Beyond Bali: imperatives for reforming India’s food security system

Farmers cut paddy in a field in Baruipur village, about 20 kilometers south of Kolkata, India. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Raghbendra Jha, ANU

India agreed to an interim ‘peace clause’ on its food subsidy policies at the ninth ministerial conference of the WTO held in Bali in December 2013. While the Indian media largely heralded this decision as a triumph for India’s food security policy, a closer inspection of what was actually agreed to shows that this optimism could be misplaced. Read more…

Revive multilateralism or fail global development

Indonesia's Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo applaud during the closing ceremony after success with final agreement of the WTO conference in Nusa Dua, on Indonesian resort island of Bali on 7 December 2013.  (Photo: AAP)

Author: William H. Overholt, Fung Global Institute and Harvard University

The success of the December Bali WTO negotiations shows that, although prolonged and stressful, multilateral negotiations can succeed.

Trade facilitation has advanced. Politically sensitive advanced countries’ support for farmers and emerging countries’ concerns about food security have been managed. After many years in the doldrums, the renewed possibility of success means that multilateral negotiations deserve to be revived. Read more…

Taking the middle road to capital account liberalisation in China

A Chinese clerk counts notes at a bank in Xuchang city, in the central Chinese province of Henan. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Daili Wang, Peking University

Evidence suggests that China’s capital account liberalisation has accelerated in recent years. At the release of the 12th Five-Year Plan two years ago, it was stated that China will ‘gradually achieve convertibility of the renminbi under capital accounts’. More recently, the adjourned Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee was more aggressive, stating that China will ‘accelerate interest rate liberalisation and capital-account convertibility’. Read more…

China and the future of Asia Pacific trade

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a bilateral meeting at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, on 7 June, 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The backbone of stability and amity in Asia and the Pacific is an open economic system, which has encouraged deep trade and investment interdependence within the region, and the United States security umbrella that provides reassurance to US allies and partners as well as those, like China, outside the alliance framework against a resurgence of military or political adventurism. Read more…

Averting economic cold war

US President Barack Obama presents Chinese President Xi Jinping with a gift of an inscribed redwood park bench at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, 8 June, 2013. (Photo: White House/Pete Souza).

Author: Yiping Huang, Peking University and ANU

When the first G20 summit was held at the end of 2008 in Washington DC, many believed that the time had finally come for developed and developing countries to work together to reconfigure the international economic architecture. Some even suggested that the US and China formally adopt the G2 mechanism to jointly manage global affairs. Read more…

Can China assume the role of responsible stakeholder in world trade?

(L to R) Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, China's President Xi Jinping and Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono line up to take part in the traditional "leaders' family photo" on the final day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on October 8, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

There are reasons to quibble about how the invitation to China to become a responsible stakeholder in the international system might be interpreted, but Bob Zoellick’s intention when he framed it that way was clear and constructive. China was welcome to participate in managing the development of the rules as well as playing by rules set by others. Read more…

Bali Ministerial a turning point for the WTO?

Delegates attend the opening of a World Trade Organization ministerial conference on December 15, 2011 in Geneva. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Matthias Helble and Ganeshan Wignaraja, ADBI

Trade negotiators are currently intensifying their efforts to prepare a deal for the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali from 3–6 December 2013. Agreeing on an early harvest would be an important step to re-launch the beleaguered Doha Round and boost Asia’s trade. If little progress is visible in Bali, it is likely that trade policy attention will shift more to mega-regional trade agreements. Read more…

Asia gets on with it while America’s out of play

President Barack Obama turns from the podium after speaking in the James Brady Briefing room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, regarding the budget fight in Congress. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Make no mistake, President Obama’s cancellation of his Asian trip to APEC in Indonesia and the East Asia Summit in Brunei at the weekend is a serious blow to American standing and its interests in the region and globally. Read more…

APEC’s legacy but where to next with Asian integration?

Photo taken March 9, 2012, shows a joint press conference by chief negotiators from nine countries taking part in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks in Melbourne, Australia.(Photo: AAP)

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

Increased economic exchange and integration of markets in North America and Europe were institution-led through NAFTA and the European Union. The diversity — in levels of development, political systems, political closeness and by many other measures — and the geography saw no such institutional arrangements emerge to promote integration in Asia. Yet East Asia has managed to achieve economic integration on par with North America or Europe through market-led efforts. Read more…

Asian trade strategies

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei - Ministers of the 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations attend a joint press conference after their meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan on Aug. 23, 2013. (Kyodo) (PHOTO: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, ANU

From Japan to China across ASEAN to India, Asia is collectively in need of a new round of economic and trade reform to fulfil its expectations of development. Australia’s Asian strategies need to be now carefully tuned and calibrated to that reality. Read more…

Agriculture trade rules must protect world’s poorest

A local farmer feeds a flock of ducks in a field near Pukra, Honiganj, Bangladesh. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Rohit Sinha & Geethanjali Nataraj, ORF

The Agreement on Agriculture negotiated in the Uruguay Round was expected to bring about a structural change in the global agricultural trade and lead to efficient agricultural producers.

Yet despite several further rounds of negotiations there has been minimal progress on all issues related to the Agreement and agricultural trade continues to be distorted. Read more…