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  • Author: Josaphat Kweka, Julian Boys, Amrita Saha
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The private sector and enterprises have a key role to play in the development of the Tanzanian economy. This Policy Brief provides insights and solutions that could offer business sectors the vital policy support that they need to develop and grow.
  • Topic: Development, Economy, Economic Growth, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tanzania
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China’s policies in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea and its ongoing support for Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela pose major challenges for the United States, where bipartisan pressure is growing to ramp up punitive sanctions against leading Chinese firms and financial institutions. Financial sanctions freeze the US assets or bar US entry of the targeted individuals and firms and prohibit US financial firms from doing business with them. Schott explains why US officials should carefully weigh the risks to international financial markets and US economic interests before imposing punitive sanctions on major financial institutions engaged with China. The collateral costs of such sanctions would be sizable, damaging US producers, financial institutions, and US alliances. By restricting access of major banks to international payments in US dollars and barring use of messaging systems like SWIFT, tougher US financial sanctions would effectively “weaponize” the dollar; friends and foes alike would be pushed to seek alternatives to dollar transactions that, over time, would weaken the international role of the dollar. Instead of doubling down on current unilateral financial sanctions, US policy should deploy sanctions in collaboration with allies and calibrate trade and financial controls to match the expected policy achievements.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Sanctions, Finance, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Peter R. Orszag, Robert E. Rubin, Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Orszag, Rubin, and Stiglitz outline a new fiscal framework that they argue would better equip policymakers to face deep uncertainties about future interest rates (which, they say, may not remain low forever), hard-to-predict global shocks, and climate risks. They reject fiscal anchors—simple limits on deficits or debt as a share of GDP that governments adopt to check their spending and borrowing—that have historically guided fiscal policy and believe any attempts to modify such targets for the current period of low interest rates are likely to fail. Instead they propose making the budget respond more automatically to economic distress (through stronger automatic stabilizers) and to long-term fiscal pressures (e.g., embedding adjustment mechanisms in health care and pension programs), as well as creating an infrastructure program and extending debt maturities to insure against interest rate changes. Such a "streamlined dashboard" would then allow policymakers to use discretion as necessary to take any additional actions—either to provide more stimulus during short-term difficulties or to adjust the automatic features themselves—rather than adhering to fiscal targets that may no longer be appropriate when economic conditions change.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, Economy, Fiscal Policy, Fiscal Deficit
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Sarah Feuer
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Modest invest­ments of U.S. diplomatic capital, economic aid, and security assistance can help these three countries and advance American interests. In the third in a series of TRANSITION 2021 memos examining the Middle East and North Africa, Robert Satloff and Sarah Feuer look at the U.S. relationship with Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. All three countries are facing sharp challenges, from economic strains exacerbated by the pandemic to potential instability arising from the conflicts in Western Sahara and Libya. But this far corner of the region also offers strategic opportunities for the Biden administration to help these countries and, in turn, advance a range of key U.S. interests. “In contrast to many other areas of the Middle East, northwest Africa offers a realm in which relatively modest invest­ments of American diplomatic capital, economic aid, and security assistance can yield substantial returns, and the point of departure for the incoming administration’s bilateral engagement will, for the most part, be not one of tension but rather of opportunity,” write the authors. In the coming weeks, TRANSITION 2021 memos by Washington Institute experts will address the broad array of issues facing the Biden-Harris administration in the Middle East. These range from thematic issues, such as the region’s strategic position in the context of Great Power competition and how to most effectively elevate human rights and democracy in Middle East policy, to more discrete topics, from Arab-Israel peace diplomacy to Red Sea security to challenges and opportunities in northwest Africa. Taken as a whole, this series of memos will present a comprehensive approach for advancing U.S. interests in security and peace in this vital but volatile region.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Economy, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Algeria, North Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, United States of America
  • Author: Kenneth R. Rosen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Interviews reveal how Syrian officials are extorting their people. It is sometimes difficult to conceptualize what the dire situation of Syria’s economy means for those who live there. Some 100 tankers of fuel flow across Lebanon’s border into Syria, but the persistent lack of gas limits families' ability to heat their homes, which, in regime-held areas, already face large-scale electricity blackouts that last for hours. Likewise, hot water is a commodity afforded only to those with financial means and connections, and it is a luxury to take a hot shower in many parts of Syria. Meanwhile, on Facebook, a UNHCR tarp is for sale and women are selling their hair to feed their families—just two examples of the type of entrepreneurship needed to weather abounding hardships in a country that has known only war for the last decade. Over the summer, the Syrian pound collapsed as U.S. sanctions continue to deter international support for the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has likewise furthered the collapse of the country’s economic infrastructure. As Syrians search for means of generating income, officials employed by the regime have gained access to funds through extortion. A common form of this extortion is the forced detention of individuals whose families must then bribe officials for either visitation rights or the release of their loved ones. A report from January underscores the scale of such extortion operations, which have remained a staple in regime tactics for years, though they are especially prevalent now given the country’s ongoing war and collapsed economy. The report—produced by the Association of Detainees and the Missing in Sednaya Prison—surveyed more than 1,200 prisoners and families. Respondents said that bribes rose as high as nearly $3 million at one jail, though the range varied. Visitation or release fees were usually a few thousand dollars or less, but bribes would be increased for families living outside of Syria, averaging about $30,000. The report underscored how these payments—far greater than the average public sector annual salary of roughly $150 per month, according to Qassioun, a Syrian newspaper —could feed the country’s security apparatus and the regime through guards, judges, military personnel, and middlemen who facilitate the negotiations. “The Syrian Arab Army is the primary party that is responsible for these types of arrests,” says to the report.
  • Topic: Crime, Economy, Syrian War, Abductions
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Lilian Tauber
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: By committing to long-term investments in Jordan’s communities through support for social enterprises, the United States can contribute to the country’s stability and economic growth. In Jordan, one of the United States’ most reliable allies in the Middle East, economic volatility is a major threat to stability and has led to recurrent protests since 2011. High youth unemployment rates and a large refugee population contribute to its economic woes and political tensions, all of which are now exacerbated in the Covid-19 pandemic. The United States can support Jordan’s recovery from the pandemic through long-term investment in social entrepreneurship. The country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is in a developing stage, with most resources focused on short-term funding and training, so a shift in U.S. aid to longer-term support can make a significant difference. Increasing funds and providing multi-year mentorship and operational support to select social enterprises (SEs) will allow them to become powerful forces for positive change and civic engagement in their communities.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Economy, Investment
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan, United States of America
  • Author: Chiraz Arbi, Maurizio Geri
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Gridlock and economic stagnation are testing the Arab world's only functioning democracy. On January 14, 2021, Tunisia celebrated the 10th anniversary of the end of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s authoritarian regime, the result of a revolution that led to a firm commitment to a process of democratization in the country. And while the revolution has meant significant change and positive development for Tunisian democracy, the Tunisian people are currently losing faith in the direction of their government as Tunisia’s democratic institutions are struggling to endure parliamentary gridlock and economic malaise—as evidenced by the recent street protests over the past few days. Consecutive Riots and demonstrations in the Capital and in several cities across the country came to defy the government’s nationwide lockdown and curfew due to Covid-19 and to symbolize the youth’s overall disenchantment. While the Prime Minister assured that this anger was “legitimate”, protests were faced by police violence and led to more than 600 arrests of protestors aged between 14 and 25.
  • Topic: Democracy, Economy, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This paper presents insights and recommendations from a policy workshop of the “Israel in the Mediterranean” group led by the Mitvim Institute, the Hebrew University’s Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations and Haifa University’s National Security Studies Center. The workshop, convened on 19 November 2020, focused on key diplomatic, economic, energetic, environmental and identity issues that Israel faces in the Mediterranean. The document does not necessarily reflect agreement by all participants.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Environment, Economy, Regional Integration, Identity
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Mediterranean
  • Author: Moe Thuzar
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Building on the New Southern Policy (NSP) implementation experience, and in recognition of the uneven impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on different populations in ASEAN, the ROK may consider the following operational dimensions of implementing the NSP Plus’ strategic thrusts. First, consultation of ASEAN’s collective and individual needs on each of the core strategy areas, leveraging on the ROK’s willingness to share and adapt its successful practices to meet the needs of its ASEAN partners. Second, synchronizing or aligning the NSP Plus’ regional thrusts with the ROK’s bilateral programs in the ASEAN countries, to ensure a seamless continuity of matching regional-level support with in-country requirements. Third, instituting a periodic or mid-term review mechanism for the NSP Plus implementation may help early identification of areas or priorities to adjust or revise, taking into account emerging needs and concerns. Ultimately, the ROK’s NSP niche will be the quality of its impact, in areas where the ROK’s strengths speak most to its “new southern neighbors.”
  • Topic: Economy, ASEAN, Regional Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea
  • Author: Jai Chul Heo
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China has been able to escape from the Covid-19 outbreak relatively quickly compared to other countries. Nevertheless, it still remains greatly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic across its politics, economy, society, culture, and other areas, which has led to various changes throughout China. Therefore, this study comprehensively examined the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on various aspects of Chinese politics, economy, society, and culture. And in response to these changes in Chinese society, the study explores new strategies toward China in the post-Covid-19 era.
  • Topic: Politics, Culture, Economy, COVID-19, Society
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Kyong Hyun Koo
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: FTAs have been known to have large positive effects on trade creation between member countries. However, it is relatively unexplored how much small/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounted for in the trade creation due to FTAs compared to large-sized enterprises (LEs). We find that Korean FTA policies have significantly increased SMEs’ direct exports to FTA partner countries between 2005 and 2017, although the effects were as much as a half of those for LEs, which indicates a considerable LEs’ premium in the direct export effects of FTAs. We further find that the FTAs also significantly increased the indirect exports of Korean firms, i.e., the domestic input supplies through in-dustrial input-output linkage, and that SMEs have benefited more from the indirect export effects of FTAs than LEs. Considering the direct and indirect export effects together, the LEs’ premium in the total export effects of FTA is found to become smaller.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Economy, Free Trade, Exports, Trade, Industry
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea
  • Author: Sungbae An, Minsoo Han, Subin Kim, Jinhee Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The decline in labor share is recognized as a global phenomenon. Concerns have been raised that this trend will exacerbate the income inequality between business owners as capitalists and households as the labor suppliers, prompting a decline in household income and consumption, which are major driving forces for sustainable growth. Meanwhile, various policy measures have been introduced to raise the labor share, with the aim of correcting inequality and boosting growth. This study explores the determinants of labor share and analyzes the effects of these factors on the economy and social welfare, offering various interpretations and policy alternatives according to economic conditions.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Inequality, Economy, Business , Welfare
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea
  • Author: Pyoung Seob Yang, Cheol-Won Lee, Suyeob Na, Taehyn Oh, Young Sun Kim, Hyung Jun Yoon, Yoo-Duk Ga
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China’s investment in the European Union (EU) increased significantly during the European financial crisis, but has been on the decline in recent years. The surge of Chinese investment has raised concerns and demands for analysis on the negative effects it could have on the EU companies and industries. In this context, the present study aims to analyze the main characteristics of Chinese investment and M&A in Europe, major policy issues between the two sides, the EU’s policy responses, and prospects of Chinese future investment in Eu-rope, going on to draw important lessons for Korea. To summarize the main characteristics of China's investment in Europe, the study found that the EU's share of China's overseas direct investment has continued to increase until recently. Second, investment in the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) is gradually increasing, although it is still insignificant compared to the top five destinations in the EU: Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Third, China's investment in the EU is being made in pursuit of innovation in manufacturing and to acquire high-tech technologies. When it comes to China's M&A in Europe, the study found that the proportion of indirect China's M&As (via third countries (e.g. Hong Kong) or Chinese subsidiaries already established in Europe) was relatively higher than direct ones. Empirical factor analysis of investment also shows that China's investment in the EU is strongly motivated by the pursuit of strategic assets. Other factors such as institutional-level and regulatory variables are found to have no significant impact, or have an effect contrary to expectations. This suggests that China's investment in the EU is based on the Chinese government's growth strategy, and accompanies an element of national capitalism Today, It is highly expected that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a reorganizing effect on the global value chain (GVC) and Foreign investment regulation in the high-tech sector motivated by national security is emerging as a global issue as the US and the EU are tightening their control. As Korean companies are not free from the risk of falling under such regulations, a thorough and careful response is required. And for the Korean government, it is necessary to prepare legal and institutional measures regulating foreign investment in reference to the US and the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis, European Union, Economy, Economic Growth, Global Value Chains, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Sangbaek Hyun, Suyeob Na, Young Sun Kim, Koun Cho, Bongkyo Seo
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The opening of China's financial sector has progressed at a very slow pace, unlike the manufacturing and trade sectors that have pushed for an active opening to the outside world. The Chinese economy has been growing rapidly while serving as a global production base, but since 2012, it has become necessary to modify its approaches to achieve growth as it enters an era of medium-speed growth. Recently, new reform and opening measures have been taken in various fields to improve the quality of the Chinese economy, and the need for reform and opening in the financial sector has also increased. Internally, the financial system centered on China's state-owned commercial banks has focused on indirect financing, which has served as a major obstacle to upgrading China's economy and industry to the next level, further increasing the need for reform and opening of the financial sector. Moreover, externally, the U.S.-China conflict which began in earnest in 2018, is applying strong pressure toward reform and opening in China’s financial sector. The Chinese government began to show a proactive attitude toward financial opening amid such internal needs and external pressure, and an important development was seen in China’s financial opening when President Xi Jinping declared further opening measures at the Boao Forum in April 2018. The Chinese financial authorities have prepared follow-up measures related to financial opening, and the Chinese government’s efforts toward financial opening in the three years from 2018 to 2020 yielded more results than the ten-year opening period since its accession to the WTO. Against this backdrop, this study examines the main contents of China’s financial opening process, which has been accelerating recently, and derives evaluation and implications.
