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April, 2015 Current Topics

 

Source

 

 

 

 

Asian Development Outlook 2015: Financing Asia's Future Growth (Highlights, Full Report). The drop in international oil prices is taking pressure off of consumer prices. Inflation will slow from 3.1% in 2014 to 2.6% in 2015. As low oil prices are supporting growth in developing Asia, a sudden sharp reversal could undermine the outlook and require policy response. Similarly, while capital inflows to the region have been beneficial for growth, policy makers must carefully manage credit expansion to ensure that it does not lead to excessive leverage and asset price bubbles. Developing Asia needs a deep, robust financial sector to sustain growth. Policy makers will be challenged to ensure that financial sector development is inclusive, providing broad access to households and firms. Financial stability must also be maintained to enhance growth and equity.

 

ADB

Asia Bond Monitor, March 2015 reviews recent developments in East Asian local currency bond markets along with the outlook, risks, and policy options. This issue includes a special section on Oil and Gas Companies’ Bonds in Asia. Local currency (LCY) bond markets in emerging East Asia started the year well despite uncertainties over the Greek debt crisis and the end of quantitative easing in the United States (US). Bond yields in most emerging East Asian economies were pushed down by a reduction in inflationary expectations amid a fall in oil prices...

 

ADB

Asian Development Review, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2015 (Full Report):
Special Issue on the People's Republic of China
  ADB

Regional Economic Integration and Multilateralism: The Case of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA and the Malaysia-New Zealand FTA, April 2015. Regional economic integration is back in vogue following the "stumble" in the Doha Round in July 2008. Preferential trade agreements (PTAs) are driving this trend in Asia and the Pacific as well as in Central and South America, and the sheer volume of PTAs is striking. In the 1990s there were barely five PTAs in force, but now there are more than 200 either under negotiation or in force. In this regard, Asia and the Pacific has developed a rapidly evolving regional economic architecture that spans two major plurilateral agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (or ASEAN+6 RCEP), as well as the putative Free Trade Agreement of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which received a new lease on life through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' meeting in Beijing late last year. ASEAN, as a group or individually, has been particularly busy in this sphere, deliberately using PTAs as a supplement to its own regional integration process...

 

ADB

Japan's Lost Decade: Lessons for Other Economies, April 2015. Japan has suffered from sluggish economic growth and recession since the 1990s, a phenomenon dubbed "Japan's Lost Decade." The People's Republic of China, many countries in the eurozone, and the United States may face similar problems in future and they have been concerned by Japan's long-term recession. This paper will address why Japan's economy has stagnated since the bursting of its economic bubble. Our empirical analysis challenges the beliefs of some western economists, such as Paul Krugman, that the Japanese economy is in a liquidity trap. We argue that Japan's economic stagnation stems from a vertical IS curve rather than a liquidity trap...

 

ADB

Investment Finance and Financial Sector Development, March 2015. Investment in infrastructure for increasing trade and connectivity in South Asia and Southeast Asia has been impacted by a reduction in commercial bank participation in project financing, which has significantly increased the role of multilateral financial institutions and export credit agencies. The financing model needs to change to more sustainable local market and local currency financing by harnessing domestic savings, and this will be crucial if the region is to procure investments of an estimated $3.6 trillion by 2020 for financing of its infrastructure and connectivity projects...

 

ADB

Connecting South Asia and Southeast Asia, Published 2015. This book analyzes how closer regional connectivity and economic integration between South Asia and Southeast Asia can benefit both subregions, with a focus on the role played by infrastructure and public policies in facilitating this process. It examines major developments in South Asia–Southeast Asia trade and investment, economic cooperation, the role of economic corridors, and regional cooperation initiatives. In particular, it identifies significant opportunities for strengthening these integration efforts as a result of the recent opening up of Myanmar in political, economic, and financial terms...

 

ADB

Ecosystem Based Adaptation to Address Climate Change Challenges in the Greater Mekong Subregion, Published 2015. Greater Mekong Subregion countries need to strengthen the resilience of their natural and human systems to safeguard the region’s natural wealth and development gains in the face of climate change challenges. The publication summarizes the current state of Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) knowledge and experience on ecosystem-based approaches. It draws upon work of the GMS Core Environment Program and partner institutions, including findings from the regional workshop “Mainstreaming an Ecosystem-based Approach to Climate Change into Biodiversity Conservation Planning,” which took place 15–16 October 2013 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam...

 

ADB

Unlocking Indonesia's Geothermal Potential, Published 2015. This report produced jointly by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank is based on a series of technical assistance activities conducted during 2013-2014. The study documents key issues that have constrained the development of Indonesia's geothermal power development sector, including tariffs, tendering processes, financial considerations, permitting, and inter-agency coordination. The report then makes a set of comprehensive recommendations to unlock the potential of the sector, including a new tariff regime, improvements to the tendering process, re-negotiation of power purchase agreements, and innovative modes of financing and project de-risking...

 

ADB

NARBO: A Decade of Achievements (2004-2014) : Promoting Integrated Water Resources Management and Improving Water Governance, Published 2015. In order to address Asia's water security issues, an integrated and comprehensive approach for better water resources management is essential. The Network of Asian River Basin Organizations (NARBO) was launched in 2004 to promote integrated water resources management (IWRM) and improve water governance in the region...

 

ADB

The PLA's Evolving Global Role and New Security Initiatives, March 2015. China’s increased openness, accelerating economic development, and the emergence of new security challenges and relationships in the post-Cold War world have cast the Chinese military and its role in a new light. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has adapted accordingly, and has become an important actor in international security affairs, shedding its prior isolation. This paper outlines the various international and regional security initiatives the PLA takes part in today, and links these to an evolution of the Chinese national security concept.

