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A pressing policy question facing Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders at their summit in April 2015 and beyond is whether the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) can be sustained without more effective institutions. This article explores the link between achieving the AEC agenda and institutional effectiveness. To remedy the implementation gridlock, it proposes reforms to the leadership and the technical level of ASEAN bodies, prioritization of new institutions, an effective monitoring mechanism, and an empowered ASEAN Secretariat. Read more.
Plurilateral trade agreements: an overlooked but powerful force for international trade opening for Asia?
After over a gloomy decade of inconclusive talks, a small but important step was taken in early December 2014 to finish the Doha Round negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2015 and beyond, actions to arrive at a Doha Round Agreement should be accompanied by embracing new plurilateral trade agreements within the WTO. This move can benefit growth and development in Asia. This article reviews the outlook for the WTO Doha Round and examines the case for plurilateral trade agreements for Asia. Read more.
By Ganeshan Wignaraja. Posted January 28, 2015
Latin America is firmly on the economic radar of Asia in the post-global financial crisis world economy. Both Asia and Latin America have grown faster than the world economy. As Figure 1 shows, during 2009–2013, annual average growth was 4.6% in Asia, 2.4% in Latin America, and 1.9% for the world economy. Trade between the two regions has grown significantly, reaching a historic high of over half a billion dollars in 2014 (see Figure 2). This figure is projected to increase to $750 billion by 2020. Increased trade has prompted a flurry of diplomatic activity. In July 2014 the President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Xi Jinping, visited Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Venezuela. Shortly afterward, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Brazil, Chile, Columbia, and Mexico. Pledges of trade, foreign direct investment (FDI) and foreign aid accompanied these high-level visits. Read more.
Regionalism in Asia led by global value chains (GVCs) and free trade agreements (FTAs) has increasingly put the spotlight on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As one of Asia’s success stories in internationalization, Malaysia offers interesting insights. Drawing on research on Malaysian enterprises, this article examines the characteristics of SMEs which have successfully internationalized by participating in GVCs and FTAs and explores their policy implications. It seeks to improve our understanding of the internationalization of SMEs in Asia and contribute to the scant literature. Read more.
By Rolf J. Langhammer. Posted December 16, 2014
Like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) is a second-best approach to trade and investment liberalization compared to a global agreement. A global agreement is not within reach, and thus Asia, as a non-beneficiary, will incur trade losses similar to the losses that Europe would incur as a non-beneficiary of an Asia-Pacific agreement on free trade. Read more.
By Matthias Helble. Posted November 17, 2014
Over the past decades, East Asia has been the most successful region in the world in building up cross-border supply chains and has subsequently become described as “Factory Asia” (Baldwin 2008). In a form of “triangle trade”, advanced countries in East Asia exported sophisticated parts and components to less developed countries in the region, where these are assembled into final consumption goods and then shipped to rich-nation markets, especially the US and EU (Baldwin and Kawai 2013). Read more.
By Sebastian Paust. Posted June 20, 2014
German Mittelstand (GM), the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany—are a unique and highly successful economic phenomenon that could serve as a model to promote trade and industry for emerging Asia. Read more.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a very important part of Asia’s economy. In this article, we explore SMEs and their financing issues with respect to the performance of SMEs in international trade, based on the sample of more than 8,000 companies across the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states. The discussion is derived from a recent Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) working paper (Jinjarak, Mutuc, and Wignaraja 2014). Read more.
By Peter A. Petri. Posted May 22, 2014
The world may be on the verge of renewing the global trading system with huge “mega-regional” negotiations on the trade rules of the 21st century. These negotiations include the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); the countries involved cover nearly 80% of global GDP. The hope is that these approaches will overcome constraints that have held up progress in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Read more.
Financial cooperation and integration in East Asia has been languishing for almost a decade. But ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Japan, and the Republic of Korea (henceforth, Korea), or ASEAN+3, have been more successful in promoting free trade in East Asia by establishing a number of bilateral and plurilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries in the region and outside the region. Read more.
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