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Pacific Currents

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

India into APEC: Three APEC reasons why

Malcolm Cook
Senior Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies


If Indian Prime Minister Modi accepts Chinese President Xi’s surprise (to the other members of APEC and to India) invitation to attend the APEC Leaders Meeting in Beijing in November, it will bring India closer to its twenty-year goal of becoming an APEC member economy. In 2005, I supported the  continued thwarting of this Indian aspiration for what I thought were sound, APEC-based reasons. (http://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/how-save-apec)

Nine years on, the regional trade diplomacy picture has fundamentally changed while APEC has not. The Doha Round’s continuing comatose state has underpinned a continuing proliferation of bilateral preferential trade deals and an attempt at an Asia-Pacific regional trade deal (the Trans-Pacific Partnership) and an ASEAN-based, East Asian one (The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership).

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India and APEC: Not Yet There, But Getting Closer

Amitendu Palit
Head (Partnerships & Programmes) and Senior Research Fellow
The Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS)


India is not a member of the APEC notwithstanding its long history of cultural and commercial exchanges with several APEC members. While this might seem odd, the absence is not difficult to explain.

India was hardly a blip on the region’s radar when the ‘flying geese’ began fanning their wings after the 2nd World War, drawing struggling economies with colonial pasts into a well-knitted architecture of explosive export growth combining cheap labour, embodied technology and disciplined organization practices. India’s inward-looking defensive trade policy, coupled with commitment to non-alignment and ideological discomfort with laissez faire and open trade policies, ensured its distance from the APEC remained far and unbridgeable.

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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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