Economics and Trade

  • Free and Open Indo-Pacific/FOIP

    Aging ships deliver sanctioned oil on shadowy missions

    FORUM Staff A deadly explosion aboard the tanker ship Pablo has illuminated the growing “dark fleet” of older vessels that transports sanctioned crude oil and refined products such as diesel and jet fuel. The first of what has swelled to more than 600 such ships, many of them years past their prime, began ferrying the cargo when Western nations banned…

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  • Across The Region

    Indo-Pacific Countries Launch Major Trade Talks

    Economic ministers from more than a dozen Indo-Pacific countries launched negotiations in September 2022 on the United States’ first major regional trade engagement effort in nearly a decade. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework talks in Los Angeles, California, were aimed at addressing future challenges and achieving “sustainable and equitable growth” in the region. U.S. President…

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  • Conflicts - Tensions

    China’s New Economic Era

    Dr. Shale Horowitz/University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Photos by The Associated Press S ince coming to power in 2012, Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) general secretary, has systematically overturned the “Reform and Opening Up” institutional and policy consensus, which was created by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s and sustained by Xi’s two immediate predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.…

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  • Global Commons

    Japan considers lifting arms export ban to support threatened countries

    Marc Jacob Prosser The symbolism was unmistakable as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s surprise visit to Ukraine coincided with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow. The March 2023 visits underscore expanding geopolitical divisions that contribute to Japan considering a significant shift in policy to allow the export of weapons to countries such as Ukraine. The…

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  • Global Commons

    U.S. Navy, Coast Guard begin Oceania security patrol

    Commander/U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs The United States Navy and U.S. Coast Guard began a joint patrol in March 2023 in the Western Pacific under the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) to counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, combat transnational crime and enhance regional security. “OMSI is imperative to ensure that the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) agreement…

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  • Global Commons

    In ‘battery of Southeast Asia,’ citizens struggle to keep lights on

    FORUM Staff As Laotians grapple with supercharged inflation that has spiked electricity prices nearly 30%, many wonder why energy and other necessities are so costly in a nation dubbed the “battery of Southeast Asia” for its dozens of hydropower dams. “Electricity rates are too high for ordinary people to afford,” a resident of Luang Prabang province told Radio Free Asia…

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  • South Asia

    Sri Lanka hopeful of deals to overcome financial crisis

    FORUM Staff Sri Lanka continues working to move past its worst financial crisis in decades through talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about a bailout agreement. The country also expects a debt relief deal with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), its largest creditor. Sri Lanka had U.S. $7.4 billion in outstanding Chinese debt by the end of 2021,…

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  • Global Commons

    Indonesia boosts nickel, rare earth mining as demand surges for defense industry components

    Gusty Da Costa Rising demand for minerals vital to the defense industry, such as nickel and the class of minerals known as rare earth elements (REEs), has spurred the Indonesian government to enhance measures to process and explore for the materials. Possessing 37% of the world’s nickel output and 22% of its reserves, Indonesia is currently the top producer of…

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  • Global Commons

    Military display glosses over North Korean citizens’ hardships

    FORUM Staff A parade showcasing North Korea’s purported military prowess moved through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang despite United Nations sanctions and a deepening economic crisis that has many citizens struggling for food and other necessities. The evening spectacle February 8, 2023, featured nuclear-capable, short- and long-range missiles and other weaponry. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, his wife…

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  • Global CommonsPrime Minister Fumio Kishida

    Japan’s defense industry set for growth with increased spending, reforms

    Marc Prosser Japan’s recently announced defense spending boost to 2% of gross domestic product by 2027 will bolster national security while also strengthening its defense industry, analysts say. Over the next five years, Japan plans to spend an additional U.S. $300 billion on defense, with the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, pictured, earmarking funding for areas such as cyber…

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