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Regional Cooperation

Myanmar in transition: economic development and shifts in foreign aid from East Asia

One of the pillars of Myanmar’s democratic transition is its capacity to foster economic development through foreign investments. However, a huge infrastructure deficit combined with electricity shortages are serious concerns for foreign companies willing to operate in this promising new market. As Asia’s second poorest country, Myanmar’s leaders need a reliable foreign investor who has both the financial capabilities and the industrial skills to cope with the challenge. This partner is Japan. Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

Pacific economies: Leveraging the benefits of East Asian and Southeast Asian growth

Pacific economies: Leveraging the benefits of East Asian and Southeast Asian growth
With the center of global economic activity shifting rapidly from the United States and Europe toward Asia, opportunities are being generated for the Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to benefit from increasing economic interdependence with Asia. Economic transmission channels are (i) trade in goods; (ii) trade in services, in particular tourism; (iii) finance and foreign direct investment; (iv) labor and remittance flows; and (v) aid. Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

Development via regional integration – Mongolia’s chance for a prosperous future

Development via regional integration – Mongolia’s chance for a prosperous future
Regional integration offers Mongolia the opportunity for a more prosperous future. But the country has lagged in this effort, which is surprising given its geographical location where bold integration initiatives have been launched, such as the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) “Silk Road Initiative,” and where economic alliances have been strengthened under Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and Shanghai Organisation for Cooperation (SCO). Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

Is regional economic integration in Central Asia a doomed vision or a promising future?

Is regional economic integration in Central Asia a doomed vision or a promising future?
Central Asia has for centuries been seen as a neglected Russian “backyard,” but international interest in the region has increased over the last two decades because of its vast stores of energy and natural resources. But to achieve a brighter future the region must pursue economic integration. In the early 1990s, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan became independent countries with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The abrupt separation from Moscow, the sudden interruption of economic relations under the Soviet Union, and the unprepared transition from state-directed to market economy created a deep economic crisis in all five countries. The beginning of this century saw their economic systems change and stabilize—but this occurred as these countries disclosed strong authoritarian trends. Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

Can the PRC win the hearts and minds of Africa?

Can the PRC win the hearts and minds of Africa?
As economic power shifts from West to East, one of the key players affecting Asia’s rise is Africa. But as is often the case with Africa, it is often overlooked. So much is written about the rise of the BRICS countries. Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey have recently been added to the global growth trackers’ lists. But what about Africa? Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

G20 and international economic policy coordination

G20 and international economic policy coordination
When G20 Leaders met in April 2009 they agreed on coordinated fiscal stimulus in response to the unfolding financial crisis. This explicit coordination addressed the concern that any one country’s stimulus would largely flow overseas through the external account, benefitting the global economy but not doing much to boost domestic demand. This concerted stimulus seems to have been successful. In the face of a dramatic collapse in financial systems in much of the advanced world the fiscal stimulus put a floor under contracting GDP. The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) huge stimulus produced a swift return to 10% growth in 2010. Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

New challenges for ASEAN–Japan relations: Celebrating the 40th year of ASEAN–Japan friendship and cooperation

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Government of Japan are celebrating their 40th year of friendship and cooperation in 2013. A Commemorative Summit will be held in Tokyo starting on 13 December, at which leaders are expected to adopt a medium- to long-term vision to chart the future direction of ASEAN–Japan relations.ASEAN and Japan’s cooperative partnership began in 1973 with the establishment of the ASEAN–Japan forum on synthetic rubber production issues. From this initial success, ASEAN and Japan have forged close cooperation through the years in the pursuit of peace, stability, development, and prosperity in Asia. Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has visited all 10 ASEAN member states this year, starting soon after his assumption of office in late December 2012. Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

The PRC in the Greater Mekong Subregion: Economic and political implications

The PRC in the Greater Mekong Subregion: Economic and Political Implications
Driving out of the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), one sees a large billboard featuring the overseas campus of Suzhou University in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC). In a coffee shop in Vientiane, the first author met two PRC businessmen who talked about the prospect of a new venture to extract copper in northern Lao PDR. Just across the border from the PRC in Boten, Lao PDR, the second author talked with a local Lao driver in Chinese about the trucks full of fruit from Thailand parked minutes away from the PRC border checkpoint near the PRC-built casino ghost town that once ruled the area.1 And on the outskirts of Yunnan’s capital city of Kunming, the PRC’s fourth largest airport behind Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, Changshui International Airport, was opened in mid-2012. While seemingly disparate, these anecdotes reveal the ambition of the PRC’s “Go Southwest” strategy to politically and economically connect Southeast Asia to the PRC. Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

Japan must join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement talks

Japan must join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement talks
Time is running out for Japan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), as the negotiating countries aim to conclude the talks before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in October this year. Although former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had expressed strong interest during his tenure in joining the TPP negotiations, his successor, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has not expressed similar sentiments as the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) took a cautious stance on the TPP during Japan’s December 2012 general election. The TPP is a high-standard and comprehensive trade agreement under negotiation by Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States (US), and Viet Nam. Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

Natural Disasters and Production Networks in the Asia and Pacific Region

Recent decades have witnessed a rapid expansion of production networks and supply chains in East and Southeast Asia, made possible by underlying forces of technological advances and reductions in trade barriers and driven by pursuit of economies of scale and agglomeration, and greater efficiency and lower costs. The successful functioning of such finely constructed and balanced production networks and supply chains rests, however, on the premise of there being no major disruptions to the system, including natural disasters. Historical data indicate that the East and Southeast Asia region is, in fact, especially prone to a variety of natural hazards (earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and typhoons). Read more.
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