  • Topic: Finance, Economy, Economic Growth, Banks
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Young Ho Park, Minji Jeong, Soo Hyun Moon
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: There has been a growing consensus in the national and international aid architecture that sporadic or scattered aid modality should be avoided. This study conducted a comprehensive cluster evaluation on Korea’s agricultural ODA to Rwanda between 2013 and 2017, with two newly devised indexes: Cluster Performance Index (CPI) and Resource Allocation Index (RAI). Every Korean agricultural ODA project was categorized into five clusters and numerically evaluated against criteria widely used in the evaluation of development projects: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability. Our cluster evaluation reveals that projects are mostly planned appropriately, but in some clusters, large amounts of the budget have been invested in poorly planned projects. Regarding efficiency, there was considerable room for improvement in all clusters. Particularly, in the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) category, all clusters scored below average. Concerning performance evaluation, all clusters scored relatively high in effectiveness, specifically in goal achievement. Lastly, in terms of sustainability, risk management was found to be relatively inadequate in all clusters. Based on the lessons from the aforementioned observations and analysis results, this study suggests ODA quality can be improved by optimizing budget allocation, improving monitoring efficiency, creating synergistic effects through cluster linkage, and developing agricultural value chain program.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Foreign Aid, Economy, Value Chains
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Korea, Rwanda
  • Author: Gyupan Kim, Hyongkun Lee, Boram Lee, Jongeun Lee, Wonju Son
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: In Japan, the challenges posed by its low birthrate and aging population expanded rapidly with the collapse of the bubble economy in the early 1990s, and in March 2011, energy and environmental problems such as power supply shortages and nuclear radiation issues occurred in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima nuclear accident. Also, with the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in January 2020, digital transformation has emerged as a social challenge. In particular, Japan's aging population combined with a decrease in the working age population, has caused the government to face fiscal crisis due to the burden of social insurance, and a sense of crisis of labor shortage in the medical, manufacturing and logistics sectors. This is also leading to a sense of crisis at local governments as well, seen with the collapse of the medical service supply system under “Tokyo centralization,” the rapid increase of the vulnerable in transportation due to the super-aging of rural areas, and the risk of extinction of local communities. The analysis on the healthcare and medical care sectors was conducted in chapter 2, and the manufacturing, mobility, and logistics sectors in Chapter 3, and the local revitalization in Chapter 4 respectively. And chapter 5 of conclusion remarks presents policy implications for the Korean government.
  • Topic: Demographics, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology, Nuclear Power, Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Kwon Hyung Lee, Sung Hyun Son, Yun Hee Jang, Kwang Ho Ryou
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Over the past several decades, the six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have implemented economic policies for industrial diversification to lessen severe dependence on the oil industry. Such policy efforts have been driven by their awareness of macro-economic and structural risks from heavy volatilities in international oil markets in terms of fiscal and trade sectors. For instance, the drop in international oil prices reduces export performance in the oil and natural gas sectors, which in turn results in a decline in the stability of fiscal revenue. The recent trends of low oil prices since 2014, as well as high unemployment rates, have strengthened the policy regime for industrial diversification and job creation supported by mid- to long-term economic plans of the GCC countries. This report reviews what has been emphasized in the areas of industrial, employment, trade and investment policies. We then derive implications for Korean companies and policymakers for sustainable cooperation between Korea and the Middle East.
  • Topic: Oil, Economy, Diversification, Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Sungwoo Hong, Yeo Joon Yoon, Jino Kim, Jeewoon Rim, Jimin Nam
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The conflict between the United States and China may be the issue of most importance as well as interest to the world, prior to COVID-19. This conflict between the two countries is appearing not only in the economic sector, but also in various field such as politics, diplomacy, and military affairs. Such competition between the two countries is likely to escalate further as multilateral systems such as the WTO are threatened and protectionism intensifies in the post-COVID-19 world. Even within Latin America, the competition between the two countries frequently appears in a variety of forms. Conflicts between the United States and China in Latin America tend to occur mainly in the infrastructure sectors. Furthermore, the United States pressured Latin American countries to choose between the United States and China, with the results of this pressure depending on the political orientation of the ruling government. In order to investigate the impact of retaliatory tariffs between the two countries on Latin American countries’ exports and welfare, we employ an event analysis for exports and computational general equilibrium (CGE) model for welfare, with Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile as the subject of our analysis. Based on the outcome of the event study, Brazil’s exports to the United States moderately increased due to the tariff imposition, and such an effect persisted for short term. Its exports to China rose considerably immediately after the tariff imposition, and then the impact tended to decrease over time. By contrast, it is difficult to conclude that the tariff imposition had a statistically significant and lasting effect on the exports of the remaining three countries to the United States and China. As a result of the analysis using the CGE model, meanwhile, the tariffs imposed between the United States and China trivially increased the welfare of Latin American countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Tariffs, Exports, Trade, Rivalry
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South America, Latin America, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Ketian Zhang
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: China’s coercive behavior in the post–Cold War period suggests three patterns. First, China uses coercion when it wants to establish a reputation for resolve. Second, China has been a cautious bully, resorting to coercion only infrequently. Third, when China perceives the “geopolitical backlash cost” of military coercion to be high, it chooses instead to use sanctions and grayzone coercion. (“Geopolitical backlash cost” refers here to the possibility that the target state will seek to balance against China, with the potential for U.S. military involvement.) When China perceives the geopolitical backlash cost to be low, it is more likely to use military coercion.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, Power Politics, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South China Sea
  • Author: Dominik P. Jankowski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, energy security has become a permanent element of NATO's strategic thinking, integrated into numerous NATO policies and activities. In fact, restoring the prominence of energy security within the Alliance was not easy, especially as this policy was considered primarily a question of national security in the post-Cold War era. It was only at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that NATO was given a dedicated, yet limited, mandate to work in this field. The mandate--based on a set of principles and guidelines--included information and intelligence sharing, cooperation on consequence management, and support for the protection of critical energy infrastructure.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Energy Policy, European Union, Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Peer Schouten
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Pastoralism is the key to climate change adaptation in African drylands, but it is threatened by conflicts with farmers, regional insecurity and violent extremism. Stabilisation and development efforts should place pastoralism at the centre by strengthening pastoral livelihoods and should include herders as peacebuilding and development partners. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Strengthen pastoralist capacities to cope with risk and variability by boosting inclusive and equitable resource governance in new development programmes. ■ Include pastoralists as potential peace-builders in conflict resolution efforts. ■ Support dialogue between pastoralists and local and national governments in order to prevent the further marginalisation of vulnerable pastoralist groups.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Democratization, Development, Environment, Migration, Non State Actors, Fragile States, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Cullen S. Hendrix
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Trump administration’s Africa strategy is rooted in three misconceptions about China’s African footprint—and a fourth about US-Africa economic relations—that are either factually incorrect or overstated in terms of the broader strategic challenges they pose to US interests: (1) Chinese engagement in Africa crowds out opportunities for trade and investment with and from the United States; (2) Chinese engagement in Africa is resource-seeking—to the detriment of US interests; (3) Chinese engagement in Africa is designed to foster debt-based coercive diplomacy; and (4) US-Africa economic linkages are all one-way and concessionary (i.e., aid-based). Hendrix finds little evidence to suggest Chinese trade and investment ties crowd out US trade and investment opportunities. China’s resource-seeking bent is evident in investment patterns, but it is more a function of Africa’s having comparatively large, undercapitalized resource endowments than China’s attempt to corner commodity markets. Chinese infrastructural development—particularly large projects associated with the Belt and Road Initiative—may result in increased African indebtedness to the Chinese, but there is little reason to think debt per se will vastly expand Chinese military capacity in the region. And finally, US-Africa economic relations are much less one-sided and concessionary (i.e., aid-based) than conventional wisdom suggests.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure, Economy, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Ben Phillips
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: A growing body of evidence shows that the COVID-19 crisis is significantly affecting people’s priorities for the future. With economies around the world suffering the impact of the pandemic, the global public wants governments to adopt bold approaches in response—and polls from a range of countries show that large majorities believe their actions have not been strong enough. In this briefing, Leah Zamore and Ben Phillips examine global polling data to show what kinds of policies—including those previously deemed “radical”—are now garnering widespread support. They find that people want governments to act boldly both in responding to the immediate economic crisis and in fundamentally transforming the social contract moving forward. The briefing examines polling on a range of topics, from wide support for redistributive programs and a rejection of austerity policies, to the growing popularity of measures that check corporate power in favor of workers and consumers.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Opinion, Economy, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, Nendirmwa Noel
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Lockdown measures have been an integral tool in the fight against COVID-19. But they come at a high cost, given their impacts on economies, employment and incomes, education, food systems, mental health and even the potential for civil unrest. This policy briefing by Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, and Nendirmwa Noel examines how countries are balancing the need for lockdown with policy measures to alleviate their effects and plans for reopening. It provides comparative data on the stringency of lockdowns, showing that while there has been a convergence towards more stringent measures over time, there is also wide variation among countries—even among those in the same region, or income group. A brief case study of Sierra Leone and snapshot examples of policy from ten other countries illustrates the range of answers to the question of how much lockdown is enough.
