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  • Author: Peter A. Petri, Michael G. Plummer
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: he deepening US-China trade war and nationalist reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic are reshaping global economic relationships. Alongside these developments, two new megaregional trade agreements, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), will refocus East Asia’s economic ties in the region itself. The new accords are moving forward without the United States and India, once seen as critical partners in the CPTPP and RCEP, respectively. Using a computable general equilibrium model, we show that the agreements will raise global national incomes in 2030 by an annual $147 billion and $186 billion, respectively. They will yield especially large benefits for China, Japan, and South Korea and losses for the United States and India. These effects are simulated both in a business-as-before-Trump environment and in the context of a sustained US-China trade war. The effects were simulated before the COVID-19 shock but seem increasingly likely in the wake of the pandemic. Compared with business as before, the trade war generates large global losses rising to $301 billion annually by 2030. The new agreements offset the effects of the trade war globally, but not for the United States and China. The trade war makes RCEP especially valuable because it strengthens East Asian interdependence, raising trade among members by $428 billion and reducing trade among nonmembers by $48 billion. These shifts bring regional ties closer to institutional arrangements proposed in the 1990s and incentivize greater cooperation among China, Japan, and South Korea.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Trade Wars, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Free Trade, COVID-19, Protectionism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Thom Woodroofe, Brendan Guy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The United States is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. For that reason, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in November will have an undeniable impact on the future of the global climate change regime. This is especially the case now that the United Nations’ COP26 Climate Change Conference has been postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, as Asia and the rest of the world consider whether and how to step up their levels of ambition as part of the five-year ratchet mechanism of the Paris Agreement, the United States has the potential to be either a catalytic force for that effort going into 2021 or an even stronger spoiler of the Agreement’s ongoing effectiveness at a crucial juncture. No country will be watching more closely than China. The 2014 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping proved to be the watershed moment in the lead-up to the Paris Agreement, as the two countries signaled for the first time that they would act in a coordinated manner to combat climate change. Whether the United States and China can recapture that spirit of shared ambition in the future will have ripple effects on the positions of other major emitters as well — especially India, Japan, and Australia, which may not enhance their own levels of ambition without a stronger indication of further action by the United States and China. While President Donald Trump has begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and rolled back domestic and international measures to combat climate change, it is clear that if a Democrat is elected president in 2020, they would make combating climate change a defining priority of their administration. Therefore, a clearer understanding of the specific approach that would underpin the climate diplomacy of a potential new Democratic president can provide greater reassurance to the international community as countries consider their own levels of ambition in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond. This paper, therefore, assesses the international climate policies of both Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders across six areas, including their proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; engage with other major emitters, including China; use trade policy as a lever for climate action; increase climate finance and remove fossil fuel subsidies; take action across other sectors, and embed climate action as a core national security priority. The authors also lay out three cross-cutting considerations for a potential new Democratic administration to maximize their efforts in the global fight against climate change, including how they can best structure their administration; engage other major emitters most strategically; and use all tools in the toolkit to reduce emissions. This includes a number of specific recommendations for how the candidates’ existing policies can best be elaborated, including with regard to China; plans to host a world leader summit on climate early in a new administration; and the tabling of a new 2030 emissions reduction target. The likely constraints and choices that will confront a new U.S. administration as they determine their approach to climate action are also highlighted in the paper. This paper is the first in a series of policy products that the Asia Society Policy Institute will publish as part of a new project exploring the possibilities around U.S.-China climate cooperation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Government, Treaties and Agreements, Donald Trump, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Amitendu Palit
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations concluded at the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok on November 4, 2019. Fifteen RCEP members, including the ten-ASEAN countries, and Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand, agreed to commence preparation of the legal text of the agreement for signing in 2020. India was the only member to opt out, citing significant unresolved outstanding issues. India’s decision was surprising as it actively participated in the negotiations that lasted for 29 rounds and went on for more than six years since beginning in 2013. Domestic pressures forced Prime Minister Modi to withdraw India from RCEP at the last minute. It also points to disengagement becoming the prominent character of India’s trade policy as domestic protectionist interests successfully undermine outward-oriented economic visions.
