Can the Trans-Pacific Partnership Multilateralise the 'Noodle Bowl' of Asia-Pacific Trade Agreements?

The Perth USAsia Centre is proud to release the latest edition of our Strategic Insights Series, 'Can the Trans-Pacific Partnership Multilateralise the 'Noodle Bowl' of Asia-Pacific Trade Agreements?'. In this insightful paper, Dr Jeffrey Wilson, Perth USAsia Centre's Research Fellow, argues the Trans-Pacific Partnership offers more than just a set of market access opportunities for Australia. It also promises ‘systemic change’ in the Asia-Pacific trade architecture. The spread of bilateral FTAs in the last decade has caused fractures in the regional trade system, known as the ‘noodle bowl problem’. The TPP may help resolve this problem by ‘multilateralising’ existing agreements under one umbrella. Australia stands to gain considerably if the TPP’s high-standard and multilateral approach becomes a template for trade liberalisation in the region. Businesses and policymakers should be aware of these systemic implications when evaluating participation in the TPP.

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Former Australian Ambassador to the United States joins Perth USAsia Centre

The Hon Kim Beazley, AC, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Ambassador to the United States of America, has joined our team at Perth USAsia Centre. He will support our Centre as a Senior Research Fellow and a member of the Board of Directors. We warmly welcome Kim and deeply value the knowledge, insights and expertise he brings to the Centre's role in strengthening relationships between Australia, the Indo-Pacific and the United States. You can read more about Kim's appointment in an article from The Australian and a press release from The University of Western Australia.

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Perth USAsia Centre CEO Writes on North Korea for CNN

In an article for CNN, Perth USAsia Centre's CEO, Professor L. Gordon Flake has written on North Korea and its 'Groundhog Day' patterns: "There is a similar feeling when it comes to North Korea and the seemingly endless cycle of provocation, international outrage, strongly worded but ultimately ineffective U.N. Security Council statements, and a lack of discernible change in North Korean behavior." Gordon describes three fundamental shifts that suggest this cycle may soon end, including South Korean policy toward North Korea, consultations on THAAD, and the United States' response.

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Senior Fellow's Perspective on Indonesia's Energy Initiatives

In The Lowy Institute for International Policy's Interpreter, Ian Satchwell, Perth USAsia Centre's Senior Fellow, writes about the rapid development of Indonesia's 35,000 megawatt (35 gigawatt) electricity expansion project and hurdles for its progress. Satchwell states, "the Government of Indonesia is keen to attract a diversity of investment in energy, but must overcome the reluctance of investors unnerved by a history of capricious policies driven by economic nationalism."

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Research Fellow Analyses Impacts of TPP on Asia-Pacific's Trade Architecture

Dr Jeffrey Wilson, Research Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre, has published an article in AIIA's Australian Outlook which examines the critically important question of how the TPP will impact trade architecture in the Asia-Pacific region. He states, "the TPP is more than just a set of market access opportunities that need to be balanced against the costs of domestic policy reforms. It also promises wholesale change in the way trade policy in the Asia-Pacific is structured. Understanding its effects on the trade system is essential if we are to properly evaluate its implications for Australia". Long-term success of the TPP, Dr Wilson explains, will depend on how smoothly its ratification process proceeds in 2016.

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Wall Street Journal Quotes Perth USAsia Centre CEO

On 21 February 2016, Perth USAsia Centre CEO L. Gordon Flake was quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article that focused on the United States' acknowledgement of peace talks with North Korea prior to the North's nuclear test on January 6. Gordon commented on the impact of U.S.-South Korea missile-shield talks on the relationship between China and North Korea, stating it “further strengthens arguments of those in China who argue North Korea is a strategic liability”, and that "it’s becoming more difficult for China to give North Korea leeway.” The US attempt for peace talks with North Korea was one of several unsuccessful efforts to discuss denuclearisation with North Korea in President Obama's second term.

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Perth USAsia Centre's New Podcast Series

Listen to our new podcast series, where we reflect on the events and developments shaping international affairs in the Indo-Pacific region. Our inaugural podcast featured an interview with seasoned North Korea expert and Perth USAsia Centre CEO Gordon Flake, who discussed North Korea's missile test launch on February 7. In our latest podcast, China researcher and PhD candidate Andrew Chubb discusses a range of topics including his public opinion research on how maritime territorial disputes are viewed within China, the role of media in Chinese foreign policy, and why Australia's "China choice" is already made. The Perspectives podcast series is available on Soundcloud and iTunes.

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Perth USAsia Centre CEO quoted in the New York Times

Perth USAsia Centre CEO L. Gordon Flake was quoted in a 6 January New York Times article discussing North Korea's claim they had tested a hydrogen bomb and China's reaction to the test in light of its complicated relations with North Korea.  Quoted along with other leading international security and China experts like Bonnie Glaser and Professor Rory Medcalf, Gordon said that the North Koreans "know that the Chinese fear instability more than they fear anything else.” The bomb was tested close to the border with China and residents of a nearby city said they felt tremors from the weapon test. 