  • Topic: Employment, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Global Focus
  • Author: Hanin Ghadder
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: To contain corrupt actors and facilitate reform, the international community must provide alternatives to Hezbollah pharmaceutical and food programs while filling gaps that the group is unable to address. Despite Lebanon’s deteriorating financial and economic situation, the country’s political elite have made clear that they will not implement reforms laid out by the international community as prerequisites for a bailout. In their view, the changes specified by the IMF, the World Bank, and the French-sponsored aid framework CEDRE would mean the eventual collapse of their political class, whose corruption and illegal business dealings are protected and encouraged by Hezbollah. Indeed, the emergence of a more independent secular political class that reflects the October 2019 protests is a serious concern for the militia and its allies in government, so they have chosen to manage the crisis rather than resolve it. Thus far, Hezbollah’s crisis-management efforts have far surpassed those of every other political party, civil society organization, and foreign assistance channel. The group’s military structure, organizational expertise, and access to alternative sources are enabling it to pursue temporary strategies for surviving the current crisis, while also retaining independence from state institutions, preserving a measure of support from its core Shia community, and discouraging Shia from joining any further rounds of public unrest. In the longer term, Hezbollah seems to be hoping that a transformative regional development—perhaps a new U.S.-Iranian nuclear agreement or a favorable U.S.-European partnership on Lebanon—will allow it to resolve its own financial crisis and regain access to hard currency, either from the Iranian regime or through international assistance mechanisms. Yet even if Hezbollah seems fairly well-positioned to weather the storm, the Lebanese people—including the group’s support base—are not. According to a new World Bank report, half the population is living below the poverty line, and more will soon join them if the Central Bank stops subsidizing medicine, fuel, wheat, and other essentials two months from now as projected.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Finance, Economy, Crisis Management, Hezbollah, Welfare, Militias
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Kevjin Lim
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Beijing has steadily become Tehran’s economic ventilator, diplomatic prop, and military enabler, and the Iranians need this backstop now more than ever. When the coronavirus spun out of control in Wuhan this January, Iran ignored the example of many other countries and continued to maintain direct flights and open borders with China. Even after President Hassan Rouhani’s government suspended all such flights on January 31, Mahan Air—a company affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—kept flying between Tehran and four first-tier Chinese cities, leading many to allege that the airline was instrumental in introducing or at least exacerbating Iran’s raging epidemic. Whatever the truth behind these allegations, Mahan’s policy is symptomatic of a larger geopolitical reality: Tehran has become profoundly, disproportionately, and perhaps irretrievably dependent on Beijing, despite its own revolutionary opposition to reliance on foreign powers. Where diplomatic and economic sanctions have fallen short, the pandemic has succeeded in isolating the Islamic Republic like never before, compelling it to keep its borders to China open. COVID-19 has also dispelled the notion that Iran’s heavily-sanctioned “resistance economy” still suffices to keep the country solvent. The government has conceded that staying afloat would be impossible if it curtailed cross-border trade, shut down industries, and quarantined entire cities. The crisis is so severe that Iran’s Central Bank has for the first time in decades requested billions of U.S. dollars in assistance from the IMF. Indeed, according to Deputy Health Minister Reza Malekzadeh, whenever his colleagues questioned why China flights continue, bilateral economic relations were among the reasons given. Two days after the government’s ban on such flights, Chinese ambassador Chang Hua tweeted that Mahan CEO Hamid Arabnejad wanted to continue cooperating with Beijing. Neither man specified exactly what this meant, but the implied message to Tehran was clear given China’s resentment of travel bans. Meanwhile, the Iranian Students News Agency, Tabnak, and other domestic media criticized Mahan for prioritizing profit margins over public health.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, Geopolitics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Frank Aum, Jacob Stokes, Patricia M. Kim, Atman M. Trivedi, Rachel Vandenbrink, Jennifer Staats, Joseph Yun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A joint statement by the United States and North Korea in June 2018 declared that the two countries were committed to building “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” Such a peace regime will ultimately require the engagement and cooperation of not just North Korea and the United States, but also South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. This report outlines the perspectives and interests of each of these countries as well as the diplomatic, security, and economic components necessary for a comprehensive peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Economy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, United States of America
  • Author: Jagannath P. Panda
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Connectivity linkages between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and trans-Himalayan countries have taken on a new hue with the recent Himalayan ‘Quadrilateral’ meeting between China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal (MOFA (PRC), July 27). Often referred to as a “handshake across the Himalayas,” China’s outreach in the region has been characterized by ‘comprehensive’ security agreements, infrastructure-oriented aid, enhanced focus on trade, public-private partnerships, and more recently, increased economic and security cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] The geopolitics underlying China’s regional development initiatives, often connected with its crown jewel foreign policy project Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have been highly concerning—not just for the countries involved, but also for neighboring middle powers like India, which have significant stakes in the region.[2] At the Himalayan Quad meeting, foreign ministers from all four countries deliberated on the need to enhance the BRI in the region through a “Health Silk Road”. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary and PRC President Xi Jinping’s ‘Community of a Shared Future for Humanity’ was cited as justification for facilitating a “common future with closely entwined interests,” and the ministers agreed to work towards enhancing connectivity initiatives to ensuring a steady flow of trade and transport corridors in the region and building multilateralism in the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote a “global community of health” (Xinhua, July 28).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, India, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Taro Hayashi
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Sixty years ago, Japan and the United States signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security marking the beginning of the Japan-US Alliance as we know it today. The two countries have made a commitment to core values such as democracy, respect for human rights, and a rules-based international order. The Alliance has played an integral role in ensuring the peace and security of the two countries as well as realizing their shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific through security cooperation.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Economy, Alliance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Phil Thornton
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The world is facing unprecedented health and economic crises that require a global solution. Governments have locked down their economies to contain the mounting death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic. With this response well underway, now is the time to move into a recovery effort. This will require a coordinated response to the health emergency and a global growth plan that is based on synchronized monetary, fiscal, and debt relief policies. Failure to act will risk a substantial shock to the postwar order established by the United States and its allies more than seventy years ago. The most effective global forum for coordinating this recovery effort is the Group of 20 (G20), which led the way out of the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2009, the closest parallel we have to the current catastrophe. Eleven years ago, world leaders used the G20 meeting in London as the forum to deliver a unified response and a massive fiscal stimulus that helped stem economic free fall and prevented the recession from becoming a second Great Depression. A decade on, it is clear that the G20 is the only body with the clout to save the global economy. This does not mean that the G20 should be the only forum for actions for its member states. The United States, for example, should also work closely with like-minded states that support a rules-based world order, and there are many other fora where it can and must be active with partners and allies. But no others share the G20’s depth and breadth in the key focus areas for recovery. The other multilateral organizations that could take up the challenge lack either the substance or membership. The United Nations may count all countries as members but is too unwieldly to coordinate a response. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has the resources but requires direction from its 189 members. The Group of Seven (G7), which once oversaw financial and economic management, does not include the fast-growing emerging economies. The G20 represents both the world’s richest and fastest-growing countries, making it the forum for international collaboration. It combines that representation with agility.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, G20, Global Markets, Geopolitics, Economy, Business , Trade, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Canada, Asia, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey Cimmino, Matthew Kroenig, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a strategic shock, and its almost immediate, damaging effects on the global economy constitute a secondary disruption to global order. Additional secondary strategic shocks (e.g., in the developing world) are looming. Together, these developments pose arguably the greatest threat to the global order since World War II. In the aftermath of that conflict, the United States and its allies established a rules-based international system that has guaranteed freedom, peace, and prosperity for decades. If the United States and its allies do not act effectively, the pandemic could upend this order. This issue brief considers the current state of the pandemic and how it has strained the global rules-based order over the past few months. First, it considers the origins of the novel coronavirus and how it spread around the world. Next, it examines how COVID-19 has exacerbated or created pressure points in the global order, highlights uncertainties ahead, and provides recommendations to the United States and its partners for shaping the post-COVID-19 world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, European Union, Economy, Business , Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Asia, Eurasia, India, Taiwan, Asia, North America, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: David Mortlock
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Two years ago, US President Donald J. Trump walked into the White House Diplomatic Reception Room and announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran and has adopted a policy of “maximum pressure” to compel Iran to change its behavior and to deny the Iranian regime the resources to engage in its destabilizing activities. However, he also promised he was ready, willing, and able to make a new and lasting deal with Iran. In “Trump’s JCPOA Withdrawal Two Years On – Maximum Pressure, Minimum Outcomes” author David Mortlock, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, evaluates the policy outcomes of President Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA. The author walks readers through the timeline of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA, the subsequent implementation of the maximum pressure campaign on Iran, and the policy outcomes relative to stated objectives. In sum, Mortlock concludes that although the maximum pressure campaign has been effective in inflicting economic harm on Iran, it has had minimum effect in other areas. Therefore, Mortlock believes the Trump administration should seize the opportunity to pivot from maximum pressure to an approach focused more on policy outcomes.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Sanctions, Nuclear Power, Economy, Donald Trump, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Audrey Hruby
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Global powers are jockeying for access to opportunities in African markets. In recent years, through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the Tokyo International Conference of African Development, the Russia-Africa Summit, and many others, the world’s largest economies have sought to make headway in what are seen as fast-growing and lucrative new markets. In this environment, effective United States (US)-Africa policy requires greater focus on areas of American competitiveness and concerted efforts to educate, mobilize, and support US commercial success in African markets. In this update of her 2017 issue brief “Escaping China’s shadow: Finding America’s competitive edge in Africa,” Senior Fellow Aubrey Hruby outlines recommendations for how to best utilize Prosper Africa and leverage American private sector competitiveness by focusing efforts on sectors in which the United States already leads.
  • Topic: Global Markets, Economy, Trade, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Fried, Brian O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: US President Donald J. Trump’s administration has found it challenging to maintain a consistent position with respect to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repression at home and aggression abroad. It may again fall to Congress to attempt to counter Russia’s election interference, already ongoing in the form of disinformation; back Ukraine as its government seeks to deal with a Russian invasion; and contend with other forms of Kremlin aggression. In “Pushing Back against Russian Aggression – Legislative Options” authors Daniel Fried, the Weiser Family Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and Brian O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, evaluate two Russia sanctions bills, the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) and the Defending American Security Against Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA), as tools to forestall new Russian interference in US elections. The authors walk readers through a set of sanctions escalatory measures—covering finance, energy, and the cyber sector – that both sanctions bills draw from. In sum, Fried and O’Toole conclude that DASKA’s sanctions are more measured and thus more implementable. By contrast, the authors deem DETER’s sanctions on financial institutions as simply too harsh with excessive spillover risk to US and Western financial markets to be implementable.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Economy, Business , Legislation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Frances Burwell, Jörn Fleck
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) possess fundamental strengths that uniquely position the region to capitalize on the next wave of digitalization – solid education systems, a large talent pool of “STEM” graduates, widely adopted digitally enabled services, and fewer technology legacies. But, these advantages alone do not mean that Central and Eastern Europe will automatically succeed in this digital transition. One key factor of success will be the ability of these countries— all of them in the European Union—to cooperate in this effort across the region, for both their future economic development and their political influence within Europe and in the transatlantic relationship. In this think piece, Atlantic Council Distinguished Fellow Frances Burwell and Future Europe Initiative Associate Director Jörn Fleck explore how to take forward digitalization in Central and Eastern Europe, especially within the framework of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, European Union, Economy, Business , Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe
  • Author: Aaron Sayne, Melanie D. Reed
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: The complex, secretive nature of foreign corruption calls for a collaborative, all-hands-on-deck approach. Corrupt actors go to great lengths to hide their wrongdoing, using layers of legal entities, transactions, secrecy jurisdictions and middlemen. No one response can detect and prevent every bad act, and different anticorruption actors have their own unique interests, mandates and abilities. In many cases, they may struggle even to learn the facts of what went wrong. Prosecuting a corruption crime generates reams of valuable information. This can include the names of bribe takers and payers; the industries, countries and public institutions involved; how the proceeds of crime changed hands; and who facilitated or turned a blind eye. Who should get to see this information? Thought leaders on anticorruption, from Transparency International (TI) to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Working Group on Bribery (OECD WGB), have long endorsed greater transparency in foreign corruption cases. They argue, for example, that access to information raises awareness, gives guidance to anticorruption practitioners, encourages cooperation with prosecutors and boosts confidence in law enforcement. Conversely, opacity in corruption cases can weaken the deterrent value of prosecutions, open doors for prosecutorial misconduct and thwart efforts to make victims whole. These concerns are particularly keen in cases that settle via tools like deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) or plea bargains. Many governments share evidence from corruption cases confidentially, through formal legal instruments and close working relationships. But how does public disclosure of facts from corruption cases, whether by courts or other law enforcement bodies, aid the broader fight against corruption? Put differently: At a time when enforcement of anticorruption laws remains low in many countries, could more transparency help anticorruption efforts by regulators, companies, the media, civil society and others? To answer this question, the authors of this briefing analyzed materials from foreign corruption cases that have arisen since the inception of laws banning foreign bribery. During the past four years, they also conducted over two dozen interviews with experts government, the private sector, civil society and the press. From this work, they found instances in which other anticorruption actors used published facts from court cases to do their jobs more effectively. Although they undertook this research as part of the Natural Resource Governance Institute’s (NRGI’s) programming aimed at reducing corruption risks in the oil, gas and mining sectors, they did not limit themselves to cases in the extractive industries. Accordingly, their findings and recommendations apply broadly to corruption in other sectors.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Economy, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Walzer
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Israel and the European Union (EU) have built a special, strategic relationship over decades, since the 1960s. Following centuries of war, two world wars, tens of millions dead and destruction across the continent, the EU can be declared as the most successful expression of Europeans’ aspiration for peace and prosperity. With a population of 450 million, the EU is not only Israel’s biggest trade partner, it is also the biggest and most generous aid donor to the Palestinian Authority (PA), without which Israel would be forced to allocate extensive budgetary resources for the PA’s preservation and its commitments. Moreover, a large part of the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora has its roots in Europe. Many Israelis aspire to the continent’s standards of moral and cultural values and to its political systems. At the same time, many in Europe see Israel and the Israelis as members of the European family. Agreements on economic, trade, science, and other matters of vital value to Israel have been signed over the years within the framework of the special relationship that has developed with the EU.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, European Union, Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on the impact of the coronavirus on Israel’s relations with the Mediterranean Basin. It is based on the main points raised at the sixth meeting of the research and policy group on “Israel in the Mediterranean” held on May 14, 2020 at the initiative of the Mitvim Institute, the Hebrew University’s Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations and Haifa University’s National Security Studies Center. The paper highlights the key insights emerging from the Eastern Mediterranean’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic, including the importance of regional cooperation for Israel’s national resilience, the strengthening of Israel’s alliance with Greece and Cyprus, the economic importance of the Mediterranean for Israel, the energy crisis and its impact, and Israel’s ties with Arab states. The paper does not reflect agreement among all the meeting participants.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Economy, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Mediterranean
  • Author: Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The spread of the novel Corona Virus COVID-19 from the Chinese province of Hebei across the world has resulted in a global pandemic of catastrophic proportions. Certain countries have been affected more severely than others, and there have been glaring disparities in how national governments have responded to the outbreak. In addition to the global death toll of 400,000 (and counting), the industrial and financial disruption has been severe, with the Asian Development Bank estimating the loss to the global economy at between USD$ 5.8-8.8 trillion.1 To overcome the current crisis, and work toward a vaccine, global solidarity, including cooperation through multilateral organizations like the World Heath Organization (WHO), is desperately needed.
