The living noodle bowl: ASEAN trade agreements


Authors: Christopher Findlay, University of Adelaide, and Shandre Thangavelu, NUS

Mega-regionalism is a major feature of trade strategies in the Asia Pacific today. The ‘spaghetti bowl’ of interwoven bilateral FTAs offers no real future, a realisation that has led to greater action on multi-country agreements. Read more…

Value-add data adds value to our understanding of Asia

Employees of Samsung Electronics set up large LCD TV on a production line at Samsung Electronics factory in Suwon 7 August 2003. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Christopher Findlay, University of Adelaide

The future of manufacturing in developed economies, and the scope for digital technology to provide new life for that sector, has received increasing attention as production moves to low-wage countries and as the manufacturing process becomes more fragmented. Read more…

Qantas still calls Australia home

Qantas planes on the tarmac at Sydney International Airport. Qantas, in its traditional modes of operation, is being pushed back to its Australian home. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Christopher Findlay, University of Adelaide

Qantas’ advertising has long used the tag line ‘I still call Australia home’.


Around the Olympics this year, a new strategy was launched with the focus on the tag line ‘you’re the reason we fly’, driven by the observation that Australians believe in openness, and getting out there and doing more, seeing more and expecting more. Read more…

Blurred borders: ‘offshoring’ Australian business

Shipping containers on the wharves in Melbourne. Innovative companies are moving away from traditional export models. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Christopher Findlay and Dean Parham, University of Adelaide

There is now fierce pressure for all Australian businesses outside the resources sector to adjust to the resources boom.

One of Australia’s top policy makers, Ken Henry, has called on Australian business to look at itself differently, saying that ‘productivity and participation-enhancing initiatives’ are promising first steps on the road to a structural adjustment of the Australian non-mining industries. Read more…

Bolting on the second track key to regional cooperation in the Asian Century

Prime Minister Julia Gillard attends the Asia Business Council Summer Forum in Sydney, March 16 2012. There is a public interest in fostering connectivity between first and second-track institutions.  (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Ian Buchanan and Christopher Findlay, AUSPECC

As the politically and economically diverse Asian Pacific states adjust toward post-Cold War institutional structures and alliances, Australia faces renewed policy making and economic cooperation challenges.

It is precisely this diversity of economic interests and political systems that dictates the mode of engagement and the degree of centralised control over the ‘scripts’ used by the actors who exercise influence over the region through various policies and fora.

Read more…

Food, finance and flying: Australia’s FDI challenges in the Asian Century

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce, whose airline plans to create a premium Asian airline. These plans were thrown into disarray on 9 March 2012 after it announced talks with Malaysia Airlines had collapsed. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Christopher Findlay, University of Adelaide

Australia will face numerous challenges in the ‘Asian Century’, including issues surrounding foreign direct investment (FDI).

More specifically, it is important to reform Australia’s own FDI policy and the policies of its neighbours — as well as one other old-fashioned international policy regime still guiding FDI today.

Read more…

WTO ministerial conference: time for a new world trade strategy

World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy speaks during the 8th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Switzerland 16 Dec. 2011

Author: Christopher Findlay, University of Adelaide

The weather was awful outside the WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva last week, but there was some sunshine within the convention centre.

Russia acceded as a member, along with Samoa, Montenegro and Vanuatu (the club still attracts new members, and as one minister said: ‘as far as I know, nobody has asked to leave’). Read more…