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Feature Archive

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A World Trade Organization for the 21st Century: The Asian Perspective

A World Trade Organization for the 21st Century: The Asian Perspective The Asian-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the United States-led Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) are competing to set standards for Asia's trade and supply chains. Lessons from the Asian Experience offer new approaches and economic policies to sustain growth, presenting the WTO as a forum for action to improve global and regional trade governance in the 21st century. At a seminar to be held at ADBI on 20 March, Richard Baldwin, distinguished professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, former ADBI Dean Masahiro Kawai, and ADBI Research Director Ganeshan Wignaraja, will lay the foundations for a lively debate on the future of the WTO in Asia and take the opportunity to launch the ADBI publication, A World Trade Organization for the 21st Century: The Asian Perspective. Read more and to register for this event.

11 March 2015

Diversification in Latin America's Commodity Dependant Economies: Lessons from Asia

© Fernando Mafra from São Paulo, Brasil (proudly brazilian) - Bolsa do Cafe 10.jpg / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0 What are the implications of declining prices on commodity dependent economies in Latin America, and what lessons can be learned from Asia's development experience? In answering these questions, ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino, speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Trans-Pacific Summit in Cartagena on 8 March, underlined the need to raise domestic savings through post offices, facilitate SME start-ups, promote international capital flows, and deepen service sector growth. The Presidents of Colombia and Panama participated in the event together with senior officials and academics. Read more.

10 March 2015

How Can the PRC Deal with an Aging Population?

How Can the PRC Deal with an Aging Population? Forty percent of the Japanese population is aged 65 or over, and this figure is expected to increase as the populace continues to grow older. Social welfare spending currently accounts for 16% of GDP, placing considerable pressure on state resources. ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino, in a recent interview with the People's Republic of China's (PRC) state broadcaster CCTV, highlighted data that showed the PRC was similarly aging fast and that lessons could be learned from Japan. He recommended that the PRC enhance societal protection through a well-established state pension system, practice self-protection through private insurance and personal investments, and raise the retirement age. See interview.

9 March 2015

Banking Supervision in ASEAN+3 Economies

Banking Supervision in ASEAN+3 Economies The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), an independent regional surveillance unit, monitors and analyses ASEAN+3 (People's Republic of China, Japan, Republic of Korea) economies, including their banking systems. What are the priorities to consider when it comes to the supervision of member country banks and within what supervisory framework? This was the focus of discussion in a session on Banking Supervisory Priorities and Capacity at an AMRO/IMF seminar held in Seoul on 3 March. The Chair, ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino, commented that it is difficult to assess whether an economy is developing bubble-like symptoms or is in line with economic fundamentals, as all economic indicators can remain positive. Gavin Gunning, Senior Director, Standard and Poor's, explained how banks are credit rated and compared internationally, using historic data and future projections. Dean Yoshino stated that the credit ratings system, geared towards large firms with readily available balance sheets, is currently inadequate when it comes to assessing many Asian businesses which tend to be SMEs or family-owned operations, and therefore different methods of assessment are required. Read more.

6 March 2015

CAREC Institute Physical Base Established in PRC

CAREC Institute Physical Base Established in PRC ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino spoke on the need for cooperation in conducting research and capacity building on small and medium-sized enterprises, infrastructure finance, and financial inclusion and education at the launch of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute physical base in Urumqi, People's Republic of China, on 2 March. Also attending the event were ADB Vice President Wencai Zhang, People's Republic of China Vice Minister of Finance Shi Yaobin, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Government Vice Chairman Huang Wei, and 50 senior government officials from 10 CAREC member countries. Following the launch was a two-day knowledge sharing workshop on how CAREC countries can develop effective policies and programs to establish and benefit from economic corridor development and join global value chains. Read more.

3 March 2015

Cooperating to Combat Tax Evasion

Cooperating to Combat Tax Evasion How can national tax authorities share information to monitor taxpayers who derive income in more than one country or may shift funds offshore as part of a tax evasion strategy? This was the central topic for discussion at a three-day event on Cooperating to Combat Tax Evasion, held at ADBI on 27-29 February. The workshop brought together tax experts and representatives from nine Asian countries who discussed their countries' peer review processes in relation to compliance with the standards of the Global Forum on Transparency and the Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, and other frameworks. ADBI and ADB's Regional and Sustainable Development Department were key sponsors of the event which included cooperation with the National Tax Agency of Japan. Read more.

