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2018 Highlights

 

 

 

 

 
     

 

2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004

     

 

August, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Journal of Korean Studies, Volume XXI, Number 2, 2017  

IJKS

Study on Single Window Systems' International Interoperability: Key Issues for Its Implementation, August 2018. This paper discusses the general framework of Single Window System International Interoperability (SWSII) by introducing common concepts and the ten SWSII principles, the latter being uniquely formulated for this particular study.  With only a handful Regional Single Window (RSW) implementations globally, it reviews ASEAN, the Pacific Alliance and RADDEx by outlining common themes and translating them into lessons learned. It also showcases the single window journeys of three economies namely Australia, Indonesia and Peru. These economies are at different stages of their SWS and SWSII initiative, but yet demonstrate the benefits of effective, efficient and reduced cost of trade across the milieu...

 

APEC

Financing Food Value Chain, June 2018. Following an earlier policy brief that looks at various services in a food value chain, this policy brief delves deeper into one of them – financial services. The brief begins by describing a value chain example and identifying where and what types of financing are typically needed. It then discusses various financing instruments or financing structures that are used by financial services suppliers to grant financing. Finance structures usually vary depending on the risks they are trying to mitigate. The brief also reviews the challenges of getting finance, followed by discussion on risks and insurance in the food value chain and finally on policy implications.

 

APEC

China’s Local Governments and Small Enterprises as Overseas Investors, July 2018. Xi Jinping is widely seen as being China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping and perhaps since Mao. While it is right and prudent to focus on what Xi says and does (and loudly says that he wants), there is a danger that analysis of China’s trajectory and international impact is becoming too Xi-centric. Even if observers are not specifically fixated on what Xi as an individual wants, they may nevertheless be overly focussed on the goals and ambitions of the central Chinese state, and overlook the interests and objectives of actors below the national level. Take the expansion of Chinese overseas investment as an example. The actions of Chinese companies overseas are often perceived as an illustration of Chinese economic statecraft, with companies acting on behalf of the state to attain strategic objectives...

 

EWC

Thailand’s Political Dynamics and the Consequences for Regional Economic Integration, July 2018. Thailand will assume the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2019. As the chair has the ability to set forth certain regional agendas, the Kingdom’s vision and positions will affect not only economic integration within ASEAN, but also the bloc’s economic relations with non-ASEAN players. History teaches us that a state’s domestic political dynamics can significantly alter its foreign economic policies. Will this be the case for Thailand? Although the country’s GDP grew by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2018 – the fastest rate since 2013 — this upturn did not increase the junta’s popularity among the Thai public. For one thing, the distribution of benefits were uneven...

 

EWC

Economic Pragmatism and Regional Economic Integration: The Case of Cambodia, July 2018. Cambodia’s foreign policy strategy has been chiefly shaped and driven by “economic pragmatism,” meaning the alignment of foreign policy with economic development interests. The Cambodian government’s two main approaches to regional economic integration are (1) transforming the international environment into a source of national development and (2) diversifying strategic partnerships based on the calculation of economic interests. International economic cooperation and regional integration are key principles of Cambodia’s foreign policy, which emphasizes shared development and win-win cooperation...

 

EWC

Constraints to India’s Support for Regional Economic Integration, July 2018. In February 2018, India regained its position as the fastest growing large economy in the world, growing at more than seven percent for three preceding quarters and surpassing China. However, despite support for sub-regional integration in the Bay of Bengal region, the prospect that India will lead the charge on regional integration or even play a central role in efforts in Asia overall, remains dim. Several constraining factors, many of which have to do with India’s domestic political economy, make such a leadership role unlikely. Pushback from interest groups, India’s federal structure and the ruling party’s nationalist rhetoric are among several that shape India’s approach to economic liberalization in general and regional integration in particular...

 

EWC

Chinese Investment & Workers in Indonesia’s Upcoming Elections, July 2018. As China steps up its investments in Indonesia, more Chinese workers are migrating there, creating resentment among the local population. This could become an important and destabilizing issue in the context of Indonesian elections to be held in April 2019. While the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower records only around 25,000 Chinese workers overall in the country, discredited reports circulating online claiming that millions of Chinese workers are flooding into the Indonesian job market have in recent years sparked major public debates about the role of Chinese workers in the country. The most recent debate took place from March to May 2018, when President Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) issued a presidential regulation simplifying existing procedures for foreigners wanting to work in Indonesia...

 

EWC

The Domestic Political Impact of Rapid Economic Change in the Indo-Pacific Region, July 2018. Nowhere in the world are these impacts more visible and more dynamic than in the nations of the Indo-Pacific, many of which will hold elections within the next year. These challenges are not new, but they have intensified. Beginning in the 1980s, the revolution in communications technology and the advent of large-scale container shipping swept across East and Southeast Asia, connecting people and markets as never before. In the 1990s, burgeoning production networks linked the more competitive and investment-friendly developing economies—such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan—with world markets, leaving more closed economies such as Laos, Myanmar, and India lagging behind...

 

EWC

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #18: U.S. Relations with Southeast Asia in 2018: More Continuity Than Change. The United States maintains a comprehensive and robust presence throughout Southeast Asia that has grown dramatically since the 1980s. It includes the commercial, security, education and diplomatic, and other domains. America’s strengths and contributions to the region lie particularly in both hard and soft power, but the U.S. economic footprint is both broad and deep. However, this presence is not very well appreciated or reported by regional media — whereas China’s presence and influence is pervasive. Most Southeast Asian governments are often reluctant to recognize or publicize the U.S. presence or contributions to regional security, stability, and growth...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #17: The Private Healthcare Sector in Johor: Trends and Prospects. The future of the private healthcare in Johor and in the Iskandar Malaysia (IM) special economic zone in particular is intimately tied to larger property developments and trends in the region, both because private healthcare developers are increasingly the same as property developers and because IM’s future population growth relies heavily on corporate settlement in IM and the jobs that such settlement generates. Volatility in corporate investment and settlement in IM may have significant consequences for the sector’s development. The Federal and Johor State Governments intend to turn IM into a world-class private healthcare destination for local residents and foreign visitors alike. A range of strategies and policies have been launched to develop IM’s medical care, aged care, and lifestyle and well-being sectors...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #16: Developing Eastern Johor: The Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complext. The Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC) is a huge development that has emerged on the east coast of Johor. Comprising Petronas’ largest refinery facility and numerous ancillary and supporting industrial areas, it is pegged to diversify Malaysia’s petrochemical industry and reap the benefits of the area’s fortunate position on international maritime trade routes. While initial responses to the PIPC development were of concern for Singapore’s oil and gas business, the island-nation’s long reputation and position in the industry means that the PIPC has some steep learning curves to traverse before coming on par with its southerly neighbour. However, the PIPC is likely to provide a solution to Singapore’s limitations in terms of costly services and limited land space. It may also rejuvenate an industry now seen by some SMEs to be somewhat stagnant...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #15: State Formation in Riau Islands Province. The formation of the Riau Islands Province (RIP) in 2002 is argued to be part of a broader trend of pemekaran (blossoming) that saw the creation of seven new provinces and more than 100 new districts throughout Indonesia after the fall of the New Order. This article argues that the main motivation for these subnational movements was a combination of rational interests and cultural sentiments. In the case of RIP, rational interests involved struggles over unfair distribution of power and resources, including the way development under the control of (mainland) Riau Province had been detrimental to the peripheral and archipelagic people of Riau Islands...

 

ISEAS

Asian Development Outlook 2018 Supplement: The Outlook Remains Stable, July 2018. Developing Asia is largely on track to meet growth expectations as set out in April in Asian Development Outlook 2018 (ADO 2018). The regional gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to expand by 6.0% in 2018 and 5.9% in 2019, the rate envisaged in April, with subregional forecasts upgraded for Central Asia. Regional growth forecasts are maintained at 6.5% for 2018 and 6.4% for 2019 when excluding the newly industrialized economies of Hong Kong, China; the Republic of Korea; Singapore; and Taipei,China. The combined growth forecast for the major industrial economies—the United States (US), the euro area, and Japan—is retained from ADO 2018 as growth in the US and the euro area remains robust. In Japan, though, unanticipated contraction in the first quarter (Q1) prompts a slight revision of the 2018 growth...