  • Topic: Health, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The Blue Economy concept was first articulated in 2012 by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the 2012 Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development. This novel idea was coupled with a concurrent approach that sought to transform traditional ocean economies into an ecosystem harnessing oceanic resources for better conservation of the marine environment. Ever since, the Blue Economy concept and its implementation has remained an evolving one. The broad consensus is that diminishing land resources have induced greater pressure on ocean assets to feed faster growth. At the same time, realization of the dangers of unsustainable approaches is equally compelling. The oceans remain the foremost climate stabilizers as they directly absorb heat and recycle an overwhelming share of greenhouse gases. Rising sea levels are causing submergence of valuable land, and extreme weather conditions and rising temperatures will eventually disrupt the water cycle, and hurt agriculture, fisheries and the rich marine biodiversity. The need to find mitigating solutions ensuring that future economic growth and development be more sustainable remains more pronounced than ever. As per few estimates, in many sectors, the ocean-based productivity will exceed the corresponding land-based production both in terms of value and employment generation by 2030. However, these benefits would likely accrue only in case of the oceans remaining healthy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economy, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Japan, Indian Ocean
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Thomas Philippon, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Most governments have taken measures to protect vulnerable workers and firms from the worst effects of the sudden drop in activity related to COVID-19. But as lockdowns are lifted, the focus must shift, and governments in advanced economies must design measures that will limit the pain of adjustment.
  • Topic: Government, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dirk Schoenmaker, Svend E. Hougaard Jensen
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Though outside the euro area, Denmark and Sweden could benefit from joining the European Union’s banking union. It would provide protection in case of any need to resolve at national level a large bank with a Scandinavian footprint, and would mark a choice in favour of more cross-border banking. But joining the banking union would also involve some loss of decision-making power.
  • Topic: Markets, European Union, Economy, Banks
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark, Sweden
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Simone Tagliapietra, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In the wake of COVID-19, some economic recovery policies will help green the economy – for example, energy renovation of buildings. But there are limits to the share of stimulus that can be explicitly green. The European Union should therefore also green the fiscal consolidation by setting out the path to much higher carbon prices than today. This would guide investment and provide revenues to help the fiscal consolidation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Economy, Renewable Energy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, André Sapir, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: 'Whatever it takes' needs to be the motto to preserve lives and reduce the impact on the economy of the epidemic.
  • Topic: Governance, Economy, Central Bank, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Elina Ribakova
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: COVID-19 is by far the biggest challenge policymakers in emerging economies have had to deal with in recent history. Beyond the potentially large negative impact on these countries’ fiscal accounts, and the related solvency issues, worsening conditions for these countries’ external funding are a major challenge.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy, Regulation, Finance, Economy, Central Bank, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Janka Oertel
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since the onset of the covid-19 crisis, there has been a new convergence of EU member states’ assessment of the challenges China poses to Europe. The Sino-European economic relationship lacks reciprocity, and there are mounting concerns within the EU about China’s assertive approach abroad, as well as its breaches of international legal commitments and massive violations of human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Overall, there is growing scepticism about the future trajectory of the relationship, which provides an opportunity for a more robust and coherent EU policy on China. In its remaining months, the German Council presidency could use this momentum to create institutional structures to improve the EU’s capacity to act. In doing so, it will be crucial to ease concerns about Franco-German dominance of the China agenda – especially those of eastern and southern European countries – while enabling all member states to become more engaged in shaping the EU’s future approach to China.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights, European Union, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jonathan Hackenbroich
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: European countries are increasingly coming under threat of economic coercion from great powers. The European Union and member states have few tools with which to combat the economic coercion waged against them. The EU’s vulnerability threatens its sovereignty and its openness. The EU should move quickly to consider and adopt a suite of tools to protect and enhance European sovereignty in the geo-economic sphere. The mere acquisition of such powers will have a deterrent effect. Such tools are thus necessary to preserve the EU’s economic openness as well as to defend and preserve the rules-based international order. This collection outlines ten such tools that the EU could adopt.
  • Topic: International Relations, Sovereignty, European Union, Economy, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thierry Brésillon, Hamza Meddeb
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Tunisia’s 2019 elections produced a vote against the establishment and a fragmented political landscape in which it was challenging to form a government. Parliament is deeply divided and lacks a clear foundation for stable and efficient policymaking, while the new president has neither political experience nor a party to implement his agenda. The 2019 elections may have finally ended the transactional power-sharing agreement forged by Ennahda and representatives of the old regime, which long ignored major socio-economic challenges. The government must build on its successful response to the covid-19 pandemic to create a compromise that shares the burden of economic reform between major political actors and interest groups. If it fails to do so, the resulting rise in economic and social tension could empower anti-democratic forces and destabilise Tunisia. The European Union should actively help the Tunisian government take the path of reform by launching a strategic dialogue to rethink their priorities and identify their common interests.
  • Topic: Politics, Reform, Elections, European Union, Economy, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Susi Dennison, Pawel Zerka
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A new pan-European survey conducted by ECFR shows that, after the onset of the covid-19 crisis, there has been a rise in public support for unified EU action to tackle global threats. This is grounded in Europeans’ realisation that they are alone in the world – with their perceptions of the United States, China, and Russia worsening overall. The pandemic has made European voters keenly aware of the need to prepare for the next crisis. There is growing support for the fulfilment of climate change commitments in every surveyed country. Respondents still believe in the value of European cooperation, but generally feel that EU institutions have not helped them enough during the crisis. Policymakers need to elicit voters’ support for a strong European voice on the global stage by building coalitions and identifying areas in which there is either a consensus or a bridgeable divide.
  • Topic: International Relations, European Union, Economy, Alliance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Jiří Lacina
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In his brief, Jiří Lacina explores the impact of COVID-19 on the future development of European integration and the role of Czechia in this development. The EU, its institutions and the Member States are working together to withstand the current pandemic and prepare for the economic crisis to follow. Simultaneously, ideas on the future arrangement of the EU are appearing. Two emerged on 9 April: one of monetary and the other of environmental nature – and both dealing with region’s economic recovery. For now, the Czech Republic is not engaging in any of them, and once again risks being left behind.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Crisis Management, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Daniela Schwarzer, Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting severe economic disruptions, can only be effectively tackled with a European and global response. The degree of integration and interdependence between member states – economically, politically and socially – means that in dealing with the virus and its economic effects, the EU is only as strong as its weakest part. Governments have to devise a more forward-looking, collective response. Hesitation and the failure to tackle the problem collectively will increase the losses – in terms of lives, economic wellbeing, political stability and EU unity.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Political stability, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: While the ECB has already taken bold steps, the EU member states need to support its efforts by committing to underwrite together some of the fiscal costs of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The best option would be to launch a Corona Fund with the power to mobilize 1 trillion EUR—support for such a fund need not be unanimous.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Economy, Recovery, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The Beirut Port blast (BPB) has revealed the fundamental failure of the Lebanese political system, but deep democratic reforms will take time and are fraught with risks. Given the US withdrawal and the extreme tensions in the region, the EU has a critical role to play in addressing the short-term humanitarian crisis, responding to the economic and financial situation, and providing a forum for civil society empowerment. If it fails to do so, the price is further geopolitical destabilization.
  • Topic: Civil Society, European Union, Geopolitics, Finance, Economy, Political stability, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Constantine Michalopoulos
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: The prospects of the Greek economy are mostly good with growth continuing for the fourth straight year. But there is a sense of disappointment, as the recovery has not been very strong and pre-crisis income levels will not be regained for another decade. There are two main reasons for the sluggish recovery: The European creditors have imposed on Greece the requirement to run a primary budget surplus of 3.5% of GDP for five years to ensure that they get repaid—a requirement that constricts growth of the Greek private sector—through heavy taxation of consumers and business. And domestic investment is sluggish, although there are plenty of unutilized resources, such as those provided by the European Structural Funds. There is a need for a new deal with the European Institutions: the Europeans should be more relaxed about getting repaid because of Greece’s much improved access to the European capital markets and be willing to accept a Greek government commitment to a significantly lower primary budget surplus for the next several years. In exchange the Greek government should commit to a commensurate increase in domestic investment through reforms of the banking sector as well as greater public sector investment spending.
  • Topic: Government, Financial Crisis, Economy, Economic Growth, Public Spending
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Cheon-Kee Lee
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: On 14 January 2020 the United States, the European Union, and Japan (hereinafter referred to as “US-EU-Japan”) issued a trilateral joint statement, proposing a set of new rules to strengthen WTO regulation on industrial subsidies. While a total of seven joint announcements have been made so far, this is the first time that three WTO Members have presented specific ideas on how to amend existing subsidy rules. Many of the proposed amendments seem to primarily target China’s trade policy and practices. Among the six amendment items proposed in the Joint Statement, it seems that the United States is paying particular attention to the sixth item, i.e. in making explicit the possibility of using the out-of-country benchmark and on introducing necessary requirements to do so in measuring the benefit conferred and, ultimately, in calculating the amount of the countervailing duties (CVDs). Against this backdrop, in this Brief the author analyzes the relevant WTO provisions and GATT/WTO jurisprudence, and discusses various scenarios on future negotiations on WTO Reform on industrial subsidies.