27 February 2015

The Impact of Housing on Health: A Japanese Perspective

The Impact of Housing on Health: A Japanese Perspective Home ownership has a positive effect on health spending as well as self-assessed health according to Matthias Helble, ADBI research fellow, and Toshiaki Aizawa, ADBI research associate, at a seminar held at ADBI on 20 February. The researchers presented an ADBI study on Japan's housing policy and in particular the nexus between home ownership and health. They introduced the Keio Household Survey and then presented an empirical analysis of the link between home ownership and health in Japan. Read more.

24 February 2015

Institutionalizing Regional Financial Stability

Institutionalizing Regional Financial Stability The enhancement of regional financial safety mechanisms (RFSMs) remains a continuous challenge on the conceptual and organizational level and as they have short histories, their organization, instruments and processes have not been seriously tested yet under practical circumstances. One such example is the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). At a roundtable held at the German Institute for Japanese Studies on 19 February, ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino, commenting on the current situation surrounding the Euro, indicated that based on the Yoshino-Mizoguchi model, the desired debt-to-GDP ratio, currently in the euro zone set at 60% should in fact depend on the economic structure of each country and not be the same for all euro zone countries, He emphasized that an empirical analysis is required for each country to determine the desired level. Roundtable agenda.

23 February 2015

Better Access to Finance is Critical to Progress SME Internationalization in Asia

Better Access to Finance is Critical to Progress SME Internationalization in Asia Bank dominated financial systems seem to underserve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and fewer than expected in Asia have become internationalized, observed ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino and Research Director Ganeshan Wignaraja in a presentation at the Third IMF-JICA Conference on Frontier and Developing Asia: Supporting Rapid and Inclusive Growth, held in Tokyo on 18 February. To improve SME access to finance they emphasized the role of hometown trust funds, credit guarantees and regulation of informal credit. Speakers included the IMF Deputy Managing Director, the JICA President, finance ministers, and central bank governors. See presentation.

20 February 2015

What Effects will a US Exit from Quantitative Easing have on East Asian Currencies?

What Effects will a US Exit from Quantitative Easing have on East Asian Currencies? Once the US Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) exits from its quantitative easing monetary policy strategy in the near future East Asian countries will likely face capital outflow, currency depreciation, and pressure to raise interest rates. This was the main conclusion drawn by Eiji Ogawa, professor of international finance, Graduate School of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi University, and Faculty Fellow of the Research Institute of Economy, Trade, and Industry (RIETI), at a seminar held at ADBI on 17 February. Based on his numerical estimates via causality tests and vector autoregressive (VAR) modelling techniques, he found that changes in interest rates in the US had the same directional effect on interest rates in some East Asian countries. Moreover, widening interest differentials between the US currency and those of East Asian currencies tend to lead to a depreciation of East Asian currencies against the US dollar. Changes in these interest differentials can also affect capital flows in the portfolios and other investments of the balance of payments financial accounts of East Asian economies. Read more.

19 February 2015

ADBI Welcomes New Deputy Dean

ADBI Welcomes New Deputy Dean ADBI is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Bokhwan Yu as its new Deputy Dean, effective 17 February 2015. A national of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Dr. Yu was previously an Alternative Executive Director at the World Bank. Dr. Yu has extensive experience as a policy maker on both economic and environmental issues. He has served as Secretary General of the ROK's Presidential Committee on Green Growth and has held several senior positions in the ROK's Ministry of Strategy and Finance. Dr. Yu holds an MA in Public Administration from Yonsei University and a PhD in Political Economics from the University of Cambridge. He has written extensively on development, environmental policies, and green growth. Dr. Yu succeeds Dr. Jae-Ha Park, who served as ADBI's Deputy Dean from October 2011. Read more.

17 February 2015

Financial System Stability, Regulation, and Financial Inclusion

Financial System Stability, Regulation, and Financial Inclusion Access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is very important, given their large shares in economic activity and employment in Asian economies. Striking the appropriate balance in achieving these objectives through financial supervision and regulation is an important policy issue for financial regulators. This new ADBI publication, co-published with Springer, forms part of the Asian Development Bank Institute Series on Development Economics. With contributions from the Financial Services Agency, Japan; and the International Monetary Fund Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, the book gives a comprehensive overview of issues related to providing finance for poorer households and SMEs, including the roles of financial education and consumer protection. Read more.

