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…

APEC’s first 25 years and the road ahead

Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computers are lined up at the media center ahead of APEC China 2014 at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China, 4 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

APEC leaders will meet in Beijing in November, 25 years after the APEC process was launched in Canberra in 1989. Some early hopes have been met, while others have been dashed. 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…

A role for APEC: accelerating investment in economic infrastructure

Construction workers move stainless steel at a building site in Beijing. APEC leaders can agree this year on steps to promote infrastructure investments. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

The world has a huge demand for economic infrastructure, including better transport and communications among economies. The world economy is performing well below its potential and, in 2011, Indonesia alerted APEC and G20 leaders to the significant potential benefits of meeting this demand. In the short term, new investment would help to further boost demand, while current low rates of interest provide an excellent opportunity to invest in economic infrastructure that would raise long-term productivity and integrate economies. Read more…

TPPing over?

Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari listens during a press conference at the Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministerial Meeting in Singapore, 20 May 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jayant Menon, ADB

Why is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) taking so long to conclude? It has already missed three deadlines, the latest being October 2013. And President Barack Obama’s recent Asia visit did not produce the widely anticipated push towards the finish line. And what will the TPP will look like when finally concluded? Despite WikiLeaks’ best efforts, the negotiations are walled by secrecy. Will the TPP be the comprehensive twenty-first century agreement proponents tout? Or will it wallow as a watered-down compromise, riddled with exemptions, as detractors predict? Read more…

Europe’s broken weapons of mass seduction

A Greek flag flies beside an EU flag. Greece is one of the worst affected countries in the ongoing eurozone crisis, which has threatened European solidarity. (Photo: Flickr/ Theophilos Papadopoulos).

Author: Jean-Pierre Lehmann, IMD

For Asia, the decline of Europe is not necessarily bad news. Though the market will be less buoyant, it will remain large — given the amount of wealth accumulated over centuries. The lack of competitiveness and increasing number of failing European companies will also provide more opportunities for acquisitions by Asian investors. Read more…

No reason to rush into a Eurasian Economic Union

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev and his Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko before a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Minsk. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Alibek Konkanov and Bakhytzhan Kurmanov, Economic Research Institute, Kazakhstan

On 29 April at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council summit in Minsk, where the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia discussed the future of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), it was announced that the agreement to establish the EEU would be signed on 29 May in Astana. This is a project that can be traced back to 1994, when the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, proposed creating a Eurasian union. Read more…