  • Topic: World Trade Organization, Economy, Negotiation, Trade Policy, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Cheol-Won Lee, Hyun Jean Lee, Mahmut Tekçe, Burcu Düzgün Öncel
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The Agreement on Trade in Services and the Agreement on Investment between Korea and Turkey came into effect in August 2018. This article focuses on the construction sector and the cultural contents sector to seek possible cooperative measures between the two countries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Culture, Economy, Investment, Industry
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Minsoo Han, Hyuk-Hwang Kim, Hyelin Choi, Danbee Park, Jisu Kim
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The shutdown of the GM Koreas Gunsan plant in May 2018 heightened social interest in the withdrawal of mutlinational corporations (MNCs). Against this backdrop, the forthcoming research The economic effects of multinational corporation withdrawal and policy responses studies the previous cases of MNC withdrawal, estimates the effects on labor market., and provides policy directions to address to the withdrawal. This note summarizes some of its important results.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Economy, Multinational Corporations, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea
  • Author: Jang Ho Choi, Yoojeong Choi
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This study examines changes in trade-related legal systems in North Korea and ac-tual trade transactions, and analyzes them in accordance with international standards (the WTO regulatory framework). Through this process, we will draw up measures to im-prove North Koreas trade system to open up the external economy as well as signing of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Ar-rangement (CEPA). The results of this study will contribute to understanding the main characteristics of trade-related laws and sys-tems within North Korea and suggest promis-ing directions for their improvement.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Meeryung La
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The Korean government has been pursuing a New Southern Policy (NSP) focusing on the “3P” areas of cooperation ‒ People, Prosperity, and Peace. The NSP puts people at a center of policy, and emphasizes the enhancement of cultural conversation and people-to-people exchange between Korea and ASEAN. The majority of services trade, an area with a low level of cooperation between Korea and ASEAN, is inherently based on the exchange of people. Promoting services trade flows between Korea and ASEAN could contribute to achieving the vision of a People-centered community in the region. Also, when taking into account the fact that services are integral to the working of GVC, the government should pursue policies to promote services trade and to enhance cooperation with ASEAN in the services sector. To this end, we aim to identify the current status of service trade and service trade barriers between ASEAN and Korea. This report briefly covers ASEAN’s trade in services and the restrictiveness of service trade regulations in ASEAN, and then suggests policy recommendations based on the results.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regulation, Economy, Economic Policy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Joungho Park, Seok Hwan Kim, Boogyun Kang, Pavel A. Minakir, Artem G. Isaev, Anna B. Bardal, Denis V. Suslov
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This study is the outcome of a joint research project commemorating the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the cooperative relationship between the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) and the Institute for Economic Research of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ERI). As is well known, the year 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Russia. Therefore, it is time for the two countries to prepare for the “2.0 Era of Korea-Russia Cooperation” while comprehensively evaluating existing achievements and tasks. In particular, in order to build a sustainable relationship between the two countries, it is necessary to establish a strategic contact point between Korea’s New Northern Policy and Russia’s New Eastern Policy, which can be realized through bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the Far East. In this regard, the main purpose of this study is to understand the main directions, key objectives, and political and economic implications of Russia’s policies in the Far East, which have been strategically pursued since the launch of Putin’s fourth term, and to explore new opportunities and possibilities for development cooperation in the Far East. We hope that this book will serve as a useful guide to open a new path for Far East development cooperation marking the 30th anniversary of Korea-Russia diplomatic relations.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Young Ho Park, Yejin Kim, Minji Jeong
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This study aims to develop systematic labor forecast methods, thereby contributing to increasing the efficiency of TVET ODA. This study suggests a new labor demand forecast methodology that combines quantitative and qualitative analyses and applies it to Vietnam, estimating labor demand by occupations in the country’s wireless communication equipment industry. This methodology starts with a statistical projection of Vietnam’s future labor market and industry. Subsequently, this study uses an enterprise survey and stakeholder interviews to complement missing information, as Vietnam's statistical system, like that of many other emerging economies, lacks some detailed data. Currently, the “element occupations” group takes the largest portion in the labor demand by industry and occupation. According to our results, however, the “plant and machine operators and assemblers” group is expected to gradually increase, thus becoming the largest occupation group in the wireless communication equipment industry in the near future. Given the various circumstances surrounding the labor market in developing countries, other alternatives in addition to our hybrid method of combining quantitative and qualitative analysis can also produce well-founded labor force projections. This study suggests analytical methodologies using global value chain (GVC) and big data as innovative alternatives, which can complement the shortcomings of traditional evaluation methods. ODA implementing agencies would benefit from paying attention to the labor forecasting methods presented in this research, and devising policies supporting these methods in order to properly apply them in reality.
  • Topic: Communications, Labor Issues, Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam, Korea
  • Author: Jin Kyo Suh, Ji Hyun Park, Min-Sung Kim
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The multilateral trading system has been in crisis. The world economy has changed significantly since the WTO replaced the previous GATT system and new challenges are quickly piling on top of the old ones. The rising emerging countries and the relative decline of traditional economic members, together with the need to deal with complex new issues such as climate change and e-commerce and digital trade, are shaking the foundations on which the WTO was built some 25 years ago. There is also growing momentum among many WTO members to ‘modernize’ the WTO, including the Appellate Body although the details and feasibility of reform are unclear at this stage. In this perspective, we suggest some ideas on both trade-distorting farm subsidies and S&DT which are the two important issues in the WTO negotiations.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Reform, Economy, Multilateralism, WTO, Subsidies
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sanghun Lee, Hongwon Kim, Joohye Kim, Jiwon Choi, Jaehee Choi
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: As the Chinese economy becomes more advanced and the internal and external economic environment surrounding China changes, so too does China’s strategy for external openness and economic cooperation. Accordingly, specific policies are diversifying from the past focus on manufacturing and foreign direct investment to services, overseas investment, bilateral and multilateral FTAs, and bilateral investment treaties (BITs). As the central government’s policy stance changes, China’s local governments are also promoting external openness and cooperation based on regional development stages, industrial structure, and regional development policies, reflecting the central government’s strategy. In particular, after the 19th Party Congress, the central government showed a strategic stance expanding external openness. In response, local governments have moved away from the traditional method of cooperation in the manufacturing sector centered on industrial complexes, and in recent years various cooperative methods have been promoted, including regional economic integration, service and investment, the use of FTAs, and innovations in institutions to expand external openness. Along with the shift in China’s foreign economic strategy, the economic cooperation environment surrounding Korea and China is changing as well, including the strengthening of protectionism, structural changes in the Chinese economy, the Korea-China FTA coming into effect, and the launch of follow-up negotiations. Therefore Korea needs to find new strategies and measures for economic cooperation with China, making it time to find new ways to expand cooperation with China’s central and local governments. Against this backdrop, this study aims to analyze the strategies, detailed policies and major cases of China’s central and local governments’ external openness and economic cooperation, and to draw policy implications for strengthening economic cooperation between Korea and China in the future.
  • Topic: Government, Foreign Direct Investment, Economy, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Cheol-won Lee, Hyung-gon Jeong, Min-suk Park
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: North Korean authorities have been seeking changes in North Korea’s economic policy since the Kim Jong Un regime took power. Along with decentralization, the government is trying to increase efficiency and productivity within the socialist economic system, and as part of this policy it has designated 27 economic development zones to attract foreign investment. Foreign direct investment plays a crucial role in economic growth for low-income countries such as North Korea, which lacks capital and technology. This study discusses North Korea's foreign investment policy and tasks ahead of its government to revitalize the economy, based on the premise that nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the US proceed smoothly. First of all, in order to derive policy tasks, we compared and analyzed the achievements and policies of transition countries in Asia and Eastern Europe in terms of attracting FDI, also analyzing the determinants of FDI inflows, after which we present policy tasks for North Korean authorities. As South Korea may very well become the largest investor in North Korea, our study also discusses tasks for the Korean government to pursue in order for Korean companies to successfully invest in North Korea.
  • Topic: Foreign Direct Investment, Economy, Transition
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Bama Dev Sigdel
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The main objective of this article is to assess the effect of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in terms of economic interrelations between Asian countries mainly China, Korea, India and Nepal. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is one of the most ambitious economic strategies in modern times that alters the economic, political and social relationship between Eastern and Western societies. It not only improves transport networks and facilitates trade, but also raises GDP of many economies. For China, BRI manifests its intention to become the next global power through bigger market access and economic opportunities. Although South Asia is less developed economically, it has high strategic utility for the BRI, which has drawn attention from China to deepen its relations in the region. On the other hand, South Korea has also emerged as a soft power in Asia. It has been playing a significant role in Asia by contributing the majority of its aid, i.e., 35 per cent in Asian economies and a major share of its FDI, i.e., 34.1 per cent. With the rapidly increasing growth of South Korea, it also has a growing relationship with ASEAN and other South Asian economies such as India to reduce its dependence on traditional trade allies. Moreover, for least developed economies like Nepal, the BRI can bring improved infrastructure, needed technology, managerial talents and greater connectivity to the world. South Korea can yield higher benefits through its relation with South Asia and especially Nepal through expansion of export and market access, access to cheap workable manpower to cope with its rising aging population, and less dependence on traditional allies through its investment in South Asian region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Asia, South Korea, Nepal
  • Author: Marcus Hellyer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The Defence Strategic Update (DSU) represents a remarkable commitment by the Australian Government to sustained growth in the defence budget. Released on 1 July after months of bad economic news caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and growing budget deficits caused by the government’s measures to mitigate the economic pain, the DSU nevertheless confirms the robust funding line presented in the 2016 Defence White Paper (2016 DWP) and extends it for a further four years. This means the defence budget will continue to grow past 2% of GDP, and indeed at a faster rate than before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Measured from a starting point in 2019–20, the budget is planned to grow by a remarkable 87.4% over the coming decade. Why did the government make that commitment? It’s clear from the DSU that it’s very concerned about Australia’s strategic circumstances, which it assesses as having deteriorated significantly in the four years since the 2016 DWP. It states that the region is in the middle of the most consequential strategic realignment since World War II. That brings significant uncertainty and risk. The government regards robust military capabilities as essential to managing it. The DSU marks a clear break from previous high-level strategic statements in the frank way it describes those risks and the new capabilities needed to address them. It also makes several key adjustments to strategic policy settings: It redefines our immediate region to an arc from the northeastern Indian Ocean, through maritime and mainland Southeast Asia, to Papua New Guinea and the Southwest Pacific. It’s still a huge area. It prioritises the immediate region for defence planning. It introduces the concepts of ‘shape’, ‘deter’ and ‘respond’ to focus defence planning. The emphasis on shaping reinforces the importance of regional engagement and partnerships in creating a region conducive to our interests. It states that a largely defensive force won’t deter attack. Instead, ‘new capabilities are needed to hold adversaries’ forces and infrastructure at risk from a greater distance. They include longer range strike weapons, cyber measures and area-denial systems.’ It acknowledges that Australia can no longer rely on warning time, even for a conventional military attack on Australia, and so won’t have time to ‘gradually adjust’ military capabilities. While the redefinition of the immediate region might not in itself result in changes to the defence investment program—now known as the Force Structure Plan (FSP)—the other factors listed certainly will. To acquire new capabilities, the growth in the DSU’s funding model continues the pattern of the 2016 DWP. That means the capital component of the budget grows to 40% of the total budget and stays there. That’s a far higher percentage than has historically been the case. By the end of the decade, if that planned increase is achieved, the acquisition component of the budget will have grown by 148% in nominal terms from its 2019–20 start point. Despite the broader economic and budget uncertainty, this means that Defence is in the fortunate position of being able to add some significant new capabilities to its shopping list. