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Current Issue

Volume 26 Number 1 (2022)

PISSN : 2508-1640 EISSN : 2508-1667

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1
  • The Economic Cooperation Potential of East Asia’s RCEP Agreement
  • https://dx.doi.org/10.11644/KIEP.EAER.2022.26.1.403
  • Shiro Armstrong; Peter Drysdale
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    East Asia’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) came into force in 2022 as the world’s largest free trade agreement. RCEP was concluded, signed and brought into force in the face of major international uncertainty and is a significant boost to the global trading system. RCEP brings Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand into the same agreement with the ten member ASEAN group at its centre. It keeps markets open and updates trade and investment rules in East Asia, a major centre of global economic activity, at a time of rising protectionism when the WTO itself is under threat. The agreement builds on ASEAN’s free trade agreements and strengthens ASEAN centrality. One of the pillars of RCEP is an economic cooperation agenda which has its antecedents in ASEAN’s approach to bringing along its least developed members and builds on the experience of capacity building in APEC and technical cooperation under the ASEAN Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. There is an opportunity to create a framework that facilitates deeper economic cooperation that involves experience-sharing, extending RCEP’s rules and membership at the same time as strengthening political cooperation. The paper suggests some areas that might be best suited to cooperation — that is confidence and trust building instead of or before negotiation — and discusses how non-members may be engaged and the membership expanded. Options such as multilateralising provisions and becoming a platform for policy convergence and coordinating unilateral reforms are canvassed.

    JEL Classification: F13, F55, F15

2
  • Rise of Geopolitics and Changing Korea and Japan Trade Politics
  • https://dx.doi.org/10.11644/KIEP.EAER.2022.26.1.404
  • Byung-il Choi; Jennifer S. Oh
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    In the past decade, Korea and Japan have increasingly exhibited different strategic priorities in trade in face of China’s rising global economic prowess and worsening US-China trade conflict. Japan’s trade policy decisions have worked to reinforce its economic and security ties with the US as a means to counter China. Japan has used both bilateral and multilateral means to secure its ties with the US against China. In contrast, Korea’s trade policy positions have been one of ‘strategic ambiguity’. Korea has been more conciliatory towards China, reluctant to take actions that would counter China’s interest. Korea has mainly resorted to bilateral channels to maintain favorable relations with both China and the US. Korea’s reluctance to clearly ally with the US against China has been observed across different administrations with opposing political orientations. This paper examines Korea and Japan’s diverging strategic priorities in trade through the 2017 World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference; the 2017 US imposition of Section 232 on steel; the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Korea-US FTA renegotiation and the Korea-China FTA Phase Two Negotiation; and the 2019 Japan-US Trade Agreement.

    JEL Classification: F50, F51, F53

3
  • China’s Public Diplomacy towards Africa: Strategies, Economic Linkages and Implications for Korea’s Ambitions in Africa
  • https://dx.doi.org/10.11644/KIEP.EAER.2022.26.1.405
  • Haggai Kennedy Ochieng
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    Recent years have witnessed renewed interest in Africa and public diplomacy has emerged as the vital tool being used to cultivate these relations. China has been leading in pursuing stronger economic partnership with Africa while middle powers such as Korea are also intensifying engagement with the continent. While previous studies have analyzed the implications of China’s activities in Africa on advanced powers, none has examined them from the paradigm of middle powers. This study fills this gap by assessing China’s activities in Africa, their economic engagement and implications for Korea’s interest in Africa. The analysis is qualitative based on secondary data from various sources and literature. The study shows that China’s public diplomacy strategy involves a high degree of innovation and has evolved to encompass new tools and audiences. China has institutionalized a cooperative model that permeates many aspects of governance institutions in Africa, enabling it to strengthen their relations. This could also be helping China to adjust faster leadership transitions in Africa. Whereas the US is still the most influential country in Africa, China is influential in economic policies and has outstripped the US in infrastructure diplomacy. This could be because African policy makers align more with China’s economic model than the US’ mainstream economics. Chinese aid to Africa has been diversified to social sectors that are more responsive to the needs of Africa. Trade and investment relations between China and Africa have deepened, but so does trade imbalance since 2010. China mainly imports natural resources and raw materials from Africa. But this product portfolio is not different from Korea and the US. China’s energetic insertion in Africa using various strategies has significant implications for countries with ambitions in Africa. Korea can achieve its ambitions in Africa by focusing resources in areas it can leverage its core strengths-such as education and vocational training, environmental policy and development cooperation.

    JEL Classification: B22, B27, F21