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  • Author: Simon Lester, Huan Zhu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Donald Trump was a trade “hawk” long before he became president. In the late 1980s, he went on the Oprah Winfrey show and complained about Japan “beating the hell out of this country” on trade (Real Clear Politics 2019). As president, he has continued with the same rhetoric, using it against a wide range of U.S. trading partners, and he has followed it up with action (often in the form of tariffs). While many countries have found themselves threatened by Trump’s aggressive trade policy, his main focus has been China. As a result, the United States and China have been engaged in an escalating tariff, trade, and national security conflict since July 2018, when the first set of U.S. tariffs on China went into effect and China retaliated with tariffs of its own. In this article, we explore the U.S.-China economic conflict, from its origins to the trade war as it stands today. We then offer our thoughts on where this conflict is heading and when it might end.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Trade Wars, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Soyoung Han, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Summer Olympic Games are the most globalized sporting event on earth. Until now, the Summer Games had been postponed only three times—in 1916, 1940, and 1944—all because of world wars. So, the announcement that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Games would be postponed by a year is significant, implicit testimony to the destructiveness of the pandemic. The Tokyo Games were expected to continue the evolution of the Games away from the aristocratic European milieu where the modern Olympic movement began. As poverty has declined and incomes across the global economy have converged, participation in the Games has broadened and the pattern of medaling has become more pluralistic, particularly in sports with low barriers to entry in terms of facilities and equipment. This Policy Brief presents forecasts of medal counts at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games had they had gone on as scheduled, setting aside possible complications arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The forecasts are not just a depiction of what might have been. They establish a benchmark that can be used when the Games are eventually held, to examine the impact of the uneven incidence of the pandemic globally.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Sports, Olympics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Rudolf Furst
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The Euro-Japanese rapprochement stimulates the Japanese interest in the new EU member states, which are then matched with Japanese investments and Japan’s global trade strategy. The V4 countries benefit from their geographical position, existing infrastructure and political stability, industrial tradition, and low labour costs, emphasizes Rudolf Fürst.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues, European Union, Political stability, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The first monograph in this series, China’s Economic Slowdown: Root Causes, Beijing’s Response and Strategic Implications for the US and Allies, examined the structural problems in the Chinese economy that have led to a recent permanent slowdown after three decades of double-digit growth rates. The monograph focused on the political and economic costs of the slowdown and efforts to stabilize an economy that has poured far too much national wealth into commercially unproductive areas. Yet the Communist Party is not passively awaiting an unhappy economic fate in connection with its mounting imbalances and domestic economic dysfunction. In many respects, its leaders have been highly creative in seeking solutions that do not entail a weakening of the party’s hold on economic power. On the contrary, the party has been busily shaping and pursuing grand strategic policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) to solve or alleviate many of its domestic political-economic problems. This monograph, part two in the series, examines how the US and its allies can confront and counter these Chinese strategies and initiatives. It will do so by taking seriously the challenge they present and suggesting responses that take into account Chinese vulnerabilities and the points of leverage available to the US and its allies. This linking of China’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, on the one hand, and its ambition and purpose with respect to its outward-focused policies, is essential for effective policy responses. If the domestic is not linked with the external, US policies are much more likely to become complacent, counterproductive, or susceptible to overreaching. In linking analyses of Beijing’s domestic political economy with its external policies, the monograph will challenge some enduring but incorrect grand narratives that play into the hands of the CCP.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Science and Technology, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Eric B. Brown, Patrick M. Cronin, H.R. McMaster, Husain Haqqani, Aparna Pande, Satoru Nagao, John Lee, Seth Cropsey, Peter Rough, Liselotte Odgaard, Blaise Misztal, Douglas J. Feith, Michael Doran
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has introduced a series of new stresses and factors in the US-China relationship. While the world has struggled to contain the pandemic and its tragic repercussions, the People’s Republic of China has used the outbreak to launch a global campaign of misinformation, further its economic coercion through the Belt and Road Initiative, and continue military expansion efforts in the South China Sea. China’s attempt to exploit the pandemic for political, strategic, and economic gain is problematic in the current environment, yet it is consistent with, and a continuation of, China’s long-term strategy. This report offers a global survey and assessment of attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to expand its influence, including by exploiting the pandemic. As the United States and its allies focus on combatting the virus and salvaging their economies, there is an opportunity to better understand China’s strategy and develop a unified response.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Strategic Competition, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report makes the following arguments: From Taiwan’s perspective, the greater its economic presence and importance to the world, the better positioned it is to reduce its dependency on China and maintain its autonomy. This also serves US interests. From the US perspective, deepening the economic relationship with Taiwan in strategic ways will assist it in achieving greater economic distance from China and reducing the extent to which China can capture and dominate global supply and value chains in the future. The US and Taiwanese economies are largely complementary, and this can become even more so. Thus, a deeper bilateral economic relationship will be generally consistent with domestic economic objectives, such as prioritizing high-value job creation and preventing high-value supply chains from remaining in China or leaving the United States. The report offers recommendations to: help prevent the hollowing out of Taiwan’s competitive strengths; help Taiwan broaden and deepen its participation in the regional and international economic space, which is currently being narrowed by China; assist with Taiwan’s desire to lower dependency on China-based supply chains, especially with respect to high-value-added processes; encourage more bilateral investment, intra-industry relations and firm-to-firm activity between the United States and Taiwan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Thomas J. Duesterberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The imperative to return supply chains to the