 

ISDP

SME Internationalization and Measurement, March 2015. This policy brief examines different forms of SME internationalization, and discusses methods to measure the degree of internationalization of SMEs. It also explores feasible ways for APEC to measure SME internationalization in the region

 

APEC

Value Chain Resilience in the Asia Pacific: A Synthesis Report, March 2015. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Policy Support Unit (APEC PSU), in consultation with the Committee of Trade and Investment (CTI), conducted four studies to deepen understanding and increase awareness of the emerging systemic risks and value chain resilience (VCR) by evaluating three elements of resilience—value chain risks, strength and connectedness—quantitatively and estimating their impact on the APEC region’s trade and investment. This synthesis report attempts to summarize the main findings of those studies as well as the policy implications and the way forward.

 

APEC

Education Guideline 5: Inspiring the Next Generation of Standards Professionals - Towards Job Profiling in Today's Global World, March 2015. This project aims to explore the skill-set required by standards professionals to meet the needs of businesses, government agencies, education institutes, and standards-related organization in the APEC region.

 

APEC

Hong Kong: High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2015Q2, April 2015. Clouded by the risk of interest rate hike and the US dollar appreciation, we remain optimistic in the short term. In the short run, we expect Hong Kong to have another modest growth year in 2015, supported by local demand throughout 2015 and external demand in the latter part of 2015. Hong Kong’s real GDP is expected to grow by 2.8% in 2015 for the year as a whole, likely between 2.5% and 3.1%, slightly higher than the 2.3% growth in 2014.

 

HKU

The Strategic Dimension of 'Option J': Australia's Submarine Choice and Its Security Relations with Japan, March 2015. There’s a possibility that Australia’s future submarine (FSM) will be based on a Japanese design. The government has explicitly kept that option open, along with the possibility of buying the boats from Germany or France. Wherever the FSM is designed, built, or both, the supplier’s political reliability and technological suitability are vital, as is establishing trust in the ability of both sides to work together effectively and efficiently on such a complex capability. This paper examines what a possible Australian–Japanese submarine deal would mean for the wider relationship between the two countries, as well as the geostrategic implications.

 

ASPI

Thailand's Economic Integration with Neighboring Countries and Possible Connectivity with South Asia, April 2015. This paper reviews the current stages of Thailand's intra-regional trade, physical connectivity, trade facilitation, energy cooperation, and infrastructure funding as there are projects planned in these areas that could impact Thailand and its links to Southeast Asia and beyond to South Asia. However, Thailand's political instability impedes the progress and implementation of such projects. The paper also examines the current financing mechanism of Thailand's infrastructure projects that relies heavily on public spending...

 

ADB

The Middle-Income Transition around the Globe: Characteristics of Graduation and Slowdown, March 2015. The paper investigates the situation of middle-income economies around the world. Since 1965, only 18 economies with a population of more than 3 million and not dependent on oil exports have made the transition to being high income. Many more have not been able to move beyond the middle-income stage...

 

ADB

Journal of Global Buddhism, Volume 16, 2015  

JGB

Australia and Climate Change Negotiations: At the Table, or on the Menu? March 2015. In this Analysis, Howard Bamsey and Kath Rowley argue that any failure to pay proper, high-level attention to the current international climate change negotiations raises several risks to the national interest. Strong, constructive engagement in those negotiations by Australia would serve climate...

 

Lowy

Full Spectrum Defence: Re-Thinking the Fundamentals of Australian Defence Strategy, March 2015. In this Analysis, Alan Dupont argues that successive Australian governments have failed to define an effective national defence strategy. Australia needs a defence strategy that counters threats across multiple domains, is based on more diverse regional defence relationships, and is underpinned by...

 

Lowy

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, March 2015. The MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters provides a summary of forecasts of Singapore's key economic indicators by economists and analysts. The survey is conducted quarterly following the release of economic data for the previous quarter by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

 

MAS

Adjustments of Capital Account Restrictions and Exchange Rate Regimes in East Asia, March 2015. This paper discusses adjustments of capital account restrictions and exchange rate regimes in East Asia. Monetary authorities have two options for these adjustments: gradual adjustments or rapid adjustments. We analyze the costs and benefits for both adjustment options in each area, i.e., capital account restrictions and exchange rate regime. The paper provides prominent country cases for each adjustment option to emphasize the benefits for policymakers. We then propose four transition policy options for East Asian countries aiming to relax capital account restrictions and increase flexibility in exchange rates from fixed regimes with capital account controls.

 

ADB

Myanmar: Cross-cutting Governance Challenges, March 2015. Specifically, the paper discusses outstanding problem areas related to economic governance, particularly in the legal system, the business regulatory framework, and in bureaucratic capacity as well as the potential use of external policy anchors, particularly in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process, to strengthen Myanmar’s ongoing reform effort...

 

ADB

An Emerging 3rd Pillar in Asian Architecture? AIIB and Other China-led Initiatives, March 2015. Cheng-Chwee Kuik, Associate Professor, Strategic Studies and International Relations at the National University of Malaysia, explains that “the emerging institutional pole is China-centered [and] anchored on remuneration-calculated and identity-based ‘common security’.”

