Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Physical Connectivity in APEC Connectivity: One Excellent Case Study in Chinese Taipei

Mu-Hsiang Yu



According to the 2014 APEC Leaders' Declaration, APEC Leaders recognize comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development will help open up new sources of economic growth, promote cooperation and mutual assistance and advance prosperity and the spirit of community in the Asia-Pacific region. It also commends the achievements already made by APEC in connectivity and infrastructure development cooperation.

APEC Leaders also endorsed the APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015~2025 and agreed to implement the APEC Connectivity Blueprint and achieve the overarching goal of strengthening physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity by taking agreed actions and meeting agreed targets by 2025.

In 2015 APEC Leaders' Declaration, it affirms to take further action to ensure continued implementation of the above-mentioned Blueprint and to promote regional and sub-regional connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of investment in quality infrastructure and connectivity to realize our vision for an Asia-Pacific community.


Practicing the ASEAN Way in APEC creates a Niche for "Taiwan's New Southbound Policy"

                                                                                                                                       Mei-Ling Tsai

     The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a core organization in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). APEC promotes regional collaboration and economic integration (Chiou 2015). The ASEAN way of interacting amongst its members has been the natural mode of conducting APEC routine operations (Lee 2012). Currently ASEAN has significant influence as there is great interest across the global community to want to interact with ASEAN. The European Union has created better connection with ASEAN through their "capacity-building project" initiated in 2007. Later in 2013, China's "One Belt One Road initiative" offers strategic infrastructure to consolidate its collaboration with ASEAN. Meanwhile, the US government launched the "Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative" to strengthen leadership development and promote its networking with ASEAN. To actively engage ASEAN's, Taiwan initiated its "new southbound policy" in 2016. The policy reflects Taiwan's new outward-looking economic strategy through mutual exchanges of various fields. BUT Taiwan needs to be aware the ASEAN way, prepare for how best to engage with ASEAN members, and then successfully build strong, sustainable relationships.

Advancing Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy from the Perspectives of ASEAN and SAARC

Chen-Sheng Ho


Presently, Taiwan is developing the "new southbound policy." The policy seeks to advance relations between Taiwan and South and Southeast Asian nations. Most importantly, the new policy will not only focus on trade and investment but will also emphasize people-to-people, cultural, educational, research and other forms of exchanges. Moreover, tourism and talent cultivation are also included (MOEA 2016).

In order to strengthen the success of the "new southbound policy," it is essential to comprehend the expectations of the South and Southeast Asian nations for economic cooperation. In the case of Southeast Asian nations, ASEAN is the focus. The ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 is an important source of information to comprehend the emphasis of the ASEAN members on economic issues. As for determining the needs of South Asian nations, the focus is on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). From understanding the economic issues of importance to ASEAN and SAARC, Taiwan will have a better idea of how to cooperate with the ASEAN and SAARC members.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Prospect of New Southbound Policy

Darson Chiu

The so called “new southbound policy” has been stressed by the president Tsai, Ing-wen as one of the nation’s very important policies for the near future. The current ruling party Democratic Progressive Party released the policy’s preliminary scope and framework at its central standing committee meeting in April of 2016. However, the policy was announced in 2015 when the outcome of presidential election was still unknown. “The new southbound policy is Taiwan’s new outward-oriented economic strategic plan that puts people at its core, and the government would be pushing bilateral interaction and cooperation of human resources, industries, investments, education, culture, tourism and agriculture between Taiwan, ASEAN and South Asian nations to build a new partnership.”

Also, a new southbound policy office was set up and started operating in June, 2016.  Accordingly, the office will be a task force whose staff members will come from the Presidential Office or other government agencies, either on special assignments or on loan. Therefore, the office will be in charge of coordinating efforts between different government agencies and putting forward with the policy.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Pandemic and Epidemic Disease Prevention – Zika virus.

