Conferences & Workshops
KORUS FTA at Two Years
Organized by The Korea Society
Integrating the Cambodian Genocide into Global Narratives of Genocide
Co-sponsored with WEAI and EALAC
Japan and the World
Merit E. Janow, Dean and Professor of Practice, International Economic Law and International Affairs, School of International and Public AffairsModerator: Tom Nagorski, Executive Vice President, Asia Society.
Co-sponsored with SIPA and CJEB
APEC Briefing 2013-14: China Takes the Reins
Speakers: Peter A. Petri, Carl Shapiro Professor of International Finance, Brandeis International Business School; Robert S. Wang (invited), U.S. Senior Official for APEC; Ann Weeks, Vice President of Global Government Affairs, Underwiters Laboratories (UL); Monica Whaley, President, National Center for APEC
Moderator: Tom Nagorski, Executive Vice President, Asia Society.
Co-presented by the Asia Society and the National Center for APEC
A Robert Scalapino Memorial Dialogue
The Korean Peninsula and Strategic Risk
The Seoul-Beijing-Pyongyang Triangle
CKR/KEI Policy Forum
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Corporate Legacies: In Conversation with Nicholas Bratt
Thursday, 7 November 2013This event took place at the Korea Society and featured Nicholas Bratt, Managing Director and Member of the Board, Lazard Asset Management Pacific. Mr. Bratt was Scudder’s breakout force in Korean investment, opening Korea’s markets to international investors. His work in the 1970s helped define investment norms and new areas for growth and opportunity. A trailblazer, Bratt reflected on the challenges of the early days, and shared insights into today’s investment climate in conversation with The Korea Society’s Ambassador, Mark Minton.Organized by The Korea Society
Korea, the United States and Cross-Investment Opportunities
Monday, October 21, 2013
The Korea Society, New York, NY
Speaker: Park Jong Soo, Chairman, Korea Financial Investment Association and the International Council of Securities Associations
Chairman Park addressed Korean investments in America and opportunities for Americans in Korea. The U.S. is Korea's number-one investment destination at over $17 billion a year, a number growing through new partnerships across diverse areas, including financial markets. Chairman Park focused on the financial sector and regulatory challenges.
Organized by The Korea Society
The Asian Century and the Global Response
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
H.E. Dr. Marty Natalegawa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, delivered his lecture on “Indonesia and East Asia” at a Special Event sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute (WEAI), the School of International and Public Affairs, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Center, and the Southeast Asian Student Initiative. After remarks and an introduction by Myron L. Cohen, Director of WEAI, Dr. Natalegawa opened his lecture by introducing “two kinds of pathways” open to East Asia in the near and distant future. He described one path of peaceful prosperity, stability, and continued economic growth and another path marked by increased tension, threats, and territorial disputes: “How do we manage or address change?” He warned against the “return of a Cold War type approach or mindset” that would create fault lines in the region. He remarked on Indonesia’s purposeful and deliberate pursuit of the first vision and, subsequently, put forward the challenges associated with embarking upon that path, along with potential solutions. To read a full report, click here.
The Asian Century and the Global Response
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
Co-sponsored with the Australian National University and the Australian Consulate-General of New York.
A Limited Peace: The Korean War Armistice after Sixty Years
Friday, 3 May 2013
This day-long conference addressed the state of the Korean War armistice on its 60-year anniversary. Charles Armstrong, The Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences in the Department of History and director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University, introduced and moderated the conference. Session One concerned the geopolitics of Korean division, and commenced with a keynote address by Bruce Cumings, Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in History and the College and Chair, Department of History at the University of Chicago, who weighed in on whether the armistice has been effective in holding the peace in Korea. Other speakers included Professor Avram Agov from Harvard University and Professor Armstrong, who discussed the political and historical aspects of the armistice, followed by Andrew Nathan from Columbia University who served as a discussant.
Following lunch, there was a screening of Pak Sang-ho’s heartrending 1965 film “The DMZ (Pimujang chidae).” Session Two focused on the cultural and literary dimensions of national division, and commenced with a talk by Professor Suk-Young Kim from the University of California-Santa Barbara the unlikely collusion of trauma and tourism around the DMZ. Professor Susie Kim from the University of Virginia then discussed themes of suspended temporality, unknowability and impermanence in Park Wan-seo's fiction and the film Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War (2004). Professor Theodore Hughes from Columbia University served as a discussant. Finally, Marilyn Young from New York University offered a critique of U.S. policies, asserting that "peace on the [Korean] peninsula has been held hostage to America's needs."
Organized by the Center for Korean Research and also co-sponsored by the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies.
The Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement: One Year On
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Speaker: Wendy Cutler, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC Affairs, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Moderator: Nikita Desai, Director of Policy & Corporate Programs, The Korea Society
Ms. Cutler recounted the experience of implementing the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA) over its first year, and declared it a success overall. There had been many tariffs cut, resulting in an increase in exports from both sides; her office has received many phone calls from companies who are seeking to take advantage of the new rules. She said that integrating the auto industry into a scheme of reduced tariffs was the biggest hurdle, but that it had been overcome, resulting in reduced auto tariffs will be in place for five years, and trucks for eight years. And since Hyundai and Kia have auto plants in the United States, these reduced tariffs are actually expanding jobs here too.
