Trade helps improve consumer protection in Southeast Asia

Thai office workers walk past advertising promoting the ASEAN Economic Community in Bangkok on 13 January 2013. The AEC is unlikely to be ready by its deadline. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Luke Nottage, University of Sydney

Significant legislative and practical challenges in enhancing consumer product safety law remain in many parts of Southeast Asia. But liberalising trade within ASEAN and with its outside trading partners has led to major progress in consumer protection standards. Read more…

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…

Will Pakistan finally open up its trade to India?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2L) shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (2R) during the closing session of the 18th SAARC summit at City Hall in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on 27 November 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Nisha Taneja and Samridhi Bimal, ICRIER

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Russia, and his visit to Pakistan next year for the SAARC summit, has raised hopes about the possibility of resumption of the bilateral composite dialogue. Read more…

TPP may deny Australia its piece of the China pie

Ministers from 12 countries engaged in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade initiative hold a joint press conference in Sydney on 27 October 2014. Australia risks losing out in the mega-regional trade deal. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Luke Hurst, ANU

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) goes through another round, some details have started trickling out from the secretive negotiations. A concerning detail for Australia is the provision that applies penalties to foreign state-owned enterprises (SOEs) if they receive discounted loans when investing in TPP member economies. Read more…

China, US looking past each other on trade and investment

Chinese President Xi Jinping's (C-R) meeting with the members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China 24 October 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, PIIE

US exports of goods and services to China have been practically flat since the first quarter of 2014, while Chinese exports to the United States have expanded only modestly. This is not an inspiring record. Meanwhile, two-way stocks of direct investment remain well below potential — about US$60 billion from the United States to China and around US$50 billion going the other direction. This stands in contrast with a potential of at least US$100 billion in each direction.

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China’s negotiation strategies at the crossroads of international trade

Chinese Minister of Commerce Dr Gao Hucheng speaks during the signing ceremony of the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China.

Authors: He Fan, CASS, and Xiaoming Pan, SIIS

The international trading system is at a crossroads. While the Doha Round of WTO negotiations remains deadlocked, new trade rules are being called for to adjust for new realities, such as the expansion of global value chains (GVCs). This means for the first time since the establishment of the WTO in 1995, regionalism has prospered over multilateralism, with the parallel emergence of three mega-regional trade negotiation platforms. With this in mind, China must reconsider its approach to negotiating trade agreements. 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…