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Event Summary

Greater economic cooperation among Asian states (regional trade integration) has played a central role in the recent US “pivot” to Asia. On Friday morning, a panel of experts gathered at AEI to discuss the effect that recent free trade agreements will have on Asia’s economic future.

Mignonne Chan of the Chinese Taipei Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Center stressed the importance for Taiwan of participating in Asian regional trade integration agreements, arguing that the benefits of integration will catalyze domestic growth.

AEI’s Claude Barfield reaffirmed the importance of Taiwan’s entrance into regional integration agreements but noted that political difficulties within Taiwan will hinder the progress necessary for participation.

In light of Japan’s forthcoming formal entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, James Fatheree of the US-Japan Business Council praised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s commitment to the partnership, arguing that active participation in the Asian regional economy is key to Japan’s long-term growth.

Finally, Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute expressed skepticism over the benefit of Asian trade integration agreements for the US, suggesting that more Asian integration will increase exports to the US, displacing American jobs.
–Emile Doak

Event Description

Free trade agreements are driving a period of economic change in Asia. Just a few days before the June 7–9 summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping, the Chinese commerce department announced that China is studying the possibility of joining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

But whether Beijing can achieve the reforms that are necessary for joining TPP negotiations remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the Japanese economy seems poised to resume sustained growth, and in other parts of Southeast Asia, developing nations are being more proactive in their bilateral and multilateral trade.

What are the benefits of and obstacles to Asian integration, and what are the implications for America’s economic recovery? How will economic developments in Japan and China affect Asia’s smaller economies? What role does US economic policy play in America’s “pivot” to Asia? A group of experts will address these and other questions surrounding Asia’s economic future.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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8:45 AM

9:00 AM
Panel Discussion
Claude Barfield, AEI
Mignonne Chan, Chinese Taipei Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Center
James Fatheree, US-Japan Business Council and US Chamber of Commerce
Robert Scott, Economic Policy Institute

Dan Blumenthal, AEI

10:15 AM
Question-and-Answer Session

10:30 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact John VerWey at [email protected], 202.862.5839.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Claude Barfield is a resident scholar at AEI who researches international trade policy (including trade policy in China and East Asia), the World Trade Organization (WTO), intellectual property, and science and technology policy. He is a former consultant to the Office of the US Trade Representative. His many books include “Free Trade, Sovereignty, Democracy: The Future of the World Trade Organization” (AEI Press, 2001), in which he identifies challenges to the WTO and to the future of trade liberalization.

Dan Blumenthal is the director of Asian Studies at AEI, where he focuses on East Asian security issues and Sino-American relations. He is also a founding board member of the Alexander Hamilton Society, and serves on the boards of the Project 2049 Institute and the US-Taiwan Business Council. He recently became a research associate at the National Asia Research Program, a joint undertaking of the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He served on the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission from 2005 to 2012 and has been a member of the academic advisory board for the congressional US-China Working Group. During George W. Bush’s first administration, Blumenthal was the senior director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia in the secretary of defense’s Office of International Security Affairs. Blumenthal is the coauthor of “An Awkward Embrace: The United States and China in the 21st Century” (AEI Press, November 2012). He has authored articles and op-eds for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, National Review, as well as for numerous edited volumes, including “Strategic Asia 2012-2013” by the National Bureau of Asian Research.

Mignonne Chan is currently the executive director of the Chinese Taipei Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Study Center and a visiting professor at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. She also serves as senior lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute and is a board member and group leader of the Global Business Unit at the Prospect Foundation and group leader on global security at the MacArthur Center for Security Studies. Chan served Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou as senior adviser of Taiwan’s National Security Council between May 2008 and May 2010. She was recruited and appointed director general of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) International Secretariat from July 1999 to December 2001. Before her PECC appointment, she served as director of research and analysis at the APEC Secretariat in Singapore (August 1996 to June 1999). She was also a director and research associate at the International Affairs Division at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research for six years, followed by a professorship at the Yu Da College of Business. She has likewise served as a consultative member for the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Internal Affairs.

James Fatheree is president of the US-Japan Business Council (USJBC) and senior director for Japan and Korea at the US Chamber of Commerce. Fatheree works with the board of directors and member companies to set the strategic direction and policy priorities for the USJBC, and provides substantive and management oversight. He also interacts with senior US and Japanese government officials and corporate executives in pursuing the council’s mission. In his role as senior director, Fatheree helps set Chamber priorities and the policy agenda for Japan and Korea. Previously, Fatheree worked in the International Trade Administration, on Capitol Hill, and in several private firms on trade issues.

Robert Scott joined the Economic Policy Institute as an international economist in 1996. Before that, he was an assistant professor with the College of Business and Management of the University of Maryland at College Park. His areas of research include international economics and trade agreements and their impacts on working people in the US and other countries, the economic impacts of foreign investment, and the macroeconomic effects of trade and capital flows. His research has been published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, International Review of Applied Economics, and Stanford Law and Policy Review. He has written editorial pieces for the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Times, and other newspapers.

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