 

EWC

A Little Help from Our Friends: Security Partnerships and the Rebalance, March 2015. Marvin Ott, senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and Julia Allen, strategic studies major at Johns Hopkins University, explain that "the Rebalance will be unsustainable without heavy reliance on tangible expressions of regional support [from critical partners] Australia, the Philippines, and Singapore."

 

EWC

Anchors and Antidotes: The Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership, March 2015. Malcolm Cook, senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, and Thomas Wilkins, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney, explain that "The rapid development of the Japan-Australia security partnership over the last decade and into the future is anchored in their respective alliance relationships with the United States and support for US regional leadership."

 

EWC

Global Strategic Patenting and Innovation--Policy and Research Implications, February 2015. As an exclusionary property right, patents invite their use as a strategic weapon to shape markets and to reap monopoly rents through patent monetization. The increasing variety and global reach of strategic patenting strategies pose new and under-researched challenges for the international distribution of innovation gains. This think piece explores the proliferation of strategic patenting strategies, and highlights the growing complexity and uncertainty of the international patent system that result from the increasing use of patents as market deterrents and as a new asset class...

 

EWC

Reinventing Asian Populism: Jokowi's Rise, Democracy, and Political Contestation in Indonesia, Published 2015. Around the globe, populists have used the decline of established political parties and widespread societal fears of globalization to launch increasingly successful electoral campaigns. Indonesia is no exception. In the 2014 presidential elections, two populists even competed against each other—albeit with vastly different concepts of populism. Prabowo Subianto, the wealthy former son-in-law of ex-autocrat Suharto, offered a classic populist paradigm based on anti-foreign rhetoric, condemnation of the status quo, appeal to the poor, and neo-authoritarian reform plans. By contrast, his opponent, the down-to-earth former carpenter and Jakarta governor...

 

EWC

Making Timber Plantations an Attractive Business for Smallholders, March 2015. The businesses of most smallholder timber growers are not strictly market-oriented. Consequently, opportunities to make better income from timber selling are often lost. Timber plantations generate important additional income for farmers. In Gunungkidul district, Indonesia, where smallholder teak plantations are grown, timber selling contributes about 15% of farmers total income...

 

CIFOR

Do Tree Plantations Support Forest Conservation? January 2015. Tree plantations potentially support natural forest conservation. The main hypothesis for this effect is that tree plantations substitute natural forests for production, especially when plantations achieve high productivity. An exhaustive review of the published literature shows a diversity of analytical approaches with theoretical modeling, econometrics or descriptive statistics as main categories...

 

CIFOR

Port Congestion and Underutilization in the Greater Capital Region: Unpacking the Issues, March 2015. This Policy Note presents the key findings of a study that investigated the causes behind the congestion in the Port of Manila and the underutilization of Batangas and Subic Ports. Using survey and focus group discussion, the study looked into the factors that affect the decision of shippers, freight forwarders, logistics services providers, and truckers on their choice of port and their satisfaction ratings of their chosen port. The Note ends with some short-, medium-, and long-term measures to address the congestion and underutilization issues.

 

PIDS

K to 12 Reform: Implications of Adding Grades 11 and 12 on the Higher Education Subsector, March 2015. This Policy Note does an initial assessment of the K to 12 program`s effects on the supply of classrooms and teachers vis-a-vis the projected demand. It points to some windows of opportunities that may be considered as possible solutions, such as allowing higher education institutions to absorb the additional demand for places in SHSs.

 

PIDS

Promoting Women`s Participation in the APEC Economies: Some Recommendations, February 2015. At the level of the national economy, efforts must now be taken to ensure that women`s economic opportunities are not eroded and that women are prepared to cope with the challenges of the new order. Women enterprises should be strengthened to prepare them to compete in the global marketplace amid environmental and business challenges. At the regional level, APEC has implemented a number of women-related directives and initiatives. One of the recommendations is more involvement of women in the business sector...

 

PIDS

Choke Points and Opportunities in the Supply Chain of ASEAN Agricultural Products: A Philippine Country Study, Published 2014. This study identifies and examines "choke points" in the supply chain of two selected commodity groups that are of interest to the region of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations: crude coconut oil (which belongs to the HS15 group), and fish and crustacean, mollusks, and other aquatic invertebrates (which belong to the HS03 group)...

 

PIDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASEAN Ascending: Achieving 'Centrality' in the Emerging Asian Order, March 2015. One factor that’s likely to bear heavily on the future trajectory of the proposed ASEAN Community is the influence of an increasingly assertive government in Beijing. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is now the pre-eminent power in Southeast Asia. To be successful, the ASEAN Community will also require considerable backing from the US—the other major power in Southeast Asia. Ultimately, it will be up to ASEAN itself to achieve centrality and thereby remain a relevant player in the emerging Asian order.

 

ASPI

Nuclear Latency and the Future Strategic Environment, March 2015. Since the 1946 ‘Report on the International Control of Atomic Energy’ and the closely associated Baruch Plan formulated by the United States, ‘nuclear latency’ —put simply, the potential for countries to obtain nuclear weapons capability—has been a factor threatening to undermine strategic equilibrium on the world stage. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and resulting nonproliferation regime may have allayed mid-20th century concerns about the rate of spread of nuclear weapons, but the notion of nuclear latency has by no means become obsolete...

 

ASPI

Australia, Indonesia and the Prisoner's Dilemma, March 2015. The bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia has long been a fraught one. The latest tussle, over the imminent execution of two Australian prisoners in Indonesia, prompted a series of posts on ASPI’s blog, The Strategist, framing the broader relationship in the context of the Prisoner’s Dilemma model from game theory...

