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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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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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in PECC Forum 5686

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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in PECC Forum 4717

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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in PECC Forum 5517

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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in PECC Forum 11265

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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in PECC Forum 20517

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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in PECC Forum 14309

Ippei Yamazawa
Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University, Japan

2010 APEC Yokohama was completed three weeks ago with three major achievements, first the mid-term assessment of its Bogor target, second a concrete direction toward Free trade Area for the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), and third APEC’s growth strategy. The first two give us a future prospect for APEC’s main activity of Trade Investment Liberalization and Facilitation (TILF), while the last packages its new initiatives undertaken for the past decade in order to combat with changing economic environment in the region. Discussion has so far focused on TPP as a possible route to FTAAP but others seem to be missed since the Yokohama meetings. This short essay aims to discuss both the first agenda and continued TILF of the second.

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in PECC Forum 5910

Yuen Pau Woo
President and CEO, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

From: http://www.asiapacific.ca/editorials/presidents-view

Prime Minister Harper and three of his senior cabinet ministers spent much of the last week at two major international gatherings in Asia. The Seoul G20 meeting on 11-12 November was followed by the annual APEC Leaders’ Summit in Yokohama. The close proximity of these two meetings and their overlapping mandates raise important questions about the rapidly changing structure of global governance and Canada’s place in it. In light of Ottawa’s recent failure to secure a seat on the United Nations Security Council, the issue of Canada’s place in regional and global groupings has come into sharper focus.

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in PECC Forum 3321

Peter A. Petri
Brandeis University
Senior Fellow at the East-West Center
Member of the US Asia Pacific Council

This article appeared in Nihon Keizai Shimbun, November 8, 2010 (in Japanese)

The intense debate in the Democratic Party of Japan—on whether Japan should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, an initiative spanning nine countries on both sides of the Pacific, including the United States—has far-reaching implications not just for Japan but for the region and the world.

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in PECC Forum 8843

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 10341

Senator Daniel Inoye
Chair
U.S. Senate Appropriation Committee

APEC Promotes Stability in the Asia-Pacific

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN (Nov. 12, 2010) – Speaking yesterday at the 2010 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Yokohama, Japan, U.S. Senate Appropriation Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawai‘i) said the meeting comes at a time when “the interdependence among the world’s economies have reached a level never seen before.”

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in PECC Forum 11073

Yuen Pau Woo
President and CEO
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

Coordinator
State of the Region Report
State of the Region 2010-2011

The world economy has been on a roller coaster ride since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. A deep plunge in economic output through the greater part of 2009 was followed by a sharp upturn, only to settle now into what can be described as a period of great uncertainty. Recovery in the US and Europe has been spotty, and the risk of another financial crisis remains present. Contrasting policy responses across the Atlantic further complicate the outlook, and underscore the differences among leading nations not only in prognosis but also in the type and degree of international coordination that is needed for sustained recovery.

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in PECC Forum 9539

Preamble

Recognizing the access to adequate food sources as a fundamental requirement for human security and national security, we, the 2010 PECC Youth Delegation have compiled the following report in the hope that it may inform discussions within PECC in regards to the issue of food security.

Introduction

Recent food price hikes have drawn the attention of the world’s policy-makers and news media to food security. But what is “food security” and how can it be measured? For the purpose of this report we have adopted the definition of food security, as defined in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s 1996 Declaration on World Food Security:

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in PECC Forum 10499

Hadi Soeastro talking at the USAPC Annual Washington Conference

Dr Hadi Soeastro talking at the USAPC Annual Washington Conference

Dr Hadi Soesastro, founding member of PECC, Executive Director of the Indonesian PECC committee (INCPEC) and international chair of the Pacific Trade and Development Forum (PAFTAD) passed away on 4 May.

Pak Hadi, as he was fondly called by Indonesians and others alike was one of the intellectual founders of regionalism in Southeast Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific.

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in PECC Forum 11246

The food system is one of the economic sectors most sensitive to the potential consequences of price volatility. The expectation is that price volatility will continue for at least the near term. Public and private sector decision makers around the region need the best possible information to address this challenge.

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in PECC Forum 9057

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