Leveraging Trade Agreements and International Institutions
Trade and economic integration have been strong contributors to growth and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Since 2000, the number of trade agreements in the region has quadrupled, leading to increased access to new markets, freer economic competition, and streamlined global value chains. In spite of this progress, many hidden trade barriers and obstacles to growth remain—often in the form of demands for bribes, illicit subsidies, or other corrupt practices. Moreover, a lack of transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors has made the application of many laws and regulations unpredictable, exacerbating problems with corruption and increasing costs for business as well as consumers.
Regional organizations such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have worked to tackle these problems by setting common standards for governments and businesses across the region. Meanwhile, high-standard free trade agreements, particularly regional ones, have the potential to mitigate hidden trade barriers like corruption. How can the private sector and Asia-Pacific leaders better harness international organizations and agreements to promote good governance and break down endemic problems like corruption that hamper fair and inclusive growth in the region? How can the Asia-Pacific region use high-standard trade agreements to promote greater rule of law instead of spurring a race to the bottom?
On March 29, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) and the panel will explore these critical topics. For additional information, please contact [email protected].
Wendy Cutler, Vice President, Asia Society Policy Institute; former Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative
Conchita Carpio-Morales, Ombudsman, Republic of the Philippines
Yorizumi Watanabe, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Japan
Charles Levy, Founding Partner, Cassidy Levy