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Pacific Currents is a discussion forum on Asia-Pacific economic issues. We welcome submissions from all stakeholders including academics, researchers, thought-leaders, civil society, business leaders; and other policy experts. Submissions should cover issues related to economic policy and integration in the region. Articles should be written for a general audience and not technical but should have a foundation in objective policy analysis. Articles should also conform with PECC nomenclature - if you are not familiar, the editor will provide you with appropriate guidelines. Acceptance of articles is entirely at the discretion of the Editor.

Articles should be in an op-ed format of around 1000 words but longer submissions are also occasionally accepted. Submissions are done in the name of the author and represent their individual opinions and not those of the institutions that they work for. To submit an article, please send in Word format to: info@pecc.org

Asian Economy at Critical Crossroads

John West
AUSPECC/ Asian Century Institute

The East Asian economy is at a critical crossroads, according to the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council's State of the Region report. This PECC report reviews and analyzes the forecasts of major inter-governmental organizations, the Standard Chartered Bank and Oxford Economics. It makes an important contribution by virtue of its synthesis of business, academic and official perspectives, as well as the results of a survey of regional opinion leaders from all three groups.

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Connectivity and the Bali Agenda

Professor Christopher Findlay
Executive Dean of the Faculty of the Professions at the University of Adelaide
Vice-Chair of AUSPECC

Connectivity is a hot topic in regional cooperation and rightly so.  Greater levels of and improved performance in connectivity saves real resources, improves access to markets, plugs economies into regional supply chains, raises income and helps deal with shocks and disasters.  The values of connectivity apply to movement of goods, to movements of people and provision of services.

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Are there many building blocks to freer trade?

Steven CM Wong
Senior Director, ISIS Malaysia

LOGIC: The more extensive and deeper an agreement is, the more likely it is to be the de facto standard

How does the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), now being negotiated among 12 Asia-Pacific countries, including four from Asean, impact the latter's  Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)?

It is easy to claim, as some have done, that both are building blocks towards freer trade. But are they really? This claim is further doubtful if the two blocks are of different size, weight and degree of ambition.

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Take Best Advantage of APEC for the Asia Pacific Integration

Ippei Yamazawa
Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University, Japan

This year Indonesian host has tried to highlight the Bogor Goals so that we have been invited to report directly our IAP review study at Committee for Trade and Investment (CTI) Workshop in Medan, ABAC3 in Kyoto, and ASCC in Jakarta, that is all tripartite stakeholders , officials, business, and academics in July. By and large our report was welcomed and mentioned in the recommendation letters by the last two to the APEC Leaders.

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Geopolitical Urgency and Economic Liberalization in the Asia-Pacific

Corey Wallace
Teaching Fellow, Political Studies, University of Auckland
New Zealand Youth delegate GM XIX 2010

Keen observers of Asia-Pacific regional integration will not have missed the development of an interesting dynamic in recent years - that of geopolitical competition driving the economic liberalization agenda. The politicization of economic relations and interconnections is of course nothing new. The opening of the American market after World War II to Germany and Japan was a critical part of early US Cold War strategy, as was encouraging Japan to limit its trading relationship with the People’s Republic of China and other Communist governments in Asia.

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Passing of Dr. Nam Duck-woo

Nam Duck-woo, a founding member of PECC and first chair of KOPEC (Korea committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation) passed away on May 18th, 2013 in Seoul at the age of 89. Dr. Nam earned a doctorate in economics at Oklahoma State University and was teaching at Sogang University when in 1969 he was recruited by then President Park Chung-hee to serve as the finance minister. He remained in the position till 1974 and from 1974 to 1978, he served as the deputy prime minister in charge of economic policies at the height of Korea’s industrial development. Under the next president, Chun Doo-hwan, he served as the prime minister from 1980 to 1982.

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Abe TPP Strategy: Overcoming Domestic Division through Reform?

Theresa Robles
Associate Research Fellow
Centre for Multilateralism Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS),
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Synopsis

Abe’s recent announcement of Japan’s intention to join the TPP is seen not only as an important vehicle to expand trade and investment opportunities but also as a way to reposition the country as a major regional power.

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Global Risk from Trade Wars: Time to Return to WTO

Barry Desker
Dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS),
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Synopsis
The WTO Doha Round of negotiations is deadlocked and adrift amid increasing global protectionism. The profusion of bilateral and plurilateral free trade agreements is adding to the confusion. A global solution is necessary for global problems.

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Why the ASEAN Summit Matters to Canada… (and just where is Brunei anyway?)

Hugh Stephens
Vice Chair, CANCPEC (Canadian National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation)
Fellow, Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI)

On April 24-25, 2013 the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold its 22nd Leaders’ Summit in Brunei Darussalam. ASEAN, comprised of ten nations in the heart of Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) has been around since 1967 but it is only in recent years that it has taken on its role as the linchpin of economic growth and trade in the region.

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The Pacific Alliance: A Latin American Initiative for Asia-Pacific Regional Integration

Dr. Manfred Wilhelmy
Chairman CHILPEC (Chilean National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation)

The Pacific Alliance (PA) was established in Lima, Peru in April 2011. The founding members were Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Chile, represented by their Presidents Alan García, Felipe Calderón, Juan Manuel Santos, and Sebastián Piñera, respectively. The new Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, has given his full support to the initiative.

Observers to the PA include Panama (which may become a full member), Costa Rica, Uruguay and Guatemala, among Latin American economies. Outside of Latin America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are important Pacific nations that have joined as observers.