After her presentation, Ms. Cutler faced a slew of questions from the audience. One questioner asked about the increase in agricultural products exported from Korea to the United States; she acknowledged that there had been an increase, but mostly to ethnic Korean communities, showing the competitive advantage that countries have. Another asked about President Obama’s promise to combat climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, noting that the FTA had relaxed auto emissions standards. Ms. Cutler replied that these rules were only for low-volume exports, since it had been determined that it would be uneconomical for this category of industry to have too many standards imposed on them.
As a result of the success of the U.S.-Korea FTA, Ms. Cutler believes that Korea would be a natural fit for integration into the newly-proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Her office has been consulting with Korea about this proposal regularly, so if they want to participate they’ll be ready to join the negotiations.
Organized by The Korea Society.
Spring 2013 Distinguished Speaker in International Finance and Economic Policy
Richard W. Fisher, President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: An Economic & Monetary Policy Outlook
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Richard W. Fisher, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, presented his views on the U.S. and global economic and monetary policy outlook as the Spring 2013 distinguished speaker in international finance and economic policy. He began by addressing the current monetary policy of quantitative easing. Aside from the initial QE program, he has opposed all the large-scale asset purchase programs. He believes they were inefficient and, though theoretically compelling, that borrowers do not use cheap credit to increase payrolls. He explained how the Federal Reserve Bank’s (“the Fed’s”) contortionary yield curve is not very sustainable and adds to existing uncertainties. However, despite his strong feelings against quantitative easing, he believes that a sudden stop in the program would do more harm than good. He suggested instead to slowly taper it down so that securities can once again be assessed by fundamentals.Mr. Fisher then addressed the problem of systemic risk and too-big-to-fail banks, calling them the enablers of a financial tsunami. Both he and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas believe that the Dodd-Frank Act does not do enough to constrain large banks, and moreover unwillingly exacerbates the problems it sets out to solve. So he had a proposal to level the playing field for all banks. According to his proposal, only commercial banking and short-term deposits would benefit from the Fed’s discount window; also, shadow banks would not benefit from the discount window, and would not have government protection or guarantees. He also suggested restructuring financial institutions and initiating faster bankruptcy proceedings. He concluded by saying that his vision was to make banks too small to save instead of too big to fail.Mr. Fisher’s speech was followed by an interactive discussion with Charles W. Calomiris, Henry Kaufman Professor of Financial Institutions at Columbia Business School, and Jan Svejnar, James T. Shotwell Professor of Global Political Economy and Director of the Center on Global Economic Governance at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Robert C. Lieberman, Interim Dean of SIPA, made introductory remarks, and Merit E. Janow, Professor of Practice at Columbia University and Director of the International Finance and Economic Policy Program at SIPA, moderated the event.This event was co-sponsored with the International Finance and Economic Policy program at SIPA.
China’s Independent Think Tanks: A Comparative Perspective
Monday, 4 February 2013
Banker to the World—Lessons from the Front Lines of Global Finance
- Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Bill Rhodes, President and Chief Executive Officer, William R. Rhodes Global Advisors, LLC; Senior Advisor, Citi; and Professor-at-Large, Brown University, spoke about the current economic and financial challenges faced by European countries as they tackle debt crises. He recently wrote Banker to the World, which focused on his involvement in several major sovereign debt crises around the world. He discussed the repercussions of these crises and the threats they pose to the global economy, the stability of financial market economies, and the current state of the economies of Japan, China, and Korea. This talk was moderated by Mr. Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and CEO of the McGraw-Hill Companies.
This talk was hosted by the Asia Society.
APEC 2013: Resilient Asia-Pacific: Engine of Global Growth
- Thursday, 10 January 2013
- The Asia Society hosted a two person panel including Atul Keshap, the U.S. State Department’s senior official for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Wendy Cutler, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea, and APEC Affairs in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Mr. Keshap began his remarks with a summary of APEC economies’ value to the global economy. He concluded that APEC is the “beating heart of the economic and trade dynamism of the APEC region.” Mr. Keshap then described APEC’s strengths as a “trendsetter” for regulation through the use of forward-leaning, nonbinding resolutions, a body with high level commitments that offer the power of moral suasion, and a facilitator of business interests. Mr. Keshap outlined the U.S. goals for APEC’s 2013 Indonesia year as (1) furthering the Bogor Goals for open trade and investment, (2) promoting sustainable growth with equity, and (3) promoting connectivity. Ms. Cutler followed Mr. Keshap’s remarks with an emphasis on the trade aspects of the USTR’s engagement with APEC. She highlighted four key areas that the USTR’s office will bring forward in APEC’s Indonesia year: eliminating non-tariff barriers on environmental goods, enhancing regulatory practices, limiting local content requirements, and improving supply chain performance. Ms. Cutler also emphasized that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a U.S. priority, but it will complement rather than replace APEC. The panel was moderated by Monica Whaley, the president of the National Center for APEC. It was hosted by the Asia Society, and co-sponsored by the US-APEC Business Coalition.
