About Matthias HelbleMatthias Helble is a senior economist and co-chair, Research, Asian Development Bank Institute.
By Matthias Helble. Posted December 8, 2015
The G20 leader’s summit came to a close earlier this month in Istanbul, Turkey. The emphasis of Turkey’s G20 presidency this year is on “inclusive and robust global growth.” Turkey recognizes inequality as a major problem within countries as well as across national borders and stresses the need for reducing inequality in order to achieve mutual growth. In this article, I examine the relationship between income inequality and health among G20 countries. I find that as income inequality lessens, key health outcomes, such as child mortality and life expectancy, also improve substantially. This is an important finding that could provide guidance for ADB member economies in formulating their domestic policies to foster inclusive growth.
By Matthias Helble. Posted November 24, 2015
At the beginning of October, 12 Pacific Rim countries agreed on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The TPP agreement has been hailed as a landmark trade pact, as it includes many issues that have so far not found their way into the rule of law in the multilateral trading system. As a reaction to the successful deal, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo announced that the TPP “will serve as an inspiration for WTO members” for the forthcoming 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. In this article, I argue that neither the process of TPP talks nor the content of the TPP agreement can provide a positive stimulus for the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations.
The Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank are a heterogeneous group of economies with different levels of economic development and economic size. However, when it comes to choosing an optimal exchange rate, the Pacific DMCs face similar challenges. All of the Pacific economies are relatively small and have underdeveloped financial and exchange rate markets.
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.
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).
Tourism is one of the most promising growth sectors in the Pacific region. The number of tourist arrivals has more than doubled in the past decade, from around 600,000 in 2002 to 1.3 million ten years later. The potential for tourism in the Pacific is substantial as many islands offer unspoiled nature and scenic landscapes. However, travel to the Pacific can be inconvenient. There are only 35 direct flights from countries outside the Pacific to countries in the Pacific and the flight frequency is low. New research by ADBI shows that the number and frequency of direct flights is an important determinant on the number of tourist arrivals in the Pacific. The research also highlights that the potential of receiving large numbers of Asian tourists remains untapped. However, realizing the great potential of tourism will not only depend on better connectivity, but also on the capacity of Pacific region countries to respond to the growing demand.
By Matthias Helble. Posted April 25, 2014
Cross-border e-commerce is booming in the Asia and Pacific region. And exchange rate fluctuations play a key role in these transactions. In their quest for the best deals, consumers in the region are taking advantage of exchange rate movements, and shop abroad whenever the exchange rate is favorable. Our research proves that short-term international price arbitrage is occurring—an important finding for monetary policy and the private sector.
After several days of grueling negotiations the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013, adopted the Bali Package aimed at mainly streamlining global trade. However, this is only the first step toward a Doha deal and much work remains to re-formulate a post-Bali agenda, as well as reform of the WTO to restore its relevance as a key pillar of multilateral trade relations.
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