 

ADB

Asia Bond Monitor, June 2018. Emerging East Asia’s local currency bond market registered marginal growth of 1.1% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of 2018 to reach a size of USD12.8 trillion at the end of March. Significant bond inflows were noted in emerging East Asia at the beginning of 2018, with all markets with available data recording inflows due to positive investor sentiment. Yields in emerging East Asia trended upward between 1 March and 31 May amid global economic expansion and tightening United States (US) monetary policy. However, as the US continued its policy normalization in Q1 2018, emerging East Asia currencies depreciated, which led foreign investors to reduce their exposure to the region...

 

ADB

Pacific Economic Monitor, July 2018. Access to electricity is low in the Pacific, particularly in the more remote and less developed parts of the subregion. Factors contributing to this include dependence on costly fossil fuels for power generation, inadequate investment in infrastructure, and electricity services that may be beyond the means of poorer rural households. To help address these challenges, most Pacific governments are taking steps to shift toward renewable energy and ultimately meet ambitious targets under international climate change commitments. Further, they have made strategic investments in more effi cient transmission networks, and better collection and payment systems...

 

ADB

Fiscal Policy Conditions for Government Budget Stability and Economic Recovery: Comparative Analysis of Japan and Greece, July 2018. In the literature on fiscal sustainability, the Domar condition and Bohn’s condition are often used to check whether a government’s debt situation is in a dangerous zone. We first show that the Domar condition is obtained only from the government budget constraint (namely the supply of government bonds) and does not take into account the demand for government bonds. Second, we reveal that Bohn’s condition does not satisfy the condition of economic stability: even if this is satisfied, economic recovery may not be achieved. We propose a new condition that satisfies both the stability of the government budget and the recovery of the economy...

 

ADB

Financial Inclusion, Financial Regulation, Financial Literacy, and Financial Education in the Kyrgyz Republic, July 2018. While financial inclusion is considered one of the key drivers of development today, it is quite new to the Kyrgyz Republic. The Kyrgyz Republic attempted to introduce the notion of financial inclusion after a violent power shift in 2010. The economy experienced an overall decline, the banking sector shrank, and financial intermediation slowed down. The National Bank introduced a number of regulatory measures to tighten the supervision of the financial sector and increase consumer protection. Some of the efforts have worked well: the banking sector has rebounded, savings have been mobilized, and financial markets have started developing. However, national development patterns, such as unstable economic growth, a high poverty rate, and weak governance are the key vulnerabilities for increasing inclusivity of financial products and services...

 

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2018Q3, July 2018. According to its High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecast, real GDP is estimated to grow by 4.4% in 18Q2, extending the strong 4.7% GDP growth in 18Q1, reflecting high domestic demand. In 18Q3, real GDP growth is expected to moderate to 3.9% when compared with the same period last year. Comparing to the 3.8% growth in 2017 as a whole, we expect Hong Kong’s GDP will grow at faster pace at 4.0% in 2018...

 

HKU

Virginia Review of Asian Studies 2018.

 

VRAS

Raising Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty Rates and Tightening Loan-to-Value Limits to Promote a Stable and Sustainable Property Market, May 2018. In this paper, we introduce the Makan Index as a measure of the cost of eating out. This measure was built on survey data (n = 2,389) collected using a standard set of food items across 26 (URA) planning areas in Singapore, focusing on only three types of eating places: coffee shops, hawker centres and food courts. The Index was then compared across different planning areas and its correlation with socioeconomic characteristics of the planning areas was analysed. The results of this study show that the cost of eating out differs across planning areas...

 

IPS

Religion and the Secular State in Uzbekistan, June 2018. Major political and economic reforms have been initiated since Shavkat Mirziyoyev became the country’s President in fall 2016. The interaction between state and religion has been part and parcel of this reform process. This area is a contentious one, rife with confusion. Many consider Central Asia peripheral to the Muslim world, but in fact the territory of present-day Uzbekistan occupies a central position in the history and development of the religion. The intellectual effervescence of the region a millennium ago, which has recently been dubbed the “Lost Enlightenment,” included advances in both science, philosophy and theology, as well as the rise of Islamic mysticism...

 

ISDP

Australia in Space: Views from The Strategist, June 2018. The first of July 2018 marks an important day for Australia’s quest to become a more important actor in space, with the creation of an Australian Space Agency under the leadership of Megan Clark. For the first time, Australia looks to have direction, coordination and focus in its endeavours beyond earth. Understanding what this means for Australia is the focus of this report. The decision to boldly go into space marks an important step forward for Australia, which traditionally has been content to be dependent on foreign providers for space capability...

 

ASPI

ASEAN’s Role in the US Indo-Pacific Strategy, June 2018. Kavi Chongkittavorn, Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, explains that “All in all, it is incumbent on ASEAN to reach out to the United States, Japan, India, and Australia.” Ever since US President Donald Trump announced the Indo-Pacific strategy at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting in November, 2017 at Danang, Vietnam, the leaders from of the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), have been anxious trying to figure out what it really means and to understand the possible long-term regional implications...

 

EWC

Getting Singapore in Shape: Economic Challenges and How to Meet Them, June 2018. The transformation of the Singapore economy over the past five decades has been impressive, producing rapid economic growth and delivering extraordinary improvements in social welfare. During that period, Singapore has evolved into a developed economy with multiple engines of growth including globally competitive manufacturing clusters, one of the world’s pre-eminent financial and transportation centres, and the location for regional or global headquarters of major corporations...

 

Lowy

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #14: Pancasila and the Challenge of Political Islam: Past and Present. Islam has become an important symbol in post-Suharto Indonesia, and political figures or parties feel they cannot afford to be seen to be against the religion or be considered unfriendly to it. Islamism emerges to challenge Pancasila (or cultural pluralism) again. Islamists already challenged Pancasila soon after Indonesian independence. But during that initial era under Sukarno, this challenge was already under control. Under Suharto, Pancasila as an ideology was effectively used to govern Indonesia, and political Islam was suppressed. However, Suharto began to co-opt Islamic political leaders during the last decade of his rule...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #13: The “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and Implications for ASEAN. In recent times, the United States, Japan and Australia have all promoted extremely similar visions of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific as the central organizing concept to guide their efforts in the region. The concept is essentially a reaffirmation of the security and economic rules-based order which was cobbled together after the Second World War — especially as it relates to freedom of the regional and global commons such as sea, air and cyberspace, and the way nations conduct economic relations. Be that as it may, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific is an updated vision of collective action to defend, strengthen and advance that order. It signals a greater acceptance by the two regional allies of the U.S. of their security burden and takes into account the realities of China’s rise and the relative decline in dominance of the U.S...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #12: Living on the Edge: Being Malay (and Bugis) in the Riau Islands. In Indonesia’s Riau Islands Province — a place envisioned as a distinctly “Malay Province” upon its legal formation in 2002 — ethnic Malays are the proud heirs and custodians of a rich legacy associated with a once-sprawling Malay empire that stretched across present-day transnational borders from Indonesia, to Singapore, to Malaysia. Malays of Bugis descent have long played a disproportionately central role in the history (and the historiography or “history-telling”) of the region that now encompasses Indonesia’s Riau Islands Province. While steadfastly “Malay”, members of this community readily acknowledge that their ethnically Bugis roots maintain an enduring historical and ideological salience in their everyday lives...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #11: Indonesia and China’s Belt and Road Initiatives: Perspectives, Issues and Prospects. For Indonesia, which is keen to accelerate its infrastructure development, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is seen as an opportunity to tap into China’s huge financial resources and technological capability. There has however been no concrete BRI project agreed to between China and Indonesia so far. While China considers all projects, including infrastructure projects and economic interactions as part of BRI, Indonesia only considers those infrastructure projects initiated during the Xi Jinping period as BRI projects...

 

ISEAS

Financial Inclusion, Financial Literacy, and Financial Education in Georgia, June 2018. Georgia is outperforming developing Eastern European and Central Asian countries in terms of access to finance but is very much behind in terms of usage of financial products and technologies. We provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of financial inclusion and financial literacy in Georgia based on the latest literature, statistical evidence, and recent surveys. We review current government policy initiatives and strategy documents aimed at improving financial access of SMEs and households; analyze the state of the regulatory framework in Georgia; focus on the causes behind the current low levels of financial inclusion and financial literacy among the young, the poor, and the rural population; and provide policy recommendations to comprehensively address the financial inclusion problem in Georgia.