A Shift in Global Trade Patterns
- Tuesday, 23 October 2012
This panel discussion on the “Shift in Global Trade Patters” took place at the Asia Society, New York, as a finale to a series of events concerning Asia’s emerging markets. Irene Dorner, president and CEO of HSBC USA, started the event with an introductory speech which highlighted the world’s economic changes over the last two decades as well as China’s rise in global trade. China has now elevated its role in global trade from that of an exporter to a large investor and FDI enthusiast. Clyde Prestowitz, founder and president of Economic Strategy Institute served as moderator for the discussion. The two panelists were Marc Mealy, vice president-policy of US-ASEAN Business Council, and Murray Hiebert, deputy director and Senior Fellow of Chair for Southeast Asia Studies and Center for Strategic and International Studies.The panel discussed the repetition in the pattern of economic and international trade transition that Japan went through. This was followed by a discussion on the effects of a Chinese slowdown on the whole Southeast Asian economy. Mr. Hiebert said that China’s slow growth will significantly impact other countries that are highly integrated with Chinese trade, such as Singapore, Indonesia etc. He emphasized the urgent requirement for these countries to find domestic drivers of growth. Mr. Mealy agreed that a Chinese slowdown will affect the region’s growth, however the fact that international companies are looking to hedge away from China and India, puts other economies at an advantage. The panel also discussed the rebalancing of the world order in the context of the current global crisis. Mr. Mealy called the crisis as a catalyst for increased degrees of cooperation and regional integration in East Asia. Mr. Hiebert added that this cooperation will result in better supply chain management in the region, which is a potential threat to the US. The panel also interacted with the audience and addressed other issues such as the role of Myanmar in world trade after its political transformation, corruption and non-transparency in Vietnam and Cambodia, etc. The talk concluded with closing remarks from Mr. Prestowitz in which he alluded to the repeated negative rhetoric against China in the popularly followed US Presidential Debates.
- Co-sponsored with Asia Society, HSBC, Hong Kong Trade Development Council
A New North Korea?
- Friday, 19 October 2012
This lecture featured Jean H. Lee, Bureau Chief of the Associated Press (AP), who spoke about her experiences in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Ms. Lee took the audience through a slide-show narrative of changes taking place within North Korea. The presentation covered her experiences since 2008 and compared the last few years of Kim Jong-Il’s reign and the current reign of Kim Jong-Un.Ms. Lee talked about the increased use of technology, cell phones and computers, as well as creation of recreational facilities for the public. The government became more media friendly and allowed foreign correspondents into the country. The biggest changes were seen in the area of commerce, with the opening of new department stores and sale of foreign products. Large-scale infrastructure construction including multi-storied buildings took place in urban areas, while, factories in industrial provinces were revamped. Electricity shortage has reduced significantly. However, these changes were still accompanied by poverty and lack of progress in rural regions. There was widespread malnutrition and infrastructure development was negligible.Ms. Lee described North Korea as a country in transition. But whether these changes would be systemic or long-term? She said “This still remains to be seen and it’s too early for the world to tell.” Ms. Lee’s mission is to understand what the people of the DPRK want and what motivates them. In a closed economy like North Korea, she underlined the importance of foreign correspondents to report from the ground to provide the world with as much information as possible.Professor Charles Armstrong, the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies and the director of the Center for Korean Research (CKR), served as the moderator for this event.
Organized by the CKR and co-sponsored by the APEC Study Center with WEAI, CKR, Columbia Journalism School, and the Committee on North Korea
Korea-Japan-US Trilateral Cooperation in an Uncertain Northeast Asia
- Wednesday, 17 October 2012
- A panel consisting of Jung Ro Kim from the Ministry of Unification, Professor Jeong-Ho Roh from Columbia Law School, Professor Junya Nishino from Keio University, and Patrick Cronin from the Center for New American Security analyzed the challenges and opportunities for South Korea-Japan-US trilateral cooperation. Professor Gerald Curtis, the Burgess Professor of Political Science at Columbia University and Professor Jin Shin of Chungnam National University served as the respondents. Mr. Cronin discussed trilateral cooperation to address North Korea’s nuclear threat and China’s economic rise. He labeled North Korea a “nuclear-armed powder keg” and emphasized that all three nations must act jointly in the event of a North Korean missile launch. Professor Nishino presented survey results indicating that 62.2% of Japanese respondents “felt close” to South Korea and only 15% of Japanese respondents felt strongly about historical conflicts with South Korea, compared to 43% for South Korean respondents. Professor Roh expressed skepticism that tensions associated with historical conflicts such as “comfort women” and the Tok-Do Islands territorial dispute would be resolved by a trilateral agreement. Mr. Kim emphasized that South Korea’s balanced relationships with China and the United States contrast with Japanese politicians’ varying stances on China. In addition, Mr. Kim indicated that trilateral cooperation is subject to the leadership changes in each nation. Professor Curtis asserted that bilateral cooperation between Japan and South Korea will serve as the basis for trilateral cooperation on issues such as North Korea. He also pointed out that despite tensions the two nations share significant business and educational ties. Professor Shin stated that the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and South Korea legally settled the historical conflicts between the two nations, but both societies still seek emotional penance and this gives politicians the opportunity to exploit these conflicts. After the opening remarks, the speakers answered questions regarding military cooperation, the sunshine policy, and historical conflicts, among others. Professor Charles Armstrong, the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies and the director of the Center for Korean Research (CKR), served as the moderator.
