Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

Intellectual property and wealth transfers in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

The 16th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations concluded in Singapore recently with few reports of progress on the remaining difficult issues, which will most likely be left to the end-game of negotiations. Read more…

Political dynasties face a tough time across Asia

Author: Mahendra Ved, New Delhi

Political dynasties are part of the Asian landscape.

The tradition is widely considered undemocratic, particularly in Western countries, but many societies in South and Southeast Asia ask: ‘what’s wrong with progeny following in their parents’ footsteps?’ Read more…

Not so fast: conflicting deadlines for the TPP and US–EU FTA

Author: Claude Barfield, AEI

After a fallow first term, President Obama has embraced an ambitious — but highly problematic — trade agenda for his second term.

First, he has adopted the goal of completing the complex and politically difficult 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) in the next 12 months. Read more…

Aung San Suu Kyi’s struggle for the youth vote

Author: Jacqueline Menager, ANU

The foreign media and the exile community have become increasingly critical of Aung San Suu Kyi’s actions since her release from house arrest in 2010 and election to parliament in 2012.

What is largely missing from this commentary is the voice of Myanmar’s youth, whose opinions are crucial to the country’s future direction. Read more…

The living noodle bowl: ASEAN trade agreements

Authors: Christopher Findlay, University of Adelaide, and Shandre Thangavelu, NUS

Mega-regionalism is a major feature of trade strategies in the Asia Pacific today. The ‘spaghetti bowl’ of interwoven bilateral FTAs offers no real future, a realisation that has led to greater action on multi-country agreements. Read more…

The much needed EU pivot to East Asia

Author: Patrick A. Messerlin, ECIPE and SNU

The EU is facing formidable challenges. The euro crisis is far from over, with expected ‘debt walls’ higher than those predicted a year ago. Less visible, but much more pernicious and damaging, is the lessening of competition in many sectors due to the past several years of crisis, a trend that is evident to varying degrees across all EU member states. Read more…

Serious armed clash on the Korean Peninsula unlikely

Author: Andrei Lankov, Kookmin University and ANU

If the world media is to be believed, the Korean Peninsula is now on the brink of war. Indeed, over the last few days the North Korean government has been engaged in some seriously bellicose rhetoric. Read more…

Oversimplifying Japan’s right turn

Author: Toshiya Takahashi, ANU

Japan’s ‘right turn’ has been in the headlines since the end of 2012.

The victory of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the December 2012 national election brought the hawkish Shinzo Abe into the prime ministership, and a new ‘nationalistic’ party, the Japan Restoration Party (JRP), led by Shintaro Ishihara and Toru Hashimoto, enjoyed a surge of popularity before the election campaign. Read more…

The Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline: Pakistan’s energy lifeline

Author: Sajjad Ashraf, NUS

Defying threats of US sanctions, Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad formally launched construction of the Pakistani side of the IranPakistan gas pipeline on 11 March 2013. Iran has almost completed its side of the work.

The US$7.5 billion pipeline will deliver 750 million cubic feet (21.5 million cubic metres) of gas per day to Pakistan. Read more…

Myanmar has made a good start to economic reform

Author: Sean Turnell, Macquarie University

Myanmar’s President Thein Sein embarked on a global roadshow in the beginning of 2013.

His welcome in Europe, Australia and New Zealand illustrates the dramatic change in global perceptions with respect to Myanmar over the last two years. Read more…

India’s direct cash transfers present an illusory welfare scheme

Author: Raghbendra Jha, ANU

As of March 2013, the Unique Identification Authority of India has generated over 287 million identification numbers as part of what will be the world’s largest biometric database.

The central government intends the new identification system, known as Aadhaar, to form the basis of a new system of direct cash transfers (DCTs) to the poor, in lieu of the various subsidies currently available for necessities such as fuel and food. Read more…

Territorial issues, comfort women, and Japan–ROK relations

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

Strains in Japan–ROK relations, which seriously deteriorated after former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s Takeshima visit stirred tensions and reopened historical wounds, present a challenge not just for the bilateral relationship but also to regional stability. Read more…

ASEAN all quiet on the Sabah front

Author: Kevin H.R. Villanueva, University of Leeds

Amid the spiralling chaos in Lahad Datu, Sabah, a crucial question has been put forth which no one has yet explored: what can ASEAN do?

The answer is, put plainly and simply, nothing. Read more…

China’s reach in the Indian Ocean

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

China’s longstanding relationship with Pakistan and the challenge of China’s remarkable economic rise have encouraged many in the West to see India as a natural Chinese competitor and a useful pawn for the United States in Sino-American strategic play. Read more…

China’s strategic interests in Pakistan’s port at Gwadar

Author: Ghulam Ali, Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad

On 30 January 2013, the Port Singapore Authority (PSA) abandoned administrative control of Gwadar port in Pakistan — five years into a 40-year agreement. Read more…