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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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Jusuf Wanandi
Co-Chair Pacific Economic Cooperation Council


The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. This milestone presents a chance for reflection on achievements as well as the future. Although most think of APEC in terms of the Bogor Goals of free trade and investment, these were the chosen means to an end — that end being “accelerated, balanced and equitable economic growth not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but throughout the world as well”.

Since 1989, the average income in the region has tripled from around US$5,000 to above $15,000. Asia- Pacific is now the world’s strongest growth center. The non-OECD economies of Asia-Pacific, notably China, have evolved into great traders. Asia-Pacific has also caught up very fast in the origination and hosting of the cross-border flows of capital and people. More importantly, the number of people living on less than $2 a day in the region has dropped from close to 1.2 billion to 412 million.

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Tagged in: apec FTAAP RCEP TPP
in PECC Forum 18618

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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Tagged in: apec FTAAP India RCEP TPP
in PECC Forum 24842

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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Tagged in: apec China India RCEP TPP
in PECC Forum 32272

Kenichi Kawasaki
Consulting Fellow, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)
Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
Adjunct Fellow, Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA)

 

Summary
Quantitative studies using an economic model show the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) complement each other rather than be competitors toward the establishment of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).  Breaking down the sources of those macroeconomic benefits by the policy measures of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies showed that the contribution by China would be the largest.  Nonetheless, in many countries of Association of South‐East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and outside this region, contributions by a country’s own initiatives will be much larger than those by its trade partners, including China.  Meanwhile, larger economic benefits are expected from NTMs reductions in addition to tariff removals.  It is thus suggested that domestic reforms are essential in order to enjoy the macroeconomic benefits of international Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). 

 

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in PECC Forum 31153

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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in PECC Forum 11714

Christopher Findlay
University of Adelaide
Vice-Chair AUSPECC

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

Japanese politicians are still debating whether Japan should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). TPP members are not allowed exclusions. Agriculture is the issue, specifically the domestic political constraints imposed by protection of that sector in Japan. At the same time, the business sector is pushing hard to join.

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in PECC Forum 9648

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