Zero Tariffs, Government Policies Threaten Vietnam’s Auto Industry

Zero Tariffs, Government Policies Threaten Vietnam’s Auto Industry

After many years of slow growth and stagnation the last couple of years have seen a significant boom in car sales in Vietnam. The country most known for its immense motorbike-riding population now appears to be rapidly heading for the age of the automobile. What has caused this change of fortunes for the Vietnam auto […]

Brinkmanship in the South China Sea helps nobody

Recent months have seen a continuing increase in military activities in the South China Sea, particularly by the United States and China, but also by ‘bit players’ like India and Japan. These activities only serve to heighten tensions in the region at a time when the priority should be to demilitarise the area. In the […]

Why The Laos Garment Industry is in Decline

Why The Laos Garment Industry is in Decline

The Laos garment industry has been on the decline for the past five years. The value of exports increased from US$87 million in 1995 to a peak of $219 million in 2011, before gradually falling to $174 million in 2015. The share of garments in total exports also declined from an average of 36 per […]

Asia’s Growth Leads The World

Asia’s Growth Leads The World

A gloomy outlook is enveloping the world’s economies. There are concerns that countries are failing to sufficiently focus on long-term policy responses to reverse the decline in global growth. Some are even arguing that the global growth slowdown may be permanent. But, for developing Asia, this downbeat view is clearly overstated. While Asia’s growth has […]

Can Filipino Strongman Duterte Walk The Talk?

Can Filipino Strongman Duterte Walk The Talk?

There may be more to the Philippines’ new president Rodrigo Duterte than his tough guy image indicates. In the populist theatrics that are Filipino politics the overwhelming election of Duterte should not have come as a surprise, even with common, but inaccurate, comparisons to the US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Unlike Trump, Duterte is an […]

What Happened to Russia’s ‘Pivot to Asia’?

What Happened to Russia’s ‘Pivot to Asia’?

In early 2014 Russia faced economic sanctions in response to its annexation of Crimea. Many in the country viewed the sanctions as proof that the West has contempt for Russia’s ‘sphere of influence’ in Ukraine and was trying to subvert Russian foreign policy. Responding to this pressure from the West, Moscow turned its attention to […]

Realistic Risk Assessment Key to Fighting IS in Southeast Asia

Realistic Risk Assessment Key to Fighting IS in Southeast Asia

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon in Southeast Asia, but goes as far back as the era of anti-colonial struggle. It gathered pace after September 11 with a series of attacks allegedly perpetrated mostly by the Al-Qaeda linked organisation Jemaah Islamiyah. Terrorism continues to pose a threat to Southeast Asian societies as demonstrated by the […]

Jokowi’s Natural Resource Gamble Adds 50% to Masela Block Cost

Jokowi’s Natural Resource Gamble Adds 50% to Masela Block Cost

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) order on March 23, 2016 that the Masela Block use an onshore Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) refinery ended six months of intrigue — and years of delay — about Indonesia’s largest offshore gas field. Rather than the floating plant (FLNG) proposed by contractors Inpex and Royal Dutch Shell, gas from […]

Disengagement Fears Put US & Asia Allies All at Sea Over China

Disengagement Fears Put US & Asia Allies All at Sea Over China

In the capitals of America’s Asia allies, two phenomena are combining to intensify already uneasy relations with Washington. The first is China’s continued assertiveness in the South China Sea. Beijing’s militarisation of these contested territories — transforming rocks and reefs into artificial islands with runways and radars — has driven already close US Asia allies […]

Laos’ Leadership Vital For Unifying Asean

Laos’ Leadership Vital For Unifying Asean

Lao PDR has announced a new leadership team amid calls for the country, as the Asean Chair for 2016, to unite Asean on territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Laos’ leadership changes every five years. This time around the two top posts were in the spotlight after the incumbent president and prime minister announced […]

Why GVCs Are The Kickstart The AEC Needs

Why GVCs Are The Kickstart The AEC Needs

Asean is on the lookout for ways to accelerate trade facilitation and eliminate trade barriers by 2025 under its new 10-year Asean Economic Community (AEC) roadmap. Extensive research has demonstrated the vital role of global value chains (GVCs) in enhancing economic integration and liberalising trade. According to World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development […]

Mahathir Should Focus on Institutional Reform, Not Personalities

Mahathir Should Focus on Institutional Reform, Not Personalities

Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s former prime minister, seems to have missed the mark with the Citizen’s Declaration that he has so vigorously supported. The bulk of the Declaration is directed at Prime Minister Najib Razak and his alleged wrongdoings in connection with the beleaguered 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Therein lies its fatal flaw. The Declaration’s specific […]

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