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  • Author: Kaliappa Kalirajan, Huong Thi Thu Tran, Yochang Liu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study aims to analyse the possibility and challenges of encouraging private sector investment in low-carbon energy systems in Asia, particularly across the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member countries, and to suggest an effective policy framework that governments could apply to improve the development and dissemination of low-carbon energy goods and technologies. The research questions examined in this study are: What type of policy measures affect trade in low-carbon energy systems transition, particularly the renewable energy transition? How can investment signals and incentives be reframed to scale up private finance in renewable energy through regional cooperation? The objective is to investigate and provide several market-based feasible trade policy and investment policy tools for both national and regional markets that governments could adopt to accelerate the speed of private financing of the low-carbon energy industry, particularly the renewable energy industry.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Trade, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, East Asia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Vo Tri Tranh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the policies for industrial cluster development in Viet Nam. The first export processing zone was established in 1991. Since 1994, Viet Nam has focused more on developing domestic productive capacity and thus various types of industrial estates were established. The key actors in industrial cluster policy are the government, Prime Minister, ministries, provincial people’s committees, and management boards of industrial and economic zones. The choice of industrial estate is often determined by factors such as geographic location, land, labour, infrastructure, industry, business environment, and incentives. Viet Nam has provided various incentives to industrial estates of various types, but the scope and extent of preferential policy support for firms in general and those operating in industrial and economic zones are rather modest. The industrial estates have contributed significantly to attracting foreign direct investment, to exports, to productivity improvement, etc. Looking forward, Viet Nam needs further efforts on industrial cluster development, including development of statistics, analysis of cluster policy impacts, and provision of FTA-consistent incentives.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy, Governance, Leadership, Management
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Venkatachalam Anbumozhi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Under the Paris Agreement in 2015, the opportunities for the ASEAN Member States (AMS) to maximise low-carbon energy sources to achieve the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) target in reducing carbon emission levels have expanded. In order to move towards a low-carbon energy transition, private sector actors must work together with governments to implement strategies to invest in the low-carbon economy. However, major barriers such as insufficient enabling policy environment, availability of technologies and access to funding somehow impede the implementation. It is believed that unlocking the potentials of private sector would accelerate the transition of low-carbon energy. This paper, based on a market survey, which aimed to identify barriers and risks that private sectors face in accelerating the low-carbon investments. The survey respondents are divided into two categories, Lenders and Borrowers. Analysing 110 total respondents helped to identify the perceived and actual barriers as well as risks underlying to the access to financing and generated potential solution for policymakers to overcome these barriers. The survey results indicate that the main obstacles faced by private sectors are incoherent policies that created a high-risk environment for investment, a lack of access to de-risking mechanisms, and insufficient capacity to communicate the opportunities amongst financial institutions and project developers. To bare these risks, this paper suggests four interdependent solutions – establishment of a low-carbon transition fund, government warranty programme, broadening of de-risking mechanisms, and capacity building programme to accelerate the low-carbon energy transition across ASEAN.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Finance, Renewable Energy, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Chin Hee Hahn, Ju Hyun Pyun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study examines the effects of domestic output import tariff reduction on domestic plant export dynamics and clarifies the underlying mechanism, using rich plant–product data from the Republic of Korea for 1991–2002. We find that home import liberalisation increases domestic plants’ export market participation (extensive margins), particularly for industry where markup growth is more negative during tariff reductions. However, we do not find evidence that cutting import tariffs significantly affects incumbent home exporters’ export volume (intensive margins). This study unveils a new mechanism – ‘escape competition’ to foreign markets – by showing that reducing import tariffs leads domestic firms under heightened industry competition to look for an opportunity in foreign markets via export inauguration.