- The event was hosted by CKR and the Korea Economic Institute and co-sponsored by the Institute for Peace Affairs, Korea Society, and the APEC Study Center.
The Economic and Political Impact of China’s Overseas Direct Investment
The Asia-Latin America Axis: Cooperation or Competition?
Sustaining China’s Economic Growth
The Politics of Deepening Economic Reform and the Role of the State in China
Professor Jean-Francois Huchet, School of China Studies, National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations, lectured on the future of China’s economy at SIPA. He posited that China has been experiencing a repressed financial sector, i.e., negative real interest rates, artificially fixed exchange rates, and an inefficient public sector that harbors more corruption and hinders productivity more than the private sector. Although China has been performing well in the last two decades, there may be some mid-long term growth problems if the role of the state does not evolve. He hypothesized that Chinese leadership is not yet addressing these issues because there was a rush of rapid reform in the 90s that hasn’t yet been fully implemented. Furthermore, the state is focusing on social security and environmental issues since there has been a priority of profits over wages, and the international community has been critical of China’s pollution problems. Once the state focuses on economic reform in the future, Professor Huchet predicted there are three possible scenarios of action: business as usual; minimal change with no systemic reform; or bold reforms, much like Deng Xiaoping in the early 1990s. He further predicted that reform will be minimal since there isn’t a large incentive to be bold, and China’s economic strength can “steamroll” along into the future.
The Asia Pacific Affairs Council of WEAI co-sponsored the event.
Economic Growth and Structural Change: Priorities for the Least Developed Countries
The Pitfalls and Opportunities of Investing in China and Asia
As the 2012 Distinguished Speaker in International Finance and Economic Policy (IFEP), Mr. Tan Chin Hwee, co-Head of Asia for Apollo Global Management, talked about the dynamics of investing in China. Professor David O. Beim, Professor of Professional Practice in Finance and Economics and Bernstein Faculty Leader at the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, provided commentary, and Professor Merit E. Janow, Director of the IFEP Concentration and Professor of International Economic Law and International Affairs at SIPA, moderated the session. Mr. Tan focused on credit as one of the major investment opportunities in China, as Asian banks have not been lending to small and medium enterprises. He used two case studies, on FibreChem Technologies and Celestial NutriFoods Limited, to demonstrate the challenges and pitfalls of lending to Chinese companies. He emphasized the importance of looking for red flags, such as inflated earnings, manipulated cash flows, and fluctuating expenses. As a framework for assessing corporate governance, he proposed examining Structural Risk, Accounting Risk, Transaction Risk, and History. Mr. Tan provided several common attributes of mismanaged or fraudulent corporate activity, such as being foreign-listed, the resignation of a CFO, lacking access to domestic capital markets, or holding large cash reserves.
This event was cosponsored by the International Finance and Economic Policy concentration at SIPA.
Leadership Succession in North Korea: Regional and Global Implications
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Special Briefing on APEC 2011 Outcomes
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
This special briefing, held at the Asia Society, was the concluding event of the United States’ 2011 APEC hosting responsibilities. Participants reviewed the results of the 2011 APEC meetings from both a business and policy perspective, and looked ahead to Russia’s APEC Chairmanship in 2012.
Speakers included Cristina Ampil, Managing Director and Leader of the Thought Leadership Institute, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Karan Bhatia, Vice President and Senior Counsel, International Law & Policy, General Electric Company and Chairman, National Center for APEC; Matthew Goodman, Former White House Coordinator for APEC; Aleksey Shishayev, Senior Counselor, Head of Economic Office, Embassy of Russian Federation USA; William Weldon, Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson and APEC 2011 USA Host Committee Member; and Monica Whaley, President, National Center for APEC. The briefing strongly emphasized APEC 2011’s success in merging private industry with government; all speakers credited this to a format that encouraged frequent, small-group interaction between business leaders and top country officials. Given the presence of CEO Weldon of Johnson & Johnson, much of the briefing reflected on the CEO Summit, a special portion of APEC devoted to determining the pulse of corporate leaders with respect to the Asia-Pacific region.
This event was hosted by The Asia Society and the U.S. National Center for APEC in cooperation with the U.S.-APEC Business Coalition.
Sixty Years After the San Francisco Peace Treaty: Peace, Conflict, and Historical Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific
Second International Forum for Peace and Prosperity in Northeast Asia Thursday and Friday, 17-18 November 2011
This conference brought together experts from around the world to discuss the legacies of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty and subsequent issues in international politics. Professor John Coatsworth, Dean of SIPA, gave welcoming remarks, and Jae-jeong Chung, president of the Northeast Asian History Foundation, gave the keynote speech. The conference was divided into three sessions, each covering a broad topic.
