Building a High Standard and Inclusive Asia-Pacific Trade Architecture

The Asia Society Policy Institute launched a Policy Commission that will examine the current trade architecture in the Asia-Pacific. Members include, from left to right, Shotaro Oshima, Peter Grey, Gregory Domingo, Wendy Cutler, Mari Elka Pangestu, Choi Seokyoung and Wang Yong. (Nick Khazal/Asia Society)

The conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, between economies that comprise 40% of global GDP, is having a profound impact on the trade landscape in the Asia-Pacific region. But it is not alone, as other negotiations and initiatives underway also have the potential to transform trade and investment patterns in the region.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, comprised of sixteen member countries are aiming to conclude in 2016. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in November 2015. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is scheduled to conclude its Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) study in time for the 2016 leaders’ meeting. Other bilateral and plurilateral negotiations are also underway.

In light of these important developments, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) is convening a trade policy commission to review the trade landscape in the region and provide recommendations for decision makers on the most effective and inclusive ways to promote regional economic integration, based on high standards. The commission's work will focus on how the gaps between these initiatives can be minimized, and how they can be better coordinated to promote meaningful integration. The trade policy commission will include members from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and the United States. Under the leadership of ASPI, the commission will produce a series of recommendations on these issues in the lead up to the APEC Leaders meeting in Lima, Peru in November 2016.

This initiative is supported by the Hinrich Foundation. 

Policy Commisioners

Wendy CutlerWendy Cutler (Chair) is Vice President of ASPI and Managing Director of Asia Society’s Washington D.C. Office. She joined ASPI following nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Most recently she served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, working on a range of U.S. trade negotiations and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region. In that capacity she was responsible for the just-concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, including the bilateral negotiations with Japan. Her other responsibilities with USTR included bilateral trade relations with all TPP countries, U.S.-China trade relations, APEC, the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum, and Trade and Investment Framework Agreements with countries ranging from Pakistan to the Philippines.

Choi Seokyoung

Choi Seokyoung is the former Ambassador of Korea to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and former Senior Negotiator for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). He is a career diplomat with more than 36 years of experience with trade and economic affairs. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat in Singapore. He accepted a position as a member of the advisory group of the UN Central Emergency Response Fund in October 2015. Currently, he is a visiting professor at the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University.

Gregory DomingoGregory Domingo is the former Trade Secretary of the Philippines from 2010-2015, He has previously held a variety of directorships, including Executive Director at SM Investments Corporation, and Director at BDO Private Bank. Prior to his position as Trade Secretary, he was Vice-Chairman and Managing Head of the Board of Investments; President of Carmelray-JTCI Corp (CJC); and Managing Director & Treasurer (Manila) of Chase Manhattan Bank/Chemical Bank. He served on the Board of the Foreign Exchange Association of the Philippines, and was a member of the Open Market Committee of the Bankers of the Association of the Philippines.

Peter Grey

Peter Grey is currently the Senior Adviser for International Business Engagement and Co-Chair of the Japan Business Group at Corrs, Chambers Westgarth. He has served as the former Ambassador of Australia to Japan and former Ambassador of Australia to the World Trade Organization (WTO). During his time as Chief Trade Negotiator and Deputy Secretary of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), he focused on trade and commercial policy, negotiations, and bilateral political and economic relations. He is on the Board of the Asia Society Australia, the Executives of the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee, and the Australia Korea Business Council.

Shotaro Oshima

Shotaro Oshima served the Government of Japan’s Special Representative for TPP from 2012 to 2013. From 2005-2007, he served as Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Korea. Prior, he represented Japan as the Permanent Representative to the WTO first as the Chairman of the Dispute Settlement Body and then the Chairman of the General Council of the WTO. His other roles have also included Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs for Japan. He is currently Adjunct Professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, and Chairman of the Institute for International Economic Studies.

Mari PangestuMari Elka Pangestu was Indonesia’s first Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy from 2011 to 2014. From 2004 to 2011, she served as Indonesia’s Minister of Trade, representing Indonesia in multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade negotiations, coordinating the developing countries bloc (G33) in the WTO, and playing a leadership role in ASEAN during Indonesia’s year as chair. She is currently Professor of International Economics at the University of Indonesia. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta.

Mari PangestuWang Yong is currently a Professor at the Peking University School of International Studies and Director of Peking University’s Center for International Political Economy. He also serves as a Professor of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Party School and is a member of the Ministry of Commerce Economic Diplomacy Expert Working Group. In his prior roles, he has consulted for the Asian Development Bank, participated as a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Global Trade and FDI, and served as a Senior Fellow with Renmin University Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. He has an extensive background as a researcher and author of several books regarding the Chinese economy, global governance, and U.S.-China trade relations. 

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