 

ADB

International Outsourcing, Environmental Costs, and Welfare, June 2018. Firms in the North remain unaccountable for the environmental costs of outsourcing; tight environmental regulations and international cooperation are needed to improve environmental conditions in outsourcing sites in the South. We explore the welfare consequences of international outsourcing in the presence of resulting environmental damage in a three-stage model of North–South trade. In stage 1, outsourcing firms in the North (e.g., United States and Europe)cause environmental damage to the vendor country in the South, as exemplified by the People’s Republic of China. But, as its primary goal, the South pursuing economic development is willing to bear the costs of environmental degradation...

 

ADB

Financial Inclusion, Regulation, Financial Literacy, and Financial Education in Tajikistan, June 2018. Tajikistan has a long way to go to for its population to achieve sufficient understanding of different financial products. We analyze financial inclusion, literacy, and education in Tajikistan. We discuss the progress in financial inclusion and the sector’s response to the major external shock associated with the sharp fall in Tajik labor migrants’ remittances. We analyze the policies dealing with different aspects of financial inclusion with a focus on the regulatory framework, penetration of new financial technologies, and the existing barriers to inclusion; and we give recommendations on how to improve financial inclusion and financial literacy in the country.

 

ADB

Deep Economic Integration and State Capacity: A Mechanism for Avoiding the Middle-Income Trap? June 2018. Exiting the middle-income trap requires costly improvements in state capacity. Can deep economic integration increase state capacity and, if so, how? This paper provides a conceptual framework, new measurement, and evidence. Focusing on a panel of European Union membership candidate countries, this paper documents the large variation in the evolution of state capacities and empirically identify key links and implementation sequences. The main result is the centrality of an intricate relationship between bureaucratic independence and judiciary capacity. Change in these two is a precondition for increasing internal and external competitions, which are key factors for successfully escaping the middle-income trap.

 

ADB

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ADB

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APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June, 2018 Current

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instability in the Pacific Islands: A Status Report, June 2018. The Pacific Islands are highly diverse in political status, population, development, migration prospects, and potential for instability. Resilience is most under challenge in western Melanesia: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu are states-in-formation characterised by extraordinary linguistic and group diversity giving rise to weak consciousness of nationhood. Fiji is different: a weak democracy but a strong state. Many observers see increasing tensions, disputes, and violence over land in Pacific urban areas as people’s traditional connections with rural villages diminish and landlessness becomes more common...

 

Lowy

Trump, Kim and the North Korean Nuclear Missile Melodrama, May 2018. As the leaders of the United States and North Korea prepare to meet for the first time, the North Korean nuclear issue sits delicately poised between crisis and breakthrough. Under the Trump presidency, North Korea’s scripted brand of hyperbole and brinksmanship is encountering the political theatre of President Donald Trump. Any US president confronted by a direct threat from North Korean nuclear missiles would treat it as a first-order security challenge. Yet Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign, and showmanship, have also elevated North Korea’s regional melodrama in ways that potentially advantage Kim Jong-un. Even if it fails to yield any tangible outcomes, meeting a serving US president would still be hugely beneficial to Pyongyang as a means of strengthening Kim’s domestic and international position, particularly in respect of its chronic legitimacy deficit in the inter-Korean comparison...

 

Lowy

India's Role is Key for Including Central Asia in Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, May 2018. Central Asia has become an increasingly important region for the international community including Japan. Tokyo initially pursued bilateral relationships with each of Central Asian country through its “Silk Road Diplomacy” in the late 1990s, but started to strengthen the relationships by initiating the multilateral “Central Asia plus Japan” Dialogue in 2004. Since then, Japan has strived to become a “catalyst” for regional cooperation that would enable the Central Asian countries to achieve “open, stable and autonomous development.” A more developed and secure Central Asia is also expected to provide Tokyo with a reliable alternative source of energy supply such as oil, natural gas and rare earth metals including uranium...

 

EWC

Making Sense of the Indo-Pacific Strategy: An Inheritance from the Past, May 2018. The term “Indo-Pacific” has gained wider currency as the Trump administration promotes the Indo-Pacific Strategy as its flagship policy towards the region. Since the substance of this strategy has yet to be made clear, one could easily make speculations that the Indo-Pacific Strategy is a “containment policy” towards China given the emphasis the new National Defense Strategy has given to great power competition...

 

EWC

The 32nd ASEAN Summit’s Economic Priorities and Implications for US-ASEAN Economic Relations, May 2018. The leaders of the ten member countries of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered at the 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore from April 25th - 28th, 2018 under the theme of “Building a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN.” Among the economic cooperation priorities agreed to were the continued advancement of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), pursuit of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and establishment of an ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN)...

 

EWC

The Next Big Grey Thing - Choosing Australia's Future Frigate, May 2018. The SEA 5000 Future Frigate program has three separate broad objectives. The first is to replace the Anzac-class frigates from the mid-2020s, providing the RAN with a new class of warship with the desired capabilities. The second is industrial: faced with a steady loss of shipyard jobs over the past few years, the Australian Government wants work at the ASC Shipyard in South Australia to begin early in the 2020s. The third objective is to set up a continuous shipbuilding program that will continue to deliver locally built vessels in perpetuity, with an eye to being able to export systems, components or perhaps even warships in the future...

 

ASPI

Territorial Complementarities and Competition for Oil and Gas FDI in the SIJORI Growth Triangle, May 2018. After the initial euphoria, the SIJORI Triangle - formed by Singapore, Johor (Malaysia) and Riau Islands (Indonesia) - seems to have been completely forgotten. The growth triangle concept was initiated to enhance foreign investment. This paper aims to explore whether firms in the oil and gas industry are really strategically making use of the different factor endowments accessible in close spatial proximity. Based on FDI data and expert interviews, Singaporean firms are taking strategic advantage of the different factor endowments, especially in storage and offshore equipment manufacturing. However, Johor and Riau Islands still focus on lower value-added activities...

 

ISEAS

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ADB

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ADB

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ADB

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shifts in ROK Approaches to the DPRK Under President Moon, May 2018. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has just completed his first year in office and what an eventful year it has been. Over the past twelve months, the world witnessed a sharp escalation of tensions between the two Koreas which saw the peninsula reach the brink of war, and then just as rapidly, these tensions de-escalated, ushering in a mood of inter-Korean reconciliation. What explains this stunning turnaround? Did President Moon’s North Korea policy differ drastically that of his predecessor, Park Geun-hye? In this paper I find that, surprisingly, Moon’s DPRK policy has been marked more by continuity than change from Park’s—particularly in the realm of defence. The main element of change has occurred on the diplomatic engagement front, which has facilitated the remarkable inter-Korean rapprochement...

 

ASPI

Women, Peace and Security: Addressing the Gaps and Strengthening Implementation, May 2018. This Strategic Insights paper compiles the articles in that series across four themes: Defence’s approach to WPS, the role of parliament and civil society, lessons from abroad, and evolving approaches to WPS. Drawing on the analyses of contributors from a variety of backgrounds including government, politics, defence, academia, and civil society, the series demonstrates that issues related to women’s participation and leadership, and the inclusion of different gender perspectives, are integral to Australia’s national security...

 

ASPI

Putin and North Korea: Exploring Russian Interests Around the Peninsula, May 2018. ASPI Researcher, Jacqueline Westermann, argues that it would be fatal to underestimate the Kremlin’s interests in the region, as ‘Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a stakeholder in the region, a partner to Pyongyang and a party to the previous Six-Party Talks’. While it isn’t a top priority for the Kremlin, Russian involvement could play a handy part in Putin’s greater strategy to expand Russia’s engagement in the world. To illustrate Moscow’s specific motivations for being involved, the analysis is based on statements given by Russian government officials during 2017, as well as insights from Russian North Korea experts...

 

ASPI

Hong Kong: High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2018Q2, April 2018. According to its High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecast, real GDP is estimated to grow by 3.5% in 18Q1, upward revised by 0.5 percentage point comparing to our previous forecast, reflecting strong domestic demand, slightly faster than the 3.4% growth in 17Q4. In 18Q2, real GDP growth is expected to moderate to 3.3% when compared with the same period last year. Comparing to the 3.8% growth in 2017 as a whole, we expect Hong Kong’s GDP will grow but at a slower pace at 3.4% in 2018.