 

ASPI

Dynamic Effect of a Change in the Exchange Rate System: From a Fixed Regime to a Basket-Peg or a Floating Regime, March 2015. This paper theoretically evaluates the dynamic effects of a shift in an exchange rate system from a fixed regime to a basket peg, or to a floating regime, and obtains transition paths for the shift based on a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of a small open economy. We apply quantitative analysis using data from the People's Republic of China and Thailand and find that a small open country would be better off shifting to a basket peg or to a floating regime than maintaining a dollar-peg regime with capital controls over the long run.

 

ADB

Price Discovery and Foreign Participation in the Republic of Korea's Government Bond Cash and Futures Markets, March 2015. Using daily data from the over-the-counter market for cash and the Korea Exchange for futures transactions, the results show that foreign trading in the KTB futures market leads the price discovery process for the underlying bonds. Specifically, foreigners’ daily net long positions in the futures market exert significant influence in both KTB cash and futures prices. The empirical findings also indicate that it is the unexpected component of foreign investors’ net long futures positions that explains a significant share of the pricing effects.

 

ADB

IFAP Implementation in Facilitating Investment for the Asia Pacific Region: 2014 Update, March 2015. This report analyzes the progress of five APEC member economies have made toward reaching IFAP implementation goals. The Policy Support Unit (PSU) was asked to assist the Investment Experts’ Group (IEG) in preparing an analysis of the progress that APEC has made in implementing the agreed-upon IFAP principles and a review of APEC completed projects that are related with IFAP.

 

APEC

APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Identifying and Addressing Impediments to Improve a Business-Friendly Infrastructure Investment in the APEC Region, February 2015. The Dialogue sought to create a suitable platform for the representatives from public and private sector to discuss and to identify unnecessary impediments with regard to the Infrastructure Investment in the APEC Region.

 

APEC

APEC at a Glance, 2015. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was established in 1989 to capitalize on the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies. This handy publication lists APEC's goals, modus operandi and member economies.

 

APEC

Study Report of APEC Low Carbon Model Town Development Index System, February 2015. Recognizing the importance of environmental and energy issues, the international community has convened several international conferences on reducing the emission of greenhouse gas, energy saving and development of alternative energy and exploring strategies for sustainable development. This report looks at the index system for APEC Low-Carbon Model Town development in China.

 

APEC

Requesting Mutual Legal Assistance in criminal matters from APEC Economies: A Step-by-Step Guide, Published 2014. This guide provides concise, step-by-step instructions on how to initiate and successfully conduct requests for mutual legal assistance made within the APEC region.

 

APEC

Promoting Infrastructure Investment in APEC Region through Public-Private Partnerships, August 2014. This publication, entitled “Promoting Infrastructure Investment in the APEC Region through Public-Private Partnership” is a research report on the 2014 APEC Investment Experts' Group Public-Private Dialogue held in Beijing, China.

 

APEC

Policy Enablers for New Wind Energy Markets, March 2015. This paper focuses on wind energy policies in the emerging wind energy markets and provides lessons learned from developed wind markets and three new markets—Mongolia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. It is based on the work done by the Quantum Leap in Wind Power Development in Asia and the Pacific (QLW), a project funded by the Asian Development Bank to facilitate wind power sector development in developing countries...

 

ADB

Paper-Free Trade for Smallholder Farmers: A Pilot Study of a Coffee Association in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, February 2015. The time and money savings obtained by the coffee producer organization in document handling demonstrate to governments and small businesses the wider benefits of online information transfer and provide impetus for streamlining the approval of cross-border trade documents...

 

ADB

Proceedings of the Second South Asia Judicial Roundtable on Environmental Justice Thimphu, Bhutan 30-31 August 2013, Published 2015. This publication documents the proceedings of the Second South Asia Judicial Roundtable on Environmental Justice, held on 30–31 August 2013 in Thimphu, Bhutan. It brought together chief justices, senior judges, and experts from various fields to consider common environmental challenges in the region, share experiences, and discuss opportunities for cooperation between judiciaries to enhance environmental adjudication and enforcement...

 

ADB

Building Human Capital through Labor Migration in Asia, Published 2015. This report is a summary of the major policy issues raised at discussions at the Fourth Roundtable on Labor Migration. It outlines the trends in labor migration in Asia and reviews the links between migration and human capital development. It also includes an overview of national initiatives and bilateral agreements on this issue as well as an examination of the impact of migration on family members, especially children, "left behind."...

 

ADB

Labor Migration, Skills and Student Mobility in Asia, Published 2014. This report is a summary of the major policy issues raised at discussions at the Third Roundtable on Labor Migration. It highlights the trends and outlook for labor migration in Asia and assesses the labor market requirements for foreign workers, with a focus on building a skills mobility area among the ASEAN member states, links to education, as well as management of low-skilled migration and promotion of decent work opportunities for labor migrants...

 

ADB

ASEAN, PRC, and India: The Great Transformation, Published 2014. This book focuses on the prospects and challenges for growth and transformation of the region's major and rapidly growing emerging economies to 2030. It also examines the drivers of growth and development in the ACI economies and the factors that will affect the quality of that development. It explores links among the ACI economies and how these may shape regional and global competition and cooperation...

 

ADB

ASEAN 2030: Toward a Borderless Economic Community, Published 2014. This book investigates long-term development issues for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It finds that with a proper policy mix including domestic structural reforms and bold initiatives for regional integration, by 2030 ASEAN has the potential to reach the average quality of life enjoyed today in advanced economies. Through closer integration, ASEAN can form a partnership for shared prosperity, regionally and globally...

