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  • Author: Juha Käpylä, Harri Mikkola
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With exciting economic opportunities and serious environmental challenges, the Arctic is transforming and re-emerging as a geopolitically important region. Major global players within and without the Arctic are paying greater attention to the region. While Russia is a traditional Arctic state with significant economic and security interests in the region, China, the US and the EU have also expressed their Arctic interests more explicitly. They are keen to tap into the economic potential and have a say in the way the region becomes accessed, exploited and governed. As a result, the Arctic is no longer a spatially or administratively confined region, but is instead taking its new form in the midst of contemporary global politics. The globalization and economization of the Arctic will most likely downplay environmentalism and reduce the relative influence of the indigenous people and small Arctic states in Arctic affairs. Arctic governance is also likely to turn more complex and complicated as the economic and political stakes are raised.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Nicholas Borst
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Chinese financial system has undergone almost continuous reform since the dismantling in the 1980s of the Soviet- style system where only one state-controlled bank existed. Government efforts to create a financial system that adheres to international best practices of commercial lending accelerated in the 1990s (box 1). Reforms progressed quickly during this period, but they were accompanied by excessive credit growth and a massive increase in nonperforming loans, threatening the solvency of some banks and the financial stability of the entire economy. The risk of these weaknesses was dramatized by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, in which several nearby countries were crippled by plunging currency values, rising interest rates and difficulties servicing their foreign-held debts.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Nicola Casarini
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The establishment of the EU-China 'strategic partnership' on 30 October 2003 came at a time of converging priorities between the two actors. It also coincided with one of the worst crises in transatlantic relations, mainly due to disagreements over the US-led war in Iraq and the foreign policy stance of the first Bush ad¬ministration. As a result of the partnership, the then EU-15 and China adopted three initiatives which caught the attention of US policymakers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Biosecurity
  • Political Geography: China, Iraq, Europe
  • Author: David Camroux
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The presence of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the G20 Summit in St Petersburg in early September went virtually unnoticed by the European media. That his attendance was overlooked can be explained by immediate factors, namely the overriding importance of the Syrian conflict in the discussions among leaders, and the fact that SBY (as President Yudhoyono is commonly known) is a lame-duck president with less than a year to go before the end of his two-term limit. Lacking BRIC status (for now at least), Indonesia – unlike China, India or even Brazil – barely registers on the radar screen of public awareness in Europe. Symptomatic of this neglect is the fact that, almost four years after its signing in November 2009, two EU member state parliaments (and the European Parliament itself) have yet to ratify the EU-Indonesia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, India, Brazil, Syria, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik- Tatar
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The destinations of China's new leaders' foreign trips show that the PRC's foreign policy domain remains its neighbourhood. China is trying in particular to enhance cooperation with its Central and Southeast Asia border states in what is called "new silk road" diplomacy. Behind this approach are mostly domestic rationales: a need to preserve stability on its borders and in the western part of China, secure export markets and energy supplies, develop inland transport routes as an alternative to unstable sea lines, and to narrow the development gap between the eastern and western parts of China. The PRC's "opening to the West" and reinvigoration of its Western Development Policy is a window of opportunity for Poland. The establishment in Gansu province of the Lanzhou New Area-the first state-level development zone in northwest China-could become a bridgehead for a Polish economic presence in this part of China, or even a springboard for Poland's "Go West China" strategy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: There is a long-standing debate among economists and policymakers on the benefits of flexible versus fixed exchange rates (Klein and Shambaugh 2010). In principle, flexible exchange rates allow a country's central bank to focus on stabilizing economic growth and inflation, which are the ultimate goals of monetary policy. However, some argue that in practice central banks often do not use their powers wisely and it may be better to restrict their freedom by requiring them to peg their currency to that of an important trading partner. Others note that flexible exchange rates are far more volatile than fundamental factors can explain (Flood and Rose 1995), raising the possibility that they may introduce wasteful cross-sectoral fluctuations in economic activity. One common viewpoint is that flexible exchange rates may be fine for large countries but that the smallest countries are better off with fixed exchange rates (Åslund 2010).
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, United Kingdom
  • Author: Nikia Clarke
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Energy investments and infrastructure contracts remain prominent in China's Africa engagement. However, investment in manufacturing makes up a significant proportion of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI). Its characteristics–large numbers of smaller transactions by privately owned small and medium-sized firms–make these flows difficult to assess or control. However, China and African governments have an interest in effectively channeling this type of FDI.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: With the outlook for exports subdued and investment weak, we expect industrial output growth to slow further in 2012H1. But consumption is taking up the slack and fiscal policy is set to be supportive. As a result, we only expect a relatively modest slowing in growth in 2012 to 8.4% from 9.2% in 2011. But with house prices still falling in December, we remain concerned about the risk of a sharp slowing in the property market leading to strains on local government finances and a hard landing for growth, particularly with the external environment weak. However, central government finances are strong and fiscal transfers could provide a significant cushion in the event of a property bust.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Global Recession
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America is a recent phenomenon. Although the China National Petroleum Corporation and other companies have been present in Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela since the early 1990s, large projects have been pursued only since 2006, following an extended period of high commodity prices. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimated that there were US$ 15 billion of Chinese FDI inflows into Latin America in 2010, 90% of which were in extractive industries. This further contributed to the already high percentage of Chinese FDI flows to the region that are in natural resources. At a time of high economic growth fueled by commodity exports and strong currency appreciation (particularly in Brazil), FDI into extractive industries strengthens the region's specialization in primary products at the expense of manufacturing and other activities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Chen Zhao, Xiaoying Huo
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Among developing countries, China attracts most foreign direct investment (FDI). Where is this investment located within China, what explains its distribution and what are policy implications? We used UNCTAD's FDI Performance Index to answer the first question. Although developed for countries , it can be applied to sub-national units. It uses provincial GDP to ascertain whether a given territorial unit has received FDI inflows as expected from its economic size. Standardizing the data accordingly reveals three clusters of provinces for 2007-2010 (table 1, figure 1 below): The first cluster encompasses virtually all coastal provinces: they have an index value above 1, i.e. perform better than their economic size would lead one to expect. They account for 9 of the top 11 performers of Mainland China's 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions (“provinces”). The provinces in the middle cluster underperform (index value of 1-0.5). They include 5 central provinces, but also 3 western and 2 coastal provinces. The provinces in the bottom cluster underperform significantly (index value below 0.5), comprising primarily the country's western provinces (8 out of the 10 provinces in this cluster).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China