 

HKU

Religion and the Secular State in Kazakhstan, April 2018. At independence, Kazakhstan shared with the successor states to the Soviet Union the challenge of replacing Soviet atheism with new state approaches to religion. Like the rest of Central Asia and Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan adopted a secular form of government. This makes the region stand out in the Muslim world, and is a source of pride for regional governments. Secular government should be a point of agreement between the region’s states and Europe and the United States. But instead, it has become a source of controversy, as Western states and organizations frequently criticize state policies in the religious sphere...

 

ISDP

The Economic Modernization of Uzbekistan, April 2018. When Shavkat Mirziyoyev succeeded Islam Karimov as President of Uzbekistan, many observers expected his tenure to represent continuity rather than change. And while continuity is present in terms of the focus on independence and sovereignty of Uzbekistan, Mirziyoyev also showed a pro-active desire to improve foreign relations and initiate major economic reforms, designed to strengthen the strategic position of Uzbekistan...

 

ISDP

Monetary Authority of Singapore: Macroeconomic Review, Volume XVII, Issue 1, April 2018 (Full Report, Presentation Slides for Briefing):  

MAS

North Korea and the ANZUS Treaty, April 2018. The Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America, universally known as the ANZUS Treaty, was signed in September 1951 and came into force in April 1952. This Strategic Insight traces the origins of the treaty, examines its substantive content, and considers whether and how it might apply in the event of a conflict between the US and North Korea...

 

ASPI

The French Pacific Territories and Free Trade, April 2018. Jeremy Ellero, Research Associate at the Law and Economics Research Laboratory at the University of New Caledonia, explains that “Massive financial transfers combined with tariffs and quotas on imported goods have created overprotected economies whose purchasing power is unrelated to actual economic power.”

 

EWC

The United States and Fiji Should Bolster Security Cooperation, April 2018. Ambassador C. Steven McGann (Ret), former US Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu, explains that “This well-documented commitment to the Pacific should be the context in which the United States frames its regional coordination and stronger ties with Fiji.”

 

EWC

Customary Land Rights and Pacific Islands Security & Stability, April 2018.  Dr. Iati Iati, Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago, New Zealand explains that “Reforms, particularly those which involve or even intimate alienation of customary lands, have been very unpopular in the Pacific.”

 

EWC

Services Liberalization and Export Quality: Evidence from China, March 2018. Using firm-level export data from China, this paper empirically examines the effect of domestic liberalization of services on exporting firms’ quality upgrading. We examine a number of other trade policies, including: tariffs in export destination countries; and input- and output-tariffs in China. Following China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in December 2001, these trade policies changed substantially during our sample period of 2000 - 2006. Our findings suggest that, of all the policies, reduced input tariffs contributed the most to raising export product quality. Easing of services’ restrictiveness also resulted in improved export product quality, but mainly for foreign owned enterprises.

 

ISEAS

Asian Development Outlook 2018: How Technology Affects Jobs. (Full Report and Highlights). Developing Asia is forecast to expand by 6.0% in 2018, and by 5.9% in 2019. Excluding Asia’s high-income newly industrialized economies, growth should reach 6.5% in 2018 and 6.4% in 2019. With oil prices edging up and robust consumer demand continuing, inflation is poised to pick up after dipping slightly last year. Consumer prices are projected to rise by 2.9% in both 2018 and 2019, or 0.6 percentage points more than in 2017. Though prospects are firm, risks are clearly to the downside. Protectionist measures and retaliation against them could undermine the recent pickup in trade growth. In response to fiscal stimulus, the United States Federal Reserve may need to raise interest rates faster than currently expected, which could diminish capital flows to developing Asia...

 

ADB

Asian Development Review, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2018 (Full Report). The latest Asian Development Review contains a mini symposium on India’s foreign direct investment (FDI), and open submissions. The mini symposium analyzes the links between FDI and technology sourcing, export intensity, employment, environment, and financing. The other papers are on industrial restructuring, education spending, urbanization, and fiscal risks.

  ADB
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ADB

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ADB

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APEC

     

 

     

 

April, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #10: GE14: Will Urban Malays Support Pakatan Harapan?. In Malaysia’s last general election, urban voters tended to support the opposition coalition — 72 of the 97 urban parliamentary seats were in fact won by it. However, most of these seats have a mixed demography, with a high percentage of ethnic Chinese voters. In the upcoming general election, Pakatan has a good chance of winning the federal government if Malay voters join their Chinese counterparts in supporting the opposition coalition. A subsequent so-called “Malay tsunami” could lead to a Pakatan victory...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #9: Malaysia’s General Elections 2018: Understanding the Rural Vote. This study was carried out in Johor and Kedah through a combination of focus groups, formal and informal interviews and long-term ethnographic participant observation. Johor was selected for this study because it is the birthplace and long-time bastion of UMNO while Kedah was of interest because of the Mahathir family legacy in the state. The study shows that the rural vote is not homogeneous; views and perceptions that could lead to electoral action differs between regions, ages and genders. Daily survival and rising costs of living are the key common issues that were raised across all regions. The importance of Malay rights and the priority of Islam are also important to the rural voter...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #8: The Rise and Decline of Labour Militancy in Batam. Over the past two decades, trade union activity in Batam has been heavily influenced by regional demographics, employment conditions and the prevalent political scenario. Following the end of the New Order in 1998, the single state-authorized union was fragmented, giving rise to a number of new enterprise unions. Batam’s young and diverse immigrant population, with no pre-existing loyalties to particular trade unions, made it a hotspot for industrial relations activities. Low and stagnant workers’ wages throughout Indonesia and outbreak of social unrest resulted in the formation of three strong national-level unions: FSPMI, KSPSI and the KSBSI. By the mid-2000s, these unions were also active in Batam...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #7: Chinese Capitalism and Economic Integration in Southeast Asia. China’s rise exerts a powerful pull on ASEAN economies and constitutes an impetus for a resinicization of Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. China has become a skilled practitioner of “commercial diplomacy”, and as long as it continues to lead the way in regional integration, China’s state-led capitalism will seek to integrate itself into the ASEAN Economic Community. This in effect becomes China’s essential strategy of desecuritization for the region. With increasing trade and investment between China and ASEAN countries, the ethnic Chinese economic elites have managed to serve as “connectors and bridges” between the two sides, and benefited in the process from joint ventures and business investments. The impact of new Chinese Capitalism on SMEs, however, has not been equally positive...

 

ISEAS

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, March 2018. The Singapore economy expanded by 3.6% in Q4 2017 compared with the same period last year. This was higher than the median forecast of 2.6% reported in the Dec 2017 Survey. The economy is forecast to grow by 3.2% in 2018. The respondents expect the GDP growth to come in at 3.2% in 2018, an upgrade from the 3.0% median forecast in the previous survey...

 

MAS

Stronger Together: Safeguarding Australia’s Security Interests Through Closer Pacific Ties, April 2018. Australia views stability in the Pacific Islands region as a critical aspect of its own national security. The 2016 Defence White Paper and 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper each place significant importance on the region. Both white papers also hint at increasing geostrategic competition in the region and a general sense of unease with growing Chinese influence in the Pacific. Yet why the Pacific Islands region is so important to Australia, and the extent to which China may be challenging Australia’s influence with its neighbours, is often poorly articulated...

 

Lowy

Charities and Terrorism: Lessons from the Syrian Crisis, March 2018. Humanitarian disasters offer opportunities for terrorist groups to infiltrate conflict areas under the guise of providing humanitarian assistance, and to raise or send funds to these areas under the same cover. In the case of Australia, terrorists and their supporters have at times sought to portray themselves as humanitarian workers in order to construct a legal defence. While most humanitarian groups operating in Syria have legitimate aims, the civil war and rise of radical Islamist groups that resulted has shown how easily the desire to assist those in need can be manipulated by jihadists. In order to minimise the likelihood of this sector being exploited in the future, countries such as Australia should utilise regulatory and legislative frameworks to limit the ability of individuals and groups to exploit humanitarian assistance in high-risk areas.

 

Lowy

Australia-Fiji Relations in 2018: Finding a New Normal, March 2018. Richard Herr, Academic Coordinator for the Parliamentary Law, University of Tasmania, explains that “Australia knows that Fiji sees China as providing an economic, diplomatic and aid alternative to traditional friends that was not available in previous decades.”

