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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

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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Sir Brian Talboys, the first chair of NZPECC passes away

Gary Hawke

Sir Brian Talboys had a significant career as a political leader in New Zealand. He was a Minister of Education who managed to remain popular with educationists while not damaging his political career. He was deputy Prime Minister and a leader in international economic diplomacy, especially as a major force in the negotiation of the Closer Economic Relations Agreement with Australia. Had he been willing to give more priority to his personal interests and less to obligations of loyalty- to the Prime Minister of the day, to his political party and to the wishes of the electorate - the "colonel's coup" of 1980-81 might have made him Prime Minister.

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APEC’s New IAP Process

Ippei Yamazawa
Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University, Japan

Negotiations for three economies’ accession to the TPP have started toward its final stage. While Canada and Mexico will clear additional hurdles of liberalization easily thanks to their membership of NAFTA, Japan is reported to face strong requests by the U.S. and Australia on her liberalization of agricultural products. Nevertheless, all existing members of the TPP negotiation welcome the three economies’ accession in principle since it will increase the scale economy merit of TPP.

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WTO Ministerial Conference: Time for a new world trade strategy

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

Republished from the East Asia Forum

The weather was awful outside the WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva last week, but there was some sunshine within the convention centre.

Russia acceded as a member, along with Samoa, Montenegro and Vanuatu (the club still attracts new members, and as one minister said: ‘as far as I know, nobody has asked to leave’).

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Who will write the rules for Asia-Pacific Trade?

Peter A. Petri
Non-resident Senior Fellow with the East-West Center
Professor of International Finance at Brandeis University

Republished from the East West Center

(This analysis originally appeared in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Oct. 16, 2011 as part of a monthly series on regional Asia Pacific issues leading up to the APEC leaders’ meetings in Honolulu in November)

In the last half century, world trade has grown twice as fast as output and helped to lift the majority of the world’s people from poverty—a feat unimaginable a generation ago. When APEC leaders meet in Honolulu next month, they will represent countries that account for half of world trade. Can APEC help to keep the engine humming for another half century?

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2011 Youth Delegates Report on PECC 20th General Meeting

Plenary: Asia Pacific Regional Outlook and Concurrent Session: Enabling 21st Century Services in the Asia Pacific
Prepared by Youth delegates Angela Zhang Yiou (HK), Muhan Cheng (CT) and Jihye Seon(KO), 29 September 2011

The First Plenary session was moderated by Mr. Zou Mingrong. The first speaker Roberto Cardarelli delivered the Overview and Forecast of the IMF on global economy. During his speech, Mr. Roberto highlighted that slower growth was expected around the world. However, Asia will still exhibit relatively good performance with strong domestic demand. He also mentioned “Two Channels”: trade channel and financial channel. Mr. Roberto concluded that Asia still would have solid growth but monetary tightening and economic rebalancing are required.

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The global implications of sending gas to Japan

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

Republished from the East Asia Forum

Commentators on these pages have been pondering the implications of the Fukushima explosion on Japan’s energy policy and its strategy for international purchases. Samuels suggests an extensive re-examination of energy policy in Japan and a possible shift toward renewable energy. Vivoda pointed to a scenario in which the share of nuclear power in Japan’s total electricity consumption could fall. This share previously accounted for 30 per cent of consumption, and even as little as 12 months ago the plan was to raise this to 50 per cent.

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72% of Asia Pacific Opinion Leaders Favor Plurilateral Services Negotiations

Global Services Network Update
republished from http://globalservicesnetwork.com/GSNOctober32011.html

Following the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) Conference on Trade in Services in Hong Kong earlier this year, the PECC included in their annual survey of opinion leaders across the Asia Pacific the specific question "should APEC members take the lead in promoting a plurilateral agreement on services?"  72% of all respondents responded positively, with only 5% disagreeing. 70% percent of government officials responded positively, as did 76% of business leaders.

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FTA Strategies in China and India

Ganeshan Wignaraja
Principal Economist, Office of Regional Economic Integration, Asian Development Bank

Slow progress in the WTO Doha Round trade talks has seen China and India have focussing on free trade agreements (FTAs) as a vehicle of trade strategy and economic diplomacy. By mid-2011, the two Asian giants were among Asia's leaders in FTA activity with 11 each in effect in both China and India. The number of FTAs under negotiation and proposed suggested that such activity will rise in the future, as China has another 13 agreements in the pipeline and India another 20. China has FTAs with ASEAN, Hong Kong, Macao, Chinese Taipei, Pakistan, New Zealand, Chile and Peru, among others.

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PECC Mourns the Passing of Prof Tan Teck Meng, SINCPEC Chair 1997-2008

Professor Tan Teck Meng, former chair of SINCPEC, passed away in the early morning of 7 July 2011 in his sleep. He had been battling cancer for some time.

Prof Tan was the chair of SINCPEC from 1997 to 2008,  he was also a member of the Finance Committee and Trustee of the PECC Special Fund Trust. He will be missed by the PECC community.

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Preparing for natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region

Don Gunasekera
Senior Economist, CSIRO, Canberra

The 2004 Asian tsunami illustrated the disproportionate impact that natural disasters have on poorer communities. More recent natural disasters in New Zealand, Japan, Australia and the US have shown that even well-to-do communities can be significantly hard hit by the impact of catastrophic and severe weather events. Preparing for natural disasters has many facets. They can range from adaptive response measures to the use of modern technologies to provide early warnings.

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Free Trade Agreements in East Asia: A Way toward Trade Liberalization

Masahiro Kawai, Dean and CEO, Asian Development Bank Institute
Ganeshan Wignaraja, Principal Economist, Office of Regional Economic Integration, Asian Development Bank

The inability to conclude the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round has spawned a proliferation of bilateral and plurilateral free trade  agreements (FTAs) across the globe. While East Asia is a relative newcomer to FTAs, the region has seen a dramatic increase in the number of such agreements  in recent years. The explosion of FTAs in East Asia, led by the large economies of Northeast Asia—the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK)—is tied to the need to support sophisticated production networks through continued trade and investment liberalization, while also serving as a defensive response to the spread of FTAs elsewhere in the world.

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Structural Reforms in East Asia The Key to Sustaining Global Recovery and Advancing Regional Free Trade

Julius Caesar Parrenas, PhD
Senior Advisory Fellow, Institute for International Monetary Affairs (IIMA)1

(posted from: http://www.iima.or.jp/pdf/newsletter2010/NLNo_37_e.pdf)

The recent G20 and APEC meetings in Seoul and Yokohama underscored the importance of structural reforms. While G20 leaders struggled over the way forward to achieve sustained global economic recovery, APEC leaders went ahead to launch work toward a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), possibly through the expansion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Embedded in the G20 and APEC leaders’ statements are references to a key issue that will influence the success of current efforts to sustain global recovery and advance free trade.

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APEC 2011: Can the US deliver?

Andrew Elek
ANU and member of AUSPECC

This article is cross-posted from the East Asia Forum website

The most important objective of international economic cooperation in 2011 is to conclude the Doha Round. The United States has the influence to do that if it is prepared to show political initiative and have realistic expectations of others.

The APEC group can also provide leadership within the G20 to tackle global problems. APEC’s Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) can begin to set out a strategy on how the WTO might operate beyond the Doha Round. Bringing the WTO up to date with the 21st century world of international commerce is an essential dimension of cooperation to narrow development gaps.

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