Session One focused on the San Francisco Treaty and the making of the postwar Asia-Pacific region. Charles K. Armstrong, Professor of Modern East Asian and International History and the Director of the Center for Korean Research (CKR) at Columbia University, chaired the session. Presentation topics included U.S. relations with postwar Asia, the continuing legacies of the San Francisco system, a reinterpretation of the U.S. occupation of Japan, and third parties involved and affected by the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty.
Session Two focused on conflict and security during and after the Cold War. Kenneth R. Robinson, of the Northeast Asian History Foundation, presided over this session, which explored psychological operations and warfare in Cold War East Asia, U.S. security policy in the post-Cold War Asia-Pacific region, Chinese perspectives on the U.S.-ROK alliance, and challenges and prospects facing the South Kuril Islands.
Session Three dealt with historical reconciliation in comparative perspective. Victor Cha, Professor, D.S. Song-KF Endowed Chair in Government and Asian Studies, and Director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University, chaired the session. Topics included the reconciliation process between native Hawaiians and the United States; the influence of historical memory on reconciliation in East Asia; and changes in international law, conflict resolution, and education after the second World War.
Presented by the Center for Korean Research.
Borders and Frontiers: Connections Between Power, Ideology, and Identity in Southeast Asia
- Friday, 11 November 2011
Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sylff program, this panel convened to discuss issues in power, ideology, and identity in Southeast Asia.
Opening remarks were given by Myron L. Cohen, the director at WEAI and Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Duncan McCargo, visiting scholar at WEAI and professor of Southeast Asian politics at the University of Leeds, gave a keynote speech titled, “Mapping National Anxieties: Thailand’s Multi-Layered Conflicts.”
The first panel, moderated by Ann Marie Murphy, Adjunct Research Scholar at the WEAI and Associate Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, focused on boundary issues in Southeast Asia. Panelists in included Peni Hanggarini, lecturer at the Department of International Relations at Paramadina University, Jakarta, and PhD student in Political Science at Northern Illinois University, who spoke about intra-cultural border disputes; Emily Hong, Asia Training Associate at the Minority Rights Group International, who discussed nonviolent power and protest; and Kimberly Rogovin, MA candidate in Human Rights at Columbia University, who talked about issues in female migration such as institutional friction and exploitation.
The second panel, moderated by Trude Jacobsen, Assistant Director at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and Assistant Professor at the Department of History at Northern Illinois University, focused on power, ideology, and identity issues. Tony Do, MA candidate in Anthropology at Columbia University, talked about inscribing agency to Vietnamese AIDS orphans; Karen Bryner, PhD candidate in Comparative International Education at Teachers College at Columbia University, discussed the cultural Islamization of Indonesia through integrated Islamic schools linked with the Prosperous Justice Party; Lisa H. Kim, MPA candidate in Economic and Political Development at SIPA, focused on making Indonesian women essential by framing gender discourse within the framework of wives and mothers; and Laur Kiik, MA candidate in Anthropology at Columbia University, discussed ethnic environmentalism and military-capitalist dispossession in Kachin Land, on the Burma-China-Tibet-India borders.
Closing remarks were given by Akiko Imai, the Director for Public Communications, on behalf of the Tokyo Foundation.
This conference was organized by WEAI.
Thursday, 10 November 2011
- Merit E. Janow, Professor of International Economic Law and International Affairs and Director of the of the Program in International Finance and Economic Policy at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), hosted a private, high-level roundtable conference on a broad range of issues related to China’s economic and trade relations at SIPA. The purpose of the interdisciplinary conference was to bring together a group of leading academic experts, practitioners, policymakers and business executives to analyze and discuss certain key areas of both economic tension and potential economic opportunity between China and developed economies. The conference content focused on four areas: trade, investment, capital markets, and technology/innovation. These areas were selected because they can be expected to present opportunities for commercial collaboration and economic growth in the years ahead. The event was held in a roundtable format to encourage discussion. Each topic began with four presenters making short speeches, followed by questions and commentary from the group, and finally a few minutes were reserved for each set of speakers to respond. At the outset of the conference, Professor Janow encouraged participants to be bold and creative. These objectives were successfully achieved as the experts in the room unearthed a wide array of specific knowledge on U.S.-China economic relations and provided solution-oriented policy ideas from multiple perspectives. The flow of the discussion across the theoretical and practical divide was a testament to both the diversity and experience of the participants. A full summary report is available.
This conference was co-sponsored by the Center for International Business Education and Research, Weatherhead East Asian Institute and SIPA of Columbia University; CJEB and The Jerome A. Chazen Institute for International Studies of Columbia Business School; and the Columbia Law School as well as its Center for Chinese Legal Studies.
China's 2012 Leadership Transition: Implications for U.S. National Security
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Piin-Fen Kok, senior associate at East West Institute, and Colonel Blaine D. Holt, Vice Commander of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, engaged in a panel discussion on the state of Chinese-American security relations and how the upcoming Chinese leadership transition will have an effect on them.
Ms. Kok said she strongly believes there will be a continuity of policy into the Chinese 18th congress in 2012. The fifth generation of leadership will continue a cautionary approach to security issues since they are very preoccupied with economic issues: inflation, the sustainability of the GDP growth rate, regional and economic disparity, and increasing domestic consumption. She remarked that the most important security issues in the next five years have to do with its relationship with the United States: a possible shift of power during the upcoming U.S. election; the United States’ two long wars, its perception of China as a real economic threat; tensions between the two countries resulting from the American sale of arms to Taiwan; and military maneuvers in the Yellow Sea. Likewise, other Asian countries are concerned with China’s power and aggressiveness. Despite this situation, there are efforts to reconcile differences between the United States and China.