 

EWC

Japan’s Oceania Engagement and Maritime Security, March 2018. Dr. Rieko Hayakawa, founder of the Sasakawa Pacific Islands Fund, explains that “The United States Pacific Command (PACOM) and United States Coast Guard (USCG) have welcomed Japan’s NGO initiatives for the maritime security of the western Pacific.”

 

EWC

The Role of the French Military on Key Issues for Oceania, March 2018. Helene Goiran, member of the Maison de la Melanesie research group, explains that “France has the second largest EEZ in the world located mainly in the Pacific, and is responsible for protecting the fragile maritime environment and its extensive fishing, mineral, and energy resources.”

 

EWC

Mariana Islands – US Military Strategy ‘On Hold’, March 2018. Grant Newsham, Senior Research Fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, explains that “CNMI and Guam, both American territories, are strategically important given their locations in the Western Pacific close to Asia.”

 

EWC

The United States is Losing the Pacific, March 2018. Ben Bohane, Founder and Director of Wakaphotos, explains that “The United States is building nothing, offering nothing and, until recently, even failing to pay its due Compact funds to Micronesian allies.”

 

EWC

Strategic Overview of Oceania, March 2018. Cleo Paskal, Associate Fellow, Chatham House and Director, The Oceania Research Project, explains that “In the past decade Indonesia, Japan, India, and especially France (which has territories in Oceania) have all deepened engagement with Pacific Island Countries.”

 

EWC

Women's Economic Empowerment and the G20 Agenda, February 2018. In not a single country has gender equality yet been achieved in practice. Worse still, in 9 out of 10 countries laws discriminate against women's ability to be economically active. This despite all 193 UN member countries formally committing in 2015 to promote gender equality and empower women and girls. At current rates of progress, it will take another 217 years to reach economic parity. Yet the case for economic parity is compelling...

 

EWC

Putting Women's Economic Empowerment in the Asia Pacific at the Core of the G20, January 2018. This paper presents background and resource information used to develop the formal report for the Inaugural 2017 Women20 for the G20 Asia-Pacific Dialogue, hosted by the East-West Center and sponsored by the global professional services organization EY. Participants included current and former heads of state, government officials, academic experts, representatives of regional and international organizations, business, and civil society leaders.

 

EWC

US International Economic Policy in the Trump Administration, January 2018. The United States benefits from international trade, and Asia and the United States have a mutually beneficial and deepening economic relationship. A byproduct of that deepening economic integration, however, is a tendency toward increased income and wealth inequality within the United States. The appropriate response is not to adopt trade protection but rather implement a package of improved adjustment measures and longer-term policies to enhance US competitiveness...

 

EWC

The Internet of Insecure Things, Published 2018. The IoT (Internet of Things) offers benefits to all industries, but the connectivity of these once isolated things also introduces new vulnerabilities that can affect our homes and industries. As well as promising convenience and efficiency, the IoT is a problem because a vast number of internet connected devices with poor default security create a large attack surface that bad actors could take advantage of for malicious ends. A variety of international organisations and government groups are working on issues pertaining to the IoT, but at present there’s no coordinated vision to implement standards for the IoT on a global scale...

 

ASPI

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #6: Reconciling Economic and Environmental Imperatives in Batam. Batam’s economic transformation has been accompanied by a marked degradation of its natural environment. Enforcement to protect the environment has often been inadequate on many fronts, exacerbated by population increases. Though regulations exist for the provision of public amenities like wastewater and sewerage treatment, existing facilities are run-down and ill-equipped to cope with the present demands. The capacity of reservoirs to meet the present demand for water is also strained because of the large population base, with illegal intrusion and squatters further threatening supplies. Economic and environmental imperatives can be reconciled if more emphasis and resources are put into enforcing regulations and protecting the environment.

 

ISEAS

Mine Closure: Checklist for Governments, February 2018. The objective of the Mine Closure Checklist for Governments is to provide policy makers in the APEC region with the essential elements of a successful mine closure governance framework based on leading international guidelines and standards, as well as international experience. This Checklist is designed to provide a logical, sequential series of steps that will allow policy makers to identify gaps in their current mine closure framework and identify how to address those gaps. A clear, effective mine closure framework will help protect the environment and interests of the community, and will also encourage the benefits that are brought by investment and development of mining opportunities.

 

APEC

Asia Bond Monitor, March 2018.Risks to economic growth and stability of East Asia remain—faster-than-expected rate hikes in the United States and monetary policy normalization in other advanced economies; and growing threats of protectionism. The continued recovery in the global economy has contributed to a rally in financial markets that lasted through January. Financial risk and volatility indicators—such as the CBOE Volatility Index, credit default swap spreads, and emerging market bond spreads—narrowed in January. However, a price correction in equity markets and an uptick in risk indicators were observed in the first week of February due to uncertainties in US macroeconomic policies and expectations of accelerated rate hikes by the Federal Reserve...

 

ADB

Slowdown in the People’s Republic of China: Structural Factors and the Implications for Asia, Published 2018. This book analyzes the causes of the recent slowdown in the PRC and assesses the growth potential of the PRC economy, the conditions under which that potential growth could be realized, and the implications for other Asian economies. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been growing at an unprecedented rate since economic reforms were initiated in 1978, achieving an average annual real GDP growth rate of 9.7% over the entire period through 2015. As a consequence, the PRC has achieved a remarkably successful transition from one of the poorest countries to upper middle-income status in just over one generation...

 

ADB

The Implications of Ultra-Low and Negative Interest Rates for Asia, Published 2018. Asia has been uniquely affected by low and negative global interest rates. This volume explores these effects--from foreign direct investment and portfolio investment, to exchange rate effects, credit availability, and more. Twenty years after the East Asian financial crisis, Asia is facing challenges as advanced economies implement unprecedented low and negative interest rate policies to jumpstart moribund economies and avoid deflation. As the longer ends of yield curves in many advanced economies plunge into negative territory, fears are growing that these policies may create unintended side effects, including cash hoarding, housing bubbles, and damage to banks’ balance sheets...

 

ADB

Improving Labour Market Outcomes in the Pacific: Policy Challenges and Priorities, Published 2017. Underemployment, informal work, gender disparities, and a large share of young people not in education, employment, or training characterize labour markets in the Pacific island countries. Size and remoteness of Pacific Island countries have hindered economic growth and limited positive labour market outcomes. A very young and growing population is both an opportunity and a concern: Pacific Island countries stand to benefit from a demographic dividend, but labour markets are simply not producing enough jobs to accommodate all the young women and men entering the workforce each year...

 

ADB

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ADB

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ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Political Reform in Mirziyoyev’s Uzbekistan: Elections, Political Parties and Civil Society, March 2018. Since taking over from long-time President Islam Karimov in 2016, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has pursued an aggressive policy to transform Uzbekistan’s decision-making processes, invigorate civil society, encourage political competition, address human rights and develop a civic culture consistent with the country’s status as a modernizing, forward-looking regional power in Eurasia with a steadily increasing majority of citizens under the age of 30. To declare significant these changes, which seem to take place daily, is to perhaps understate their potential in light of the last 30 years of history...

 

ISDP

Judicial and Governance Reform in Uzbekistan, March 2018. Since President Mirziyoyev assumed power as interim president in September 2016, a major agenda of reforms has been introduced in Uzbekistan. In this broader agenda, judicial and governance reform has been identified as key to the entire reform process. The scope and speed of reforms outlined in this study are bold and unprecedented. Given the systematically negative coverage of developments in Uzbekistan prior to the transition of power, these reforms may appear to have emerged ex nihilo. But while little of a positive nature was reported, many of the reforms under Mirziyoyev trace their origins to developments in the past decade. Indeed, already in 2005, reforms in the judicial sector introduced habeas corpus and abolished the death penalty...

 

ISDP

India's Relations with ASEAN: Posture Versus Reality, February 2018. Vibhanshu Shekhar, Former Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, explains that “These incomplete projects highlight a fundamental difference between the posture and reality and raise questions over India’s ability to deliver results.”

 

EWC

Australias Future in Space, February 2018. Australia is approaching an important window of opportunity to change our approach to the use of space for defence and national security purposes and, more broadly, to the establishment of a sovereign space industry. We now have the opportunity to move from a traditional policy of dependency on others to become an active space power— one with sovereign space capabilities in orbit and an active and growing space industry sector coordinated by an Australian space agency...