13 February 2015

Institutional Responses to Asia's Development Challenges

Institutional Responses to Asia's Development Challenges As Asia's wealth increases, development challenges are increasing as well, including inequality, resource constraints, environmental degradation, infrastructure, and internal risks. Kurt Tong, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State of the United States, during a seminar on 9 February at ADBI, indicated that these multi-faceted and trans-boundary challenges are best addressed by regional economic institutions that can offer opportunities for countries to work together towards shared solutions. He cited ASEAN, APEC, the OECD, and multilateral development banks (MDBs) as existing regional institutions making important contributions in Asia. These include lifting millions out of poverty and promoting regional stability, creating rules for regional economic engagement and providing platforms for dialogue between the government and the private sector, as well as safeguarding the observance of transparency and 'core" standards for governance and procurement in the region. Read more.

10 February 2015

Labour Migration Governance in Asia

© Arief Rahman Saan (Ezagren) - Gedung DPRD Barito Timur.jpg / Wikimedia Commons How can labour recruitment agencies working in both sending and receiving countries be regulated? At the 5th Roundtable on Labour Migration in Asia, held in Shanghai, People's Republic of China, on 28-30 January, ADBI's Senior Economist Paul Vandenburg spoke on the need for government-to-government (G-to-G) arrangements to cut out middlemen-charging fees that ultimately reduce the amount of funds migrant workers send to their families. The annual event, organized by the ADBI, OECD, and ILO, was hosted this year by the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Institute under the theme Building Effective Structures and Institutions for Migration Governance. Representatives from over 30 countries heard from experts on policies, regulations, and arrangements in both migrant sending and receiving countries. ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino provided opening remarks. Launched at the Roundtable also was the report Building Human Capital through Labour Migration Asia, a co-publication of the ADBI, OECD, and ILO. Read more.

4 February 2015

Economic Reforms and Development in Indonesia

Economic Reforms and Development in Indonesia The number of local governments in Indonesia has increased following the enactment of a 2001 decentralization law. Consequently, this has had a negative impact on budgetary transfers from the central to local governments. Furthermore, under the new law designed to simplify the local tax system, local governments are no longer allowed to raise new taxes other than those already approved by the central government. In order to increase efficiency in expenditure allocations, Heru Subiyantoro, Director for Local Government Capacity and Financing in Indonesia's Ministry of Finance and a professor at the University of Indonesia, proposed at a seminar held at ADBI on 26 January the implementation of a ceiling for civil servant salaries and a floor for infrastructure expenditures relative to total expenditures in local government budgets.

3 February 2015

ADBI Dean Conducts Seminar at the National Credit Bureau of Thailand

ADBI Dean Conducts Seminar at the National Credit Bureau of Thailand ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino conducted a training seminar at the National Credit Bureau of Thailand in Bangkok on 9 January. He focused on Asian SME data and Thai credit data to explain a pilot analysis using cluster and principal component analysis techniques. A full study of Asian SME data is currently being undertaken at ADBI. The session was attended by the Deputy Director-General of Thailand's Ministry of Finance, Ekniti Nitithanprapas, who gave the opening remarks and CEO of the National Credit Bureau, Surapol Opasatien.

30 January 2015

Asia—Latin America Trade and Integration

Asia—Latin America Trade and Integration Economic ties between Asia and Latin America are growing yet trade costs remain high, which may impede future interregional trade and integration. A new ADBI book: New Frontiers in Asia-Latin America Integration: Trade Facilitation, Production Networks, and FTAs, details interregional comparative studies in three key areas: trade facilitation, logistics, and infrastructure; production networks, supply chains, and small and medium-sized enterprises; and FTAs, and provides new insights on regional integration, impediments, and policy issues. Read more.

28 January 2015

Analyzing SME Data from an Asian Perspective

Analyzing SME Data from an Asian Perspective ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino, in consultation with the Financial Services Agency, Government of Japan, provided training for officials from Thailand and Myanmar at ADBI over a 2-week period from 13 to 23 January. The training focused on analyzing the credit rating of SMEs using data on a variety of financial indicators and statistical analysis techniques, including principal components analysis and cluster analysis. These methods can be useful in examining hometown investment trust funds, a new form of financial intermediation that has proven successful in Japan. Read more about hometown investment trust funds.