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the FSP is that the ADF has entered the ‘age of missiles’ with a vengeance. There’s potentially $100 billion in investment over the next two decades in missiles and guided weapons. That includes the offensive systems needed to deter and defeat an adversary from a greater distance, such as hypersonic weapons. Even the Army is acquiring long-range missiles. But it also includes greatly enhanced defensive systems, such as ballistic missile defence, which is something Defence has considered for a long time but never previously committed to. That’s a clear sign that the region is getting much more dangerous. While the FSP is short on detail, the big picture it paints is pretty clear. It’s one in which the ADF continues its trajectory of steadily fielding improved capability and developing greater strategic weight. But there are risks, both in the design of the plan itself and in delivering it, that need to be managed. It must be said that Defence’s planning processes are improving along with its costing methodologies, so it’s likely that these are risks that it has considered in the development of the DSU and FSP. The first set of risks relates to the question of whether this is the right force for our deteriorating circumstances. Despite the recognition that Australia can’t rely on warning time, much of the planned force is still a long way off in the future. The first future frigate won’t be operational for 10 years and the first future submarine for 14, and subsequent vessels are to be delivered only on a two-year drumbeat. The Air Force isn’t getting additional air combat aircraft beyond its 72 F-35As until late in the decade. Most of the major new additions to the force structure are also some way off in the future. There’s a funding line that potentially provides a way forward to get Boeing’s Loyal Wingman unmanned aerial vehicle into service, but most of the big buckets of funding for unmanned and autonomous systems are still late in the 2020s or even in the 2030s. Until then, it looks like Defence is relying on improved weapons delivered from existing platforms to provide the main capability enhancement. Also, the force envisaged in the DSU and FSP is growing increasingly broad. There are many new capabilities in the plan, but virtually none are being retired or cancelled. Similarly, the range of tasks that the force is being asked to do isn’t being reduced. In fact, the DSU requires greater regional engagement as well as greater capacity for domestic disaster response—but will the force be able to do all the tasks expected of it? Related to this, our changing strategic environment seems to be pulling the force in two directions. The DSU states that we can’t match major-power adversaries and need to develop capabilities to deter them through strike, cyber and area-denial systems. This suggests a growing recognition of the need for asymmetric operational concepts and capabilities, yet the force is still largely being built around traditional, conventional capabilities such as expensive, multi-role, manned platforms of the kind Australia has relied upon to overmatch potential adversaries. Defence is also investing in an increasingly heavy conventional land force. That’s likely to be useful against some potential non-peer adversaries—but does it play a deterrent role against a major-power adversary? There’s also the question of balance between acquisition, sustainment and personnel funding. Acquisition’s share of the budget is growing rapidly. Personnel’s share is also growing but more slowly, and will decline as a percentage of the overall budget. The DSU states that the government will consider increases to Defence’s workforce next year, but those numbers are already accounted for in the DSU’s personnel funding stream, suggesting that any additional people won’t change the overall trajectory of personnel’s share of the budget. Certainly, increased capital spending is necessary, but is a 40% acquisition / 26% personnel balance feasible in the long term? There’s no point acquiring equipment you can’t crew. Then there are a set of risks that relate to the feasibility of delivery. The first, as ever, is money. The economic future of both Australia and the world is still very uncertain. If the economic impact of Covid-19 results in prolonged economic stagnation, it’s going to take sustained resolve by this and future governments to keep increasing defence funding over the decade. Should that resolve waver and a government revert to something like 2% of GDP, that would be a huge hit to the defence budget of potentially $5–10 billion per year, with a resultant cut to either existing core capabilities or the planned new ones. The government has already stated that it’s committed to Defence’s ‘megaprojects’ and that they aren’t part of any prioritisation or trade-off process, so other things will bear the brunt of any funding hit—potentially, the new asymmetric capabilities being introduced to deter a major-power adversary. Then there’s the very difficult question of the affordability of the force. The defence budget is growing substantially, but so is the list of capabilities Defence is acquiring and sustaining. The acquisition cost of military capabilities grows much faster than inflation. Since 2016, several key capabilities have grown significantly in cost (including submarines, frigates, armoured vehicles and air defence). Moreover, sustainment costs are also growing. The sustainment cost of key future capabilities is likely to be several times greater in real terms than the systems they’re replacing. One of the biggest implementation risks relates to Australian industry’s ability to scale up to deliver the force. The local share of Defence’s capital equipment spend has consistently hovered around one-third of the total. Last year, that was around $2.6 billion. As the capital budget rapidly grows over the decade, local acquisition spending will have to grow to over $7 billion per year just to maintain that one-third share. But it’s clear the government wants that share to grow. It has to, if we’re going to address the supply-chain risks currently inherent in defence capability. Getting to between 40% and 50% means the local acquisition spend will need to reach around $10 billion per year. That’s a lot of money for Australian industry to absorb and a lot of capability for it to deliver, but, if it doesn’t get there, the government won’t achieve the level of sovereign capability that it’s seeking and we’ll continue to rely on imported systems, with the attendant supply-chain risks. While the basic settings of the government’s 2016 defence industry policy statement are the right ones, it’s likely that it’s going to have to do more to develop the kind of local industrial ecosystem necessary to deliver the level of sovereign capability described in the DSU and FSP. Relying on the local assembly of foreign designs using mainly foreign high-value subsystems isn’t going to get us there. More needs to be done to generate technological innovation and advanced manufacturing here. There are only minor increases to innovation funding in the DSU, for example. The new line in the FSP to develop sovereign weapons manufacturing could be a model for a more deliberate approach to generating sovereign industrial capability. The other risk associated with industry policy is the old one of falling into the trap of preferring industrial outcomes to military capability. That risk has already been realised. Some of the hidden costs of continuous-build programs are becoming more apparent: the FSP states that the cost increase for the Future Frigate Program was caused by the government allocating ‘additional funding to enable construction of ships at a deliberate drumbeat over a longer period of time than originally planned to achieve a continuous shipbuilding program’. That is, we’re deliberately paying more to get capability later. The DSU acknowledges that we can no longer rely on warning time to be able to gradually adjust military capability, so surely now’s the time to be spending to accelerate delivery and the rate at which we ‘adjust capability’, not slow it down. If we’re willing to pay a premium to build here, let’s pay it to get more capability sooner, not later. Why are we prioritising jobs for future generations of shipbuilders over capability for current servicemen and women who may be called upon in the near future to use it? The new strategy has been written, and the government most certainly understands the urgency driving its defence policy changes. The key question is whether Defence can sufficiently internalise that urgency to implement the changes needed in how the organisation does business. The Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, stated on 7 August that ‘the Defence Department … has systematically for over 100 years failed to deliver on the government’s expectations of the enterprise.’ We now have a plan that calls for speed, lateral thinking, innovation and partnerships—to be implemented by an organisation that’s slow, subject to groupthink, risk averse and reluctant to reach out. Adapting Defence to the demands of our new reality is going to be challenging, to say the least.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Budget, Economy, Economic Growth, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Kadri Kaska, Maria Tolppa
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Increasingly, China’s expanding role in the evolution and development of both the global economy and digital technologies must be acknowledged. A vivid example of this is the active debate over the development of 5G networks over the past few years, in which countries increasingly understand that the impact of new technologies on national security interests must be taken into account when they are implemented. Recent amendments to the Electronic Communications Act in Estonia will create a basis for managing such security risks in our country. Major conceptual difference is that China treats the internet above all as an information space that, to be protected from “subverting state power, undermining national unity [or] infringing upon national honour and interests”, must be strictly organised and controlled by the government.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Cybersecurity, Internet, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Meghna Paul, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Poshan Abhiyaan earlier known as the National Nutrition Mission is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship scheme that aims to holistically address the prevalence of malnutrition in India through the use of technology, convergence, behavioural change, training, and capacity building. This brief uses government data to report on the following: Trends in GoI allocations, releases and expenditures; Trends in expenditure of selected individual components of Poshan Abhiyaan; Trends in participation by gender and activities conducted under the Mission.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Budget, Food Security, Economy, Capacity
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Shyam Saran, Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Nimmi Kurian, Sandeep Bhardwaj
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic presents an unparalleled challenge to the peace and prosperity of South Asia, home to one-fourth of the world population. Aside from the immediate health crisis, the pandemic also threatens to undo decades of economic development in the region and destabilize it socially and politically. It is imperative that India take on the leadership role in the region during this time of crisis. As the largest nation in South Asia, it needs to assume the responsibility of assisting its neighbourhood in combating the pandemic and getting on the path of a sustained recovery. This report, from the International Relations team at the Centre for Policy Research, offers a multi-sectoral action plan for India’s Covid-19 diplomacy in the region, covering critical areas of health, food security, ecology, trade and finance. Focusing on the immediate problems as well as long-term challenges, the report envisions a prosperous South Asia, with India as its engine of recovery.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economy, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Kate Hooper, Camille Le Coz
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Seasonal worker programs represent one of the few ways in which low-skilled workers can migrate legally to the European Union, enabling them to work in sectors such as agriculture, hospitality, and tourism. Countries have taken different approaches to selecting seasonal workers, with some recruiting from within the European Union and others soliciting workers from third countries. But while some of these programs are long-established, they can struggle to meet labor demands swiftly while ensuring that workers are treated fairly and will return home when their permits expire. The European Commission has aimed to create common standards for seasonal workers’ admission, residence, and rights across Europe and to address longstanding issues such as worker exploitation, visa overstays, and hiring through the informal economy. As European policymakers take stock of these Commission-driven harmonization efforts to date, this brief by MPI Europe and the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) explores some of the challenges common to these programs, drawing on examples in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. It also highlights practices that can help maximize the benefits for migrants, employers, and countries of destination and origin alike. The authors sketch a number of principles to guide future reforms. Among them: prioritizing more transparent and standardized recruitment procedures, greater monitoring and outreach to protect seasonal workers, and strategies to help deliver on the thus far limited investments to support economic and social development in sending countries.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Economy, Recruitment , Migrant Workers
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Aliyyah Ahad, Monica Andriescu
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Just weeks after the United Kingdom’s formal departure from the European Union on January 31, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe with full force. The outbreak drew public and political attention away from the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, while also straining many public administrations, including agencies responsible for residency applications. With the clock ticking down on the transition period, set to end on December 31, 2020, many EU countries have yet to announce the details of the systems that will govern the future status and rights of their UK-national residents. The United Kingdom is further along, having rolled out its pilot EU Settlement Scheme to resident EU nationals in 2019. But of the 26 EU countries with responsibilities for citizens’ rights, only Italy, Malta, and the Netherlands had launched registration schemes before the pandemic began. And even where implementation had begun, many systems faced setbacks as in-person government services were suspended by lockdown measures. This has created considerable uncertainty for UK nationals in EU countries, and EU nationals in the United Kingdom—as well as their families—who will have six months after the transition period ends to acquire a new post-Brexit status. As this policy brief details, the pandemic has put some in an even more precarious position, including families with third-country-national members that have been separated by travel restrictions, and the newly unemployed, who may no longer meet the conditions of the EU Free Movement Directive (the foundation of the withdrawal agreement). This brief sets out steps governments on both sides of the Channel can take in the coming months to “pandemic-proof” their implementation plans. These include: investing in smart outreach to would-be applicants, streamlining status-adjustment processes, and supporting civil-society groups that can help applicants through the process.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Economy, Brexit, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Ninna Nyberg Sørensen, Cesar Castilla
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Venezuela is facing a deep economic, political, and social crisis, with acute shortages of food, medicine and other basic goods. Over 3.4 million Venezuelans, a tenth of the population, have left the country, presenting Latin America with an unprecedented migration crisis. However, diaspora engagement in humanitarian efforts could also be part of the solution to the crisis. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ The exodus illustrates increasing difficulty distinguishing between voluntary and forced migration. To overcome barriers in accessing protection and social services, migrants and refugees must be granted legal status in receiving countries. ■ The migration crisis is politicized by many actors. Supply routes for vital humanitarian assistance are needed, but historical experiences should warn against the use of military force or other forms of intervention. ■ UN efforts to complement humanitarian help with development assistance to poorer reception areas should be supported. Ways to connect the Venezuelan diaspora to ongoing humanitarian and future development efforts directed at Venezuela should also be pursued.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Economy, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Jessica Larsen, Finn Stepputat
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: States in the Arabian Gulf are cultivating long-term economic and political partnerships with authorities in the Horn of Africa. Both regions are unstable, and their union has significant security implications. Danish and EU partners’ policies should reflect this. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Economic integration: encourage the potential of current Gulf-led infrastructural developments by helping enhance regional trade among states in the Horn of Africa. ■ Red Sea Forum: promote interregional political dialogue by supporting the development of a diplomatic track between states in the Gulf and the Horn of Africa respectively. ■ Policy development: create a joint Red Sea sub-focus integrating existing policy commitments in each region.
  • Topic: Development, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements, Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Gulf Nations, Horn of Africa, Red Sea
  • Author: Yang Jiang
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite China’s strong economic influence over Southeast Asian countries, tensions in the South China Sea have been flaring up again this year, as domestic oppositions and external interventions create dilemma for Southeast Asian governments. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ When considering joining the freedom of navigation operations in the SCS Denmark should consider that foreign interference will likely escalate Chinese military activities. ■ Denmark’s delicate relationship with the US and China must be carefully evaluated and managed. ■As a major maritime nation it is important for Denmark to secure a free sea through diplomacy and UN institutions. ■European countries have much room to enhance their contribution to regional development in Southeast Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, International Organization, History, Power Politics, Economy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon, Christopher G. Collins
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Central banks in the three largest advanced economies (the United States, Japan, and the eurozone) have only limited ammunition to fight a recession based on the tools used to date. The Federal Reserve has the most amount of tried and tested ammunition in this group. If a recession were to hit the US economy now, the Fed would be able to deliver monetary stimulus equivalent to a cut in the short-term policy interest rate of about 5 percentage points, which is sufficient to fight a mild but not severe recession. The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have little ability to ease policy with tools used to date, about the equivalent of a 1 percentage point cut in the policy rate. But they can engage in more exotic forms of monetary policy, such as large-scale purchases of equity and real estate and direct transfers to households, which the Fed cannot do. These tools, however, are largely untested and face political resistance. An important implication of this analysis is that raising expected inflation before a recession hits has a much larger benefit than has been widely recognized. A higher long-run inflation rate gives central banks more room to not only cut their policy rates but also use forward guidance and quantitative easing to reduce longer-term rates.