 

ASPI

Project LAND 400: Defining the Army, February 2018. Defence’s most comprehensive, and expensive, package of land force modernisation is underway, at a cost of $50–70 billion. Nine complementary programs cover every area of land warfare, from personal equipment for the soldiers through to unmanned aerial vehicles, amphibious craft, special forces helicopters, digital networks, surface-to-air missiles and long-range battlefield rocket systems. Moreover, those programs are in addition to Navy and Air Force projects, such as sea and air lift, that directly support the land force...

 

ASPI

Beyond Access: Making Indonesia’s Education System Work, February 2018. Indonesia’s biggest challenge regarding education is no longer improving access but improving quality. The Indonesian Government hopes to develop a ‘world-class’ education system by 2025. However, numerous assessments of the country’s education performance suggest that it has a long way to go before it will achieve that goal. Many Indonesian teachers and lecturers lack the required subject knowledge and pedagogical skills to be effective educators; learning outcomes for students are poor; and there is a disparity between the skills of graduates and the needs of employers...

 

Lowy

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #5: Accidental and Intentional Exporters: Comparing Indonesian and Malaysian MSMEs. Regardless of the size of the domestic economy, there are ample reasons for firms to extend their markets beyond home shores. These include increasing sales, improving profits, diversifying risks, reaping economies of scale, matching the moves of competitors, enhancing competitiveness or accessing government incentives. Both Indonesia and Malaysia seek to enhance the competitiveness of their micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by including internationalization goals in their respective national development plans for these enterprises...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #4: EduCity, Johor: A Promising Project with Multiple Challenges to Overcome. EduCity, built as an integrated learning hub, is a constituent part of Malaysia’s general programme to enhance its reputation as a regional centre for higher education. Located in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, on a 305-acre catalyst development housing seven higher education institutions, EduCity aims to become a best-in-class higher education destination and at the same time provide talent to support economic activities in Iskandar Malaysia...

 

ISEAS

Back in Business: Industrial Policy for Emerging Economies in the New Globalization, February 2018. Today’s emerging economies face a dual structural transformation challenge: (i) to move closer to the current world technology frontier (traditional catch-up), and (ii) to adjust to technological change in advanced economies and increasingly binding environmental and social constraints. They must do so subject to their available state capacity. The paradox of industrial policy is that it is most straightforward when state capacity is the most constrained. In this paper, the authors suggest that emerging economies still should explore sector-based horizontal policies addressing market and state failures in individual industries.

 

ADB

Population Aging and the Possibility of a Middle-Income Trap in Asia, February 2018. What happens to Asia if it gets too old before getting rich? In this paper, the authors explore the possibility that Asia faces a middle-income trap due to demographic factors. They find that many economies in East, South, and Southeast Asia satisfy conditions for a demography-driven middle-income trap. Analyses show that support ratio—the ratio of workers to consumers—matters for economic growth. But as the economy grows, fertility declines, ultimately leading to low support ratios and a lower speed of convergence, creating conditions for economic stagnation.

 

ADB

Indonesia: Enhancing Productivity through Quality Jobs, Published 2018. The book focuses on Indonesia’s most pressing labor market challenges and associated policy options to achieve higher and more inclusive economic growth. The challenges consist of creating jobs for and the skills in a youthful and increasingly better educated workforce, and raising the productivity of less-educated workers to meet the demands of the digital age. The book deals with a range of interrelated topics—the changing supply and demand for labor in relation to the shift of workers out of agriculture; urbanization and the growth of megacities; raising the quality of schooling for new jobs in the digital economy; and labor market policies to improve both labor standards and productivity.

 

ADB

ASEAN+3 Bond Market Guide 2018: Myanmar. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar began to emphasize the development of its financial and capital markets in 2008. Much has been achieved since then. There were a number of significant milestones in the Myanmar financial and capital markets in 2013, including the Central Bank of Myanmar gaining its independence by law from the then Ministry of Finance, and the passage of the Securities Exchange Law (SEL). The SEL (i) laid the foundation for the key legal framework for the securities market, (ii) established the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar and the Yangon Stock Exchange, and (iii) defined market participants and their activities.

 

ADB

ASEAN+3 Bond Market Guide 2018: Cambodia. This Bond Market Guide reports on the significant developments expected in Cambodia’s bond market, including the issuance of corporate and government bonds and subsequent debt securities listings on the Cambodia Securities Exchange. Among the long-term development objectives of Cambodia’s Financial Sector Development Strategy 2011–2020 were to develop the government securities market and to issue government bonds by the National Treasury. In 2010, the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) was established. The National Bank of Cambodia began issuing negotiable certificates of deposit in 2013, effectively creating an interbank money market...

 

ADB

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ADB

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APEC

Journal of Bhutan Studies, Volume 35, Winter 2016  

Bhutan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding the BRI (China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative) in Africa and the Middle East, February 2018. The BRI builds on China’s ‘Going Global Strategy.’ It appeared somewhat suddenly in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, which guides national investment strategy from 2016 to 2020. At the 19th Communist Party Congress (18 to 24 October 2017), a resolution calling on the BRI to be written into the Chinese Constitution was adopted. Another resolution enshrined ‘Xi Jinping thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’...

 

ASPI

Cyber Maturity in the Asia-Pacific Region 2017. In 2016–17, cyber maturity across the Asia–Pacific improved and the region again avoided a major incident, such as an attack on critical national infrastructure. Most online criminal activity continues to be perpetrated by non-state actors who generate significant revenue from illicit behaviour with little risk of prosecution or arrest. With notable exceptions, such as North Korean financial cybercrime and Russia’s interference in the US election, countries were not engaged in flagrantly irresponsible actions during the reporting period. Looking at the big picture, macro trends are pulling in both directions, but the overall trajectory, for now, remains positive. On the negative side of the ledger, the region has so far escaped a major state-led cyber incident more because of the peaceful macro environment than because of strong defences and resiliency...

 

ASPI

When Turnbull Meets Trump, May 2017. Donald Trump’s election as US president is accelerating a profound global transformation that has huge consequences for Australia. Unlike his predecessors, Trump is less willing to defend the liberal international order that has been of immense benefit to Australia’s security and prosperity. If fully implemented, the US president’s protectionist agenda would be a direct threat to Australia’s economic interests. And the US alliance is coming under unprecedented pressure from China in the region. At home, there are an increasing number of Australians who see a growing gap in both interests and values with a Trump-led America...

 

Lowy

The Shape of Australia's Future Engagement with the United Nations, March 2017. Australia is currently bidding for another term on the United Nations Security Council in 2029–30 as well as seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2018–20. But Australia’s broader engagement with the United Nations is patchy and underwhelming. It needs to be upgraded to ensure that Australia has a greater say on global issues that are important to its national interests...

 

Lowy

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PIDS

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PIDS

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PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Economic Issue of the Day: Demographic Dividend, December 2017

 

PIDS

UK-Japan Cooperation in Preserving the Liberal Order, January 2018. John Hemmings, Director of the Asia Studies Centre at The Henry Jackson Society in London, asks “Will [these relationships] actually deter would-be aggressors when all is said and done?” John Hemmings, Director of the Asia Studies Centre at The Henry Jackson Society in London, asks “Will [these relationships] actually deter would-be aggressors when all is said and done?”

 

EWC

Japan and the UK as Strategic Partners After Brexit, January 2018. Michito Tsuruoka, Associate Professor at Keio University, Japan, explains that “Brexit overshadows the otherwise remarkable progress in Japan-UK ties.”

 

EWC

US-Japan Cooperation in Disaster Recovery and Regional Development, January 2018. Mampei Hayashi, Associate Professor at the Kansai University of International Relations, explains that “the United States and Japan have expanded their alliance to cooperate in the emergency response and early recovery phases following a number of disasters in the Asia Pacific.”