  • Topic: Politics, Treaties and Agreements, Economy, Trade, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Wendy Cutler, Hyemin Lee
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: For nearly 70 years, the United States-Republic of Korea alliance has remained strong, built mainly on shared strategic and national security interests. While the North Korean nuclear threat has long dominated political discussions and media headlines, the economic pillar of the relationship is no less important. With amendments to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) now in place, it is an opportune time for both countries to look beyond KORUS and expand their bilateral economic engagement to new and evolving areas. This closer cooperation can serve as an engine for growth in a slowing Korean economy, as an opportunity for job creation in the United States, and as a vehicle for jointly writing the rules for the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As policymakers in Washington and Seoul look to the future, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) charts a possible path forward in its newest issue paper, Advancing the U.S.-Korea Economic Agenda. This paper presents a range of concrete actions that the United States and South Korea can take to advance and strengthen their bilateral economic relationship in the areas of trade and investment, energy, digital economy and advanced technologies, infrastructure, and women’s economic empowerment. The recommendations included in this paper are based partly on two roundtables ASPI organized with South Korean and American experts in Seoul in June 2018, with support from the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, and in Washington, D.C., in October 2018. The ideas are also based on discussions with government officials, business leaders, and think tank experts.
  • Topic: National Security, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Alliance, Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Hugh Stephens
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The “non-market” clause in the just-concluded update of NAFTA, now known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would appear to limit Canada’s options in terms of negotiating a free trade agreement with China at the present time (given the de facto U.S. veto over a Canada-China agreement that it provides), yet Prime Minister Trudeau has already reaffirmed Canada’s intention to pursue closer economic ties with China despite this apparent limitation. If negotiations proceed, negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with China will be very different from negotiating one with a country that shares Canada’s Western values. However, a trade agreement with China makes good economic sense, and while there are some unique obstacles to reaching such an agreement owing to differing views of progressive trade, these are not insurmountable. In fact, Canada can use the same models in negotiating with China that it has used with Western countries. Such an approach combines trade goals with respecting Chinese cultural and political differences, particularly those that fall into the category of progressivism. This category includes labour rights, Indigenous and gender issues, and governance. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has been focused on progressive elements in trade deals, while China has made it clear it is not interested in including them in any such pact. Concluding an agreement would mean that China and Canada must both recognize the political requirements and dynamics on the opposite side of the negotiating table, while seeking common ground diplomatically. Side agreements such as those that exist in the original NAFTA and in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are one way to work with the two countries’ differences. Many of the provisions in a side agreement are not binding and thus not subject to the agreement’s dispute settlement mechanism or trade sanctions. Instead, they are more aspirational and sometimes lay out a process for civil society groups to raise issues and help the thinking on those issues evolve, rather than simply holding the parties accountable for breaches. Canada is rightly concerned about Chinese stances on human rights, labour, environmental and gender issues. However, instead of including these issues in the main document on trade, they can be dealt with as shared interests between the two countries. Establishing separate but parallel mechanisms to deal with these issues would be a practical way to make progress. Focusing on micro, small and medium-sized businesses as one Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) did, could be another successful approach. Women own many of these businesses in developing countries, so such a focus would make a substantial contribution to their welfare. None of this means Canada should kowtow to China or look the other way on important values and issues. Side agreements and special focuses have formed parts of agreements with other countries that already share Canada’s Western values. This type of give-and-take is present even when Canada negotiates with countries that are not polar opposites. No country’s interests are exactly the same as those of any other and it’s unrealistic to expect unanimity on every issue. Language and firm commitments on progressive issues are still evolving in many of Canada’s free trade agreements, including the USMCA. It would be unreasonable to hope that everything can be achieved in an agreement with China on the first go-around. Rather, viewing a trade agreement with China as a work-in-progress means controversial elements can be brought into the negotiations and language used that reflects the understanding that these issues are evolving. It will require creative thinking, flexibility and joint commitment to find a solution, but—assuming that the USMCA does not rule out Canada-China negotiations toward a trade agreement— it should be possible to find sufficient common ground without having to resort to obfuscation and “creative ambiguity”.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, NAFTA, Free Trade, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Asia, North America
  • Author: Jin Kyo Suh