 

ADB

Trade Policy in Asia: Higher Education and Media Services, Published 2014. The provision of education and media services involves extensive public sector participation and significant domestic regulation. At the same time, they are dramatically affected by the information and communication technology revolution. This book provides readers with a comprehensive and consistent treatment of policy in the higher education and media services sector across Asia, identifying common elements and highlighting critical implications for trade policy...

 

ADB

Connecting Central Asia with Economic Centers, Published 2014. This report by the Asian Development Bank Institute offers a macroeconomic overview of Central Asia from 1990 to the present; examines trade ties between Central Asia and economic centers; analyzes foreign direct investment links; examines finance, infrastructure, migration, institutions, and other linkages; and provides key policy recommendations for Central Asia's regional and global economic connectivity...

 

ADB

Connecting Central Asia with Economic Centers: Interim Report, Published 2014. This is the interim report of the ADBI study on Connecting Central Asia with Economic Centers, focusing on Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The aim of the study is to examine the pattern of economic relationships between these economies and major economic centers, highlight emerging challenges, and explore policy implications. It considers trade ties, foreign direct investment and financial flows, migration and remittances, and institutional cooperation between Central Asian economies and major economic centers...

 

ADB

Financial Inclusion in Asia: Country Surveys, Published 2014. This book surveys the efforts to broaden financial inclusion in five major economies: the People's Republic of China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. While much progress has been made, the challenge of providing universal access remains a daunting one. Ensuring that every household has a deposit account is a first step but more is required, including access to credit and insurance as well as efficient methods to transfer money, such as remittances...

 

ADB

Operationalizing Economic Corridors in Central Asia: A Case Study of the Almaty–Bishkek Corridor, Published 2014. Under recently approved plans of the Government of Kazakhstan, regional development within the country will be focused on increased size and economic density of urban clusters through agglomeration, combined with good links between urban clusters and smaller cities and rural areas. This ambitious agenda, if realized, will contribute to significant growth of Almaty’s economy. Although the information available for Bishkek’s development plans is less specific on investments, it indicates a strategic thrust toward enhancing the business climate, greater transparency, and improved governance to attract private investments into the city...

 

ADB

Handbook for Rooftop Solar Development in Asia, Published 2014. Drawing on ADB’s experience, this handbook aims to demystify the process of developing solar photovoltaic projects in urban areas, providing detailed descriptions and guidance for all stages of development, including initial prefeasibility assessment, design, financing, procurement, and operations and maintenance...

 

ADB

A Western Strategy for the South Caucasus, February 2015. The Caucasus is key to any Western efforts to shape future interactions between Europe and the Middle East, and to Western commercial and strategic interests in Eurasia. At a time when the two most salient challenges to the transatlantic alliance are Russia’s aggressive expansionism and the Islamic radicalism in the Middle East, the Caucasus is a strategically important pressure point in both directions. This alone should dictate a growing American and European engagement with the states of the Caucasus, but instead Western influence in the region is at an all-time low. As Western influence has declined, the region’s development has stagnated, threatening its long-term viability and eroding Western interests...

 

ISDP

The PLA and Student Recruits: Reforming China's Conscription System, January 2015. China’s conscription system has come into focus in recent years amidst changes in the regulations governing the enlistment of college student recruits into the country’s military forces. In 2001, in accordance with the amended Regulations on Conscription Work, the People’s Liberation Army began to enlist college students with 2,000 students being conscripted that year. Since then, the number has grown significantly to a yearly intake of nearly 150,000 in 2014. This paper accordingly examines the content of these changes, the reasons behind them, and their implications. The author argues that the driving force behind the change in the system is that the enlistment of college students is urgently needed to rapidly advance the modernization of China’s national defense and the armed forces...

 

ISDP

Putin's Grand Strategy: The Eurasian Union and Its Discontents, Published 2014. Bringing together a group of leading American and European experts, this is the first book-length study of Russian President Vladimir Putin's effort to create a Eurasian Union. The book indicates the ideological origins and character of this project; focusing not only on Putin's strategic objectives but the tactics he employs to achieve them. The volume stresses the high degree of coordination that has been achieved among sectors of the Russian state that are accustomed to function as sovereign bureaucracies...

 

ISDP

Iranian Foreign Policy under Rouhani, February 2015. In this Lowy Institute Analysis Rodger Shanahan examines changes in Iranian foreign policy under President Rouhani. He argues that while the Iranian President has changed the tone of Iranian foreign policy, changing the substance will prove much more difficult...

 

Lowy

Trends in Southeast Asia 2015 #02: The Armed Forces in Myanmar Politics: A Terminating Role?. While the constitution under which the current government of President Thein Sein was created in 2011 has all the characteristics expected of a modern republic, the continued autonomy and political role of the armed forces are perceived by opponents of the regime as an anomaly. Despite this apparent anomaly, the speed and thoroughness with which the transition from military authoritarian rule to most, if not all, of the features expected of a system of “democratic” rule has surprised most observers and analysts of the current Myanmar situation...

 

ISEAS

The Conflict in Northern Myanmar: Another American Anti-China Conspiracy? February 2015. Yun Sun, fellow of the Stimson Center and the Brookings Institution, explains that "Great powers like China and the U.S. should be particularly careful and guarded against manipulations from local players. Washington and Beijing are seeking cooperation on many important fronts and progress in Myanmar should not be sabotaged by manufactured stories about each other's policies."

 

EWC

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership: New Paradigm or Old Wine in a New Bottle? February 2015. Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS Fellow and Lead Researcher at the ASEAN Studies Centre, explains that, "Although RCEP could be an easier negotiating path for the ASEAN nations and others, there is a high chance that it may lose sight of its strategic goals, such as maintaining centrality, that make it an attractive proposition in the first place."

 

EWC

India's Economic Potential in Looking East, February 2015. Ganeshan Wignaraja, Director of Research at the Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo, explains that "India has a comparative advantage in services sectors and RCEP provides inroads for Indian services in China and the rest of East Asia."

 

EWC

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Policy Notes:

 

PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Discussion Paper Series:

 

PIDS

Philippine Agriculture Saddled by Poor Irrigation Systems, October-December 2014. The main feature in this issue dwells on the critical policy issues in irrigation development confronting the agriculture sector. In particular, it discusses the unsuitable design of irrigation systems arising from poor assumptions and technical calculations, the trade-offs between construction of new systems and rehabilitation of existing ones, operational and maintenance issues, and financing and cost recovery...

 

PIDS

Amending the Economic Provisions of the 1987 Constitution, December 2014. Amending the Constitution`s economic provisions is an ideal recourse for the Philippines if it wants to benefit from the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The country needs to be competitive in order to take advantage of the growing marketplace of opportunities, especially for small and medium enterprises. Platforms like the AEC and other free trade agreements are gaining more success in terms of reducing or removing market entry and access issues.

 

PIDS

Examining How Long Fallow Swidden Systems Impact upon Livelihood and Ecosystem Services Outcomes Compared with Alternative Land-Uses in the Uplands of Southeast Asia, Published 2015. Swidden agriculture or shifting cultivation has been practised in the uplands of Southeast Asia for centuries and is estimated to support up to 500 million people most of whom are poor, natural resource reliant uplanders. Recently, however, dramatic land-use transformations have generated social, economic and ecological impacts that have affected the extent, practice and outcomes of swidden in the region...

 

CIFOR

To What Extent Does the Presence of Forests and Trees Contribute to Food Production in Humid and Dry Forest Landscapes?: A Systematic Review Protocol, Published 2015. This review assesses the strength of the evidence that reports how forests and trees contribute to agricultural (food) production in order to prioritize further research for better decision-making. The search strategy employs terms from studies on forests, agroforestry, ecosystem services and agriculture across a range of bibliographic databases, internet and specialist search engines and an open call for gray literature...

 

CIFOR

Does Production of Oil Palm, Soybean, or Jatropha Change Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions in Tropical Forests, Published 2014. Biofuels, or fuels derived from transformation of biological matter, are hailed by some as a promising source of renewable energy potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A widespread adoption of biofuels will however present its own set of challenges and consequences...

 

CIFOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

Towards "Trade Policy Analysis 2.0": From National Comparative Advantage to Firm-Level Trade Data, February 2015. This paper makes the case for the need to "upgrade" current analytical tools used for trade policy analysis and complement them with more detailed firm-level data. Such an upgrade should be based on the latest intellectual advancements in trade theories and the latest firm-level trade statistics that are now becoming widely available. An upgraded "Trade Policy Analysis 2.0" could contribute to several trade policy priorities and to a better understanding of the benefits from international trade for firm competitiveness, job creation, and consumer welfare.

 

ADB

SME Internationalization through Global Value Chains and Free Trade Agreements: Malaysian Evidence, February 2015. Growing internationalization of firms in Asia through participation in global value chains (GVCs) and free trade agreements (FTAs) has focused attention on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Yet there is scant literature on the characteristics of SMEs involved in GVCs and FTAs. Malaysia is reputed for its engagement in GVCs and is actively pursuing FTAs. Drawing on a survey of Malaysian enterprises, this paper examines the characteristics of SMEs in GVCs and FTAs and explores the policy implications. It finds that even among SMEs, firm size matters for participation in GVCs and FTAs...

 

ADB

Dynamic Shift to a Basket-Peg or Floating Regime in East Asian Countries in Response to the People's Republic of China's Transition to a New Exchange Rate Regime, February 2015. This paper analyzes a desirable transition path for East Asian countries given the People's Republic of China's (PRC's) transition to a new exchange rate regime. It attempts to answer two main questions: (i) Would these countries be better off shifting to either a basket peg or a floating regime following the PRC's transition to a basket peg regime? (ii) How and when should these countries shift to the desired regime...

 

ADB

Trilemma Challenges for the People's Republic of China, February 2015. This paper first reviews recent developments in exchange rate regimes, capital account liberalization, interest rate liberalization, and monetary policymaking in the People's Republic of China (PRC). It then observes that the PRC's monetary policy autonomy may have been reduced with falling capital control effectiveness and a rigid exchange regime that is still tightly managed against the United States (US) dollar...

 

ADB

Financial Inclusion, Poverty, and Income Inequality in Developing Asia, January 2015. This paper presents a broad-based financial inclusion indicator to assess various macroeconomic and country-specific factors affecting the degree of financial inclusion for 37 selected developing Asian economies. Using the newly constructed financial inclusion indicator, this paper finds that per capita income, rule of law, and demographic structure are highly correlated with financial inclusion. Empirical findings also show that financial inclusion is significantly associated with lower poverty and income inequality in the region.

