Will the TPP endgame get tangled in old spaghetti?


Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

Ever since Jagdish Bhagwati coined the phrase ‘spaghetti bowl’ to describe the maze of overlapping preferential trade arrangements (PTAs), trade economists have been split over whether such deals are ‘building blocks’ or ‘stumbling blocks’ for the multilateral trading system.  Read more…

How restrictive are ASEAN’s Rules of Origin?

Workers arrange baskets full of different kinds of fish at the Kota Kinabalu central fish market in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah on 14 June 2015. Simplifying rules of origin could aid ASEAN economies’ food exports. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Olivier Cadot, University of Lausanne and Lili Yan Ing, ERIA

Asia accounts for more than 50 per cent of the world’s automobile production, 62 per cent of liquid display screen, 86 per cent of smart phones and 100 per cent of digital cameras. Much of this production is based on production networks: that is, value chains that criss-cross the region, with the various stages of the production of each good taking place in different countries, depending on the comparative advantage of each. Read more…

ASEAN yet to lay the foundations of the AEC

The flags of the ten ASEAN member nations fly as representatives of Burma's ethnic groups await the arrival of the leaders for the opening ceremony of the 25th ASEAN summit in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Pattharapong Rattanasevee, Burapha University

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is set to arrive at the end of 2015. It is a significant step forward and could be a crucial turning point for ASEAN. But without a strong central authority and mandate, ASEAN integration will remain in a mess and the AEC remain an illusion. Read more…

China aims to set the regional cooperation agenda

Indian soldiers spread a red carpet as they prepare for ceremonies on the Indian side of Nathu La Pass. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Chen Dongxiao, SIIS

In late October 2013, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee held a conference of Diplomatic Work with Neighbouring Countries  in Beijing, where it unveiled new priorities under its New Neighbourhood Diplomacy guidelines. The new approach makes China’s neighbourhood, covering both continental and maritime Asia, the top strategic priority for the first time. Read more…

ASEAN unity an institution for Asian stability

Artists wearing traditional clothing arrive for a performance during the 26th ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 25 April 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: John Blaxland, ANU

The dynamics at work in ASEAN are an under‐appreciated but crucial component of the Asia Pacific’s geo‐political equation. Understanding these dynamics offers insights for policymakers reviewing the United States’ rebalance to Asia. Read more…

Banking on America’s Asian choices

US President Barack Obama boards Air Force One after a trip to Asia in late 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The US–China relationship is undoubtedly the single most important bilateral relationship in the world today. More hinges on the successful management of that relationship, not only for Asian but also for global peace and prosperity, than on any other single relationship in the world. Read more…

The US must adapt to Asia’s new order

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama in 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Evan A. Feigenbaum, Paulson Institute

The United States has dominated global economics and finance in the post-war era. But the rise of new regional institutions and agreements in Asia will pose a growing and lasting competitive challenge to US leadership in the Pacific. Read more…