Colonel Holt recognized this rivalry, and believed that the United States needs to understand better China’s strengths and weaknesses. He believed that the United States’ reliance on institutions is weak, and likewise China’s leadership through “humane authority” may not work in every situation. He observed that China’s passive role in global military efforts allows it to benefit greatly from American action; for instance, with America stabilizing Afghanistan, Chinese companies are able to benefit from investments into natural resources in the region. Ultimately, he believes there is great optimism between the two countries, but there are still some tough issues. It would be a huge catastrophe if China and the United States were to ever have a military conflict.
This panel was convened by the Asia-Pacific Affairs Council and the Defense & Security Student Organization.
Localizing Global Justice: Rethinking Law and Human Rights in Southeast Asia
Friday and Saturday, 4-5 November 2011
The first panel, moderated by Ann Marie Murphy from Seton Hall University and Columbia University, was about “Complicating Justice,” and panellists focused on disparate aspects of justice in different areas of Southeast Asia. Panellists included Jiwon Suh from Ohio State University who focused on human rights advocacy in post-new order Indonesia; Tyrell Haberkorn from ANU on torture and accountability in Thailand; Benjamin Tausig from New York University on broadcasting rights at Thai protests; and Trangdai Glassey-Tranguyen, who talked about justice in Vietnam. The theme of Panel Two, which was moderated by Amy Freedman of Long Island University and Columbia University, was “Complicating Law, Contesting Rights,” and panellists included Frank Munger from New York Law School, who talked about the relationship between global law and local human rights in Thailand; Kristy Kelly on gender, class and retirement rights in Vietnam; Nguyen Thu Huong from the Vietnam National University of Hanoi on the interface of gender, sexuality, and politics in dealing with rape cases in northern Vietnam; and Michael Herzfeld from Harvard University on housing rights in Thailand.
Day Two started off with Panel Three, moderated by Jayne Werner of Columbia University, on “Global-Local (Re)Imaginings.” Panellists included Ehito Kimura from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Leslie Dwyer from George Mason University on justice in Indonesia; Bridget Welsh from Singapore Management University on justice for Malaysian political leaders; and Eugenia McGill from Columbia University on gender justice advocacy in the Philippines. Panel Four, moderated by Professor McCargo, was about “Transitional Justice: The Case of Cambodia.” Panellists included Sophal Ear from U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, on transitional justice in Cambodia; John Ciorciari from the University of Michigan on global and local "Truths" in Democratic Kampuchea; and Alex Hinton from Rutgers University and Lorraine Paterson from Cornell University on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Professor McCargo moderated a closing conversation on how to effectively use the information gathered going forward.
This conference was co-sponsored by Columbia’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Southeast Asian Student Initiative, School for International and Public Affairs, and Economic and Political Development Program.
Power Shifts in Northeast Asia
Friday, 28 October 2011
The Center for Korean Research (CKR) brought together a panel of experts to discuss the changing power dynamics in Northeast Asia for a day-long conference at Columbia University. Session One focused on “Major Powers and the Shifting Regional Balance,” and was moderated by Charles Armstrong, Director of CKR at Columbia University. Panelists included Victor Cha from Georgetown University discussing the United States and Northeast Asia; Richard Bush from the Brookings Institution discussing China and Northeast Asia; Sheila Smith from the Council on Foreign Relations discussing Japan and Northeast Asia; and Stephen Noerper from The Korea Society discussing Russia, Mongolia and Northeast Asia. Andrew Nathan from Columbia University served as the discussant.
China's Difficult Economic Adjustment
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Michael Pettis, finance professor at Peking University and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, gave a talk at Columbia University describing the issues surrounding China's economic growth. Although China is currently experiencing tremendous growth, there are systemic and infrastructural weak points that mimic the meteoric rise and fall of other great economies. He posited that by 2013-14 Chinese GDP growth will start to level out, and by 2015-16 growth rates will slow to 3%.
Professor Pettis first put China's current economic boom into context, making comparisons to the economic histories of Japan, Korea, and the Soviet Union in the mid-late 20th century. He argued that China’s investments, predominantly in the form of governmental policy and financial infusion, are too decadent. High profits of state-owned enterprises translate into investment for capital-intensive projects and can work for some time; however, if Chinese enterprises run out of investment opportunities and cannot find the next project, the Chinese government will have to shore them up. For these reasons, China’s economic growth “miracle” will most likely transition into a debt crisis. For the rest of 2011 and 2012, Chinese debt levels will continue to rise quickly; attempts to rein in debt growth will fail because they will only address specifics, rather than opposing the economic model which China follows. Attempts to rein in spending at the local level will continue to fail because costs are nationalized, while benefits are local. Loans in China do not get repaid; they just get rolled over.