27 January 2015

ADBI Ranked Second Best Government-Affiliated Think Tank Globally

ADBI Ranked Second Best Government-Affiliated Think Tank Globally ADBI was ranked the 2nd best government-affiliated think tank and 6th best for international development in the University of Pennsylvania's latest ranking of the world's leading think tanks. The annual Global Go To Think Tank Index uses nominations from 1,500 think tanks and experts worldwide to identify and recognize the leading centers of excellence around the world.

The report, including a Japanese version, was launched in Tokyo on 23 January as part of a global launch that saw the report released at events in 51 countries worldwide. ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino delivered welcoming remarks at the Tokyo launch along with Japan Institute for International Affairs President Yoshiji Nogami.

26 January 2015

ADBI Reports on Recent GDP Figures from the PRC and the Outlook for Growth in 2015

ADBI Reports on Recent GDP Figures from the PRC and the Outlook for Growth in 2015 Peter Morgan, ADBI's Senior Consultant for Research, was interviewed on NHK World News regarding the release of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) fourth quarter GDP figures for 2014 and the outlook for growth this year. He noted that the PRC government is placing more emphasis on the quality of growth rather than the quantity, including a better balance between consumption and investment growth, and the government is likely to lower its growth target for 2015 to "around" 7%. See interview.

22 January 2015

The Pathway to Greater SME Internationalization

The Pathway to Greater SME Internationalization Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a key part of economies in Asia, Latin America, Europe and elsewhere, but the extent of their internationalization varies. A seminar held at ADBI on 16 January assessed business strategies and national level policies to promote the greater internationalization of SMEs. The event concluded that a market friendly business environment, access to finance, and institutional support were essential to SME internationalization. Read more.

20 January 2015

Why Do SMEs Not Borrow More from Banks? Evidence from the People's Republic of China and Southeast Asia

© Geraldshields11 (Own work) - China Merchants Bank 261.JPG / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 In this new ADBI working paper Ganeshan Wignaraja, ADBI's Director of Research and Yothin Jinjarak, associate professor at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, look at how the attributes of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the People's Republic of China and five Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam) relate to their borrowing practices with commercial banks. The authors show that SMEs are financed in four main ways: through internal sources and trade credit; external non-bank credit sources; bank borrowing dependant on SME financial audits, firm age, and export activity; and bank borrowing dependant on the personal assets of SME owners as the preferred main source of collateral. Read more.

15 January 2015

Examining the WTO from an Asian Perspective

Examining the WTO from an Asian Perspective Asia has built deep supply chains over decades and is experimenting with new mega-regional trade agreements and economic policies to sustain growth amid a fragile world economy. A just published ADBI book, with contributions from prominent Asian and international trade experts, critically examines key changes occurring in the world trading system and explores policy implications for Asia while offering lessons for other regions. Read more.

9 January 2015

ADBI and IDB to Hold Seminar on SME Internationalization

ADBI and IDB to Hold Seminar on SME Internationalization Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are the economic linchpin of many economies and play a crucial role in economic growth and job creation. However, relative to their contribution in national and local economies, they are under-represented in international trade. Greater internationalization provides SMEs the opportunity to achieve economies of scale, expand market share, and increase productivity. Therefore, SME internationalization is a potent way of accelerating economic development. A Latin American/Caribbean and Asia/Pacific Economics and Business Association (LAEBA) seminar to be co-hosted by ADBI and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on 16 January will provide an opportunity for experts in Asia, the European Union, and Latin America to share lessons and good practices on SME internationalization and identify policy options. Read more and to register.

8 January 2015

Measuring the Impact of Infrastructure Investment in Asia

© Australian cowboy - File%3AChang'an_avenue_in_Beijing.jpg / Wikimedia Commons / GNU Free Documentation License Dean Yoshino spoke on measuring the economic impact of infrastructure investment and the governance of infrastructure investment at the conference Economic Integration, People's Republic of China (PRC)–Japan Economic Cooperation, and Free Trade Zone Building on 21 December in Shanghai. The conference also explored issues including the role of PRC–Japan relations in Asian economic development, environmental issues in the PRC, and the impact of oil price volatility on Asian economies. Agenda.

5 January 2015

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