Penny Ou

The 2016 Summer Olympics scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5 to August 21 has raised concerns to the spread of disease and future health of the general population worldwide, as the mosquito-borne virus Zika sweeps its way over countries and territories in the Americas. Throughout the course of history, diseases have had decisive influences on the development of mankind. Before the industrial revolution, infectious diseases were deadly, but could only cause damage in a specific area. In the tightly connected world we live in today however, infectious diseases are not only a concern to the local region in which a virus originates, but also a serious threat to human health on a global scale. Related organizations must keep up with the ever changing threats around us.

Climate Change and Green Investment: Case Studies of China and Thailand

Tiffany Chiang

Climate change and the consequences it brings have become frequently discussed topics globally. As many developing economies take off, carbon emissions and energy consumption increase drastically to accommodate for the growing economic activities. Byproducts of economic development can severely or even permanently damage the earth. Extreme climates such as droughts, floods, record high and record low temperatures are evidences of such damage. Taking into consideration that consequences are felt internationally and not just in the countries polluting, many international institutions and seminars, as well as APEC, have included the issue of climate change into their discussions. This paper serves the purpose of using two particular case studies, China and Thailand, to observe sustainable development and green investment in the Asia Pacific.

Even though its growth has slowed down in the recent years, China's economy has been growing rapidly since its initiation of market reforms in 1978. China's GDP growth averages at about 10 percent a year, lifting more than 800 million people out of poverty. However, rapid economic growth comes with a major consequence - pollution. Air pollution, floods, and droughts are prevalent environmental issues and byproducts of economic development faced by the country. To bring problems to perspective, itis estimated that more than 1.6 million people per year die in China frombreathing toxic air. The environmental condition in China has declined to a point where it is impossible for the government to ignore.

APEC Supports the Abolish off Export Subsidies to Accelerate Food Trade

Wayne Chen

Agriculture has been one of the most important (and also controversial) link in FTA/RTA negotiations as well as on the WTO agenda. No doubt that a number of important decision agreed by 163 members on agriculture at the WTO 10th Ministerial Conference was a significant step forward, of which eliminating export subsidies for farm exports was an outcome drew a wide range of attentions.

Primary decisions concluded on agriculture at MC10 are related to Export Competition, Public Stockholding for Food Security, and Special Safeguard Mechanism for Developing Countries. In the regard of Export Competition, the "Nairobi Package" is composed of the elimination of export subsidies, new rules for export credits, and decisions on international food aid and exporting state trading enterprises. As said by the WTO report that "the decision to fully eliminate any form of agricultural export subsidies is an historic decision and constitutes a significant step in the reform of agricultural trade".

According to the WTO Ministerial Decision on Export Competition adopted at MC10, developed members shall immediately remove export subsidies on mostly farm products while developing countries will accomplish the commitment by 2018. Meanwhile, WTO members should refrain from applying export subsidies in a manner that circumvents the requirement to reduce and eliminate all export subsidies, and export subsidies should not exceed the average level of the past five years on a product basis.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The New Age of Financial Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region

Eric Chiou
     In the end of 2015, a new multilateral financial institution, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) had formally launched its debut and became the only regional bank focused on providing financial assistances to infrastructure projects for countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

From various perspectives, the formation of the AIIB may be a good news for the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, since this region is indeed in short supply of financial loans for infrastructure projects, and desperately in need of related transportation and telecommunication facilities for enhancing economic development and connectivity between countries and people in the region.

In 2013, when Indonesia was a host economy of APEC, it had highlighted "promoting connectivity" as one of three priorities of the year, and singled out physical connectivity, institutional connectivity, and people- to-people connectivity as the major themes for the efforts. Without doubt, infrastructure development and promotion of infrastructure investment are keys to achieve physical connectivity and to facilitate economic exchanges and regional integration.

Despite the significance of infrastructure development to fostering APEC's connectivity, many APEC members and countries in the region are troubled due to lack of sufficient financial support to undertake some infrastructure projects. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), another regional financial institution with recent concentration on poverty alleviation, it estimates that Asia totally needs about 8 trillion dollars for infrastructure projects from 2010-2020. Both ADB and the World Bank currently could not provide necessary funding to this demand, which opens the window of opportunity for the formation of the AIIB.