Making the most of Japan’s tourism boom

Author: Yoko Konishi, RIETI

Japan registered a travel surplus of about US$10.6 billion in 2015, suggesting its growing competitiveness as an exporter of tourism. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), the number of inbound tourists increased by 47.1 per cent to 19.7 million in 2015 Read more…

The failure of India’s EOUs

Author: Pravakar Sahoo, IEG and Bruegel

The export-oriented unit (EOU) scheme was launched in India in 1980 to boost exports and increase production. Under the scheme, Indian companies that produce goods solely for export can register as ‘export-oriented units’. Read more…

What’s driving growth in Vietnam’s auto industry?

Commuters on bikes, scooters and in cars are seen in a traffic jam in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Arve Hansen, University of Oslo

After many years of slow growth and stagnation the last couple of years have seen a significant boom in car sales in Vietnam. The country most known for its staggering motorbike population now appears to be rapidly heading for the age of the automobile. What has caused this change of fortunes for the auto industry, and will this new trend create a strong domestic auto industry in Vietnam?

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Tough times in the Laos garment industry

Laotian textile factory workers at work sewing clothes for export to Europe. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Vanthana Nolintha, National Economic Research Institute

The Lao garment industry has been on the decline. The value of exports increased from US$87 million in 1995 to a peak of US$219 million in 2011, before gradually falling to US$174 million in 2015. The share of garments in total exports also declined from an average of 36 per cent during 2001–2005, to only 8 per cent during 2011–2015.

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Myanmar’s energy insecurities

Workers weld a pipeline at a construction site of the Myanmar–China natural gas pipeline in Laibin city, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 25 January 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aiko Shimizu, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Myanmar is on track to be a major player in Asia’s energy security. It has an abundance of untapped resources, a geographic location strategically sandwiched between two economic giants (China and India) and has recently opened itself to world markets. Yet the Southeast Asian nation faces internal and external challenges in developing a competitive energy sector. Read more…

Strike one for trade agreements in Northeast Asia

South Korean President Park Geun-hye walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to hold a trilateral summit at the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, 1 November 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Northeast Asia is a geo-politically complicated region. The two Asian giants Japan and China have at best a difficult political relationship. South Korea has unresolved history issues with Japan. The cross-Strait relationship between Taiwan and China appears to be improving but will always have to be treated with care. Read more…

South Korea–China FTA falls short on reform

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shake hands ahead of their talks at the presidential office in Seoul, 31 October 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Jeffrey J. Schott and Euijin Jung, PIIE

The South Korea–China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into effect in December 2015, has proved disappointing. The pact excludes too much economic activity and does too little to propel growth in both countries. Read more…