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  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In recent years, despite a history of enmity and armed conflict that never really ended after the Korean War more than 60 years ago, South Korea has been a major investor in North Korea, and South Korean firms have employed more than 50,000 North Korean workers. South Korea's stated goal has been to encourage sufficient economic progress by North Korea, emboldening it toward establishing a meaningful basis for reconciliation and, ultimately, national unification. The expectation, or at least the hope, has been to use economic engagement to lessen the North's direct state control over the economy and to encourage the development of a middle class that might demand greater internal opening. The goal, as enunciated by former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, has also been to foster a rise of interest groups with an enhanced stake in peaceable external relations.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Michael McConnell
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: ASEAN countries have long been an important international market for US agricultural exports. The United States, in 2011, exported almost $9.6 billion of agricultural products to ASEAN, making it the sixth-largest export destination for US farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses—behind Japan ($14 billion) and just behind the European Union ($9.6 billion), but well ahead of South Korea ($7 billion). Moreover, the value of agricultural trade between the United States and ASEAN almost doubled between 2007 and 2011, with the top four ASEAN markets in 2011 for the United States being Indonesia ($2.8 billion), the Philippines ($2.1 billion), Vietnam ($1.7 billion), and Thailand ($1.3 billion). With a population of 614 million and strong economic growth, it is expected that ASEAN will continue to be an important market for US agricultural products. However, the United States is likely to face increasing competition, particularly from China, Australia, and New Zealand, all of which have free trade agreements (FTAs) with ASEAN.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Demographics, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, East Asia, South Korea, Australia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand
  • Author: Nicola Casarini
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: East Asia is home to some of the most important trading partners of the Union. China is foremost among these, ranking second only to the US - in 2009, EU-China trade totalled a massive €296 billion - while the EU is China's most important trading partner. Japan is the sixth-largest trade partner of the EU - in 2009, EU-Japan trade was almost €92 billion. South Korea is the EU's eighth-largest trade partner and the EU has become South Korea's second largest export destination - total trade in 2009 was above €53 billion. Furthermore, on 6 October 2010 the EU and South Korea signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which is the most ambitious bilateral trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU, and the first with an Asian country.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Israel, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On December 3, 2010, the United States and South Korea agreed to incremental changes to the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) that was signed in June 2007 but not ratified by the US Congress or the Korean National Assembly. Most of the changes affect bilateral trade in autos and light trucks; other minor changes involve pharmaceutical patents, US pork exports, and US visas.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea
  • Author: Michael G. Plummer
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The economic crisis of 2008–09 is the second major crisis in just over a decade that Asia has endured. Unlike the Asian crisis of 1997–98, however, the current crisis originated mainly in the West. Asia's excessive reliance on net exports as the principal driver of economic growth since the 1997–98 crisis rendered it especially vulnerable to external shocks, and most Asian countries have paid dearly. The more open the economy, the more vulnerable it is to such shocks. The newly industrialized Asian economies (Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan), which are among the most open and dynamic in the world, are expected to contract by about 6 percent in 2009.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong
  • Author: Roderick Abbott
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In an important shift, inspired partly by drift in the Doha Round negotiations, the EU announced in 2006 that it would seek new free trade area arrangements with fast-growing economies, particularly in Asia. The plan, which ended a moratorium on the launch of bilateral trade talks, in place since 1996, was billed explicitly as a contribution to the EU's own growth and jobs strategy as well as a market-opening exercise. However, the policy has so far been no more effective than multilateral negotiations in producing concrete results. Negotiations with South Korea and ASEAN have made only slow progress, while the state of talks with India remains unclear. The EU spent most of 2007 renegotiating long-standing agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in an effort to satisfy WTO rules. Meanwhile, the EU's partnership agreements with China and Russia have expired, and appropriate successor arrangements are still being sought. In both cases, a number of important bilateral problems and strains will need to be dealt with. With its various trade negotiations treading water, the EU may need to review its options. One could be a more aggressive pursuit of market access, modelled on the US approach. Alternatively, the EU's traditional preference for multilateral engagement may reassert itself.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe, Asia, South Korea, Caribbean
  • Author: Jim Rollo
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Both Korea and the EU are pursuing free trade areas (FTAs) aggressively as part of their trade policy strategies. Korea is much further down the road. There are strong incentives on both sides to conclude an agreement. However, specific issues and EU's desire to do at least as well as, and preferably better than, the Korea–US FTA may delay or even preclude success. Korea and the EU are not principal suppliers to each other, so while an agreement is predicted to be economically favourable to both sides, the effects are not expected to be very large. Korea has the higher barriers and is expected to make the bigger economic gains. There are sensitive sectors on both sides, notably automobiles for the EU and services and processed foods for Korea. Both sides have important agricultural constituencies to protect. Korea's key role in the East Asian production system suggests that rules of origin could be an area of particular difficulty in the negotiation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, East Asia, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Despite the passage of 50 years since an armistice ended military hostilities, the Korean peninsula remains divided, a Cold War vestige that seemingly has been unaffected by the evolution that has occurred elsewhere. If anything, US confrontation with North Korea—a charter member of its “axis of evil”—has intensified in recent years. Yet today, increasing numbers of South Koreans, accustomed to living for decades in the shadows of the North's forward-deployed artillery, do not regard the North as a serious threat. Growing prosperity and confidence in the South, in marked contrast to the North's isolation and penury, have transformed fear and loathing into pity and forbearance. Instead, it is the United States, an ocean away, that regards the North and its nuclear weapons program with alarm. As the United States has focused on the nuclear program, its ally, South Korea, has observed the North Koreans' nascent economic reforms and heard their talk of conventional forces reduction, and the gap in the two countries' respective assessments of the North Korean threat has widened dangerously, threatening to undermine their alliance.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, East Asia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jeffrey Brown, Kang Wu
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific region's dynamic oil market is marked by strong growth in consumption, declining regional oil production, and over capacity in its highly competitive oil-refining sector. Its "key players" are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea—a group that includes the region's five top consumers and three of its major producers—and developments in these countries will have commercial and strategic implications for the whole region. On the consumption side, Japan's slow growth in demand has failed to dampen regional growth, which is now driven by China and India's fast growing thirst for oil. On the supply side, Indonesia's inevitable transition to a net oil importer highlights the trend toward growing dependence on Middle East oil, which already comprises 42–90 percent of imports among the key players. In response to this trend, China, Japan, and South Korea are pushing to acquire overseas oil reserves, with Japan and China already locked in a fierce competition for projected Russian supplies—a type of struggle that will likely become more commonplace.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Indonesia, Middle East, India, Asia, South Korea