Will RCEP compete with the TPP?

World leaders at the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Tuesday, 20 November 2012, where the RCEP was launched. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Beginda Pakpahan, UI

Competition appears likely to emerge between ASEAN’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an agreement to launch negotiations for which was reached at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Phnom Penh on 20 November, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

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Why the RCEP matters for Asia and the world

Delegates from 16 Asia Pacific nations pose for photos in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, on 9 May 2013, prior to the first round of negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ganeshan Wignaraja, ADBI

Mega-regional trade deals are in vogue.

Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are grabbing headlines around the world. Meanwhile, Asia’s own mega-regional trade deal — the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) — is quietly being negotiated. Read more…

A critical look at the ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard

ASEAN Secretary General Dr Surin Pitsuwan speaks at the ASEAN secretariat ahead of a speech by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in Jakarta, Indonesia on Monday, 16 April 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS

The official ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Scorecard, published by the ASEAN Secretariat in March 2012, stipulated that ASEAN had achieved 67.5 per cent of its targets for the 2008–11 period.

While the fourth pillar of the blueprint, ‘integration into the global economy’, was the best performer at 85.7 per cent, the first pillar on ‘single market and production base’ was the worst performer, with 65.9 per cent over the same period.

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ASEAN a perennial quiet achiever

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders pose for the group photo after the opening ceremony of the 24th ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, 11 May 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Rodolfo Severino, ISEAS

On 12 November 2014, ASEAN leaders will gather in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s new capital, for their twice-yearly summit.

High on the ASEAN agenda for this November’s summit is, of course, the South China Sea. Read more…

Japan, US and the TPP: the view from China

Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe shakes hands with US President Barack Obama after their summit meeting in the Oval Office at the White House, in Washington DC on 22 February 2013. The two leaders confirmed that Japan would participate in the talks of Trans-Pacfic Partnership (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe successfully stared down opposition from the domestic farm lobby and his own ruling party to take Japan into the TPP negotiations. The other half of the equation — gaining the consent of TPP negotiating countries to Japan’s entry — was sealed at the recent APEC ministerial meeting in Indonesia.

But what does Japan’s largest trading partner, China, think of these developments? Read more…

Does APEC matter?

APEC leaders in Peru last year. (photo: apec.org)

Authors: Peter Drysdale and Shiro Armstrong

This week Singapore hosts APEC and leaders from the 21 member economies. This year is APEC’s 20th anniversary, 20 years which have seen a remarkable transformation and growth of its East Asian member economies.

Did APEC have anything to do with East Asia becoming the most dynamic region in the global economy? Does APEC matter for its members? Does being a member of APEC, and associated with the growth of trade and investment in the most dynamic part of the world economy, make a difference? Read more…

Comparing North Korea to East Germany

North Korean defectors demand the passing of North Korea peoples human rights laws from National Assembly at a protest earlier this month. Will South Korea have the resources to demand unification? (Photo: AAP)

Author: Robert Edwin Kelly, PNU

Whenever it comes, Korean unification will be more expensive per capita, more destabilising and more prone to outside intervention than that of Germany.

Examining the similarities between these two states, North Korea and East Germany have (or, of course in the case of East Germany, had) all the problems of the 20th century’s ‘real existing socialism’, controlled by a corrupt ‘red bourgeoisie’ for whom regime ideology justifies oligarchy and luxury. Read more…

Australia’s new region: the Indo-Pacific

Prime Minister Julia Gillard (centre), Minister for Defence Stephen Smith (left) and CDF General David Hurley hold a media conference inside a Hurcules military plane after the release of the 2013 Defence white paper in Canberra, Friday, May 3, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Melissa Conley Tyler and Samantha Shearman, AIIA

With the release of the Defence White Paper 2013 on 3 May, Australia officially has a new region, the ‘Indo-Pacific’: a strategic arc ‘connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans through Southeast Asia’.

Given the long history of linking Australian foreign policy to the ‘Asia-Pacific’, this is a significant change in terminology. How did we get to this point and what are the implications? Read more…

BRICS, banking on development

Night view of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in Shanghai, China, 30 July 2014. Shanghai will host the headquarters of the BRICS New Development Bank that will challenge for the first time the US postwar dominance of multilateral lending institutions. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Keshav Kelkar, UBC

The creation of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging economies is a landmark achievement. Developing nations have lost faith in the current system with its strict conditions on development finance and its inability to insulate countries from financial shocks. International observers have however expressed mixed views about the creation of the bank and what it represents for the nascent multilateral BRICS bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Read more…

ASEAN+8 – A recipe for a new regional architecture

G20 leaders (First Row from L to R) Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, (Second Row from L to R) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Thai Prime Minister and chair of ASEAN Abhisit Vejjajiva, US President Barack Obama, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Meles Zenawi pose during the G20 summit in east London on April 2, 2009. (Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images)

Author: K Kesavapany, ISEAS

As the international centre of economic gravity moves towards East Asia, the challenge for the region is to develop a new architecture commensurate with its growing role in world affairs.

Consider East Asia. There is no doubt that East Asian countries are well-represented in the Group of 20, which is turning into a genuine platform for international economic cooperation. China and India, the two rising Asian giants, are prominent members of the G20. Read more…