 

ADB

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, December 2014. The MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters provides a summary of forecasts of Singapore's key economic indicators by economists and analysts. The survey is conducted quarterly following the release of economic data for the previous quarter by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

 

MAS

MAS Financial Stability Review, November 2014. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) conducts regular assessments of risks and vulnerabilities arising from developments in Singapore and the global economy, and assesses their implications for the soundness and stability of Singapore’s financial system. The analyses and results are contained in the Financial Stability Review (FSR), which aims to contribute to a greater understanding among market participants, analysts and the public on issues affecting Singapore's financial system.

 

MAS

Hong Kong: High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2015Q1, January 2015. According to its High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecast, real GDP in 14Q4 is estimated to grow by 2.5% when compared with the same period in 2013. This is an upward revision from the previous forecast release of 2.1%. This revision reflects the stronger-than-expected private consumption. In 15Q1, real GDP growth is forecast to be 2.4% when compared with the same period last year...

 

HKU

Trends in Southeast Asia 2015 #01: China's Quest for Energy in Southeast Asia: Impact and Implications. Energy cooperation between China and ASEAN countries since its initiation in the late 1970s has been viewed as an important part of China-ASEAN relations. As China expanded its FDI to Southeast Asia after the global financial crisis in 2008, cooperation in this field developed to a new level, extending from energy trade to energy resource exploration and related infrastructure-building. However, while some momentum exists towards continued cooperation, several factors are pushing the region towards competition and conflicts...

 

ISEAS

Jordan's Youth after the Arab Spring, February 2015. Despite the lack of a full-scale uprising, protests in Jordan and unrest across the Arab world convinced Jordan’s King Abdullah to announce a series of political reforms. Yet while the result of these reforms has been underwhelming, popular and youth pressure for change since November 2012 has declined. In particular, youth activists in Jordan have stepped back from public demonstrations demanding broad socio-political change. Observing the disastrous aftermath of the Arab Spring in Syria and Egypt in particular, Jordanian youth are caught between a desire for political reform and a fear of instability...

 

Lowy

International Journal of Korean Studies, Volume XVIII, No. 1, 2014  

IJKS

Why Australia Should Build Its Own Submarines, January 2015. This paper considers the design and build of Australia’s future submarine including the possible acquisition of Japanese submarines by Australia to replace the Collins class and a hybrid approach of constructing the hull modules in Japan and assembling them here. It provides lessons learned from the Collins project...

 

ASPI

Powering Paradises: Recommendations for the Hawai'i-Okinawa Clean Energy Initiative, January 2015. Aiko Shimizu, Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, explains that "Effectively utilizing the Hawai'i-Okinawa Clean Energy Initiative could simultaneously address major economic development and energy security issues in both Japan and the U.S. while improving the two countries' national security cooperation and promoting soft power."

 

EWC

Malaysia's ASEAN Chairmanship in 2015: Perspectives and Prospects, January 2015. JBenjamin Ho, Bhubhindar Singh, and Sarah Teo, at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore, explain that "As the ASEAN chair in a crucial year for the Association, Malaysia will need to manage two issues deemed important to the region—the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and ASEAN community building."

 

EWC

Changing Patterns of Food Consumption in Sri Lanka: 1985-2009, Published 2015. This paper examines the patterns of food consumption in Sri Lanka from 1985 to 2009 using the food disappearance data published by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Trends in per capita daily calorie, protein and fat supply have been examined. The study finds that grain food proucts are the main source of calories and protein, while fat-calories were mainly sourced from non-grain vegetable products and animal food products...

 

ASARC

Panchayats and Household Vulnerability in Rural India, Published 2014. India, particularly rural India, has been home to entrenched poverty for long. It is, therefore, imperative to understand people’s vulnerability to poverty. Further, since the Government of India has invested considerable human and financial resources in Gram Panchayats it is important to understand to what extent these Panchayats have been successful in redressing vulnerability, especially since we establish that1 ex-ante vulnerability has a significant effect on ex post poverty dynamics...

 

ASARC

APEC Outcomes & Outlook 2014/2015. 2015 is the year where APEC meets under the theme “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World”. APEC 2015 will focus on four key priorities: Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda, Fostering Small and Medium Enterprises’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets, Investing in Human Capital Development and Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities. This publication also looks back at the outcomes of APEC China 2014 and the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing, China.

 

APEC

APEC Policy Support Unit, January 2015. This is a handy publication which lists the APEC Policy Support Unit's goals, focus areas, governance structure, and modus operandi.

 

APEC

Services, Manufacturing and Productivity, January 2015. This issues paper tries to tease out more detailed information from the WTO-OECD Trade in Value Added (TiVA) database to understand how important services is in APEC economies by analyzing quantitatively the various aspects through which services could contribute to their economies’ exports such as via direct exports as well as indirectly via manufacturing or other services sectors’ exports. Specifically on services’ role in manufacturing, the paper attempts to explore the link between services and manufacturing productivity...

 

APEC

APEC Connectivity Blueprint, Published 2014. This publication combines the two key documents relating to the APEC Connectivity Blueprint, namely:

  • APEC Connectivity Blueprint 2015-2025, which APEC Leaders endorsed during their annual meeting in Beijing in November 2014, and

  • The Report to Implement the APEC Connectivity Blueprint, a document prepared to support the blueprint’s implementation

 

APEC

Final Report: Low Carbon Model Town (LCMT) Project Phase 4 Feasibility Study, December 2014. This Feasibility Study completes the fourth phase of the APEC's Low Carbon Model Town (LCMT) Project. The goal of this study is to provide government officials at the local, provincial, and national levels and stakeholders in San Borja with actionable advice to support their existing plans and initiatives to design, develop and implement a low carbon development path that produces repeatable results and measurable outcomes for San Borja.