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Industry Consolidation in the Age of Gas: Strategic Implications for Australia

The Perth USAsia Centre is proud to release the latest edition of our Strategic Insights Series, an excellent piece on Australia's energy security by Andrew Pickford & Michael Petric. In Industry Consolidation in the Age of Gas: Strategic Implications for AustraliaAndrew and Michael argue that Australian policymakers need to articulate a strategy for the possibility that a large, state-owned oil company will make a bid for an Australian energy company or major energy asset. The shifting geopolitics of energy and the likelihood Australia will surpass Qatar as the world's top gas exporter means Australia's interests will be bound up with the energy security interests of other countries.  

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Smart Power goes interactive online

Australia shares a four-hour time horizon with sixty per cent of the world’s population and the nations with the greatest promise for economic growth in the twenty-first century. Perth USAsia Centre and Knowledge Society's The Australian newspaper depicts twelve of these economies in an interactive comparative analysis.

Smart Power asserts that power must be understood in all its dimensions, hard and soft. ‘Hard’ can mean coercion and payment, while ‘soft’ means persuasion and attraction. Hard economic measures – gross domestic product, trade, foreign investment, productivity – are pivotal to national power and prestige.

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Watch: Former Indonesian president awarded honorary doctorate

CEO Gordon Flake features in key North Korea human rights report

The Salzburg Global Seminar recently published a report on North Korea titled "International Responses to Crimes Against Humanity: The Challenge of North Korea". The Seminar is one the most prestigious collaborations in the think tank world.

The seminar which took place from the 2nd to the 6th of June in Salzburg (Austria), was convened against the backdrop of the findings and recommendations of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The symposium benefitted from the valuable contributions by participants from six continents, one being our CEO Gordon Flake, a North Korea expert (pictured on the left with the chairman of the UN's COI, The Hon. Michael Kirby AC).

The full report can be downloaded by clicking here.

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Students enjoy extraordinary meeting with former Indonesian President

Students studying the Indonesian language were given an extraordinary opportunity yesterday at The University of Western Australia during an informal private roundtable meeting with former Indonesian President His Excellency Professor Doctor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Dr Yudhoyono spoke directly with the 20 local students and enjoyed the discussion in Bahasa Indonesia, applauding them for their fluency in the language and active interest in the Indonesian language and culture.

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Former Indonesian president awarded honorary doctorate

Former Indonesian president His Excellency Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been awarded an honorary doctorate at The University of Western Australia, in recognition of his contribution to global affairs and long-term advocacy in building strong relations between Australia and Indonesia.

UWA Chancellor Michael Chaney said the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters followed Dr Yudhoyono’s appointment earlier this year as a visiting Professor at UWA and Senior Fellow with the Perth USAsia Centre.

"This honorary doctorate acknowledges Dr Yudhoyono’s many outstanding achievements during his time as Indonesian president, in particular his commitment and vision to build a stronger Indo-Pacific region and relations with Australia, Indonesia’s nearest neighbour," Dr Chaney said.

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Australia can move from 'mining boom' to 'dining boom'

Australia can move from a ‘mining boom’ to a ‘dining boom’ according to talks yesterday between The University of Western Australia’s Perth USAsia Centre and former Indonesian President His Excellency Professor Doctor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Speaking with key University leaders at UWA, Dr Yudhoyono said his newly appointed position as Senior Fellow with the Perth USAsia Centre could assist in strengthening relations and interactions with ASEAN nations and in particular in encouraging agricultural partnerships which would integrate economies throughout the region.

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Report of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

We encourage all of our supporters and followers to read the UN commission of inquiry's report on human rights abuses in the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK). Led by our friend and former high court justice, The Hon. Michael Kirby, AC, CMG who visited us in March, the commission was mandated to investigate the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the DPRK. Other members of the commission include Sonja Biserko (Serbia) and Marzuki Darusman (Indonesia). 

After more than 80 witnesses and experts testified publicly and over 240 confidential interviews the commission issued a landmark report in 2014 and successfully put human rights onto the UN Security Council's agenda. 

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Rio Tinto signs $1 million partnership with Perth USAsia Centre

Leading global mining and metals company Rio Tinto and the international policy think tank Perth USAsia Centre have announced a $1 million partnership to support the Centre’s core policy development, research, education and network-building programs.  These programs highlight and strengthen Western Australia’s ties with the emerging economies of Asia, as well as the state’s strategic position at the fulcrum of the Indo-Pacific region.
 
Perth USAsia Centre CEO Gordon Flake announced Rio Tinto as the Centre’s foundation corporate partner in a ceremony with Rio Tinto’s chief executive – Iron Ore, China, Korea and Japan Andrew Harding and Paul Johnson, vice chancellor of The University of Western Australia. Rio Tinto is the first major corporate investor in the Centre’s core programs, which promote stronger relationships betweenAustralia, Indo-Pacific countries and the United States.

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Smart Power 2015 now available for download

Since its inception, In the Zone has sought to reframe the manner in which Australia, and in particular Western Australia, defines itself. Australia has become more aware of its status as an Indo-Pacific nation. Western Australia’s perception of itself as an energy and minerals superpower has strengthened and the force of its economic integration with Asia has entered the national conversation.

