Trade in Trouble: How the Asia Pacific Can Step Up and Lead Reforms



Wendy Cutler, Peter Grey, Kim Jong-Hoon, Mari Pangestu, Yoichi Suzuki, and Tu Xinquan | Asia Society Policy Institute


This issue paper also offers recommendations to policymakers across the region on how they can continue to benefit from the economic gains and high-paying jobs created by trade. Key among the recommendations are the following:

  • The countries of the Asia-Pacific region should lead efforts to reshape the WTO by updating rules and existing agreements, pursuing new plurilateral agreements on urgent matters, and improving the dispute settlement system.
  • The United States and China should conclude a meaningful trade deal that addresses fundamental issues of concern. Following the conclusion of the agreement, the two countries should continue to work with each other and with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region to set international rules in areas such as digital trade and advanced technologies, the role of the government in the economy, and investment and competition.
  • The countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership should conclude ratification and expand membership to economies that are ready to meet its standards. The participants in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership should conclude negotiations by the end of 2019 and consider practical alternatives, if necessary, to facilitate agreement.
  • The Asia-Pacific region should anticipate the disruptions that new technologies and digital business models will pose to trade rules. An independent group of senior experts from across the Asia Pacific should be convened to assess which existing trade rules and principles need to be updated and to propose a path forward on trade as well as on issues generally beyond its scope such as consumer privacy, data protection, international taxation, competition, and cybersecurity.
Trade in Trouble

[To read the original paper, click here.]

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