 

EWC

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #3: GE-14 in Johor: The Fall of the Fortress?. Johor is a key battleground in Malaysia’s 14th General Elections. The state is economically vital to the country: it is the birthplace of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO); and it has a large number of parliamentary seats. Johor-specific dynamics that have worked to the advantage of the ruling coalition include: UMNO’s unique links with the state; the tight control over religion; and the phenomenal scale and success of the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) scheme. Despite these advantages, support for the ruling coalition has been slipping across the state. Furthermore, the emergence of new parties such as Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) will challenge Barisan Nasional’s control over Johor’s rural and Malay heartland...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #2: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia in Johor: New Party, Big Responsibility. Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) was officially launched on 14 January 2017, led by prominent personalities including former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and former Kedah Chief Minister Mukhriz Mahathir. Upon establishment, the party immediately announced that they are aiming to win the southern state of Johor in the upcoming general election. Historically, UMNO splinter parties have never been able to threaten UMNO in this state. Since independence, Johor has always been seen as an UMNO bastion. PPBM has moved quickly to establish themselves in all parliamentary and state constituencies in Johor, however, and it has been rather successful in attracting support from those aged below 35. Their key challenge remains the rural and female voters...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #1: Logistics Development in ASEAN: Complex Challenges Ahead. Growing urbanization, increasing trade and investment due to integration, and emerging new business models like e-commerce are accelerating the demand for efficient logistics in each ASEAN country. The logistics sector is inherently complex due to its scope, ranging from physical infrastructure covering four modes of transport, customs, and services. Each of these sub-sectors is regulated by different government agencies, leading to complex challenges in each country’s logistics sector. Policymaking has a tendency to be done piecemeal rather than integratively, while a more or less fragmented governance structure impedes implementation. ASEAN liberalization commitments focusses on raising the cap on foreign equity, while regulatory reform remains untouched. Also, flexibility offered in these commitments allows for non-compliance...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #23: Legislation on Underwater Cultural Heritage in Southeast Asia: Evolution and Outcomes. This paper examines the evolution of underwater cultural heritage (UCH) legislation in Southeast Asia. Legislation in every country differs, with some reflecting great cultural awareness and some signalling neglect. It seems that some countries regard shipwrecks and their cargoes as resources rather than cultural heritage. Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that sponsors its own maritime archaeological programme. Others rely on private funding, usually in exchange for a share of the recovered cargo. These public–private partnerships have in some cases created a culture of corruption, xenophobia, paranoia and greed...

 

ISEAS

Russian Hybrid Tactics in Georgia, January 2018. Since its independence in 1991, Georgia is the country in the former USSR that has been most frequently and harshly subjected to Russian hybrid tactics – a practice that gained considerable attention after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Russia has at times of confrontation with Georgia – a common occurrence throughout these 25 years – relied on a combination of multiple pressure points to influence the decision making of the Georgian government, particularly in foreign- and security policy. These pressure points have included traditional sources of state power and coercion, including the use of military force or the threat thereof; leveraging geopolitical realities on the ground, most prominently Russia’s control over the two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as means to exert diplomatic pressure; and the exploitation of economic dependencies as means for establishing punishments or rewards for different policy choices...

 

ISDP

Uzbekistan’s New Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity under New Leadership, January 2018. During the year following Shavkat Mirziyoyev's election as president of the Republic of Uzbekistan he has introduced dramatic changes in that country. Some of these changes have come in the form of legislative acts of the Oliy Majlis or Supreme Assembly, Uzbekistan’s parliament. Others have taken the form of administrative orders issued by the President or his principal Ministers. At no other time since Uzbekistan's establishment as an independent state have more innovations been introduced, or with greater speed. Since these changes are bound to affect Uzbekistan's internal economic, social, and political life, and since they directly affect Uzbekistan's ties with its regional neighbors and its relations with all the world's major powers, the Central Asia- Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center has undertaken to document this year of innovation...

 

ISDP

Foreign and Domestic Investment in Global Bond Markets, January 2018. The Asian equity and bond markets have grown rapidly in the past decades. However, challenges have emerged including lack of liquidity, inactive institutional participation, and less favorable investor profiles. This paper analyzes the drivers of foreign versus domestic investment in global bond markets. The analysis suggests that there are some differences between foreign and domestic investors in both advanced and emerging bond markets. Foreign investors seem more sensitive to risk–return profile than domestic investors, especially in emerging markets. They are also attracted by greater market openness and sound sovereign credit ratings. Finally, regional market integration can benefit emerging bond markets by broadening the investor base.

 

ADB

State-Owned Enterprises Leverage as a Contingency in Public Debt Sustainability Analysis: The Case of the People’s Republic of China, January 2018. The leverage of state-owned enterprises (SOE) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has grown to a large liability. While there is no room for complacency, there is no need for panic either; even if authorities had to step in to mop up as much as 20% of SOE debt at risk gone bad. This would appear to be manageable at roughly 2.7% of the gross domestic product in 2016 or 5.5% by 2021. The paper demonstrates a method to include SOE debt as a contingent liability in the public debt sustainability assessment framework. The authors of the paper further conclude that while corporate leverage is large, it appears fully manageable.

 

ADB

Fiscal Policy in a Currency Union at the Zero Lower Bound, January 2018. The interaction between fiscal policies within a currency union depends on the degree of trade openness between the members of the union. When monetary policy is constrained by the zero lower bound, fiscal policy can be used to achieve macro stabilization objectives. At the same time, fiscal policy is also a key policy variable within a single currency area that allow policy makers to respond to regional demand asymmetries. How do these two uses of fiscal policy interact with one another? Is there an inherent conflict between the two objectives? How do the answers to these questions depend on the degree of fiscal space available to different members of the currency area...

 

ADB

The Financing of Local Government in the People’s Republic of China: Stimulus Loan Wanes and Shadow Banking Waxes, January 2018. Shadow banking activities in the People's Republic of China have grown since 2012 as a result of a "stimulus-hangover effect." The People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s four-trillion-yuan stimulus package fueled by bank loans in 2009 has led to the rapid growth of shadow banking activities in the PRC after 2012. The local governments in the PRC financed the stimulus plan mainly through bank loans in 2009, and resorted to non-bank debt financing after 2012 given the mounting rollover pressure from bank debt coming due, a manifestation of the stimulus loan-hangover effect...

 

ADB

Global Value Chains and Effective Exchange Rates at the Country-Sector Level, December 2017. The real effective exchange rate (REER) is one of the most cited statistical constructs in open-economy macroeconomics. We show that the models used to compute these numbers are not rich enough to allow for the rising importance of global value chains. Moreover, because different sectors within a country participate in international production sharing in different ways, sector level variations are also important for determining competitiveness. Incorporating these features, we develop a framework to compute REER at the sector, country, and bilateral level and apply it on inter-country input-output tables to study the properties of the new measures of REER for 35 sectors in 40 countries.

 

ADB

The Role of Exporting and Trade for Entry over the Business Cycle, December 2017. We study the role of international trade and the export participation decisions of establishments for firm creation over the business cycle in a general equilibrium model. The model captures two key features of establishment and exporter dynamics: (i) new establishments start small and grow over time, and (ii) exporters tend to be bigger and more productive than non-exporters. When the cost of creating establishments fluctuates with aggregate productivity, we find the model can generate procyclical fluctuations in the stock of domestic establishments and importers similar to the data...

 

ADB

Fair Taxation in the Digital Economy, December 2017. We are living in a technology-driven era in which new developments and innovations are happening at a rate we have never seen before. As technology merges with the economy, we have witnessed the rise of the digital economy, which is growing day by day. The international community—and developing economies particularly—can greatly benefit from these innovations. Policy makers, however, must ensure they are harnessed in a way that ensures the benefits are shared as equitably as possible. With any new development come new challenges. In particular, the spread of the digital economy creates challenges for international taxation as well as domestic tax revenue mobilization...

 

ADB

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APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Journal of Korean Studies, Volume XXI, Number 1, 2017  

IJKS

Southeast Review of Asian Studies, Volume 39, 2017  

SERAS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Economic Issue of the Day:  

PIDS

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PIDS

The 'United States Factor' in Southeast Asia: The Philippine and Singaporean (Re)assesments, December 2017. Ithrana Lawrence, Former Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, explains that “Although recognized as a major non-NATO US ally since 2003, the Philippines increasingly views China as an important and economically attractive source of support.”

 

EWC

Populist Politics in Indonesia, December 2017. Ehito Kimura, Associate Professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, explains that “populism is not just a movement but also a political strategy.”

 

EWC

More Than Submarines: New Dimensions in the Australia–France Strategic Partnership, December 2017. In this compendium examining the France–Australia relationship, we have brought together experts from each country to explore our shared histories and plot a course for where we might take the relationship in the future. Each section examines a different aspect of the relationship—historical, international security, defence and the South Pacific—from a French and an Australian perspective. The experts brought together in this volume cover a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience as officials, academics and practitioners. What emerges is a rich and complex picture of two vibrant and activist countries, grappling with complex problems, but each determined to contribute to making the world safer and more just...