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Announcement: The passing of Dr. Jeffrey Koo, former Chair of CTPECC

Message sent on behalf of Dr. David S. Hong, Chair, CTPECC


Sent to: All PECC Standing Committee Members
PECC Member Committee Secretariats

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Is regional economic integration enough? The search for 'Wave 3' growth

Mr. Ian Buchanan
Chairman AusPECC (Australian Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee)

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," said philosopher George Santayana. The aim of this paper is to draw lessons from Asia's supposed "growth miracle" by disaggregating when, where—and why—growth occurred to better understand the roles of exogenous factors versus domestic policy choices.

Our thesis is that the post-World War II "miracle" growth shared by many regional economies was a result of a unique set of circumstances linked not to their "Asian-ness"—but to exogenous, geo-political, developments and, in particular, to the Cold War.

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The Unintended Consequences of Quantitative Easing on Emerging Markets

Rubén Calderón
Portfolio Manager, Fidelity Asset Management, Global Asset Allocation
This article is part of Fidelity Asset Management’s ‘Leadership Series’ and appears here with the express permission of the author

The economic malaise in the aftermath of the global credit crisis has called for extraordinary monetary policy responses, especially in the form of quantitative easing (QE). While central banks have focused on the unique circumstances of their own nations, the collective magnitude of QE has had unintended consequences beyond the borders of their constituencies. This paper will discuss the consequences of QE outside of developed markets—where most of the QE has taken place—and its effects on emerging markets. Specifically, it will highlight the massive liquidity pouring into emerging markets, identify the primary source and reason for the excess liquidity, and provide specific examples of how QE has inadvertently disrupted emerging-market currencies, exports, inflation levels and more.

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APEC New IAPs have started toward the Final Bogor Goals

Ippei Yamazawa
Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University, Japan

APEC 2012 Meetings were successfully held in Vladivostok in September and we have got in recess for a while. The new IAPs by all 21 economies, together with Policy Support Unit’s Progress Reports and Dashboards have been published on the APEC’s website.

At 2010 APEC Yokohama, APEC Leaders conducted the mid-term review of their efforts for achieving the Bogor Goals and renewed their commitment for all 21 economies to continue their IAP process toward its final goals in 2020. We would like to call my fellow experts’ attention to this renewed IAP process and encourage you to closely monitor this process. We believe it is the role for us academics to monitor and advise our senior officials and their staffs to implement the IAPs effectively.

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State of the Region Report 2012

Growth in the Asia-Pacific this year is expected to increase slightly to 3.7 percent from last year’s 3.5 percent. Looking ahead to 2013, growth will be much the same at 3.9 percent. However, these forecasts, based on the IMF’s World Economic Outlook are based on some assumptions: that financial conditions on the Eurozone will ease; expansionary policies in emerging markets will gain traction; and the United States will find a solution to the fiscal dilemma it faces at the end of the year. In short, the downside risks to the forecast are enormous and uncertainty remains abundant.

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Community Building in the Asia-Pacific: Diverging or Converging Views?

Chiu Shun Yu, Bonnie
PECC Intern from Hong Kong, China

The Asia-Pacific region envisions the building of a “dynamic and harmonious community”. At the heart of a community is holding something in common – common views, values, beliefs, and direction. Do such shared views exist in the region? If not, what are the divergences?

The Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) has conducted the State of the Region surveys since 2006, asking the views of opinion-leaders from more than 24 economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Two questions, on short-term economic outlook and regional economic integration, are chosen specifically to examine the region’s views on important economic issues.

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Strategic Directions for Higher Education in APEC

Dr Max Bessell
Faculty of the Professions at the University of Adelaide

One of the legacies of the Russian Federation’s hosting of APEC in 2012 will be the forging of new directions in higher education. Significant gains have been made in framing some clear strategic objectives which aim to develop and assist the dynamic world of higher education. These provide a solid base for Indonesia in the higher education arena as it takes over the host role in 2013.

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Inclusive growth is a must for Myanmar

Datuk Mahani Zainal Abidin
Chief Executive of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia
Chair of Malaysian National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation (MANCPEC)

The Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia recently held a Roundtable on Myanmar to better understand the rapid political and economic changes taking place in the country and to learn more about the available business and investment opportunities. The delegation from Myanmar comprised a good mix of young and energetic corporate leaders as well as senior policymakers. Also present was an American academic who has been a longtime watcher of Myanmar.

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The Shifting Geography Of Global Value Chains: Implications For Developing Countries And Trade Policy

World Economic Forum report on Global Value Chains

The Shifting Geography Of Global Value Chains: Implications For Developing Countries And Trade Policy*

Context

Two contradictory trends are at work in the global economy. First, globalization through multinational corporation (MNC) production networks continues apace. This promotes convergence and integration. The global value chains they operate have become the world economy’s backbone.

The second trend pertaining to economic crisis policy responses is one of divergence. Associated with this is the threat of a spiral of protectionism and consequent disintegration, impacting the most vulnerable and trade-dependent states in particular. This highlights the role the World Trade Organization (WTO) has played in stemming the tide of protectionism.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Asia-Pacific Integration: Policy Implications

Peter A. Petri and Michael G. Plummer

© Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics. All rights reserved.

SUMMARY

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, now in negotiation among nine Asia-Pacific countries, could yield annual global income gains of $295 billion (including $78 billion for the United States) and offers a pathway to free trade in the Asia-Pacific with potential gains of $1.9 trillion. The TPP’s expected template promises to be unusually productive because it offers opportunities for the leading sectors of emerging-market and advanced economies. An ambitious TPP template would generate greater benefits from integration than less demanding alternatives, but it will be harder to sell to China and other key regional partners as the TPP evolves toward wider agreements. The importance of Asia-Pacific integration argues for an early conclusion of the TPP negotiations, without jeopardizing the prospects for region-wide or even global agreements based on it in the future.

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