Public Lecture – 21 July 2016 “Trade Agreements in a Second-Best World” by Prof. Iwan Azis

The Institute for International Trade, together with the School of Economics at the University of Adelaide warmly invite alumni, colleagues and friends to a public lecture presented by Professor Iwan Azis.  Iwan is Professor (adjunct) at Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, and Professor of Economics at the University of Indonesia.

Date: Thursday 21 July 2016

Time: 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Venue: Napier Lecture Theatre 209, North Terrace, The University of Adelaide – Map

Booking: Essential by COB 19 July 2016

Enquiries: Please contact Litsa Morris at or 8313 4768

Trade Agreements in a Second-Best World

Complacency built during the two decades of stable high growth and low inflation (great moderation), and the emergence of China post WTO membership led to global imbalances. As production networks and the participation of East Asia in the global value chains grew stronger, so did the region’s trade performance. Interests toward regional integration and cooperation developed and the number of free trade agreements (FTAs) proliferated. Causality between the two, however, hardly existed. Instead, the strong trade performance was driven more by unilateral liberalization and healthy growth of the world economy during the great moderation. Several reasons behind the proliferation of FTAs can be put forth, but the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis, growing geopolitical risks, and the emergence of China are among the major drivers behind the emerging three mega-blocs: TTIP, TPP, and RCEP. While none of these is a first-best scenario, living in a second best world does not have to be bad, provided the gains from it does not exacerbate the already skewed distribution between and within countries. The latter, however, implies a huge challenge since the way FTAs are negotiated commercial interests always seem to be placed ahead of broader national interests.

The above issues will be discussed, based upon which future directions of regional integration and cooperation including trade agreements are explored.

Iwan Azis

Professor Iwan Azis has been teaching at Cornell University since 2000 and at the Faculty of Economics, the University of Indonesia since 1977. He was the chairman of the department of Economics (1984-1990), director of the Inter-University Center for Economics (1986-1990), and the director of graduate study at the Regional Science Program, Cornell University (2006-2010). During 2010-2014 he was in charge of work related to the regional integration in Asia at the Asian Development Bank. His latest publications are: Managing Elevated RiskSpringer (2015), “ASEAN’s need to Rebalance More Regional than Global?” in Transpacific Rebalancing (Brookings Institution Press, 2015), and “How Capital Flows in the Midst of Excess Savings Affect Macrofinancial Vulnerability” (Asian Development Review, 2015). His recent comments on trade-related issues can be found below:

 The risk of regional integration Policy Forum

 Integration Springer

 Paper on TPP RCEP

 Asian Integration Strategic Review

 Paper Rebalancing

Institute for International Trade/
School of Economics,
The Faculty of the Professions, The University of Adelaide

*This post was first published on  Institute for International Trade website 


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