  • Topic: Global Recession, Economy, Central Bank
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Cullen S. Hendrix, Sooyeon Kang
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The nature and magnitude of geopolitical risk is changing more rapidly than the ability to anticipate it, with increasingly severe economic consequences. This Policy Brief discusses the economic costs and risks associated with episodes of political instability, arguing that firms, government agencies, and international institutions must update their forecasting and risk assessment efforts to take global factors into account. Since the global financial crisis, political instability has shifted from emerging-market countries in the developing world to larger, more globally impactful econo¬mies. Acknowledging this changing risk profile—and developing better tools to predict major episodes of instability—will allow both policymakers and firms to plan with greater confidence.
  • Topic: Economics, Geopolitics, Economy, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Rouhani has taken a remarkably austere fiscal approach ahead of the looming parliamentary election, but the country’s economic situation is still not sustainable over the long run. On December 8, following established procedures, President Hassan Rouhani visited parliament to present his budget for the Iranian year 2020/21, which begins in March. Notwithstanding the government’s rosy rhetoric, his spending proposals show the tough times the Islamic Republic is facing.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Oil, Sanctions, Budget, Elections, Economy
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Kaewkamol Karen Pitakdumrongkit
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Trump administration's Indo-Pacific regional economic governance strategy addresses trade, investment, and infrastructure development. Its reception by regional states varies by issue area, with infrastructure and investment being positively received, and trade being negatively received. To alleviate policy clashes and lessen the “noodle bowl” effect of overlapping rules and regulations, this paper suggests that American and Asian governments should: (1) immediately pursue collaboration in the areas of investment and infrastructure; (2) advance investment cooperation via capacity training and investment treaty consolidation; (3) enhance infrastructure collaboration via the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (or BUILD Act of 2018), joint ventures, public-private partnerships, and capacity training; (4) push forward trade cooperation via formal and Track 2 (informal networks) dialogue to facilitate a policymaking process; and (5) encourage more inter-bloc dialogue.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Governance, Partnerships, Economy, Investment, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Rudolf Furst
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The sub-regional multilateral format of China and 16 post-communist states (16+1) proved that it could last seven years and that it has the potential to absorb new members. Consequently, the European Union is increasingly concerned about its potentially divisive effects on the EU’s unity. The expected economic benefits of 16+1 for the European partners have been scarcely relevant; still, the European states exploit the 16+1 format for strengthening their bilateral agendas with China. Amidst the trade war with China, the US regards China’s rising influence in Central Europe as a political issue. Beijing’s priority in Europe is to calm down the tension with the EU, Germany, and France over the 16+1 platform. However, the accession of Greece to the enlarged format of 17+1 in the recent 16+1 summit in Dubrovnik and the gaining of support for the Belt and Road Initiative in Italy enable China to establish its foothold on the European South’s doorstep in connection with the 17+1 regional platform.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Economy, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, France, Germany
  • Author: Robert F. Ichford, Bart Oosterveld
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In this analysis, the Atlantic Council has set out to estimate the value that the civilian nuclear power sector contributes to the United States’ national security apparatus. Based on a series of inputs, this analysis and conservative estimation found that the nuclear power complex contributes an equivalent of more than $42.4 billion to US national security, as broadly defined. In other words, the lack of a civilian nuclear sector would present an immediate and significant economic shock (and impact on the labor force)—which, in turn, would have immediate and longer-term budgetary implications for the US government. The definition of national security can be viewed narrowly or more broadly, in terms of both the scope of the institutional assets and providers of national security services and the types of functions or services they undertake. This analysis includes both nuclear utilities and nuclear generators, as well as US military and defense facilities, as providing critical national security functions. The utilities and generators provide secure and reliable electricity, accounting for 19.3 percent of total US electricity generation in 2018, and they contribute significantly to the diversified energy-generation mix that the United States enjoys. There are three main reasons for public support of the civilian nuclear industry for national security purposes, which are identified in the analysis that follows. The reasons are 1. the civilian nuclear industry generates a vast investment in human capital, which is a necessary condition for all applications of nuclear energy in the national security apparatus; 2. the civilian nuclear industry and its associated supply chain provide critical risk mitigation and procurement safety to the national security apparatus; and 3. the civilian nuclear industry’s value to national security priorities related to climate change.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, National Security, Nuclear Power, Economy, Business
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Hung Tran
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The post-2008 financial regulatory reform has strengthened the banking system, bringing the bank-generated liquidity expansion under control. However, central-bank liquidity has been growing significantly for more than a decade, and financial mediation has moved from banks to non-bank financial institutions, and from lending to capital-market transactions. This new system has created new financial imbalances and distortions and pose new areas of vulnerability that require appropriate policy responses. In “New Risks to Global Financial Stability” author Hung Tran, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Business & Economics program, assesses the global financial system weaknesses and outlines steps to promote financial stability. Tran updates a framework, first developed by the Committee on the Global Financial System, to recommend policy responses along three lines of defense: prevention of excess liquidity; strengthening domestic policy measures; and cooperative provision of central-bank liquidity.
  • Topic: Regulation, Finance, Economy, Business , Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ksenia Kirillova
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Moscow's summer of protest reveals growing societal divisions & frustration with the Kremlin and its policies. Russians are increasingly willing to take to the streets to show their displeasure with their political & economic situation. Non-systemic opposition are gaining political ground but face significant challenges if they are to achieve major future political victories.
  • Topic: Politics, Economy, Protests, Political Movements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Shiloh Fetzek, Oliver Leighton-Barrett
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: A region long-tested by both extreme weather events and illicit economic activity, the Caribbean has developed abundant expertise in climate science and disaster resilience. It also has many underlying governance and security challenges which may amplify each other as climate impacts intensify. In this policy brief authors Shiloh Fetzek and Lt. Commander US Navy (ret.) Oliver Leighton-Barrett identify the key regional security risks exacerbated by climate change, which include: 1. economic contraction, violence and criminal activity; 2. disaster impacts and political repercussions; 3. food and water insecurity, damage to livelihoods and social unrest; and 4. Central and South American security deterioration impacting on the Caribbean. Anticipating and addressing these challenges by integrating security cooperation and climate resilience initiatives could support existing risk management structures and advance long-term economic and socio-political stability in the Caribbean.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Economy, Resilience
  • Political Geography: South America, Central America, Caribbean
  • Author: Ellie Geranmayeh, Manuel Lafont Rapnouil
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Secondary sanctions have become a critical challenge for Europe, due to the Trump administration’s maximalist policy on Iran and its aggressive economic statecraft. Europe’s vulnerabilities mostly result from asymmetric interdependence with the US economy, due to the size of US markets and the global role of the US dollar. In future, states will likely weaponise economic interdependence with the EU to target countries that are more important to the European economy than Iran, such as China and Russia. European countries should demonstrate that, despite their economic interdependence with the US, they control EU foreign policy. The EU and its member states should strengthen their sanctions policy, begin to build up their deterrence and resilience against secondary sanctions, and prepare to adopt asymmetric countermeasures against any country that harms European interests through secondary sanctions. They should also attempt to bolster the global role of the euro and lead a robust international dialogue on the role of sanctions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sanctions, European Union, Economy, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Iran, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ulrike Franke
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Artificial intelligence is impossible to disregard – it is set to transform society, the economy, and politics. Europe has not yet taken all the steps it needs to benefit from these advances or to protect itself from AI’s potentially dangerous aspects. The US, China, and Russia are alert to AI’s power to change modern warfare: they grasp the geopolitics of AI and may pursue techno-nationalist agendas in recognition of this. Europe can develop sovereignty in AI by beefing up the talent, data, and hardware it draws on; and as a “regulatory superpower” it can set standards the rest of the world will have to follow. If Europe does not address these difficult questions soon it will find itself surrounded by more powerful rivals deploying AI against it.
  • Topic: Politics, Geopolitics, Economy, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Tamara Billima-Mulenga, Felix Mwenge, Gibson Masumbu
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)
  • Abstract: This policy brief presents the summary findings of a study on Promoting Financial Cooperatives (FCs)in Zambia that was conducted between 2017 and 2018 with financial support from the Rural Finance Expansion Program (RUFEP), Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry (MCTI) and the Zambia Center for Accountancy Studies (ZCAS). The study used both qualitative and quantitative approaches which included a situational analysis of FCs in Zambia, a study tour to Kenya and a Census of FCs in eight provinces. The main objective of the study was to contribute to the development of FCs in Zambia by generating information on their performance. The secondary objectives of the study were to: 1. Undertake a situational analysis to develop a clear understanding of the landscape for the FCs in Zambia in terms of the regulatory framework, support institutions and the nature and level at which the FCs operate. 2. Undertake a Census of FCs to understand the opportunities and constraining factors for the growth of the Cooperatives movement in Zambia. It was envisaged that the study would provide evidence about FCs that could be used in the revision of the Cooperatives Act currently underway, aid MCTI understand the nature of Cooperatives and devise strategies for monitoring FCs. The study also aimed at providing information about the state of FCs that can be used for various purposes by the apex body of FCs and stakeholders such as the Bank of Zambia.
  • Topic: Governance, Economy, Trade, Financial Cooperatives
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • Author: Claire Dhéret, Marta Pilati
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Growing socio-economic disparities in the EU, both within and between member states, pose a serious threat to the Union’s social model, political viability, and its economic strength. In the absence of adequate levels of public investment, and with the added pressures of an ageing population and societal changes, Claire Dhéret and Marta Pilati make the case for a paradigm shift in the financing of social investment. The latter is based on the idea that investing in human and social capital enhances individuals’ capabilities and enables them to successfully participate in society and the economy, resulting in a more skilled, resilient and healthy workforce. But where will the money come from? In this Policy Brief, Dhéret and Pilati investigate the unlocked potential of EU financial instruments in fostering social investment, and the unique opportunity provided by the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) and the InvestEU programme. Although the Commission’s efforts have been commendable so far, they argue for additional EU measures to ensure the creation of a genuine market for the social economy, which will not only help re-invigorate Europe’s social model but also make it a global champion for an ‘economy of well-being’. The EU can do this by: (1) ensuring that financial regulation is not an obstacle to social investment; (2) supporting social innovation throughout the entire social policy production chain; and (3) integrating national social investment strategies into the larger European policy framework.
  • Topic: European Union, Finance, Economy, Investment, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marco Giuli, Claire Dhéret, Johan Bjerkem, Marta Pilati, Stefan Sipka
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: European industry is falling behind. New and unprecedented challenges and megatrends, from a slowdown in global trade to digital disruption and climate change, are making it increasingly difficult to stay ahead of the curve. However, despite these fast-paced developments, industry remains the backbone of the European economy, delivering high-quality jobs, innovation and world-class companies. To retain its competitive edge, the EU must embrace change and renew its industrial strategy. There is growing political momentum for a revived EU industrial strategy, both in the member states and in the new von der Leyen Commission, which pledged to put forward a new industrial strategy as part of a “European Green Deal”. This Issue Paper presents the results of the EPC’s Task Force on an Industry Action Plan for the European Union, which started in February 2018. It argues that in renewing its industrial strategy, the EU should put in place an ‘Industry Action Plan’, complete with new policy tools and concrete industrial initiatives. Beyond mainstreaming industrial competitiveness across policy areas, the Action Plan should provide a more holistic and policy-oriented approach, with a vision towards 2030 that focuses on competitiveness, sustainability and strategic autonomy: Firstly, to ensure that the European industry remains competitive, the EU should aim to play a stronger role in global value chains, with a higher value-added. Secondly, the EU must create the conditions for the European industry, as well as the products and services it provides, to become sustainable and thus contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate-neutrality in alignment with the United Nation’s Paris Agreement. European industry should become fully climate-neutral by 2050 and seize the opportunity to become a global leader in sustainable and circular business models. Finally, an Industry Action Plan should contribute to achieving greater strategic autonomy for Europe by better responding to distorted competition and levering market power, and moving towards more technological sovereignty. Europe should mobilise all the tools at its disposal to become a global leader in developing digital technologies that address the societal, environmental and health challenges of today. This Paper includes a list of recommendations centred around five policy strands: making the Single Market (including competition policy) work; improving innovation policy and achieving technological sovereignty; acting strategically and enforcing reciprocity; ensuring a fair and inclusive industrial transition; and climate-proofing industry with a 2050 climate neutrality roadmap.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Science and Technology, European Union, Economy, Industry
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Efe Baysal
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Let us face it: we are in the midst of a catastrophe, a state of calamity unprecedented in human history. We are living in those scenarios that once depicted a terrible future due to “global warming”. Extreme weather events, not-so-natural disasters have become the new norm. Given the fact that more than half of the world’s population now live in urban areas, it is fair to say that these new climate norms pose an especially dire threat to cities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Economy, Crisis Management, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Global Focus
  • Author: Zurab Batiashvili, Alexander Kvakhadze
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The purpose of the present study is to analyze the social and economic problems in the Khulo municipality and the mountainous region of Guria and identify ways to solve them. It is noteworthy that both the internal socioeconomic challenges and the current geopolitical reality are greatly influencing the region. The paper examines the challenges facing the region in the fields of religion, political engagement, education and socio-economic development. The combination of these problems to some extent impedes the region’s progress and its full integration into Georgia’s social and political space. The work has been produced under the auspices of the United Kingdom Good Governance Fund and the British Good Governance Fund in the framework of the Rondeli Foundation’s project entitled Promoting Participation and Engagement in Local Governance in the Mountainous region of Guria and Adjara.
