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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: Kozo Kiyota
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Global trade is expected to suffer a significant contraction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Did the relative importance of countries in the world trade network change as a result of the pandemic? The answer to this question is particularly important for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries because of their strong trade linkages with China, where the COVID-19 virus originated. This paper examines how the world trade network has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on ASEAN countries. Tracking the changes in centrality from January 2000 to June 2020, we find no evidence that centrality changed significantly after the pandemic started for most ASEAN countries. Our results suggest that the relative importance of the ASEAN countries in the world trade network is unchanged and will remain unchanged even after the pandemic.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Tamat Sarmidi, Norlin Khalid, Sufian Jusoh, Muhamad Rias K.V. Zainuddin
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study simulates the sector impacts of demand-side perturbations on air transport sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on ASEAN members plus Australia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand. This study involves (i) the generation of a multiregional input–output table from the latest Global Trade Analysis Project data, (ii) a network analysis to determine the importance of the air transport industry in each country, (iii) multiplier and linkages analyses, (iv) determinations of sector impacts from demand-side perturbations on air transport sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and (v) simulation of the effect of fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the pandemic’s impact. This study demonstrates that the aviation industry is a key sector in domestic and regional economic activities, and the reduction in air transport consumer demand due to the pandemic is estimated to cause gross domestic product (GDP) reductions from 0.4% to 2.1%. Government intervention, through fiscal and monetary policies, has, however, mitigated severe impact, moderating GDP and value-added losses. Thus, a viable policy prescription for the aviation industry is of utmost importance.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Pandemic, COVID-19, Travel
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Ben Shepherd
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper reviews trade in pharmaceutical products, focusing on ASEAN countries. Trade in this sector is of singular policy importance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. First, the paper shows that pharmaceuticals are traded within Global Value Chains, which in turn means that international linkages are complex. Second, the paper shows that policy reforms can help boost trade in the sector, which has important human development implications during the pandemic period.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Pandemic, Global Value Chains, COVID-19, Pharmaceuticals
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Ayako Obashi
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: In the East Asian context, previous studies showed that trade occurring through production networks remained relatively steady amidst an economic shock and recovered faster and stronger once the shock was over. Using finely disaggregated product-level monthly bilateral trade data, we examine whether network trade in the East Asian region has been robust and resilient in face of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as in normal times, by conducting a series of survival analyses. We find a new set of empirical evidence suggesting the robustness of East Asian network trade in normal times and its resilience even amidst the COVID-19 shock.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Production
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia, Southeast Asia