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

The illusion of a middle power moment

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison chats with US President Donald Trump priot to the session 3 on women's workforce participation, future of work, and ageing societies at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan on 29 June, 2019 (Photo: Reuters/ Kazuhiro Nogi).

Author: Andrew Carr, ANU

To be a middle power requires a modest disbelief in power. These states take their medium-sized resources and direct them towards big objectives. This may be reactive, searching for self-preservation in the face of a hostile larger power. It might also be proactive, trying to shape institutions and norms to build a more hospitable environment. Read more…

Why some advanced countries fail to deal with COVID-19

United States President Donald J Trump, left, and United States Vice President Mike Pence arrive to a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington DC, United States, 13 March 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Stefani Reynolds).

Authors: Elizabeth Thurbon, UNSW and Linda Weiss, Sydney University

Stark differences are emerging in how national authorities in advanced democracies are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Compare the strategic responses of Denmark, Taiwan, and South Korea with the more faltering actions of the United States, Italy and Spain. Read more…

Managing supply chain risk in a post-COVID-19 world

Workers of Chinese e-commerce retailer Suning Group sort out parcels at a distribution center of Suning in Nanjing city, east China's Jiangsu province, 13 November 2018.

Author: Stephen Olson, Hinrich Foundation

The coronavirus pandemic has called into question several assumptions which have underpinned global trade for decades. By the time the dust settles, the world’s approach to trade could look quite different. Read more…

The geopolitical contours of a post-COVID-19 world

Legislators wear masks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the Legislative Council's House Committee meeting, in Hong Kong, China 24 April, 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Author: Deepanshu Mohan, OP Jindal Global University

While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy is more dramatic than any other shock in recent history, the consequences of the virus for the geopolitical order could be even more consequential. A radical shift in the global political economy may be imminent in the post-COVID-19 world. Read more…

Triple-headed crisis calls for global cooperation

People wearing face masks, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, make a line to enter an office building in Beijing, China is 28 April, 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins).

Author: Ye Yu, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies

COVID-19 is still raging around the planet without any signs of retreat. Worryingly, despite the belated commitment of G20 and G7 leaders to act together, in reality every country is still only looking out for itself. Europe’s union is fractured now that it has been an epicentre of the epidemic and the embattled relationship between China and the United States has been further poisoned by COVID-19. Read more…

Organising the post-COVID-19 world and technology

U.N. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres speaks while sitting next to Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during an update on the situation regarding the COVID-19 (previously named novel coronavirus) at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, 24 February 2020. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Pool via Reuters).

Authors: Heather Smith, Canberra and Allan Gyngell, ANU

In 1941, even before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Paul Hasluck, then a public servant and later an Australian Liberal Party foreign minister, recommended the establishment in the Australian Department of External Affairs of a Post-Hostilities Section. Read more…

Asia will fall with the multilateral system unless it now springs to its defence

A police officer wears a mask as he walks in front of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 5 February 2020 (Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song).

Authors: Alex Rouse and Adam Triggs, ANU

The COVID-19 pandemic is a test for the multilateral system — one that could not have come at a worse time. The multilateral system is vital to keep supply chains open, allow medical supplies to flow freely, resist trade protectionism, deal with the international economic and financial repercussions and coordinate financial assistance to countries in need.

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How and when to restart the economy after the coronavirus

A woman wearing a face mask sits next to a fruit stall at a residential area after the lockdown was lifted in Wuhan, Hubei, 11 April 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Aly Song).

Author: Editorial Board, ANU

The Wuhan lockdown has now been lifted and the Chinese government’s new challenge is to restart its economy while guarding against a second wave of infections. It took 40 days from the peak of the health crisis until its containment. Restoring economic growth will take at least 40 days, even if everything goes more or less right.

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How the G20 could promote trade and investment

Officials from South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae prepare for the special meeting of the G20 in Seoul, South Korea, 26 March 2020 (Photo: Reuters).

Authors: Jeffrey J Schott, Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Euijin Jung, PIIE

The G20 record on trade is spotty and ineffectual — commitments to resist protectionism and strengthen world trading rules are regularly issued but almost never implemented. Since 2017, even the facade of cooperation has faded as US officials refuse to accept commitments without caveats that accommodate US restrictions on trade and investment.

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Struggling to marshal collective action against COVID-19

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with G7 leaders during a teleconference while under self-isolation in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 16 March 2020 (Photo: Prime Minister's Office via Reuters).

Authors: Alan S Alexandroff, University of Toronto, Colin Bradford, Brookings and Yves Tiberghien, UBC

The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest and most dramatic manifestation of globalisation impacting people around the world. While the pandemic calls for global collective action, leading states and global institutions don’t appear prepared to come together and act decisively.

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G20 leaders fail to step up

Video conference of G20 leaders, 26 March 2020 (Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR via Agencia Brasil; Creative Commons).

Author: Editorial Board, ANU

A US$1 trillion increase in the IMF’s crisis-fighting war chest, US$5 trillion in coordinated fiscal stimulus, US$250 billion to support trade finance, US$100 billion of additional lending by the multilateral development banks, the creation of new international institutions and reforms to existing ones, a commitment to reform global finance and a pledge not to impose any trade protectionist measures.

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Australia in a post-COVID-19 world

Workers make masks at a medical supplies company on 11 February 2020 (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Allan Gyngell, ANU

COVID-19 has done more to close borders, reverse globalisation, decouple supply chains and marginalise multilateral institutions than the most fervent efforts of the world’s populist nationalists.

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Can we stop the protectionist wave?

A worker cycles past containers outside a logistics center near Tianjin Port, in northern China (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee).

Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Euijin Jung, PIIE

Globalisation was under threat even before the pandemic. US President Donald Trump set the tone by declaring himself ‘tariff man’, imposing bogus ‘national security’ tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from allies while launching a trade war with China and eviscerating the WTO Appellate Body. But Trump was not alone in attacking the global trading system.

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Abe’s fragile success at the G20

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/ Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool)

Author: Kazuhiko Togo, Kyoto Sangyo University

The Osaka G20 summit was an opportunity for Japan to demonstrate its leadership to the world. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe successfully navigated competing interests and tension at the summit, achieving fragile compromises between states. But this may not be enough to contain the rivalry among major global powers. Read more…

Stoking the engines of China’s next growth wave

A Chinese flag is seen near a construction site in Beijing's central business area, China, 17 January 2017. (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee)

Authors: Ligang Song, ANU, Yixiao Zhou, ANU, and Luke Hurst, Asialink Business

The highly publicised meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the recent G20 Osaka summit signals a temporary truce in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. While the return of China and the United States to the negotiating table may give international markets some breathing space, big questions about global growth remain. Read more…