  • Topic: Development, Geopolitics, Economy, Rural
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Caucasus, Georgia
  • Author: Ritwik Shukla, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This brief reports on two maternity benefits schemes, offering conditional cash transfers to pregnant women and mothers: a) The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Government of India’s (GoI’s) scheme aimed at providing partial compensation for wage loss and improving health seeking behaviour of pregnant women and lactating mothers, and b) the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) aimed at incentivising institutional and safe delivery for reducing infant and maternal mortality. Using government data, this brief reports on: Trends in allocations, releases, and utilisation, Coverage and payments, and Outputs and outcomes.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Government, Health, Budget, Women, Economy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Miguel Angel Carpio, Farhan Majid, Sonia Laszlo, Alan Sanchez, Zeljko Janzic
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University
  • Abstract: Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) have become an important anti-poverty policy globally in recent decades by aiming to alleviate poverty through financial incentives tied directly to human capital investments (namely primary and secondary schooling and maternal and child health). In Peru, the CCT program JUNTOS targeting poor families was established in 2005. By 2017, it has covered 693 thousand families in 1,305 of Peru’s 1,943 districts. 1 Official sources estimate that 72% of all potential household beneficiaries were already covered by the program by 2015.2 In order to select its beneficiaries, JUNTOS implemented a two-stage procedure. The first stage involves geographic targeting by selecting districts in need. The second stage then selects households in the targeted districts. In both cases the program follows an eligibility rule. Like most large-scale anti-poverty programs, JUNTOS was rolled out in several phases. However, despite considerable work evaluating JUNTOS, to our knowledge the various phases and changes observed in the eligibility rule over these phases have not yet been described in detail in one single public document. Furthermore, in discussions with researchers who have evaluated JUNTOS, some discrepancies have been noted between de jure criteria for selection and de facto receipt of benefits. With this in mind, this report has two objectives: (i) to document the information available about the eligibility rule at the district level (also known as the geographic rule); and (ii) to use the information available to replicate the eligibility rule using information that is publicly available. One key challenge we faced in elaborating this report is that the information that is publicly available about the JUNTOS eligibility rule is not specific enough in some important respects, including the sources of information used, the definition of the variables, and the specific ways in which the rule was updated over time.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Finance, Economy, Development Aid
  • Political Geography: South America, Peru
  • Author: Doris Meissner
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: The U.S. immigration system is in desperate need of an overhaul—and has been for many years. What has been missing is an alternate vision for a path forward that treats immigration as a comparative advantage and strategic resource, while also accounting for heightened security and rule-of-law imperatives, that can together further U.S. interests, values, and democratic principles as a society. This concept note outlines a new MPI initiative, Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy, that seeks to fill this gap. The multiyear initiative will generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration can and should play in the future of the United States, acknowledging policymakers are operating against a backdrop of globalization challenges, tech-induced disruptions reshaping the future of work, growing competition for talent, and national polities increasingly skeptical of government’s ability to manage migration. The initiative's starting point is to recognize that there are new realities facing the United States that should drive immigration policymaking in the coming period, not a return to the tired debates of the past 20 years that have foundered again and again amid rising partisanship and polarization. Among these new realities: a rising old-age dependency ratio, changing challenges at the U.S.-Mexico border, need for greater flexibility in the immigration systems as other countries have modernized their immigrant-selection systems, and a shattering of the bipartisan consensus that for decades has seen legal immigration as a positive. Historically, immigration policymaking and legislation have only succeeded through across-the-aisle cooperation and a search for common ground. This initiative is committed to re-energizing such bipartisanship and recapturing a new center in formulating and advancing fresh, feasible solutions.
  • Topic: Immigration, Border Control, Employment, Economy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Pia M. Orrenius, Madeline Zavodny, Stephanie Gullo
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: 2018 was a banner year for the U.S. economy, but long-run projections are much less bright. Intensifying forces—including the aging of the workforce, stagnating labor force participation rates, and emerging gaps between the skills U.S. employers seek and those workers possess—are poised to significantly reshape the U.S. labor market. Other trends, including globalization and automation, are likely to dramatically transform how and where work is done. Against the backdrop of these changes, this think piece asks: What role can immigration play in bolstering future workforce and economic growth, and meeting shifting demand for both high- and low-skilled labor? In addition to supporting labor force growth, the brief’s authors conclude that immigrant workers can help mitigate a number of other symptoms of the U.S. economy’s long-run malaise, including low productivity growth, declining domestic geographic mobility, and falling entrepreneurship. But while immigration may benefit employers, consumers, and some U.S. workers, it can adversely affect others, particularly low-skilled U.S. natives and earlier-arrived immigrants. A plan to increase employment-based immigration, the authors contend, should thus be paired with policies and programs to support these groups in acquiring new skills and shifting to growing sectors. The brief is part of MPI’s multiyear Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy initiative, which aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision for the role immigration can and should play in America’s future. To learn more about the initiative and read related research, check out the initiative's home page.
  • Topic: Education, Immigration, Employment, Economy, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michael Asiedu
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: On 21 March, 2018, 44 African heads of state and government dignitaries signed a historic African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) at the 10th Ordinary Session of African Union (AU) Heads of State Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda. The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995. The Session was under the theme: “Creating One African Market,” and falls under AU’s Agenda 2063 Initiative. The AfCFTA is also one of the biggest free-trade areas with regards to the number of countries, thus, encompassing 1.2 billion people with over $4 trillion in combined consumer and business spending should the remaining 11 AU member countries join the Agreement (Signe, 2018). The AfCFTA would additionally become effective 30 days subsequent to ratification by the legislative houses of at least 22 African countries; countries that signed the Agreement have 120 days for its ratification. This paper seeks to outline the significance of the Agreement, its aims, challenges and the continuous work needed to sustain it going forward with potential impact it may have on third country agreements with AU member countries.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Economy, Tariffs, Free Trade, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Eileen Keller
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: This study analyses the joint efforts by France and Germany to bring about a comprehensive reform of the European currency union. These efforts culminated in the joint Meseberg Declaration adopted in June 2018. The article contextualises these efforts with respect to the reforms realised so far and the different reform options at hand. Besides questions of economic viability and institutional deficits, the article tackles issues of political feasibility. “From Meseberg to nowhere” was the prognosis given by Werner Mussler, economic correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Brussels. Commenting on the outlook for the joint declaration by the French President and German Chancellor on 19 June, following protracted negotiations at the German Government's official guest house at Schloss Meseberg, near Berlin, the journalist was critical of both the compromises it contained on strengthening the euro area and the chances of these ever being implemented. There is no question that the negotiations on the development of the euro area come at a difficult time. However, there are still good grounds for reaching a different conclusion. Both valid economic and political reasons can be found for the reforms proposed in the declaration, the details of which have yet to be developed. Anyone broaching the subject realistically knows that negotiations on economic and monetary union have always been challenging, due to differing concepts of economic policy and divergent economic needs and interests. At the same time, the two figures responsible for the Meseberg Declaration are both exceptional political personalities whom have shown in the past that they can cope with difficult negotiations, and can achieve remarkable results – on condition that Angela Merkel remains in office.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Economy, Negotiation, Currency
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany
  • Author: Bediz Yılmaz
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: We are at a time when old definitions are being shaken up. Here I will track these splits and try to see what traces are shaping in their place. Let’s start with the city and the rural area. There is a credo of a definition in urban sociology. Despite changes in the social reality and notwithstanding those sociological approaches with a critical perspective, this definition does not change and is repeated through generations. The definition says: “City is the place where nonagricultural economic activities take place.” It is difficult to assert the validity of this definition in any particular time in history, and one does not know where to begin to explain that it does not stand today either. If you live in a medium-sized city like Mersin it is especially difficult to tell apart the city and rural areas, which one violates the other, what exactly is a rural area and which way it falls.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Food, Food Security, Economy, Urban, Rural
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: İpek İlkkaracan
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This policy brief is published in the framework of “Women’s Participation for Sustainable City” project under the umbrella project “Supporting Sustainable Cities” of TESEV funded by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty. If one were asked to associate a color with the concept of “sustainable cities,” the first to come to mind would be probably green. Not surprising, given that the issue of sustainability originated out of concerns for the environmental crisis and the green economy was proposed as a vision of an environmentally sustainable economy. Today it is widely acknowledged that an additional challenge to sustainability has to do with inequalities in the economic and social sphere. Gender is an important crosscutting dimension of multi-layered inequalities. Hence I would like to propose another color to associate with the concept of sustainable cities and sustainable economies, complementing the green: Purple, the symbolic color of the women’s movement in Turkey and in many countries around the world. The purple economy entails the vision of a gender egalitarian and hence a socially sustainable economy. It starts from the premise that the root cause of obstacles to women’s equal economic participation lies within the gender imbalances in the distribution of caring labor. Caring labor entails provisioning of goods and services to caredependent groups such as children, elderly, ill and people with disabilities as well as healthy adults necessary for their physical, social, mental and emotional wellbeing.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Economy, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Sama Khan
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the effectiveness of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) by analyzing the financial and physical progress of the mission and the manner in which funds have been allocated and sanctioned to different activities in various states. It examines the planned allocation of central funds (i) between the SBM (Urban) and the rural component, SBM (Gramin) (ii) among the various components of SBM-U, i.e., Construction of Individual Household Latrines and Community Toilets (IHHLs and CTs), Solid Waste Management (SWM), Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and Capacity Building (CB) and (iii) across different states and UTs. It finds that the disparity in funding between the SBM-U and SBM-G does not reflect the risk-adjusted need of urban areas, given their complexities of urban congestion and poverty that lead to higher health and environmental risk. The allocation of funds between the various components of SBM-U undervalues the need for proper solid waste management, IEC and Capacity Building and appears to ignore their effect on sanitation practices, the importance of building capacity to properly manage waste from the increasing number of toilets constructed and more organized solid waste disposal. Finally, the pattern of the allocation of funds between states does not benefit states that need it the most, in terms of states that have a lower share of in-house toilets, because the funds were allocated on the basis of the share of urban population and statutory towns. The paper concludes with recommendations to rectify some of these shortcomings.
  • Topic: Environment, Poverty, Finance, Economy, Urban
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: C. Paoli, Francesco Amodio, A. Martelli
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University
  • Abstract: There is a positive relationship between between the "Protection System for Refugees and Asylum Seekers" (SPRAR) and income growth. Hosting an additional refugee or asylum seekers as part of the SPRAR systems is associated with an additional 0.09% growth in per capita taxable income. Above and beyond the direct transfers associated with the presence of a SPRAR centre, its operation may be beneficial for the local economy of Italian municipalities.
  • Topic: Governance, Refugees, Economy, Asylum
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy