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China-Taiwan Trade Agreement Could Help Re-Integrate Taiwan in Asia
[30 June 2010, Comments Off on Progress in the Taiwan Strait, Tags: , , , , ]

Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou campaigned on the idea that economic growth depends upon better relations with the mainland (Photo by Daniel Michaeli, Taipei, March 2008)

An Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between China and Taiwan was signed yesterday in Chongqing, promising a substantial boost to Taiwan’s export industry. (A Taiwan government-sponsored study claims the deal will create 260,000 jobs and add 1.7 percentage points to Taiwan’s GDP growth each year over the next seven years.) This agreement has been called a “game changer” by both proponents and opponents, though it still requires the approval of Taiwan’s legislature.

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U.S. Policy »

The President Needs to Make a Public Case for Engagement With Asia

The world as seen from Washington, DC.*

The fact that President Obama canceled yet another trip to Asia (after having canceled his March trip and deciding to skip Indonesia in November) is disappointing. This makes sense from the narrow American political perspective; Obama is afraid the Gulf oil spill could become his “Hurricane Katrina” incident, exposing the U.S. government as aloof and unable to respond to crises.

But the message sent to the Asia-Pacific region is not a good one.

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U.S. Policy »

Obama on American Competitiveness
[28 January 2010, Comments Off on Free Trade = American Jobs, Tags: , , , , , ]

Obama State of the Union

Obama speaks, and Biden is impressed

The 0verall success or failure of President Obama’s State of the Union address last night won’t be known for some time. Dan Balz of the Washington Post reports that the real issue coming out of the speech is whether Congressional Democrats and Republicans will or won’t change their behavior in the coming months.

But an aspect of the speech that certainly deserves praise was the president’s focus on American competitiveness, including comparisons to China, Germany, and India. It was unusually honest for a president to acknowledge that the U.S. could end up playing second fiddle to another economy if it doesn’t “get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth.” This kind of honesty is welcome and overdue.

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U.S. Policy »

Negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Are We Getting Serious?

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced this week that the United States will negotiate to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which currently includes New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, and Singapore. As more countries join–Australia, Peru, and Vietnam will negotiate to join with us–this could be the start of a more robust U.S. trade agenda in Asia. Kirk even said Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea should join an agreement, too.

But is the United States really ready for an agreement like this? And is the Obama administration really serious about moving forward on trade? Read More »

India »

Global Economic Engagement in 2008 Was Unprecedented
[9 November 2009, Comments Off on Indian Trade Looking Up?, Tags: , , ]

As reported last week in India’s Business Standard, in spite of stagnation in global trade growth over the past couple of years, India has just increased its trade activity to an impressive 54% of GDP, including services trade.

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India »

[14 October 2009, 3 Comments, Tags: , , ]

Earlier tonight, I gave a presentation on the China-India relationship for a Washington foreign policy group. I spoke on the imbalance in bilateral trade, areas of cooperation, security competition, regional profiles, and the border dispute.

I showed slides of some thought-provoking (and perhaps disappointing) data on India’s economic weight in Asia; since the audience found it interesting, I am posting some of it here with a bit of discussion.

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