It is time to take this conversation to the next level.

In past years, In the Zone has focused on remarkable facts such as these, and this report seeks to continue this tradition. These data stories and their compelling messages will change the way you see the region.

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Former Indonesian President accepts UWA, Perth USAsia Centre affiliations

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, former president of the Republic of Indonesia, will soon be welcomed as a visiting Professor at The University of Western Australia and as a Senior Fellow with the Perth USAsia Centre, expanding opportunities for deeper regional understanding and cooperation.

Dr Yudhoyono has also been announced as the keynote speaker at the University's annual In the Zone Leaders forum on 1 May.

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Australia Matters for America

In defence and security, trade and investment, travel and tourism, and the exchange of ideas, Australia increasingly matters to America.

This report - published in partnership with the East - West Center in Washington and the United States Studies Center in Sydney - explores the breadth and depth of the US–Australia alliance, producing a detailed portrait of the state of the relationship. It includes a finding that exports to Australia support more than 300,000 US jobs and that Australian visitors to America in 2013 spent a total of almost US$7 billion.

The report was released at an event in Washington organised by the US Chamber of Commerce celebrating the 10th anniversary of the US–Australia Free Trade Agreement. The event was attended by Alliance 21 program director James Brown, US ambassador to Australia John Berry and Australia's ambassador to the US Kim Beazley, and US Senator Ben Cardin (D–MD), a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

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In the Zone 2015: Capital Ideas for the 21st Century

n 2015, In the Zone will convene two high-profile events in Perth and Singapore. The University is delighted to host His Excellency Professor Doctor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Former President of Indonesia, to headline the Perth Leadership Forum on 1 May. The forum’s ambition is to engage Asian countries directly, and to encourage its delegates to collaborate proactively with the Zone’s decision-makers and business leaders – to Venture Asia.

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Winter 2015 UCLA Study Abroad Program

Want to escape the Australian winter for a Californian summer… and get academic credit for doing it? Our UCLA Study Abroad program lets you live on campus, study at one of the world’s top universities and gain invaluable international experience along the way. We might even throw in a trip to Disneyland!

Open to students at the University of Western Australia and University of Sydney studying Arts and Business (as well as Science at UWA), the program has already accelerated the study of over 200 students, helped make long lasting US connections and create countless memories.

Find out what all the fuss is about next Monday at our information session:
When: 1.00pm – 2.00pm on Monday, 16 March 2015
Where: Simmonds Lecture Theatre (G.01), General Purpose Building 3.

Register here

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Countering ISIS in Southeast Asia: The case for an ICT offensive, by Fergus Hanson

This excellent piece by Fergus Hanson, a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution, launches the Perth USAsia Centre's "Strategic Insights Series". In Countering ISIS in Southeast Asia: The case for an ICT offensive, Fergus discusses the Islamic State's success in using social media and other communications technologies to recruit fighters from the Muslim communities in Southeast Asia and Australia. An array of laws, policing strategies, and intelligence resources are employed by governments in the region to intercept returning fighters, but Fergus says what's missing is a coordinated response aimed at disabling one of the Islamic State's most potent weapons: its use of communications technology. This is the first featured piece in what will be the Perth USAsia Centre's ongoing series of insightful reports from experts on and in the Indo-Pacific.

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Looking Ahead: Next Steps for the Deepening the Australia-U.S. Alliance in the Asia-Pacific Region

On January 21, our sister organisation, the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney and Brookings Institution hosted a day-long conference Alliance 21 conference: “Looking Ahead: Next Steps for the Deepening Australia-U.S. Alliance in the Asia-Pacific.” The conference featured keynote speeches by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth.

With few equals in the world today, the Australia-U.S. partnership stands out for its broad base of shared interests, increasingly global in scope. However, challenges lie ahead for this special relationship. In the first Alliance 21 conference of 2015, government, business, military and think tank leaders from Australia and the United States discussed the depth and breadth of the Australia-U.S. partnership and explore how best to leverage its strengths to meet future challenges and opportunities in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.

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Smart Power 2: MIKTA Narratives is out!

This report evaluates Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, and Australia - all "MIKTA" nations - within the framework used in volume 1 of Smart Power: New Narratives of Prosperity, Persuasion and Projection. MIKTA is a new country grouping launched when the Foreign Ministers of all five nations met together in September 2013. That meeting was followed up by another in April 2014 in Mexico City and the five countries later issued a joint statement on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014. The MIKTA grouping is unlike others in the fact that MIKTA is not based on shared geography, language, or religion. Rather, MIKTA nations are similar in that all five represent open economies with pluralistic democratic systems. This report illustrates comparisons between the five member countries.

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Perth USAsia Centre mentioned in official White House press release

"In partnership with the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and the Perth USAsia Centre at the University of Western Australia, the United States established the 'Alliance 21 Fellowship,' a three-year exchange of senior scholars and policy analysts that will further examine the shared interests and mutual benefits of the U.S.-Australia alliance through research and public engagement."

                                  •  White House Press Release, 10 November 2014

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