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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

China's Economic Outlook and its Impacts on the world

Darson Chiu

Besides the plunging crude oil price since mid-2014, the slowing Chinese economy would be a main reason why the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has continued to downward adjust its global economic growth forecast for the past one year.[1] Emerging market and developing economies have constantly outperformed advanced economies in terms of GDP growth. Among all emerging market and developing economies, China has had higher growth during the period of its 11th and 12th five year plans providing strong momentum to the emerging and developing Asia. With its tremendous economic size, all eyes have been on China and its business potential. However, the most recent global financial crisis caused certain serious and negative impacts on China’s economic structure.

The consequences resulted from the crisis have dragged down China’s growth to a certain extent. It seems that China is now striving to avoid a hard landing, while a likely soft landing is often stressed by the market as inevitable. As a result, the emphasis must be on the implications for the global economy, as the growth rates between the world and China are becoming more correlated. Nevertheless, the impacts on global economy can be mitigated if the Chinese economy is able to fulfill its goals of the 13th five-year plan.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Advancing Quality Growth through further Enhancing Inclusive Growth

Wayne Chen

Setting off from the commitment and achievement materialized at the Manila summit on 19 November, 2015,  APEC is continuing its Inclusive Growth agenda in 2016 under the leadership of Peru.

APEC 2015 Incorporated a Strong Inclusive Growth Chapter in the APEC Growth Strategy

APEC 2015 under the them of "Building Incisive Economies, Building a Better World", the Philippines attached great importance on social inclusiveness to the APEC growth strategy. As a result, in addition to the tradition priority area of Regional Economic Integration, Building Inclusive Economies; Fostering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises' Participation in Regional and Global Markets; Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities, and; Investing in Human Capital Development, were highlighted in APEC Leaders' Declaration. APEC Leaders "acknowledged that inequality acts as a brake on economic growth and that reducing it is essential to spurring development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific", and called for more intensive efforts for the reduction and eradication of poverty.

APEC 2016 Continues the Inclusiveness Centered Agenda and Focuses on Human Capital

Last November, Peru announced "Quality Growth and Human Development" as  the theme of APEC 2016, followed by 4 priority areas including Advancing Regional Economic Integration and Quality Growth; Enhancing Regional Food Market; Towards the Modernization MSMEs in the Asia Pacific, and; Developing Human Capital. The agenda setting accents inclusive growth, and for the very first time rests human capital as the theme for APEC.

The US 2016 Presidential Election and the implication for the future political economy of the Asia-Pacific Region

Gratiana JUNG

Before Donald Trump, the US Republican party candidate in the Primary for 2016 presidential election, comes to the scene, no one would have seen the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could face up the uncertainty other than the twist and turn on the Capitol Hill. Many would just think it might delay for a while resulting from the election hassling and bustling. That probably was the worst scenario. But, here are Donald Trump, a New York estate business tycoon, and Bernie Sanders, a long-serving Democratic Senator running on the anti-establishment sentiment. Their hostility towards something outlandish has been particular pronouncing in trade, immigration, and traditional foreign policy remits. Their arguments have generated overwhelming supports and heated media interests. Indeed, the whole election campaign is characterised by this isolationist and protectionist  tone that the US experienced long time ago.

Enhancing the G20-APEC Relationship for Advancing the Global Economy

Chen-Sheng Ho, Ph.D.
Research Fellow, TIER

       This year, 2016, will be an exceptional year for advancing international economic cooperation and Asia-Pacific regional economic integration, if the G20 and APEC work with each other to address pressing economic issues. In the era of globalization, characterized by robust connectivity, the deepening of collaboration between organizations at the international level and at the regional level is indispensable for achieving economic benefits.

        China is holding the presidency of the 2016 G20 and will host the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China on September 4-5, 2016. The theme for this year is: “Building an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy.” According to the information provided in the official G20 Website (, an important message is that economic globalization has deepened in the world, so that cooperation is the most effective way for countries to mitigate challenges and realize common development (G20 2016).

        Moreover, the G20 Website has also indicated that the G20 should seek to tackle critical issues that affect the global economy and to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth. In addition, the main idea is that the world should strengthen global economic and financial governance, in order to fight inequality and imbalance in global development. Furthermore, it is necessary to ensure that people of all countries are able to equitably share benefits of economic growth (G20 2016).