 

ASPI

Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Africa: Mining and Australia’s Interests, November 2017. Australia has commercial and strategic interests in helping to prevent and counter violent extremism in Africa. Australian mining companies are engaged across the continent in Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya and many other countries where there have been high-profile terrorist attacks and kidnappings of foreign nationals, including Australians. Those threats already affect the way Australian mining companies approach their operations on the continent. With rising risks to Australian nationals, businesses and foreign investment through the mining industry, violent extremism in Africa is a direct threat to Australian national interests...

 

ASPI

Australia’s Management of Strategic Risk in the New Era, November 2017. Australia’s strategic outlook is deteriorating and, for the first time since World War II, we face an increased prospect of threat from a major power. This means that a major change in Australia’s approach to the management of strategic risk is needed. Strategic risk is a grey area in which governments need to make critical assessments of capability, motive and intent. Over recent decades, judgements in this area have relied heavily on the conclusion that the capabilities required for a serious assault on Australia simply did not exist in our region. In contrast, in the years ahead, the level of capability able to be brought to bear against Australia will increase, so judgements relating to contingencies and the associated warning time will need to rely less on evidence of capability and more on assessments of motive and intent. Such areas for judgement are inherently ambiguous and uncertain...

 

ASPI

The Missing Middle: a Political Economy of Economic Restructuring in Vietnam, December 2017. Vietnam’s cautious and sequenced adoption of market institutions has brought more than two decades of impressive economic performance, all while leaving the country’s underlying political economy largely intact. Notably, Vietnam has leveraged greater integration with the international economic system, including through ascension to the World Trade Organization in 2007 and the conclusion of a spate of free trade agreements, as a means of reinforcing domestic change...

 

Lowy

Industry Dynamics in Growth Triangles: The E&E Industry in SIJORI 25 Years On, November 2017. The SIJORI Growth Triangle, which encompasses Singapore, Johor (Malaysia) and Batam Island (Indonesia), was launched in 1989 as a ‘single investment destination’ offering differing factor endowments in close proximity. Singapore was the ‘core’ of the region with Johor and Batam occupying the land, labour, and resource-intensive ‘non-core’ spaces. During the 1990s, investment flows into the three territories, particularly in the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry, mirrored this division of labour...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #22: Malaysia's Bumiputera Preferential Regime and Transformation Agenda: Modified Programmes, Unchanged System. Malaysia has employed an extensive, constant and embedded Bumiputera preferential regime for several decades, but in recent years, the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Programme was introduced, aimed at building capable and competitive Bumiputera businesses, and reaching out to disadvantaged Bumiputera students. Official rhetoric and public discourse recurrently and erroneously maintain that need-based and merit-based affirmative action have replaced ethnicity-based programmes. The author proposes a systematic framework for integrating need-based selection...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #21: Parties in the Periphery: Organizational Dilemmas in Indonesia's Kepri Province. Political parties in Indonesia’s Kepri (Kepulauan Riau, or Riau Islands) Province suffer from low organizational capacity. The set-up of their branch offices is barely adequate, with cadres and volunteers acting as the main administrators, while activities, funding and recruitment remain erratic, insufficient and disorganized. Rather uniquely, the province’s capital Tanjungpinang is not its commercial centre, resulting in discrepancies in the organizational priorities of political parties present there. Instead, it is Batam, the commercial capital, that receives greater attention and is more attractive as a location for crowd-intensive events...

 

ISEAS

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, December 2017. The December 2017 Survey was sent out on 23 November 2017 to a total of 28 economists and analysts who closely monitor the Singapore economy. This report reflects the views received from 23 respondents (a response rate of 82.1%) and does not represent MAS’ views or forecasts.

 

MAS

MAS Financial Stability Review, November 2017. While the global economy has strengthened, medium-term vulnerabilities remain Gradual monetary policy normalisation in developed markets continues to support global growth. But accommodative financial conditions have also facilitated financial excesses amid persistent search for yield. This raises the risk of disruptive corrections when the excesses unwind. Within the region, China has shifted its focus to addressing financial stability risks whilst still achieving firm economic growth. Close monitoring is warranted, given potential spillover effects on the global economy and financial markets...

 

MAS

A Guide to Digital Token Offerings, November 2017. On 1 August 2017, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) clarified that if a digital token constitutes a product regulated under the securities laws administered by MAS, the offer or issue of digital tokens must comply with the applicable securities laws. This paper provides general guidance on the application of the securities laws administered by MAS in relation to offers or issues of digital tokens in Singapore. For purposes of this guide, the securities laws refer to the Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289) (“SFA”) and the Financial Advisers Act (Cap. 110) (“FAA”). The contents of this guide are not exhaustive, have no legal effect and do not modify or supersede any applicable laws, regulations or requirements.

 

MAS

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ADB

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ADB

Asian Development Outlook Supplement: A Firmer Growth Outlook for Asia, December 2017. The growth outlook for developing Asia this year is upgraded to 6.0%, or 0.1 percentage points higher than the rate envisaged in September in Asian Development Outlook 2017 Update. The unexpectedly strong expansion in Central, East, and Southeast Asia more than offsets a downward adjustment to growth forecasts for South Asia. In 2018, regional growth is expected to slow slightly to 5.8%, as predicted in the Update. Excluding the newly industrialized economies of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Singapore, Taipei,China, and Hong Kong,China, the growth outlook for the region is revised up to 6.5% from 6.4% for 2017 but unchanged at 6.3% for 2018...

 

ADB

Education and Skills for Inclusive Growth, Green Jobs and the Greening of Economies in Asia--Case Study Summaries of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam, Published 2017. This book presents an overview of the main research findings and case studies concerning education and skills for inclusive growth, green jobs and the greening of economies. Focusing on India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam, it discusses government and business sector responses to these issues and how Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems and institutions are addressing both the renewal of curricula in the context of green growth dynamics, and patterns of training and skills development to meet demands...

 

ADB

Human Capital Development in South Asia: Achievements, Prospects, and Policy Challenges, Published 2017. Human capital is an important factor for economic growth in South Asia. Between ť1981 and 2010, human capital contributed about 22% of annual gross domestic product per worker growth in India. During the same period, it contributed around ?ť21% in Bangladesh, and ť16% in Sri Lanka. However, education and skills remain the binding constraint. Raising the quality of education and skills in South Asia’s workforce can play a critical role in catching up to the level of development of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and other successful Southeast Asian economies...

 

ADB

Pacific Economic Monitor, December 2017. The Pacific is among those parts of the world most vulnerable to weather-related disasters. To illustrate, 5 of the top 15 countries with the highest risk, and 10 of the top 30 facing the largest potential economic losses from disasters, are in the subregion. With climate change bringing additional risks from global sea level rise—and potentially heightening vulnerability to more intense, frequent, and prolonged extreme weather events—Pacific economies are stepping up adaptation efforts to brace for future adverse impacts...

 

ADB

Water–Energy Nexus in the People’s Republic of China and Emerging Issues, Published 2017. This report analyzes the trade-off between the two sectors in the context of the People’s Republic of China and proposes recommendations to ensure that the choices made are sustainable in the long run. Water and energy are both valuable resources and indispensable for human society and economic development. By nature, water and energy are interlinked. Water plays a critical role in the generation of electricity for cooling of thermal power plants and in hydropower, as well as in the production of fossil fuels such as coal; energy is required to treat, distribute, and for wastewater treatment. Choices made in either of the sectors may have unintended and often negative implications on the other sector.

 

ADB

Large-Scale Soil Health Restoration: The Way Forward for Reversing Climate Change while Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security, November 2017. This paper describes soil health, and lists soil-regenerative agriculture practices that can mitigate and reverse climate change, improve water management, and enhance food and nutrition security. Soil has been overlooked as a natural resource yet it can be an ally in bringing carbon dioxide levels down by functioning as a natural carbon sink. Soil health is also central in feeding a growing global population. Healthy soil increases the adaptive capacity of plants to withstand extreme weather conditions and lessens crop failures. Healthy soil is also essential to fight malnutrition, particularly in rural areas.

 

ADB

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