Who sets the rules of the game in Asia?

A thousand workers are shown stitching uppers for Nike shoes, July 26, 1997, at the Korean-owned Tae Kwang Vina factory, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. One floor below 2000 workers are doing the same. The Factory employs 8,750 workers. For the past three years, pressure has typified the Asian factories that churn out Nike shoes and clothes, which has led to abuse in some cases. Nike company officials say the Nike-aligned factories offer respectable wages, where working conditions have improved and abuses are relatively few. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sri Mulyani Indrawati, World Bank Group

It is now a commonplace to refer to the 21st century as the Asian Century. With the world economy struggling to recover from the global financial crisis, the Asia Pacific region, and especially its developing countries, has provided much of the impetus for global growth. Read more…

The importance of reliable resource markets to Australian and Asian security

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a tour of an iron ore mine in the Pilbara, West Australia, 9 July 2014. (Photo:AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Recent talk that would encourage government messing with Australian iron ore markets sits awkwardly in the context of the core strategic importance of raw materials in Australia’s economic relationships with Asia, both sides round. Read more…

Supporters of an Australian iron cartel have a monopoly on bad economics

Grab buckets unload imported iron ore on a quay at the Port of Rizhao in east China's Shandong province, 7 February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Luke Hurst, ANU

As Australia moves away from a decade of resource-driven prosperity, it is even more important that it avoid mistakes that previously might have been papered over by the boom times. Yet there are loud voices calling for the mistakes of the past to be made again. One of the loudest is that of Australian mining company Fortescue’s non-executive chairman, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest. Read more…

Getting trade and currency policy instruments and objectives mixed up

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on trade and the economy from in Oregon, USA, 8 May 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Trade flows are clearly linked to the value of national currencies. This is the innocuous starting point that leads the political classes and lobbyists in America into a pickle over the incorporation of clauses that seek to protect against ‘currency manipulation’ into trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that is being pushed by the Obama administration as the economic arm of its pivot towards Asia. Read more…

Keep currency clauses out of the global trading system

People protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) gather as US President Barack Obama attends a fund raiser for the Democratic National Committee in Oregon, 7 May 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

Ever since the post-gold standard age of adjustable exchange rates was inaugurated in the mid-1930s to consensually engineer a negotiated depreciation, the question of exchange rates and of trade have been entwined and subject to international oversight. Read more…

Australia should cure its Asia-apprehension

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shakes hands with General Manager of Hebei Wanda New Airline International Travel Service Xie Hong after signing a travel agreement between the Gold Coast and China, at Parliament House in Brisbane, Australia, 5 May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Edward Kus, ACYPI

Australian politicians often say ‘Australia-China relations are crucial to Australia’s development and prosperity’. Many hope the China–Australia FTA, due to be signed later this year, will be the shot in the arm Australia’s economy needs. Read more…

Indonesia’s automotive industry shifts up a gear

An Indonesian worker inspects a passenger car at the Toyota plant in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Kaoru Natsuda, Kozo Otsuka and John Thoburn, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

In 2012 Indonesia produced more than one million motor vehicles for the first time. Its vehicle output rose 3.6 times during 2000–12. This was a large increase compared with global output growth of 1.4 times, while neighbouring Malaysia’s output only doubled. Read more…