Bali Boost: WTO Lives, Snatched From Jaws of Defeat

Bali Boost: WTO Lives, Snatched From Jaws of DefeatIt would be churlish not to congratulate the WTO and especially Roberto Azevêdo, its dynamic director-general, for successfully passing a “Bali package” at the Indonesian resort well past the 11th hour on 7 December. The WTO Doha Round, launched in the Qatari capital in 2001, a few weeks after 9/11, had become a synonym of…

China Plans a Market Revolution

China Plans a Market RevolutionThe stock market reforms that China’s Securities Regulatory Commission posted last Saturday represent a near revolution for its financial markets and are the latest manifestation of Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s determination to continue the transformation to a market-based economy in which retail investors hopefully can expect rational market rules to prevail. The reforms, in gestation…

Turnover of power in the Middle East

Turnover of power in the Middle EastAs evidence of US disengagement from the Levant grows – the area encompassing Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Israel –the prospects are growing that the political vacuum will be filled by East Asian powers – particularly a China in search of energy self-sufficiency. Growing capital flows to the Middle East, notably to…

China: Responsible World Trade Stakeholder?

China: Responsible World Trade Stakeholder?There are reasons to quibble about how the invitation to China to become a responsible stakeholder in the international system might be interpreted, but former World Bank head Robert Zoellick’s intention when he framed it that way was clear and constructive. China was welcome to participate in managing the development of the rules as well…

China Paves Asia’s New Silk Road

China Paves Asia’s New Silk RoadOver the past decade, Central Asia has grown from a marginal position in Beijing’s strategic calculus to the top of its diplomatic priorities: China is fast emerging as a vital economic and political player in this strategically located and resource-rich region. In early September Chinese President Xi Jinping visited several Central Asian countries bringing billions…

Cross-border China-HK Share Trading On the Cards?

Cross-border China-HK Share Trading On the Cards?Beijing appears ready to approve a long-awaited “south through-train” program allowing qualified domestic individual investors unfettered access to Hong Kong’s stock market, with the possibility that it will be followed by a “north through train” in the near future allowing Hong Kong residents into the Shanghai market. Although no official announcement has been made, it…

China’s Ambitions for the Greater Mekong Region

China’s Ambitions for the Greater Mekong RegionDriving out of the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane one sees a large billboard featuring the overseas campus of Suzhou University in China. In a coffee shop in Vientiane two Chinese businessmen talked about the prospect of a new venture to extract copper in northern Laos. Just across the border from China in Boten, a…

ADB Calculates the Cost of Climate Change for Asia

ADB Calculates the Cost of Climate Change for AsiaAs many as 12 million people in 23 Asian cities are likely to be caught in the coils of climate change, at risk from rising sea levels, severe storms and intensified drought that could jeopardize US$864 billion in assets, according to an exhaustive new report from the Asian Development Bank. Three major conurbations – the…