United States for products important to national defense, medical security, and competitiveness in key industrial and technology sectors is not new. The explosive growth of the Chinese manufacturing sector, its mercantilist challenge to the world trading system, and its impact on jobs and industrial leadership in the United States is well known and well documented. This challenge has prompted new research and policies to help reverse the erosion of US supply chains. US technology leadership has been undermined by China’s forced technology transfer, theft of intellectual property, and subsidization of traditional and new higher technology sectors. In turn, the loss of global markets and US manufacturing jobs have resulted in social problems of increasing devastation to communities in industrial areas. China’s economic growth depends, in a historically unprecedented way, on its export model and the suppression of domestic consumption. This results in a cycle of overproduction, expansion of external spheres of economic influence, and dumping of products abroad. In recent years, the United States has begun to challenge the Chinese model. However, much work remains to be done to accomplish the goal of ending mercantilist practices, establishing a level playing field for US producers, and reinvigorating domestic production. Critical supply chains for US national defense and high technology leadership have become overly dependent on China and other foreign sources. The vulnerability of supply chains has been demonstrated by interruptions in supply of key materials by both natural disasters and political decisions such as Beijing’s cutoff of rare earth metals a decade ago. More recently, in July 2020, the production of critical personal protective equipment was interrupted by massive flooding in the interior of China. Beyond Beijing’s unfair practices, China is a continental economy with the ambition to displace the United States as the leader in the global economy of the 21st century and has the economies of scale to represent a serious, long term threat to US leadership and markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these preexisting trends and underscores the importance of bringing industrial supply chains, including medical products, back to the United States. First, the cut-off of medical supplies, not just from China but from Europe and other allies, brought the vulnerabilities of relying on outside sourcing into clearer and more immediate focus. Ninety countries blocked the exports of medical products during the early months of the pandemic. Second, border closures around the world, even within the European Union (EU), added to the worries about supply chain interruptions, including for workers and logistics. Seventy percent of the world’s points of entry restricted foreign travelers at some point as the pandemic grew. Third, border closures and supply chain interruptions increased tensions between nations, especially between the United States and China, which was criticized for its suppression of information at the start of the pandemic. Beijing’s brazen imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong while the world was preoccupied by the pandemic further eroded its global standing, especially in Europe. Fourth, the economic collapse due to the pandemic response again focused attention on the need to create more domestic jobs, including those in the hard-hit industrial sector. Finally, all these developments led allies such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and the EU to advance new policies meant to bring production back to home territories. These trends support initiatives to increase the resiliency of domestic production, even beyond the parameters of defense and medical security.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Manufacturing, Trade, COVID-19, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Liselotte Odgaard
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report addresses China’s approach to development in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Arctic. China has worked through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to meet Russian demands for continued regional primacy in Central Asia, helping Beijing foster economic and social dominance, access strategic energy resources, and treat the Uyghur minorities as a problem of terrorism rather than a development issue. In Southeast Asia, China has worked through the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to meet regional demands for soft and hard infrastructure to legitimize China’s growing strategic presence. China is therefore able to undermine the regional economic and security foothold of the US alliance system and challenge the interpretations of the Law of the Sea that legitimizes the military presence and activities of extra regional powers. In East Africa, China has cooperated with the African Union (AU) and the East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to address regional demands for hard and soft infrastructure without political conditions, to link antipiracy problems to problems of poverty, and to mediate local civil wars. This has helped China establish an economic and strategic foothold at the intersection of the Indian Ocean and Middle East, projecting power far from its shores. In the Arctic, China has established research stations that function as both environmental research laboratories and military surveillance stations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Health, Foreign Aid, Regulation, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Husain Haqqani, Aparna Pande
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The world’s most populous region, South Asia, with almost 1.9 billion people living in eight countries, has so far had fewer reported infections and fatalities per capita from the novel coronavirus than projected in early models. However, the region is unlikely to escape the widespread disruption and damage felt across the globe, and its worst health-care crisis may be yet to come. In South Asia, as in other regions, the COVID-19 pandemic is testing the capacities of states to provide security and effective healthcare and to maintain essential services. It is also having an impact on fragile democratic institutions and societal bonds, in addition to putting considerable strains on the economy. [...] Following is a country-by-country report, with inputs from experts on the ground, on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact in South Asia and its human, economic, and political consequences.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, India, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Fabio Figiaconi, Claudia Adele Lodetti
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: According to the latest World Bank’s “Global Economic Prospects” publication, Covid-19 pandemic will have a negative impact on East Asia causing a -1,2% GDP’s reduction in 2020, that is the region’s first recession since 1998’s Asian financial crisis, while China is expected to slow to 1% this year. Among the various consequences that may materialise, the report highlights the disruption of the global and regional value chains. In addition, as stated by UNCTAD World Investment Report 2020 Foreign Direct Investments’ (FDIs) flows are expected to decrease globally by 40% in 2020 and are projected to decrease by a further 5 to 10% in 2021. This scenario would be detrimental for East Asia’s economies and especially for the network of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) located there, which have had and continue to play a fundamental part in the region’s growth. SEZs are intended as delimited areas within a country’s national borders where businesses enjoy a more favourable regulatory and fiscal regime than that of the national territory, with the aim to draw in FDIs, boost exports, increase trade balance and alleviate unemployment.
  • Topic: Economics, Geopolitics, Special Economic Zones
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia