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  • Author: Jennifer A. Hillman, David Sacks
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy undertaking and the world’s largest infrastructure program, poses a significant challenge to U.S. economic, political, climate change, security, and global health interests. Since BRI’s launch in 2013, Chinese banks and companies have financed and built everything from power plants, railways, highways, and ports to telecommunications infrastructure, fiber-optic cables, and smart cities around the world. If implemented sustainably and responsibly, BRI has the potential to meet long-standing developing country needs and spur global economic growth. To date, however, the risks for both the United States and recipient countries raised by BRI’s implementation considerably outweigh its benefits. BRI was initially designed to connect China’s modern coastal cities to its underdeveloped interior and to its Southeast, Central, and South Asian neighbors, cementing China’s position at the center of a more connected world. The initiative has since outgrown its original regional corridors, expanding to all corners of the globe. Its scope now includes a Digital Silk Road intended to improve recipients’ telecommunications networks, artificial intelligence capabilities, cloud computing, e-commerce and mobile payment systems, surveillance technology, and other high-tech areas, along with a Health Silk Road designed to operationalize China’s vision of global health governance.1 Hundreds of projects around the world now fall under the BRI umbrella.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Hegemony, Conflict, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Regionalism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Raoul Bunskoek, Chih-yu Shih
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Conventional explanations of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) focus on how the BRI will be in China’s interest, how it will strengthen China’s geopolitical position, or a combination of the two. We argue that such views are limited because they merely interpret the BRI through ‘Western’ IR lenses. This paper ‘re-worlds’ China by using the BRI as a case study to illustrate how in the discursive field(s) of China’s elite, China as a Westphalian nation state, and China as amorphous Tianxia under Confucianism coexist, struggle for recognition, and are interrelated. Consequently, we argue that China, because of the economic miracle it created domestically over the last few decades, is now convinced of its own ‘moral superiority’, and ready to export its self-perceived ‘benevolence’ abroad. In this light, we read the BRI to be undergirded by a combination of ‘Western’ and Confucian values, suggesting a post-Western/post-Chinese form of regionalism.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Hegemony, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Regionalism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Malte Winkler, Sonja Peterson, Sneha Thube
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Linking the EU and Chinese Emission Trading Systems (ETS) increases the cost-efficiency of reaching greenhouse gas mitigation targets, but both partners will benefit – if at all – to different degrees. Using the global computable-general equilibrium (CGE) model DART Kiel, we evaluate the effects of linking ETS in combination with 1) restricted allowances trading, 2) adjusted allowance endowments to compensate China, and 3) altered Armington elasticities when Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets are met. We find that generally, both partners benefit from linking their respective trading systems. Yet, while the EU prefers full linking, China favors restricted allowance trading. Transfer payments through adjusted allowance endowments cannot sufficiently compensate China so as to make full linking as attractive as restricted trading. Gains associated with linking increase with higher Armington elasticities for China, but decrease for the EU. Overall, the EU and China favor differing options of linking ETS. Moreover, heterogeneous impacts across EU countries could cause dissent among EU regions, potentially increasing the difficulty of finding a linking solution favorable for all trading partners.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Saila Turtiainen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The ratification process for the EU’s new investment agreement with China is expected to be very difficult. Although the aim is to improve EU-China relations, the process of getting the agreement approved in the EU will end up causing further tensions with China as the EU tries to strike a balance between promoting its values and economic interests.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, European Union, Conflict, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Aliya Tskhay
  • Publication Date: 10-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Central Asia is at the core of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which promises to bring connectivity, trade, and improved infrastructure, as well as overall economic development to the states of the region. Yet beyond the official rhetoric, China is promoting its power through geoeconomic means. This paper looks at areas of cooperation (energy, infrastructure, trade, and finance) and identifies the ways in which China is involved with the region. Through a combination of loans, investments, and infrastructure projects, the research shows how China ‘binds’ the region closer to itself and ‘wedges’ out alternative partners. It also shows how Central Asian states utilise the funding within the BRI framework for national development programmes, whilst navigating avenues for mitigating the establishment of a dependent relationship with China. The paper concludes with some policy implications for China, Central Asia, and the wider region.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Hegemony, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Hafiz Muhammad Qasim, Abdul Majid, Atif Jadoon
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The main aim of the present study is to empirically investigate into the question whether the Institutional Quality (IQ) and Trade Openness (TO) are competitors or complements in Economic Growth (EG) in case of sample South Asia Economies; “India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka”. The panel data for the period of 1984-2018 has been utilized. The Fixed Effects Model (FEM) estimation technique has been applied for empirical investigation. The empirical results of FEM confirm the positive and statically significant impact of IQ and Interaction Term on Economic Growth in sample countries. The positive significant results strongly supported the hypothesis of this study, the IQ and TO are complements in EG in the case of sample SAE. The IQ measure has also established positive and significant effects on EG while the TO has a negative impact. Based on empirical findings, this study recommends that the policymakers of sample countries should make policies that strengthen the IQ, in order to improve trade and, consequently, the EG.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Economic Growth, Institutions, Economic Theory
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia
  • 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: Surendar Singh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: India and South Korea enjoy strong economic and trade relations, shaped by a significant convergence of interest, mutual good will and high-level diplomatic exchange. Bilateral trade between the two countries has also increased after signing the Comprehensive Economic Partnership (CEPA). However, the overall trade balance is in favor of South Korea due to superior comparative advantage of Korea in manufacturing as compared to India. South Korean exports are high technology-intensive while India’s exports are low-value raw material and intermediate products. Both countries are members to a mega regional trade pact – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Though India has decided to not join the RCEP at this stage it will continue the discussion to explore possible ways to join it. Assuming that India will join the RCEP sooner or later, it is important to analyze the potential impact of the RCEP to India-South Korea bilateral trade ties. This short policy paper compares the proposed provisions of the RCEP and CEPA. It shows that the RCEP is much more comprehensive an agreement compared to the CEPA, both in terms of coverage and scope. It also provides some insights on the likely implications of the RCEP, especially from the perspective of trade with China factored against the bilateral trade ties between India and South Korea.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Dan Ciuriak, Maria Piashkina
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The rapid digital transformation occurring worldwide poses significant challenges for policy makers working within a governance framework that evolved over centuries. Domestic policy space needs to be redefined for the digital age, and the interface with international trade governance recalibrated. In this paper, Dan Ciuriak and Maria Ptashkina organize the issues facing policy makers under the broad pillars of “economic value capture,” “sovereignty” in public choice and “national security,” and outline a conceptual framework with which policy makers can start to think about a coherent integration of the many reform efforts now under way, considering how policies adopted in these areas can be reconciled with commitments under a multilateral framework adapted for the digital age.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Reform, Digital Economy, Multilateralism, Digitization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Marcin Przychodniak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China’s cooperation with the Western Balkans through the “17+1” format and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), among others, is primarily political. In the economic sphere, Chinese investments are to a large extent only declarations, and trade is marginal in comparison to cooperation with the EU or others. China’s goals are to gain political influence in future EU countries and limit their cooperation with the U.S. Competition with China in the region requires more intense EU-U.S. cooperation, made more difficult by the pandemic.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Balkans