Japan crisis recovery through regional cooperation and transparency
"Japanese and ASEAN ministers met in Jakarta just one month after the tragedies that hit Japan. Many ASEAN countries pledged to help where they can, either in immediate assistance or looking at longer term engagement," notes Simon Tay.
"Given how much Japan has helped the region in this past, this is poignant. One area of attention will be on nuclear energy where Japan and Tepco have offered to assist some ASEAN countries in developing plants. Even for countries without active seismic activity, there are cautionary lessons about risk management. Transparency from Japan is much needed at this time."
Professor Simon TAY is the Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. He is a professor at the Law faculty and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore [bio].
Doha Development Round enters critical point, with implications for multilateral trading system
"In the midst of current turbulent environment of political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), natural disaster in Japan and the continuing financial instability in the Eurozone, international media has failed to discuss the prospects of Doha Development Round and its implications on the multilateral trading system," says Hank Lim.
"The Director-General of World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, issued a statement at the conclusion of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) on 29 March 2011. He warned that WTO members risk failing to deliver the breakthrough needed in April to conclude the DDR negotiations this year. If the negotiations fails this year, its prospects for a successful completion are dismal as key WTO members will be engaged in domestic elections in the next two years. Failure to conclude will have dire implications on rule-based, non-discriminatory multilateral trading regime which has served well the world for 70 years - in particular on the smaller and less developed WTO members who are more dependent on an improved set of transparent and non-discriminatory trade rules. At this point, gaps remain too wide in a range of issues for the negotiating group to produce the revised negotiating draft that members have agreed should be produced by Easter, 22-25 April 2011."
Dr. Hank LIM is a Senior Research Fellow at the SIIA [bio].