The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading with alarming speed infecting millions all over the world. As countries imposed partial and full lockdowns to restrict movement to halt the spread of the virus, economic activities came to a virtual standstill. Many countries that have opened up recently face the risk of rising infections. The human toll of the virus continues to mount and represents the largest economic shock that the world has experienced in decades. Many advanced, emerging, and developing countries are in a recession. The adverse impact on low income countries is particularly acute reversing the significant progress made in reducing poverty. There is greater uncertainty today about the future of global trade than at any time since the post-World War II rules-based trading system was established seven decades ago.
Against the above background, the Centre for Multilateralism Studies of RSIS is convening this panel to discuss:
- The policy responses of East Asian governments to the pandemic, and the impacts and economic outlook
- How COVID-19 and the US-China trade war are impacting on Cross-Strait (China-Taiwan) relations
- How decentralising multilateralism (with the WTO as the senior global institution and regional and inter-regional free trade agreements) has affected global economic governance and how trade multilateralism might evolve in the post-pandemic world.
About the Speakers
Jikon Lai is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Multilateralism Studies, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University.
Jikon’s research interests lie at the intersection of international and comparative political economies, and international relations. His work examines how state, business and societal actors create, reproduce and sustain finance and the financial sector. He is animated by the desire to understand the interplay of domestic and international factors on financial systems. These intellectual interests are realised in several empirical domains: financial sector development and governance in East Asia, the evolution of a sovereign wealth fund in an emerging economy, regional financial architecture and Islamic finance. He has, for the most part, adopted institutional approaches in his work, but has also employed agent-centred and ideational perspectives where they are methodologically relevant.
Jikon’s research output has been published in Review of International Political Economy, New Political Economy, Journal of the Asia-Pacific Economy, Asia Europe Journal and the Australian Journal of Public Administration. He is also author of a book – ‘Financial Crisis and Institutional Change in East Asia’ – published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
Jikon received his doctoral degree from the Department of International Relations in the College of Asia & the Pacific at The Australian National University. He had previously studied at the University of Oxford where he obtained an M.Phil. in International Relations; and the London School of Economics and Political Science, finishing with a B.Sc. in Economics (First Class).
Xue Gong is Assistant Professor in China Programme of S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She holds a PhD in International Political Economy at NTU. Her current research interests include International Political Economy, China’s economic diplomacy, regionalism and governance. She has contributed to peer-reviewed journals such as the International Affairs, the Pacific Review, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Harvard Asia Quarterly. She has one co-edited book in Securing the Belt and Road Initiative: Risk Assessment, Private Security and Special Insurances Along the New Wave of Chinese Outbound Investment (Palgrave Macmillan 2018). She has also contributed to several book chapters on China’s economic statecraft, China’s corporate social responsibility and Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia. She has contributed various Op-Ed articles such as the South China Morning Post, The Diplomat, and so on.
Pradumna B. Rana is Visiting Associate Professor at the Centre for Multilateralism Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Prior to this, he worked for 25 years at the Asian Development Bank. His last appointment at the ADB was Senior Director of the Office of Regional Economic Integration which spearheads the ADB’s support for Asian economic integration. He obtained his PhD from Vanderbilt University where he was a Fulbright Scholar and a Masters in Economics from Michigan State University and Tribhuvan University. He has authored/edited 20 books, and published over 55 articles in peer-reviewed international academic journals.
Rana recently co-authored books on China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Impacts on Asia and Policy Agenda (Palgrave Macmillan 2020), Jump-starting South Asia: Round Two of Reforms and Look East Policies (Oxford, University Press 2018), Asia and the Global Economic Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan 2010), and South Asia: Rising to the Challenge of Globalization (World Scientific Publishers 2009). He edited a book entitled The Renaissance of Asia: Evolving Economic Relations between South Asia and East Asia (World Scientific Publishers 2012), and co-edited books on Global Shocks and the New Global and Regional Financial Architecture (ADB Institute 2018), and New Global Economic Architecture: The Asian Perspective (Edward Elgar 2014).
Rana has published widely in internationally reputed journals such as the Journal of International Economics, The Review of Economic and Statistics, Journal of Development Economics, World Development, International Trade Journal, Journal of Asian Economics, Singapore Economic Review, East Asian Economic Review, Global Governance, and Global Policy.