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Industry and trade, Regional cooperation and integration

RCEP – a life raft for trade liberalization in Asia

RCEP - a life raft for trade liberalization in Asia
There seems to be a pushback against trade agreements in the post global financial crisis era. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed in early 2016, but US presidential candidates have spared no effort criticizing it so near-term ratification is highly uncertain. The WTO Doha Round is in the deep freeze after 14 years of negotiations. Unilateral trade liberalization has virtually come to a standstill.

Infrastructure, Regional cooperation and integration

Boosting South Asia integration through the realization of dream projects

Boosting South Asia integration through the realization of dream projects
Despite strong linkages in the past during the colonial period and strong ethnic and traditional ties, South Asian countries have become increasingly more diverse since their independence. While they are geographically closely connected, this does not mean that they are well integrated. Countries in the region have vastly different sizes, populations, and topography, and there are significant differences in their economies and income per capita. The conditions, however, might be ripe for a boost in regional integration. Implementing highly visible and symbolic transport connectivity projects, which have long been considered as dream realizations, would trigger the acceleration of regional integration for the benefit of all.

Economics, Regional cooperation and integration

Learning from firms in East Asian production networks

Learning from Firms in East Asian Production Networks
Slowing growth in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) – the world’s second largest economy – is grabbing the headlines with some suggesting a third wave of the 2008 global financial crisis. While this topic deserves attention because of its global economic implications, there is insufficient analysis of firms in global production networks (GPNs), which were at the forefront of the economic transformation in PRC and the rest of East Asia, and lessons for latecomers to GPNs.

Industry and trade, Regional cooperation and integration

A snapshot of e-commerce in Central Asia

A snapshot of e-commerce in Central Asia
In 2015, Central Asia made some important improvements in the environment for cross-border e-commerce: Kazakhstan's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will boost commercial transparency, while the Kyrgyz Republic’s membership in the Eurasian Customs Union expands its consumer base. Why e-commerce? Two reasons. First, e-commerce reduces the cost of distance. Central Asia is the highest trade cost region in the world: vast distances from major markets make finding buyers challenging, shipping goods slow, and export prices high. Second, e-commerce can help pull in populations that are traditionally under-represented in export markets such as women, small businesses and rural entrepreneurs.

Energy, Regional cooperation and integration

TAPI pipeline: Inching from dreams to reality

TAPI pipeline: Inching from dreams to reality
The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) gas pipeline project was first conceived in October 1997 by Central Asia Gas Pipeline Limited (CentGas). Almost 18 years later, the pipeline—often dubbed as the “on/off pipeline,” the “pipeline dream,” and the “peace pipeline”—although still on the drawing board is inching closer to reality.

Regional cooperation and integration

Mega-regional infrastructure initiatives – Asia’s new noodle bowl?

ADB has financed part of the Almaty-Bishkek highway
One of the striking lessons from Asia’s success over the past few decades is that it makes economic sense to invest in regional infrastructure to link two or more countries to support outward-oriented development strategies.

Education, Regional cooperation and integration

Scholars, policymakers, and international affairs: Finding common cause

Scholars, Policymakers, and International Affairs: Finding Common Cause
Any attempt to bridge the divide between scholars and policy-makers in international affairs is so welcome that I couldn’t help but applaud this book. The sad truth, however, is that after reading it I am even more convinced that the divide is a chasm.

Regional cooperation and integration

Potential gains from closer cooperation between South Asia and Southeast Asia

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.

Industry and trade, Regional cooperation and integration

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.

Regional cooperation and integration

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

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.