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  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: OVER THE PAST YEAR, THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL TRADE LANDSCAPE HAS BEEN CHALLENGED AS NEVER BEFORE. A growing number of people around the world are questioning the value of trade agreements, holding them accountable for slow wage growth, rising inequalities, and job losses. Exemplified by Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, a wave of anti-globalization has washed over the world. Further, global trade is slowing, and existing trade agreements have not kept pace with the changing nature of trade itself, owing to the increasingly important role of digital and services trades. But trade has been one of the strongest drivers behind global growth and stability, particularly in Asia. In the past quarter century, the number of trade agreements in the region has increased dramati- cally. At the same time, Asian countries experienced average annual growth rates nearly 3 percent higher after liberalizing their markets.1 The region’s openness has been a critical ingredient in spurring growth, creating jobs, and lifting millions out of poverty. Trade has also helped nations develop stronger ties, giving them a greater stake in one another’s economic success and reducing the likelihood of conflict. What the French philosopher Montesquieu wrote during the eighteenth century remains as relevant in the twenty-first: “Peace is a natural effect of trade.” 2
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lindsey. W Ford
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: ON JANUARY 20, 2017, AMERICA’S FIRST “PACIFIC PRESIDENT” WILL DEPART OFFICE. Many Asian observers fear that America’s regional commitments will depart along with him. The election of Donald Trump raises more questions than answers for Asian leaders eager to under- stand the nature of U.S. engagement in the region in the future. There has been a remarkable history of consistency and bipartisanship in the U.S. approach to Asia over many decades. But this election has upended many assumptions about U.S. policy in ways that leave foreign policy experts, both in the United States and abroad, unsure of what to expect next. President-elect Trump has made clear that few things will be “business as usual” for the future. Several of his proposals, including withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and annulling U.S. ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement would reverberate across the region and mark a significant about-face in U.S. policy. Other proposals, less directly related to Asia, such as suspending immigration from certain Muslim nations, would also have implications for Asian countries with significant Muslim majorities or minorities.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: J. Jackson Ewing
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: FACING UP TO CLIMATE CHANGE IS A KEY CHALLENGE OF OUR TIME. We are on pace in 2016 to again record the warmest global temperatures ever measured; a distinction that now appears to be an annual occurrence. Weather is becoming less predictable, storms more intense, and drought and flooding more pervasive. This destroys livelihoods, impedes economic progress, and undermines the sustainable development gains we are working hard to achieve. Slowing down and ultimately reversing climate change requires us to lower our greenhouse gas emissions. And effectively pricing carbon emissions is a vital place to start. Pricing carbon through markets creates incentives, sets clear rules, and encourages regulated organizations to lower emissions in flexible ways that work for them. Like much in the current climate change arena, the main action on carbon markets is happening beneath the global scale. After years of chasing global mechanisms to price and trade carbon emissions credits, the landmark Paris Agreement of December 2015 both recognizes and provides political and policy space for efforts at local, state, and regional levels. The relevance of carbon markets is growing apace; almost doubling in scale since 2012 with forty states and twenty-three cities, regions, and provinces pricing emissions worth some $50 billion.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Kevin Rudd
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: As the world faces a slew of complicated challenges and the international community comes together to select the next UN Secretary General, there is renewed debate about the role of the UN in international affairs. In UN 2030: Rebuilding Order in a Fragmenting World, Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) President Kevin Rudd argues that the UN continues to matter. The report makes the case that if the UN fails, falters, or fades away, it would fundamentally erode the stability of an already fragile global order. At the same time, Rudd contends, we tend to take the UN for granted, overlooking the reality that its continued existence is not inevitable. The UN, while not yet broken, is in trouble. The report concludes, however, that the UN is capable of reinventing itself. This requires not one-off reforms but a continual process of reinvention to ensure the institution is responding to the policy challenges of our time.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, Political Theory, Geopolitics, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Harsha Singh, Anuphav Gupta
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: At a time of slowing global economic growth, the international community needs to fully tap all the sources of new dynamism and demand available in the world today. India, the world’s fastest-expanding major economy, holds the potential to shore up growth in both the Asia- Pacific region and globally. For that potential to be realized, however, India’s domestic reforms and integration with the Asian and world economies need to progress more rapidly. The advent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement offers much hope of reinvigorating trade growth in the Asia-Pacific region once it comes into force, but the TPP does not include India. The first and necessary step toward greater Indian participation in Asian trade and investment flows is membership in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. It is a step whose time has come, for India, for APEC, and for the international economy.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Kevin Rudd
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: The future relationship between China and the United States represents one of the great mega-changes and mega-challenges of our age. Unlike other such changes, the consequences of China’s rise are unfolding gradually, sometimes purposefully, but most of the time imperceptibly while the world’s attention is drawn to more dramatic events elsewhere. With the rise of China, we are observing the geopolitical equivalent of the melting of the polar ice caps. Slowly the ice thins, cracks appear and one day a large sheet of ice spectac- ularly peels away. If captured on camera, the world momentarily sits up and pays attention before CNN returns our gaze to the drama of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s most recent atrocity.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Daniel H. Rosen
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: DURING THE PAST THREE DECADES, perhaps no country has turned in an economic performance as impressive and transformative as China’s. China has emerged as the world’s second largest economy and its greatest exporting nation, accumulating huge trade surpluses, vast foreign currency reserves, and enormous influence on the global economy. Despite all the attention that policymakers, business executives, and scholars have paid to China’s economic rise, much debate surrounds China’s future growth prospects. For their part, President Xi Jinping and the new generation of Chinese leaders responded to the risk of a major economic slowdown by announcing a far-reaching reform campaign at the Chinese Communist Party’s Third Plenum in November 2013. If Beijing shifts direction along the lines it has announced, the behavior of Chinese companies, government agencies, and individual members of society is likely to change in remarkable ways – and thereby create opportunities for the rest of the world. Should the reform program stall, the effects will be just as profound. Either way, China’s new policy design, and its success or failure in achieving it, will have a major influence on the international economy and stability and security in Asia and beyond. With so much at stake, and an outcome that is far from certain, there is an evident need for greater clarity about what the reform program consists of, how it is progressing, and what it means for policy and business.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Thilo Hanemann, Daniel H. Rosen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: it became evident that the world was on the cusp of a significant shift in patterns of global foreign direct investment (FDI). China, which had been a major recipient of inflows from the developed world, was poised to become a more active investor in mergers, acquisitions, and greenfield projects abroad. Therefore, the Asia Society undertook the first of a series of studies to map this shift and to suggest how these new investment flows, might benefit the United States while also enhancing U.S.–China relations. The first study, An American Open Door? Maximizing the Benefits of Chinese Foreign Direct Investment (2011), was written by Rhodium Group’s Daniel H. Rosen and Thilo Hanemann (as were subsequent joint efforts). It examined Chinese investments in the United States, prospects for their growth, potential benefits and risks, and obstructions to even greater flows in the future. Our conclusion was that flows of Chinese capital into the United States—the most open and vibrant economy in the world—were on the precipice of growing dramatically. We also concluded that in spite of political concerns, the United States had much to gain by encouraging even greater inflows from China.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China, America