RSIS Luncheon Seminar by Ji Xianbai Jason and Angela Poh, PhD Candidates, RSIS
“Deciphering the Genesis of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: A Game Theoretical Approach”
Presenter: Ji Xianbai Jason
Discussant: Asst Prof Chia-yi Lee
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is an ambitious, high-standard free trade agreement that is being negotiated by the world’s two largest economies, the United States (US) and the European Union (EU). Contrary to the conventional perception that the TTIP is a proactive geoeconomic initiative tasked with buttressing the liberal international order developed under the West’s watch and rejuvenating European leadership amid a shift of global centre of gravity to the Pacific Rim, this paper argues that the TTIP is essentially an economic stimulus venture to boost economies and create jobs in the aftermath of the financial and European sovereign debt crises. Furthermore, this paper contends that the belated launch of TTIP negotiations suggests that the transatlantic trade pact is reactive in nature and is triggered by trade liberalisation endeavours in other parts of the world, notably the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) spearheaded by EU’s top two trading partners, the US and China, respectively. Employing a game theoretical approach to decipher the genesis of TTIP through a three-player (US, EU and China) non-cooperative game, the analysis reveals that when the US and China altered their preference by abdicating their commitment to multilateralism under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in favour of regionalism, the economic pay-off accrued to the EU is adversely affected. The externalities of TPP and RCEP forced the EU to shift its strategy and strike a trade liberalisation deal of its own with its transatlantic ally, the US.
“Exploring a ‘Strategic Economic Culture’: The Case of China”
Presenter: Angela Poh
Discussant: Prof Tan See Seng
This paper will form the first chapter of my dissertation, “The Ideational Foundations of Chinese Economic Statecraft”. In brief, my dissertation investigates the empirical puzzle of why the People’s Republic of China (PRC), since its inclusion in the international system in 1971, has largely refrained from employing coercive economic statecraft against weaker and economically dependent states with which it has had political disputes. Instead, Beijing has shown a marked preference for deploying positive economic statecraft towards such states, in order to gradually build up long-term influence over them. I will argue that the early PRC leadership’s rhetoric regarding Western economic sanctions as imperialist and interventionist has necessitated its contemporary leaders to look for an alternative model rooted in Chinese history that is distinctively different from the West, influencing Chinese leaders to pursue policy options that may not necessarily maximise material benefit. In this draft chapter, I demonstrate that the substantial and growing constructivist literature on political/strategic culture has yet to make inroads into the ongoing debates among international relations scholars pertaining economic statecraft. I put forward the notion of a “strategic economic culture”, which suggests that the philosophical characteristics and historical experiences of states could affect the ways in which they choose to employ economic statecraft. The paper concludes by discussing the significance of the project, particularly my attempt to bridge distinct literatures on political/strategic culture, economic statecraft and Chinese foreign policy, followed by a description of the project structure.
The RSIS Luncheon Seminar series is open only to RSIS staff and PhD candidates.