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By Ganeshan Wignaraja. Posted July 4, 2016
Talks just concluded in Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday show that plans for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are advancing. Just as both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the next potential leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) biggest partner—the US—have distanced themselves from the agreement. Some even suggest that the US Congress won’t ratify the TPP agreement, and warn that the world economy risks US isolationism.
By Ganeshan Wignaraja. Posted April 21, 2016
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.
By Ganeshan Wignaraja. Posted December 16, 2015
At this week’s 10th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, trade ministers are trying to advance 15 years of Doha Development Agenda talks to reduce trade barriers. The real issue, however, is whether African economies can follow East Asia's success in global supply chains amid “new normal" growth and rising inequality.
By Ganeshan Wignaraja. Posted November 5, 2015
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.
By Ganeshan Wignaraja. Posted October 6, 2015
Concerns about moderating economic growth and rising income inequality in ASEAN economies have brought small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into the policy limelight. Arguing that SMEs have significant potential for creating jobs, some commentators are suggesting a host of industrial policies such as financial subsidies and local content rules to promote SMEs. However, government failure may result from heavy-handed state intervention for SMEs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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