Trade

Exploring the implications of TPP negotiations for Latin America

Exploring the implications of TPP negotiations for Latin America
Chile, Mexico, and Peru are the three Latin American countries participating in the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Although these countries have cultural and geographical proximity, they exhibit different export structures and consequently different objectives toward the ongoing TPP negotiations. Even more intriguing is to understand the particular interests of each country in light of the key issues being negotiated and discussed, such as agriculture, intellectual property rights, and trade in services. Read more.
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Trade

Investor-state dispute settlement: Rule of law or law of the jungle?

Investor-state dispute settlement: Rule of law or law of the jungle?
It is sometimes said that in politics it is not the text that counts, but rather the context. Policies that are seen as benign or even ignored by the electorate in one political constellation can suddenly fuel intense debate when there is a shift in the alignment of external forces. Think of Chancellor Merkel’s sudden decision to abandon nuclear power in Germany after the Fukushima reactor meltdown caused by the March 2011 earthquake in Japan. Nothing had changed about the safety of the German reactors themselves, but everything had changed about the broader context. Read more.
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Education

Learning crisis in South Asia

Learning crisis in South Asia
South Asia is home to a growing youth population and widely considered to benefit from the “demographic dividend” in the coming decades. The United Nations Population Fund’s State of World Population 2014 report The Power of 1.8 Billion: Adolescents, Youth and the Transformation of the Future therefore calls for increased investment in youths and adolescents. Read more.
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Economics

People’s Republic of China: The challenge of the middle-income transition

People’s Republic of China: The challenge of the middle-income transition
The Chinese economy grew by 7.4% in 2014 and is expected to expand by 7.0% this year. These are impressive growth rates for any country but lower than what has been achieved in the past. For 3 solid decades, since the beginning of market reforms in the late 1970s, the economy expanded by an annual average of almost 10%. Read more.
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Finance

3 ways to serve Asia and the Pacific’s ‘unbanked’

Analyzing microfinance loans is one way to collect “alternative data” on consumer debt levels and ability to repay. An ADB-supported microfinance institution in Uzbekistan. Photo by Eric Sales
Every time I stop and withdraw cash from an ATM or use my credit card to buy something online, I wonder how many people in Asia have access to such services. In fact, these simple transactions are beyond the reach of 45% of adults in East Asia and the Pacific alone. They are excluded from the formal financial system and will remain so until they open a bank account. Read more.
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Regional Cooperation

Potential gains from closer cooperation between South Asia and Southeast Asia

South Asian and Southeast Asian economies have all embraced an outward-oriented development strategy, albeit to different degrees. The result has been an impressive increase in international trade, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, and significant productivity improvements, which in turn have contributed to important socio-economic gains. Indeed, some of these economies have delivered among the most striking economic performances in the world. Read more.
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Finance

“Grexit” and yuan devaluation could put significant pressure on Asian currency pegs

Grexit and yuan devaluation could put significant pressure on Asian currency pegs
Already driving a housing bubble in all major Asian cities from Seoul to Jakarta, significant hot money inflows are what Hong Kong, China and Singapore seek to avoid. However, Greece’s exit from the eurozone coupled with subsequent quantitative easing by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to jump-start flagging growth could quickly exacerbate this Asian dynamic. Read more.
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Economics

What’s behind the recent oil price drop?

What’s behind the recent oil price drop?
The price of oil has more than halved in the period of less than 5 months since September 2014. After nearly 5 years of stability, the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil in Europe fell from $117.15 on 6 September 2014, to $45.13 on 14 January 2015. Figure 1 shows the movements in the spot price of crude oil from June 2009 to February 2015, including the recent price drop. Read more.
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Finance

Why do we need financial education in Asia?

Why do we need financial education in Asia?
This article assesses the case for promoting financial education in Asia. It argues that the benefits of investing in financial education can be substantial. Data are limited, but indicate low financial literacy scores for selected Asian countries. As economies develop, access to financial products and services will increase, but households and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to be able to use the products and services wisely and effectively. More effective management of savings and investment can contribute to overall economic growth. Moreover, as societies age and fiscal resources become stretched, households will become increasingly responsible for their own retirement planning. Asia’s evolving experience suggests that more national surveys of financial literacy are needed and that coherent, tailored national strategies for financial education are essential for success. Read more.
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Regional Cooperation, Trade

AEC is due—but what about institutions?

AEC is due—but what about institutions
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.
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