraging these strengths – seeking input from established and up-and-coming scholars, practitioners, and analysts from around the world on topics deserving of greater attention – we can promote genuinely unique ways of looking at the future of security. Each issue of the Review is centered around a broad theme – in this issue, we tackle “Money & War.” Money influences every aspect of warfare, conventional or unconventional. No nationstate military, insurgent group, terrorist network, trans-national criminal organization, or hybrid actor can be understood, or countered, without knowing where the money is coming from – as well as where, and how, it gets spent. Evolutions and revolutions in financial tools and practices quickly translate to transformations in military affairs, and some cases, vice versa.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Human Rights, Governance, Sanctions, Military Affairs, Finance, Islamic State, Navy, Arab Spring, Maritime, Conflict, Multilateralism, Islamism, Drugs, Currency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, China, Iran, Sudan, Darfur, Middle East, Asia, North Korea, Mali, Asia-Pacific, Sahel, United States of America, North America
  • Author: Rabia Altaf, Molly Douglas, Drew Yerkes
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Many Western leaders point to the Arctic as a zone of cooperation—and we have observed such cooperation with the formulation of the Arctic Council, joint scientific endeavors, Search and Rescue agreements, and the very recent Arctic Coast Guard Forum—but disputes between Russia and other Arctic nations in regions to the south have raised concerns in certain quarters. While an ongoing struggle for dominance over the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage and competing continental shelf claims may reflect these tensions, tit-for-tat military exercises and plans for expanded military infrastructure in the Arctic certainly do. The Russian government recently announced completion of a new military base in Franz Josef Land capable of supporting 150 soldiers, as well as its intention to rebuild six existing airfields. While such a nominal increase in military personnel posted to the Arctic may merely be seen as a posturing act, taken in context with Russia’s recent actions in Europe and the Middle East, it might also be seen as a bold move to project power from a previously overlooked region.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Roman Muzalevsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: China’s emergence as a global actor has questioned the position of the United States as the strongest power and the future of the Washington-led global order. To achieve the status of a truly global player wielding influence in all dimensions of power would require China to leverage its regional influence in Central Asia. This region is increasingly representing China’s western leg of economic expansion and development, and is of a growing strategic importance for Beijing. It is also a region that should be of greater strategic importance to Washington, which seeks to preserve its leading position in the international system and ensure China’s peaceful integration in the global political, security, and economic architecture.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Hegemony, Global Markets, Global Security
  • Political Geography: China, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Rajeswari Sengupta, Abhuit Sen Gupta
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Gross capital inflows and outflows to and from emerging market economies have witnessed a significant increase since the early 2000s. This rapid increase in the volume of flows, accompanied by sharp swings in volatility, has amplified the complexity of macroeconomic management in emerging economies. This paper focuses on capital flows in selected emerging Asian economies, analyzing surge and stop episodes as well as changes in the composition of flows across these episodes, then evaluating the policy measures undertaken by these economies in response to the surge and stop of capital flows. This kind of analysis is highly relevant, especially at a time when emerging economies around the world are facing the repercussions of a potential monetary policy normalization in the United States and continuing quantitative easing measures by the European Central Bank, either of which could once again heighten the volatility of cross-border capital flows, thereby posing renewed macroeconomic challenges for major EMEs.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: 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: Dylan Kissane
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Central European University Political Science Journal
  • Institution: Central European University
  • Abstract: If there is one issue in contemporary international relations that continues to provoke interest in academic and policy making circles alike it is how states, regions and the world should react to a rising China. While the influence of the People's Republic is being felt from Africa and the Global South through to the developed economies of North America and Europe, it is in East Asia where a re-emerging China has most focused the minds of diplomats and strategists, leaders and scholars and, indeed, the military men and women who must navigate this increasingly precarious great power polity. Within this East Asian context this new volume by David Martin Jones, Nicholas Khoo and MLR Smith delivers thoughtful and attentive analysis to the problem of responding to China's rise. The book is neither a historical account of the rise of China, though it does offer sufficient historical contextualisation for the reader, or another collection of prescriptive policy suggestions, though there are clear conclusions made about which regional and state strategies have best dealt with the rise of the Sinic superpower. Instead, this book is a theoretically informed, consistently argued and well written account of how states in a broadly defined East Asia have and continue to react to the changing security environment that confronts them in the first decades of the twenty-first century.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, America, Asia