Finance

The financial sector needs to be driving the green transformation

The financial sector needs to be driving the green transformation
Many Asian countries have set ambitious targets for climate change mitigation. Governments all over the region are devising green growth strategies, aiming to reconcile economic growth with low carbon emissions as well as trying to limit other forms of environmental degradation such as soil, water, and air pollution. What is needed is no less than a “green transformation” to put green growth at the heart of development (OECD 2013). To achieve such a green transformation, large investments will be needed in renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, smart transportation networks, and many other areas that will help the shift toward sustainable patterns of production and consumption. Read more.
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Trade

Will Asian investment follow trade with Latin America?

Will Asian investment follow trade with Latin America?
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.
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Economics, Finance

Five bond market trends to watch out for in 2015

Five bond market trends to watch out for in 2015
As 2015 gathers pace, the world seems to be entering a more uncertain and unpredictable phase. With the end of the quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, we are entering an era of tighter global liquidity. However, this might be offset to a certain extent by more aggressive monetary policy actions from the Eurozone and Japan. The plunge in oil and other commodity prices should help reduce inflationary expectations but could also presage a weaker economic environment. All these point to a more volatile environment, making it a more challenging year for Asian bond markets. Read more.
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Economics

TTIP—is the EU really interested in an “economic NATO”?

TTIP—is the EU really interested in an economic NATO
Negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are currently dragging on without a clear time target—no wonder in view of the highly complex topics to agree on. But nevertheless, international speculation is running high about the potential economic and geostrategic implications of the TTIP for the EU’s economic relations with Asia, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in particular. Some people even claim it to be the foundation of an “economic NATO” or consider it “a response to the rise of [the PRC] Read more.
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Energy, Environment

Green investment in Asian cities: Lessons from the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, and Japan

Green investment in Asian cities Lessons from the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, and Japan
The concept of “green growth” has been connected to the “green economy for sustainable development and poverty reduction,” which is the first theme of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). In addition, making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable is becoming one of the 17 sustainable development goals proposed by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals targeted to replace the United Nations Millennium Development Goals which will expire in 2015. Read more.
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Agriculture and rural development

New Zealand: A farming and services growth model for Asia?

New Zealand: A farming and services growth model for Asia?
The story of East Asia’s rapid growth includes ample reference to the export of technologically complex manufactured goods, such as cars and computers. This is the model that has characterized Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Taipei,China. It also provides an example for Asia’s current middle-income countries, including the People’s Republic of China (PRC). They need to develop high-value manufacturing, the argument goes, churning out domestically designed goods or linking into global production networks. Failure to move up the value chain may result in a country getting stuck in the middle-income trap (Zhuang et al. 2012). Read more.
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Trade

SME internationalization through global value chains and free trade agreements: Malaysian evidence

SME internationalization through global value chains and free trade agreements: Malaysian evidence
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.
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Education

The challenges to internationalizing Japanese higher education

The challenges to internationalizing Japanese higher education
The Government of Japan plans to globalize Japanese higher education. One of its flagship programs wraped up in 2014 is the Global 30 initiative to invite 300,000 foreign students to Japan, i.e double the current numbers. Global 30 stresses that there is no initial requirement to know Japanese since “the best universities in Japan are now offering degree programs in English. By doing this, these universities have broken down the language barrier which was one of the obstacles preventing international students from studying in Japan.” The top global universities project which is the continuation of this effort will follow along the same lines. Read more.
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Trade

Minimizing Asian losses from the TTIP: A European view

Minimizing Asian Losses from the TTIP: A European View
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.
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Economics

ASEAN Economic Community 2015: What is next?

In 2007, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc adopted the goal of creating an integrated economic region—termed the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)—by December 2015. However, concerns have been expressed that the regional integration project’s 2015 deadline will be missed due to an overly ambitious timeline and too many ill-thought-out initiatives. With the AEC deadline looming, this article critically assesses the progress that has been made, charts some of the main challenges, and suggests the next steps for the AEC. Read more.
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