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  • Author: Vinod K. Aggarwal
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Berkeley APEC Study Center
  • Abstract: During negotiations of mega-regional trade agreements, state representatives have the incentive to demand that other parties align with their entrenched regulatory practices. Indeed, a country’s exporters will derive extensive benefits if negotiating partners fulfill these demands. Strictly pursuing self-interest, however, often leads to stalemate. When the United States (US) and European Union (EU) entered into negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), they sought to more effectively align transatlantic regulation and associated practices. Although extant literature indicates that relatively similar, rich, and developed countries should easily conclude agreements due to shared interests, negotiations between the US and EU in the regulatory area of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) deteriorated. By 2016, this matter effectively fell off the TTIP negotiating agenda.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Miguel Ángel Cúneo
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI)
  • Abstract: The war scenery in Eastern Ukraine in 2015 showed Kiev in a disadvantageous military position, in its efforts to stop the separatists’ advances in the occupied territories. At the same time, the possibilities that the self-proclaimed authorities of the “Donetsk and Lugansk Popular Republics” would honor the military clauses of the 2014 and 2015 Minsk Agreements were remote. Neither were the authorities in Kiev inclined to honor the political clauses for which they were responsible. This difficult situation led the President of Ukraine to present a proposal for the deployment of a peace -keeping mission under the mandate of the United Nations Security Council. Nevertheless, such an initiative was not given on that occasion, any support or follow -up.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Elections, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Brad W. Setser
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The global impact of oil’s fall from $100 plus to under $50 a barrel has not gotten as much attention as I think it deserves. For most oil exporters, it has been a profound shock—one that forced such a massive contraction in imports that it pulled down global trade (far more than the trade remedies that tend to dominate the ‘trade” news). A few countries adjusted quickly and relatively efficiently (Russia), though not painlessly. A few have struggled to adapt—notably, because of its large external debt, poor policies, and growing political crisis, Venezuela.
  • Topic: Oil, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matthew Busch
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Despite impressive economic performance, Vietnam’s strong trade and investment gains have yet to fully overcome the vestiges of its economic past. Economic restructuring and greater integration with the international economic system has brought Vietnam impressive gains in wealth, trade, and investment. Such efforts have not, however, resolved Vietnam’s ‘missing middle’ or the lack of a productive domestic private sector and the continued dominance of the state-owned sector. While these challenges represent a risk to Vietnam’s future growth potential, initiatives such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership provide an opportunity for further trade and investment expansion.
  • Topic: Economic growth, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Investment, Trade, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Bal Kama
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Papua New Guinea entered its 2017 National Election after a tumultuous period in the country's politics and economy, and there remains much uncertainty about the election process, with significant implications for the country's future. In the last ten years key political, bureaucratic, and regulatory institutions have struggled and in some cases, failed. These struggles have been more profound under the O'Neill government despite some tangible advances in the country's ambitious Vision 2050 roadmap. There is a widespread desire across the country for robust and independent institutions to ensure economic gains are transparently and sustainably managed. The ultimate question for many voters in the 2017 general elections was not who would form the next government, but who would be the most credible leader. [3] With elections now over, and the O'Neill government returning for a second term, what does Papua New Guinea expect of the new government and those in power? This analysis attempts to address how key trends in PNG's politics will impact upon both the bureaucracy and regulatory environment. It will identify some of the key actors and how they are likely to change. It will discuss current political trends, their impact on the regulatory and legislative environments and how likely they are to continue in the future. Finally, it assesses the prospects of continuing dysfunction in PNG politics, the further marginalisation and deterioration of the bureaucracy, and how this destructive course might be avoided.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections, Regulation, Economy, Institutions, Bureaucracy
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Sinclair Dinnen
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Concerns about personal security have been prominent in Papua New Guinea for many years. Personal security figures regularly in travel advisories issued by foreign governments. International news coverage of Papua New Guinea is often about violence or crime, reinforcing the country's reputation as a dangerous and lawless place. A visitor to Port Moresby, the sprawling national capital, sees evidence of this in the elaborate security arrangements that shape the urban landscape. Drivers of insecurity in this young nation are complex and multidimensional, stemming from the legacies of a recent colonial past, along with the ongoing challenges of state consolidation and the uneven effects of economic globalisation. The main security threats are non-traditional, including urban crime, gender-based violence, corruption, arms trafficking, border protection, resource poaching, climate change, natural disasters, and transnational crime. Although some view China's growing presence as a potential threat, its activities in Papua New Guinea have been largely confined to diplomacy, development assistance and investment. Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has acknowledged the absence of any "distinct conventional external threat", while PNG's National Security Policy recognises the developmental and political character of the country's security challenges.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Development, Natural Resources, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Craig Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Climate, topography, population, culture, economics, and finance all conspire to raise significant barriers to providing economic and social infrastructure critical to Papua New Guinea's future development. Compared to developed economies, the physical stock of infrastructure assets in Papua New Guinea is insufficient to deliver the economic and social services needed to drive faster economic growth and improve human development. It faces significant choices as a result that may also be influenced by the public infrastructure requirements of foreign direct investment in export oriented extractive resource sectors. A lack of effective national infrastructure planning and funding constrain PNG's economy and its ability to improve the lives of its citizens through provision of these infrastructure services. This paper briefly reviews several key infrastructure sectors - telecommunications, transport, energy, and urban water - to provide snapshots of their status, identify challenges, and where possible make relevant international comparisons. It also looks at ways to improve the delivery of relevant economic infrastructure: (i) effective planning and prioritisation; (ii) funding strategies for infrastructure investment; (iii) funding of ongoing infrastructure operations; and (iv) consideration of infrastructure life cycle issues. In addition, in the future effective economic regulation of PNG commercialised infrastructure services will help ensure that consumers benefit from these services. The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission will therefore have an increasingly important role to play.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Jonathan Pryke
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Until recently, visitors making their way to the immigration checkpoint at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby were greeted with a sign exclaiming, "Welcome to Papua New Guinea: The land of the unexpected". In a nation that is so self-aware of its unpredictability, forecasting future scenarios is like staring into a crystal ball. Quality data is scarce and incomplete, trends are difficult to establish and validate, and prognostications on PNG's future are often dogmatic and politicised. Over the past 42 years Papua New Guinea has defied many of the most negative projections for its future, and navigated a huge number of 'crossroad' situations. Even before 1975, some were arguing that independence would be an unmitigated disaster, and the risk of Papua New Guinea becoming a failed state is a question that has permeated its short history. It is a question that is now being asked more frequently. On one view, Papua New Guinea has managed to "muddle through", largely on the strength of its peoples' resilience in the face of adversity. However, this resilience may be dwindling, and rather than "muddling through", Papua New Guinea may instead be on a "muddling down" trajectory. Its politicians, on the other hand, claim that the country's prospects have never been better. In a nation with so many development challenges and such porous data, it is difficult to identify future scenarios, let alone determine which is most likely. How does one define a failed state in Papua New Guinea, where most of the nation is not dependent on a properly functioning state? Without accurate data, how can one track trends in human development over decades? Should the focus be placed on the country as a whole, or on urban areas, on rural areas, or areas critical for economic development? How can new technological advancements be appropriately accounted for? Drawing on the papers in this series, five variables from each of the sectors addressed in the papers have been identified as critical influences on PNG's development over the next ten years and beyond. From these variables, three potential scenarios emerge, with the most likely scenario that Papua New Guinea will continue to 'muddle through' as it has in the past, failing to meet many expectations of development but defying the country's many detractors, and avoiding state failure.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Politics, State
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Jonathan Pryke, Paul Barker
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: On many indicators, Papua New Guinea's rapid population growth is outpacing development progress. Service delivery across the country is in decline. Growing urbanisation is increasing the burden on service providers as people who move from rural areas generally lose access to their customary land and become less self-sufficient. More than 40 per cent of the population is under the age of 14. The resulting youth bulge is outstripping very limited formal sector employment opportunities. The needs of the private sector are evolving, and skills development is critical. New immigrant groups are moving in to Papua New Guinea and taking over small and medium businesses that have typically been run by locals, adding further societal and employment pressures. This paper will chart these trends in Papua New Guinea, and the impact they will have on political stability, policymaking and development. It will look at trends in service delivery, employment, and skills development. It will look at the role of new immigrants in Papua New Guinea and future workforce capacity, and assess the government's capacity to deal with these challenges.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Immigration, Urbanization, Youth
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: David Osborne, Robert Harden, Christopher Hoy
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the PNG economy by considering (1) macroeconomic stability; and (2) fiscal policy and debt.
  • Topic: Debt, Political stability, Economic growth, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea