Will SEZs really help Mexico and Japan?

Containers are unloaded from a cargo vessel as truck make a long queue at Aomi International Container terminal in Tokyo, Japan, 16 November 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Juan J. Palacios, University of Guadalajara

On 29 September, President Enrique Peña Nieto formally launched an initiative he had first announced in November 2014 to create, for the first time in Mexico, three special economic zones (SEZs) in the country’s poorest states. The next day, Peña Nieto submitted to Congress the draft of the law that will set the rules and conditions for the creation and operation of these zones.

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Productivity lessons for Asia’s tiger cubs

Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong is famous for its fast  owing commerce. Trade and openness helped the small island nation and other Asian ‘Tigers’ to develop rapidly by assimilating foreign technology. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Lawrence J. Lau, CUHK and Jungsoo Park, Sogang University

The high and persistent growth of the four Newly Industrialised Economies — also known as the East Asian Tigers: Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan — from 1970 to 1990 prompted much debate about the drivers of growth in these economies. There have been numerous studies looking into this issue, but they have not yet been able to reach a common conclusion. Read more…

Looking after this generation in Asia, and the next

Children scatter autumn leaves into the air at dusk in Tokyo, Japan, 21 November 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The issue of the sustainability of economic growth is a hot issue in the debate about economic policy. Growth, as measured through change in GDP, means that people are better off, but it does not mean that people will continue to enjoy a higher standard of living in the future. Sustainability means that social consumption can be at least as high in the future as it is now. Read more…

Facing up to the long-term fiscal challenges

Unionised civil servants hold their union flags during a rally to oppose the government's bid to overhaul the public pension system near the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, 28 March 2015. South Korean President Park Geun-hye called for parliamentary endorsement of a bill meant to reform the pension system for civil servants in the latest appeal to reduce the government's growing pension deficit. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Alan J. Auerbach, UC Berkeley

The global financial crisis (GFC) that precipitated the worldwide great recession in 2008 has largely subsided. Capital markets are generally operating smoothly, liquidity has been restored and new initiatives toward financial regulation are aimed at reducing the likelihood of recurrence. But in other respects the effects of the crisis live on. Read more…

Indonesia’s foreign policy takes an economic turn

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, and Philippine's President Benigno Aquino III join their hands during the opening ceremony of the 26th ASEAN Summit in Malaysia, on 27 April 2015. While Jokowi has acknowledged the importance of ASEAN, he has emphasised that Indonesia must pursue its economic interests. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nobuhiro Aizawa, Kyushu University

Since President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) took office, he has been clear and consistent in explaining his foreign policy priorities, enunciating the principle of putting ‘national interest’ first. Putting national interest first is to be expected in a leader’s foreign policy. What has been notable is the way that Jokowi has defined ‘national interest’. Read more…

G20 leaders falling US$4 trillion short of growth target

US President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference following the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey on 16 November 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Adam Triggs, ANU

The IMF gave G20 leaders some bad news in Turkey: they are not doing enough to lift growth. The G20 has not implemented enough of their previous commitments and their goal of increasing G20 GDP by US$2 trillion by 2018 is falling short by about US$4 trillion. Read more…

No surprises in store at APEC Philippines 2015

A man collects plastic bottles in front of stacked cargo containers at a pier in Manila on 28 May 2015. Development and trade will be high on the agenda at the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in the Philippines from 18 November. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Gary Hawke, NZIER

Most of what APEC will achieve in 2015 has already been achieved. The Economic Leaders’ Meeting in the Philippines on 18–19 November 2015 will endorse what has already been agreed on. Leaders will talk — in various groupings — about whatever else interests them. Read more…