 

APEC

Establishing Best Practices on Human Capital Development to Enhance Productivity, Quality, Competitiveness and Innovation among SMEs in Korea, Malaysia, The Philippines and Chinese Taipei, November 2014. This report on “Establishing Best Practices on Human Capital Development to Enhance Productivity, Quality, Competitiveness and Innovation among SMEs is a compilation of experiences on human resource practices from four APEC member economies namely, Korea, Malaysia, The Philippines and Chinese Taipei.

 

APEC

The End of the Postwar? The Abe Government, Okinawa, and Yonaguni Island, December 2014. Yet this paper suggests that all – from one small Okinawan island to the Japanese nation state and the US-Japan relationship – may profitably be considered within a single frame. It rests on the premise that it is profoundly mistaken to think in terms of the “Okinawa Problem” (and “Yonaguni problem”) as distinct, self-contained and therefore relatively minor in significance...

 

APJ

The Secret History of Cannabis in Japan, December 2014. Today Japan has some of the strictest anti-cannabis laws in the world. Punishment for possession is a maximum 5 years behind bars and illicit growers face 7-year sentences. Annually around 2000 people fall foul of these laws - their names splashed on the nightly news and their careers ruined forever. The same prohibition that dishes out these punishments also bans research into medical marijuana, forcing Japanese scientists overseas to conduct their studies.

 

APJ

Japan's Radical Energy Technocrats: Structural Reform Through Smart Communities, the Feed-in Tariff and Japanese-Style “Stadtwerke”, December 2014. Japan’s December 14 general election is essentially a rigged referendum on Abenomics. Despite the dismal economic news, team Abe can hardly lose against the splintered and poorly led opposition parties at the national level. The hapless Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) seems likely to gain some seats; but Abe has defined defeat as the loss of his parliamentary majority, which is simply not going to happen...

 

APJ

MSG Headache, West Papuan Heartache? Indonesia's Melanesian Foray, November 2014. Asia and the Pacific—these two geographic, political and cultural regions encompass entire life-worlds, cosmologies and cultures. Yet Indonesia’s recent enthusiastic outreach to Melanesia indicates an attempt to bridge both the constructed and actual distinctions between them. While the label ‘Asia-Pacific’ may accurately capture Indonesia’s aspirational sphere of influence, it is simultaneously one that many Pacific scholars have resisted, fearing that the cultures and interests of the Pacific are threatened by the hyphen...

 

APJ

Beyond Reality - or - an Illusory Ideal: Pro-Nuclear Japan's Management of Migratory Flows in a Nuclear Catastrophe, November 2014. Three years have passed since the earthquake and consequent tsunami of March 11, 2011, which led to the explosion of a nuclear power plant in Northeastern Japan. Since then, a central concern in managing the damage is how to handle the relocation of people displaced by the destruction of the earthquake-driven tsunami and the dangers of radiation. In December of that year, we wrote up a precise assessment of the damage caused to the housing sector, the system for rehousing victims of the tsunami, and also the nuclear contamination that has spread widely in part of the Fukushima region and neighboring districts...

 

APJ

Gender Equality in Japan: The Equal Employment Opportunity Law Revisited, November 2014. In 2010, Rina Bovrisse, then a 36-year old senior retail manager of Prada Japan, lost her job at the Italian fashion company after she accused the company of harassment and discrimination based on age and physical appearance. After a two-year trial in the Tokyo District Court which ended in October 2012, she also lost her claim to financial compensation of 58 million yen on the grounds of sexual harassment (Asien Spiegel, 2013)...

 

APJ

Transforming Mongolia-Russia-China Relations: The Dushanbe Trilateral Summit, November 2014. The trilateral summit among the presidents of Mongolia, China, and Russia, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at Dushanbe, Tajikistan on September 11, 2014, was the culmination of a deliberate summer whirlwind policy blitz of Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj to position his country to take advantage of deepening Sino-Russian economic relations. Concerned that a “great game” to create a new version of the Eurasian Silk Road was being played out without any Mongolian input...

 

APJ

Martial Law and the Criminalization of Thought in Thailand, October 2014. At 5.30 pm on 17 September 2014, police and soldiers interrupted a lecture on the topic of “Democracy Classroom #2: The Decline of Dictatorship in Other Countries” at Thammasat University in Bangkok. The officials went up to Professor Nidhi Eoseewong, the noted historian and public intellectual who was speaking, and told him to stop and come with them. Three additional scholars (Prajak Kongkirati, Janjira Sombutpoonsiri, and Chaowarit Chaowsangrat) and three student activists from the League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy (LLTD), which had organized the event, were also arrested...

 

APJ

"Fieldwork" North Korea: Observations of Daily Life on the Ground inside the Country, October 2014. This paper uses observations collected “on the ground” inside North Korea to argue that everyday life matters when researching North Korea and that one method of carrying out such research is to travel there as a tourist...

 

APJ

The Failure of the South Korean National Security State: The Sewol Tragedy in the Age of Neoliberalism, October 2014. The Sewol ferry carrying 476 passengers including a group of high school students on a field trip to Jeju Island capsized on April 16, 2014, and sank to the bottom of the sea off Korea’s southern coast. Most of the crew, including the captain, were rescued by the Korean coast guard. Some of the passengers, who happened to be on the deck or escaped soon after the capsizing, were saved by fishing boats and commercial vessels that came before the ROK Coast Guard or Navy. 304 passengers, however, were trapped inside and drowned...

 

APJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

  

 
 

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