Professor Pettis also addressed China’s low domestic consumption. For much of the past decade, there has been growing recognition of its heavy export-driven economy. By 2013, Chinese household consumption will stagnate at 35% of Chinese GDP, which it achieved in 2009, and will likely start to trend downward.
Finally, Professor Pettis outlined several initiatives that China can enact to stop an economic failure: 1) increase currency value; 2) raise domestic wages; and 3) raise interest rates slowly. When governments introduce distortions into the market, only certain people will benefit. If these distortions persist for too long, they may become impossible to remove. However, he does not endorse a full free market; he believes that policy and markets should work in tandem to perpetuate a strong economy. Until Beijing acknowledges that it must dramatically change its growth model, its artificial market will result in failure.
This lecture was co-sponsored by the Asia Pacific Affairs Council, APEC Study Center, and SIPA Finance Club.
Asia Pacific Economic Outlook: Short & Medium-Term Policy Challenges
Dr. Vivek Arora, Assistant Director of the International Monetary Fund’s Asia and Pacific Department, outlined the global economic recovery, the growth outlook in Asia, risks of overheating, and policy challenges. He stated his belief that the growth outlook for Asia looks strong, though there are new risks from exuberant credit and property markets, higher commodity prices, and the effects of Japan’s earthquake.
Professor David E. Weinstein, Carl S. Shoup Professor of the Japanese Economy and Associate Director of CJEB, served as a discussant for this lecture, and noted the many countries which are in danger of default: Japan, Ireland, Greece, Spain, the United States, and Portugal. Professor Shang-Jin Wei, N. T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy and Director of the Chazen Institute at Columbia Business School (CBS), moderated the lecture. A more complete summary can be found here: Vivek Arora Report (.pdf, 163 kb)
This lecture was co-sponsored with the Chazen Institute and CJEB.
Jacob A. Frenkel, Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International, Member of the Executive Committee at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the JPMorgan International Council; Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor at Columbia University and President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD); and Min Zhu, Special Advisor to the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, presented their views on the challenges and prospects of today’s global economy as part of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs’ 2011 Distinguished Speakers in International Finance and Economic Policy series.
Frenkel noted the growing importance of emerging markets. Not only are equity flows moving to emerging markets, but their gross domestic product (GDP) rates significantly surpass those of advanced economies. Stiglitz discussed the growth of emerging markets as well as the...
John Wilson, Lead Economist of the Development Economics Research Group at the World Bank, gave a presentation at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs assessing the unique challenges and new opportunities available in shaping the global development agenda through the lens of the World Bank, particularly in the area of trade facilitation and high trade-related transactions costs.
Wilson noted that the recent global economic crisis of 2008 has presented the World Bank with the opportunity to advance an international trade agenda anchored in reform and the research of aid effectiveness for the next 10 years. In particular, the World Bank’s data found that every $1 invested in trade policy and regulatory reform has resulted in $697 in trade. However,...
Jose Fernandez, Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Fernandez spoke on the importance and mutual benefits of the U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). Fernandez started by noting that the 2010 KORUS renegotiations were put in place to ensure that U.S. companies can compete in a fair and free method and to provide everyone with greater transparency to the agreement . . .
This conference provided a forum for graduate students from institutions around the world to meet and present their research for discussion with other students and Columbia faculty. Nearly a hundred students presented papers, including “Investing the Lessons of East Asia: A ‘Market-Enhancing’ View of Dynamic Export Promotion,” “China: Catching Up or Falling Behind?,” and “Legal Aid NGOs and the Rule of Law in China.” Details can be found here.
This event was co-sponsored with the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as well as several other organizations at Columbia.
APEC 2010 Summit: Seeking Prosperity After Crisis
Wendy Cutler, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC Affairs; Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs; and Kurt Tong, U.S. Senior Official at APEC reviewed the themes and outcomes of the annual APEC Summit, which took place November 12-13 in Yokohama, Japan. Themes included accelerating regional economic integration and promoting a new, sustainable growth model for the Asia-Pacific region. The speakers also explored how these issues will be carried forward during the U.S. hosting of APEC in September 2011. Several business executives also discussed key private sector initiatives being developed to support the upcoming U.S. meeting.
Monica Whaley, President of the National Center for APEC, moderated the discussion.
Keith Rockwell, Director of the Information and Media Relations Division at the WTO, discussed the state of the international trading system and the WTO’s role within it. Professor Merit E. Janow moderated the lecture. According to Mr. Rockwell, the multilateral trading system has worked; governments haven’t resorted to protectionism, even in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Stimulus packages adopted in response to the crisis prevented world trade from contracting by an estimated 12%, and by the time the 2010 figures come in, trade is expected to have increased by 11% from 2009. However, the Doha Round of trade negotiations has stalled, and was being replaced by ever-increasing amounts of bilateral trade agreements.
Professor Janow added that protectionist pressures were indeed increasing, and that advocates of free trade should not be too optimistic yet....
Barnard Professor of Political Science Xiaobo Lü, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Professor and Founder of the China Digital Times Xiao Qiang, and Barnard Associate Professor of Sociology Guobin Yang convened to participate in a panel discussion moderated by Columbia Journalism School Professor Howard French. They gathered to discuss how the Internet manifests among China’s current 420 million Internet users, especially in terms of the interplay between the government and China’s citizens via online discourse. Despite government regulation, Lü argued that the Internet is a powerful tool for political change because it generates discussion about government policy among the growing number of Internet users, giving citizens the opportunity to express their opinions...