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Beef trade was a major sticking point between the United States and South Korea in ratifying the KORUS FTA. The outcome of the renegotiations that led to the March 2018 agreement in principle did not impact sections pertaining to beef in the agreement, though looking at how beef trade would have been affected should the talks have failed highlights the importance of the agreement to both countries, but particularly the United States. This paper estimates the demand for imported beef in South Korea by source and product by using the production version of the Rotterdam demand system and assesses what the potential impact of U.S. withdrawal from the KORUS FTA would have been on beef trade between the U.S. and South Korea. The results suggest U.S. withdrawal from the KORUS FTA would have resulted in a considerable increase in Australian beef exports to South Korea, largely at the expense of U.S. beef. This is because there is significant price competition between beef imports from the United States and Australia. Furthermore, Korean consumers substitute American beef for Australian beef when the relative price of U.S. beef rises.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Exports, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Yeo Joon Yoon, Woong Lee
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes 2015-TPA voting patterns in the Congress in the context of the trade negotiating objectives. By setting the trade negotiating objectives, the Congress lays out important trade agenda that the Administration is ex-pected to address when it is negotiating trade deals with foreign countries. Therefore setting the objectives is subject of heated debates in the Congress and an important part of TPA. LPM and probit models are used to evaluate the importance of each trade negotiating objectives in 2015-TPA voting deci-sions. It turns out that the objective on promoting U.S. agricultural exports by reducing unfair trade barriers positively affected the voting decision in favor of the TPA. The objective on enforcing strong labor standards on trade partners also had significant impacts. One other notable result is that how much each congressional region export to China was also an important de-terminant. This variable is meant to capture several negotiating objectives as well as growing worries of large trade deficits with China. This study docu-ments important issues that U.S. Congress is concerned about in making conducting and implementing trade policies. It may provide insights into the future course of U.S. trade policy and trade deals such as renegotiation of NAFTA and Korea-US FTA.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, NAFTA, Voting, Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Derek M. Scissors, Dan Blumenthal
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Project 2049 Institute
  • Abstract: The United States and Japan can create a bilateral free trade and investment agreement that both sides will sign and ratify. While the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) initially appeared to qualify as the new approach the U.S., Japan, and East Asia needed. It failed to sufficiently promote free markets and address concerns to generate enough support from traditional protectionist opponents in the United States. Nonetheless, the TPP did clarify the value of a directly relatied initiative: a U.S.-Japan bilateral agreement. This monograph serves to provide a framework for a U.S.-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and offers an outline for what such an agreement should look like in order to work both economically and in terms of domestic politics.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Domestic politics, Investment, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Saori N. Katada
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In 2015, two mega-initiatives took shape that will affect economic relations in the Asia-Pacific region: the US-promoted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Although they address different needs, both are expected to have profound effects on Asia's economic governance in the near future, and will shape economic norms in the Asia Pacific and beyond. Japan has joined the TPP but stayed out of the AIIB, decisions that might seem counterintuitive considering its history of resisting trade liberalization and of promoting infrastructure investment. Is Japan simply favoring its US ally over rival China? Or is it that Japan's position on the TPP and AIIB aligns with its own economic priorities, and enhances its geo-economic advantage? With a US-China competition over economic ideas and regional strategies, Japan occupies a unique position that may allow it to influence the direction of Asia-Pacific economic governance, which is now being battled out by the two "titans."
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Neha B. Joseph
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Several countries have embarked on nationwide processes to devise their ‘contributions’ towards a new global climate agreement set to be adopted at Paris in 2015. Sixty-two countries have already communicated their contributions to the UNFCCC, in pledges covering around 62.9% of global emissions in 2012. These contributions, formally known as ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ (INDCs) are expected to be the bedrock of post 2020 climate action and the building blocks of the 2015 climate deal, that is currently being negotiated by Parties. This paper discusses the emergence of this concept and outlines some of the legal and technical aspects of a contribution and their implications on ambition, adequacy and political feasibility. Section 3 analyses pledges in the submitted INDCs, with a special focus on G20 countries. The term ‘INDC’ first emerged in 2013 at the Warsaw negotiations of the Conference of Parties (COP) in a decision inviting Parties “to initiate or intensify domestic preparationsfor their intended nationally determined contributions….. and to communicate them well in advance of the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (by the first quarter of 2015 by those Parties ready to do so)” For developed countries, INDCs will replace their Kyoto Protocol commitments; for developing countries, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) will continue to be in force as implementation tools supporting the mitigation component of their INDCs. Over the past year, countries have been negotiating to iron out differences on issues like differentiation, legal nature, scope, form and review of contributions with varying levels of success on each front.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, Global Focus