East Asian Growth and Trade

The essay will be marked out of 100, and is worth 20% of the final grade.

Write a short essay (approximately 1000-1200 words) on one topic from the list below.

Referencing in the essay: any standard referencing method may be used.

  1. Explain why “fiscal sustainability” is a major challenge for economic policymaking in Japan. What are the options for addressing the challenge, and what are the likely consequences of failing to address it successfully.
  2. Briefly outline the problems facing the Japanese agricultural sector. Explain the view that trade liberalisation could contribute positively to revitalisation of the sector, and also how liberalisation of Japan’s agricultural trade, including through the TPP, has so far been for the most part successfully resisted.  What alternative avenues of agricultural reform are being pursued, and how effective are they likely to be.
  3. Outline the main features of China’s so-called “new growth model”. Explain why this “new growth model” inevitably implies a lower growth trajectory than under the previous “growth model”. Briefly review progress in the transition to the “new growth model”.  Explain the risks posed to growth in the short to medium term by the potential outcome of the current credit boom in China, and in the longer term by the continued existence of large numbers of “zombie firms” associated among other things with incomplete SOE reform.  Briefly discuss the policy options open to China to address these risks.
  4. Discuss the objectives behind China’s decision to pursue “internationalisation of the renminbi”. What does “internationalisation of the renminbi” mean in practice, how far has it proceeded to date, could the renmbinbi eventually become a reserve currency, and what are the implications for the international and regional monetary systems?  Discuss the challenges that internationalisation of the renminbi poses for China, paying particular attention to the relevance of the so-called “trilemma” of international finance to the policy issues that China has been facing over the past eighteen months.
  5. Review and analyse the development of China’s approach to trade agreements and trade linkages, beginning with a brief account of its involvement in bilateral and plurilateral free trade agreements, and then focusing on China’s evolving approach to proposed Asia-Pacific “mega-regional” agreements (the RCEP, TPP and FTAAP), its One Belt, One Road initiative, and the role it envisages for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in supporting its economic outreach.
  6. What have been the key features of Indonesia’s economic growth over the last two decades? Outline and discuss key challenges to be faced in realising Indonesia’s growth potential in coming years, and briefly assess the current outlook for economic growth in Indonesia.
  7. Outline how changing political environments over time have in the past impacted on policies toward international trade and foreign direct investment in Indonesia.  Provide an assessment of recent developments and the future outlook for Indonesia’s trade and foreign investment policies.
  8. Explain and discuss the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in terms of its purpose and level of ambition, and the challenges being faced in negotiating the agreement.  Outline and critically discuss the potential roles of the RCEP in the evolution of the trade architecture of the East Asian Region and in the eventual achievement of economic integration across the Asia Pacific region as a whole.