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The PECC Discussion Forum provides op-eds and relevant news in the PECC community. The opinions contained in the Discussion Forum submissions are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of PECC or its member committees.

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Hugh Stephens, Vice-chair, CANCPEC / Distinguished Fellow, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada /Executive Fellow, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

The Trump administration’s arrival has scrambled the cards in the trade policy world. Not only will the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) be reopened with uncertain results, but President Donald Trump has scuttled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by announcing the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement. Canada, originally cool toward the TPP, pushed hard to be included in it. The TPP became the centrepiece of Canada’s Asia trade strategy, notwithstanding some public ambivalence on the part of the Trudeau government. With the TPP in its present form now in limbo, Canada still has options in Asia. First, it can keep an open mind with regard to the possible reconstitution of the TPP in another form, such as “TPP Minus One” (i.e., minus the U.S.). It should also push to reopen the bilateral negotiations with Japan that were suspended when that country joined the TPP negotiations. Canada is already exploring the possibility of an economic partnership agreement with China, perhaps on a sectoral basis, and simultaneously, it should actively pursue negotiation of a free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community. This could in time provide Canada access to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) currently being negotiated among 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and would position Canada well in the eventuality that a Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) emerges. In the meantime, uncertainty regarding NAFTA’s future needs to be addressed. This uncertainty makes it more difficult for Canada to attract Asian investment but it also provides further impetus for Canada to diversify its trading relationships and to explore stronger relationships with Asian economies. 

Direct download of PDF (originally published for Canadian Global Affairs Institute)

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Joaquim Tres,
Principal Specialist of the Integration and Trade Sector, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

Trade agreements cover 70% of all trade in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Of the 270 free trade agreements (FTAs) currently in effect around the world, more than 70 include LAC countries.

In order to understand the impact of these agreements on the region, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will launch a massive open online course (MOOC) on how they work and what they mean for governments, businesses, and people in LAC.

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in PECC Forum 679

Steven Beck, Head of Trade Finance, ADB
Alisa DiCaprio, Research Fellow, ADB Institute

Over 31 million consumers in Viet Nam researched or purchased a product online in 2015. Just ten years ago, internet connectivity was only starting to become common. Digitization is changing how people trade. There are even more dramatic changes happening under the hood. The way trade is financed, processed and regulated has entered a period of disruption. We take this opportunity to consider the short and long term implications of digitization of the trade process. They’re not what you’d expect.

Loosening infrastructure constraints

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in PECC Forum 780

Stephan W. Schill
University of Amsterdam

European and North American capital exporting countries have shaped international investment law for most of its history. They pushed for the customary international minimum standard of protection, forged the classical model of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and now drive the present recalibration of international investment law. Despite counter-proposals from the ‘South’ over decades, the making of international investment law has been essentially a transatlantic enterprise with the ‘North’ as predominant global rule-maker.

But the past years have witnessed a marked shift in the geography of international investment law. Despite the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, there is little doubt that Asian countries, and particularly the economic powerhouses in the Far East, are becoming focal points in rule-making in international investment law.

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in PECC Forum 2591

John West
AUSPECC

Trade and regional integration must become more inclusive in the Asia-Pacific in order to win the support of public opinion, writes John West.

This note is inspired by the excellent press release, "Regional Solutions Needed for Global Challenges", issued by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) following a recent conference in Jakarta which explored the challenges for next phase of regional cooperation and the role of the media in communicating the benefits of trade and regional integration.

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in PECC Forum 4012

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PECC&JP Conference

PECCJP

Global Challenges and Regional Solutions:
Engaging Stakeholders
25 April, 2016
 Jakarta