  • Topic: Markets, Tariffs, Imports
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Juthatip Jongwanich, Archanun Kohpaiboon
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the role of industrial policy on firms’ productivity, using 3 years of panel data on Thai manufacturing as a case study. A range of industrial policy tools is defined – tariff measures, subsidies, and investment incentives through the Board of Investment (BOI) – which are the main tools used in Thailand. The effect on firm productivity of partial trade liberalisation undertaken through free trade agreements (FTAs) signed between Thailand and its trading partners is also examined. The key finding is that trade openness and research and development (R&D) are more crucial in fostering firms’ productivity than industrial policies. This is especially true for the narrow definition of industrial policy focusing on trade policy protection, measured by the effective rate of protection. In addition, the FTA-led trade liberalisation effect fails to add substantial competitive pressure and make firms improve productivity. Our results show that sectors benefiting from subsidies show noticeably lower productivity than others. Our study found weak support for investment promotion policy through the BOI, even when the domestic competitive environment is considered in our analysis.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, Manufacturing, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand
  • Author: Samuel Nursamsu, Dionisius Narjoko, Titik Anas
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Can firms reallocate their imported inputs to domestic sources when faced with import tariffs? To answer this question, we analyse the input allocation behaviour of Indonesian medium and large-sized manufacturing firms in responding to the movement of import tariffs from 2000 to 2013 by utilising plant-level input data of Indonesian manufacturing. We find that an increase in tariffs only creates a weak substitution effect. Our findings indicate that firms reallocate their inputs towards domestic sources, although this is accompanied by a decrease in the firms’ value added. This implies that domestic inputs are worse substitutes for imported inputs and that firms’ capacity to switch over to domestic products is limited, suggesting that firms will immediately switch back to importing when the tariff is removed. We find no evidence that firms make any adjustment towards more domestic-oriented input composition over time; and heterogeneity exists within the result, as industries with a strong basis in the domestic market are more capable of adjusting.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Manufacturing
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Toshiyuki Matsuura, Hisamitsu Saito
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study examines the impact of inward foreign direct investment on the wages and employment of skilled and unskilled workers in Indonesian manufacturing plants. Entry of multinational enterprises affects local labour markets through spillovers as well as labour and product market competition. Our results show that spillovers increase the labour demand of local plants for unskilled workers, but increased wages due to severe labour market competition reduce the demand for skilled workers. We also find that product market competition causes resource reallocation from low- to high-productivity plants. Thus, attracting inward foreign direct investment effectively enhances aggregate productivity growth, but may retard the transition to skill-intensive production in Indonesian manufacturing.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Direct Investment, Manufacturing, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Chin Hee Hahn, Yong-Seok Choi
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper aims to investigate whether empirical evidence supports the learning-to-export hypothesis, which has received little attention in the previous literature. By taking full advantage of plant–product level data from the Republic of Korea during 1990–1998, we find some evidence for the learning-to-export effect, especially for innovated product varieties with delayed exporters: their productivity, together with research and development and investment activity, was superior to their matched sample. On the other hand, this learning-to-export effect was not significantly pronounced for the industries protected by import tariffs. Thus, our empirical findings suggest that it would be desirable to implement some policy tools to promote the learning-to-export effect, while tariff protection cannot be justifiable for that purpose.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Manufacturing, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: In this paper, we explore the possible policy responses to the pandemic shock as well as the related economic (financial crisis) shocks on trade and global value chains (GVCs) in East Asia. We find that regional policy coordination is critical to mitigate and isolate the pandemic shock. It is important to identify the pandemic events early to flatten the pandemic curve at the national and regional level. This supports a recent study by the World Bank (2020) which highlights the importance of early mitigation policies during the pandemic shock. The cost of the pandemic and economic shocks increases significantly when several countries in the region experience the systemic pandemic shock concurrently. In this case, flattening the regional pandemic curve becomes important. The results also indicate the need for greater coordination in East Asia to mitigate the pending economic shock in terms of unemployment, corporate bankruptcy, and financial market fragility. The paper also highlights that the stability of the GVC network is critical during the pandemic in terms of hedging the risk of disruptions to the procurement of critical medical and health products as well as the stability of the services linkages to manufacturing, such as the logistics sector. Regional policy coordination and the stability of GVCs are valuable in the post-pandemic recovery of the region.
  • Topic: World Bank, Pandemic, Global Value Chains, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Kazunobu Hayakawa, Tadashi Ito, Shujiro Urata
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The impacts of imports on the domestic labour market have been hotly debated recently. The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the effects of not only imports from China but also those under regional trade agreements (RTAs) on employment in Japan. As in previous studies in the literature, we found that the rise in import penetration from China significantly decreases employment in Japan. However, import penetration under RTA regimes is found to have insignificant effects on employment. The finding suggests that the increase in imports under RTA regimes might not be harmful to the domestic labour market. In addition, we did not find significant effects of import penetration via input–output linkages. This insignificant result may be because imports by Japanese manufacturing firms are mostly conducted in the form of intra-firm trade, enabling them to avoid negative impacts on employment.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia