Trade has been a key instrument fueling East Asia’s rapid economic growth. Rapidly increasing global and regional production networks have contributed to growth throughout the region and to closer economic integration among most of its economies. Riding atop this trend, China has become the major trading partner of virtually every other country within East Asia. China’s trade strategy has also married China’s combination of high savings levels plus low cost exports with America’s low savings rates and high consumption levels. As well, China, Japan and South Korea have been major funders of U.S. debt levels. To date, the result has been a win-win for all of these countries and been congruent with a liberal internationalist order. The election of Donald Trump threatens to upend all of this. The Trump administration threatens protectionism behind massive tariffs on U.S. imports from the region. As well, Trump has insisted that to bring back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. America will not participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership despite six years of complex negotiations and in defiance of the wishes of its other eleven member states. All remain convinced of the benefits of TPP as a bridge linking the Asia-Pacific and as a counterbalance to undue Chinese influence. Professor Pempel will examine these complex interrelations with particular attention to the broad role played by hitherto played by economic cooperation in reducing security tensions within East Asia and across the Asia-Pacific.
Professor T J Pempel
Professor of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley
About the Speaker:
Professor T J Pempel (PhD, Columbia) is Jack M Forcey Professor of Political Science in U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Political Science which he joined in July 2001. He served as Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies from 2002 until 2006. There he held the Il Han New Chair in Asian Studies. Just prior to coming to Berkeley, he was at the University of Washington in Seattle where he was the Boeing Professor of International Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies and an Adjunct Professor in Political Science. From 1972 to 1991, he was on the faculty at Cornell University; he was also Director of Cornell’s East Asia Programme. In addition, he has been a faculty member at the University of Colorado and the University of Wisconsin.
Professor Pempel’s research and teaching focus on comparative politics, political economy, contemporary Japan, and Asian regional ties. His recent books include Remapping East Asia: The Construction of a Region; Regime Shift: Comparative Dynamics of the Japanese Political Economy (both by Cornell University Press); Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia and The Economic-Security Nexus in Northeast Asia (both by Routledge). In 2015, he co-edited a book entitled, Two Crises; Different Outcomes (Cornell University Press) which analyzes the negative Asian experience in the 1997-98 crisis and the positive outcome in 2008-09. In addition, he has published over one hundred twenty scholarly articles and chapters in books.
Professor Pempel is on the editorial boards of a dozen professional journals, and serves on various committees of the American Political Science Association, the Association for Asian Studies, and the International Studies Association Council. He is a presidentially-appointed Commissioner on the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and is active in the Northeast Asian Cooperation Dialogue. His current research involves Asian adjustments to the rise in global finance and the decline in security bipolarity.
Professor James T H Tang
Dean and Professor of Political Science
School of Social Sciences
Singapore Management University
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