Timothy Stratford, partner at Covington & Burling LLP and former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China, gave a dynamic presentation at Columbia Law School to an overflow room of students and professionals discussing the upsides and concerns of current U.S.-China economic relations. Selecting newspaper headlines from recent months as well as anecdotes from his own experience, he demonstrated the complex dynamics and ever-changing nature of these relations, exploring the underlying causes of friction in macroeconomic policy, microeconomic policy, institutional weakness, and political systems. He also highlighted tools available to both the public and private sectors to improve economic relations with China and its industries. He then answered student questions, and remained for a more in-depth discussion with members of the...
Justin Lin, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Development Economics at the World Bank, delivered the inaugural N.T. Wang lecture. Focusing on lessons that China’s growth can offer to other nations, Dr. Lin emphasized the importance of each country developing its comparative advantage in order to compete in the world economy. He noted that China’s comparative advantage is its labor force and that China has learned to focus on this advantage while also utilizing technological advancements from other countries. Dr. Lin also drew attention to China’s “dual-track” economy which joins together a free market system with central planning and noted that China must move away from this inefficient model.
Shang-Jin Wei, N. T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy and...
This half-day conference, organized by the Columbia Undergraduate East Asian Studies Initiative (EASI), gathered diverse Columbia student groups, academic departments, and institutes into a collaborative and multi-disciplinary effort toward furthering the undergraduate interdisciplinary study of East Asia. Eight paper writers presented their research findings and received constructive criticism during three panel sessions. One relevant paper was “Changes in Chinese Consumer Behavior: Repercussions of Sino-Japanese Political Conflict and Negative Country Image and Japanese Business Response.”
ASC support for the EASI also contributed to publication of the Columbia East Asian Review, an annual, online, peer-review academic journal dedicated to furthering knowledge of East Asia through the promotion of research and interdisciplinary dialogue. It can...
Dr. Jong-Wha Lee, Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), made a presentation about the economic recovery in Asia, possible risks to the recovery, and macroeconomic policy recommendations. He declared that Asia has already started to recover from the financial crisis. The ADB’s GDP growth projections for Asia showed a low in 2009, but 7.5% growth in 2010 and 7.3% growth in 2011. He then divided the region into countries, and GDP growth into its components. He showed that export-oriented markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea were hit hardest by the crisis when trade collapsed and investment in these countries stopped. However, countries with large domestic markets such as China and Indonesia continued to attract investment, and still have positive investment. At present there is only mild recovery in external demand, so it cannot...
This event featured panelists Robert Z. Aliber, emeritus professor of international economics and finance at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago; Daniel Rosen, adjunct associate professor at Columbia University and visiting fellow with the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE); and Shang-Jin Wei, professor of finance and economics and N.T. Wang Chair in Chinese Business and Economy at Columbia Business School. Professor Janow moderated this panel discussion, which centered on China’s currency as pegged to the USD and implications for the future of U.S.-China relations.
Professor Janow opened by briefly noting the escalation of tensions between the United States and China on a number of issues including trade, arms sales to Taiwan, and the yuan. The Chinese yuan has been pegged to the USD since mid-2008 and there exist a variety of views within the United States and...
This conference has become the largest on Africa at Columbia. Relevant panels to APEC included “Aid vs. Investment,” which focused on the comparative effectiveness of aid and foreign investment in achieving economic development and advancing social and economic rights in African nations. Beginning with an examination of recent trends in foreign investment and the objectives and methods employed, participants spoke about the extent to which the incentive to seek profit is an appropriate model for sustaining capital inflow to Africa and laying the bedrock for economic self-sufficiency.
In “China-Africa Trade Summit,” speakers sought to address the major challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in trade and investment between Africa and China as they relate to issues of sustainability, economic growth and development and consumer protection. With most of the major economies trying to recover from the global economic crisis, they addressed new questions about the future of trade and...
This panel discussion explored the unprecedented coordination between Japan and the United States in preparation for the upcoming APEC summits in 2010 (Yokohama) and 2011 (Hawaii). Shigeru Nakamura, Ambassador for International Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Chair of the 2010 APEC Senior Officials Meeting, and Kurt Tong (see #4 above), reported on the development of the agenda and goals for the meetings. Monica Whaley (see #4) moderated the discussion.
Ambassador Nakamura said that APEC is trying to adapt to a changing world, citing challenges presented by the financial crisis, food security issues, natural disasters, and pandemics. As a result, in addition to its core mission of regional economic integration and promoting balanced, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, APEC will also include an emphasis on human security issues to protect societies against this multitude of dangers. He reviewed several regional free trade agreements under...
Nearly a hundred graduate students presented papers on all aspects of East Asian studies, including history, economics, business, political science, literature, art history, and religion. Three panels were related to business, trade or politics: “International Relations in East Asia”; “Contemporary Politics in East Asia”; and “Global Politics and East Asia.” This event was co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, as well as several other centers at Columbia.