Asia Pacific

  • Duterte was still talking tough at his inauguration.

    Reassurance and Change, Duterte Takes the Reigns in the Philippines

    Rodrigo Duterte took his oath of office as the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines on 30 June 2016. Duterte’s first seven days in office signals both reassurance and change, but it also foretells the complexity of what lies ahead for Philippine democracy.

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  • Easy growth opportunities in Vietnam are fading.

    Getting Creative in Vietnam to Sustain Economic Growth

    The biggest macroeconomic challenge facing Vietnam today is sustaining growth. Most doi moi-era growth has resulted either from efficiency gains associated with the introduction of a market economy (opening domestic markets and trade, relaxing restrictions on labour movement and land transactions) or from expanded endowments of low-skill labour and capital. GDP continues to grow at a very respectable rate, albeit lower than that projected in national planning documents.

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  • India is absorbing the shock on Rajan's departure and then Britain's.

    Rajan's Exit, then Britain's, has India on Edge

    ‘Brexit’, close on the heels of the shock resignation of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Raghuram Rajan, has triggered a great deal of market turbulence and future uncertainty for the Indian economy.

    What should India do to meet this challenge? It will need to ensure, firstly, that its macroeconomic parameters remain rock solid and the Indian economy is seen as contributing to global macro stability rather than adding to turbulence.

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  • The Philippine economy is being driven by services, not manufacturing export.

    Services Closing in on Being Two-Thirds of the Philippine Economy

    The services sector dominates the Philippine economy. In 2015, it accounted for 59 percent of GDP and 54.5 percent of employment. In recent years the industry sector — which includes manufacturing and construction — has started to recover, growing faster than services. However, given its size, the services sector remains the key driver of the economy contributing more to GDP growth than all other sectors combined.

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  • Homophobia was very visible in this year's South Korean politics.

    Homophobia Still Front and Center in South Korean Politics

    A notable element of South Korea’s general elections in April 2016 was the hypervisibility of anti-gay political rhetoric, promulgated especially by the fledgling Christian Liberal Party (CLP). An ultra-conservative Protestant political party established in March 2016, the CLP ultimately failed to gain a seat in the National Assembly — but it came close, earning 2.6 percent of votes nationwide, just shy of the 3 percent required for a proportional representation seat.

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  • Hong Kong's leaders have tough decisions to make for the future.

    Hong Kong's Economy at a Crossroad

    Today, Hong Kong faces great economic uncertainty and unprecedented market volatility. Recently, Hong Kong’s financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah warned that the city’s economy is facing its “worst time in 20 years.” In the past half a decade, growth has more than halved close to 2.5 percent. With Brexit chills, analysts expect a contraction.

    However, the writing has been on the wall since the global financial crisis. Yet, critical decisions have been delayed.

    Growth engines fading

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  • Australia has scope to migrate from US to EU investment treaty drafting.

    Australia may Migrate to European-style Investment Treaty Drafting

    Public debate over how best to manage the interests of foreign investors and host states has resurfaced in Australia. Most of Australia’s free trade agreements (FTAs), like those of many other Asia-Pacific economies, follow a US approach to drafting substantive provisions that liberalise and protect cross-border investment. This includes increasingly detailed provisions for investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS), whereby investors and host states appoint arbitrators on a case-by-case basis.

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  • Japan's disaster response requires continuing education.

    Being Smart about Dealing with Disaster in Japan

    As a country prone to natural disasters, especially earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons, Japan has a long history of disaster education. However, what does Japan’s public disaster education look like and how should it be further developed?

    Broadly speaking, disaster education fits within two categories: publicly funded and voluntarily organised education. Currently, voluntarily organised disaster education is rapidly outpacing its publicly funded counterpart.

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  • Negative gearing proposal will end up hurting low income renters.

    Negative Gearing Changes yet another Way to Hurt Low Income Renters

    In the current housing tax debate a number of studies have come out arguing that while prices will fall (by varying amounts) rents will not be affected. That rents will be unaffected is surprising and (in my view) wrong.

    Outside of the heat of an election, the Henry Tax Review’s comprehensive review of the tax system argued for lower taxes on savings, a proposition that most economists would regard as unexceptional. (There is now a (small) school of thought arguing for higher taxes on savings but this author for one does not subscribe to that.)

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