SOURCE: Asia Society

Asia Society

March 20, 2016 04:30 ET

Trade Policy Commission to Promote Regional Trade Integration in the Asia-Pacific

Asia Society Policy Institute Initiative Will Offer Recommendations on Asia Trade Landscape to Improve Regional Integration

HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - March 20, 2016) - The Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) launched today a Policy Commission that will examine the current trade architecture in the Asia-Pacific and provide recommendations on the most effective, practical, and inclusive pathways for greater regional trade integration based on high standards. Under the chairmanship of Wendy Cutler, Vice President of ASPI and former Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, the group is comprised of five former senior trade officials from across Asia.

"It's an exciting time in the region as various trade and investment liberalization initiatives and negotiations have the potential to significantly alter the economic landscape of the Asia-Pacific," said Cutler. "I look forward to working with the other Commission members to sort through these initiatives and provide a roadmap on how future economic integration in the region can most effectively take shape.

Members of the Policy Commission currently include Choi Seokyoung, former Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and former Negotiator for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS); Gregory Domingo, former Trade Secretary of the Philippines; Peter Grey, former Ambassador of Australia to Japan and to the WTO; Shotaro Oshima, former WTO Appellate Body Member and former Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs for Japan; and Mari Elka Pangestu, former Trade Minister of Indonesia. The Commission will be expanding in the very near future to include a senior trade policy expert from China.

The new initiative was launched today with a private meeting hosted at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center. Commission members began a review of the current agreements and initiatives underway in the region and discussed how these efforts could be better coordinated and streamlined to promote meaningful integration. They aim to complete their work in the lead up to the APEC Leaders meeting in Lima, Peru this November. 

Biographies of Commission Members follow.

Wendy CUTLER (Chair) is Vice President of ASPI and Managing Director of Asia Society's Washington, D.C. Office. She joined ASPI following nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Most recently she served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, working on a range of U.S. trade negotiations and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region. In that capacity she was responsible for the just-concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, including the bilateral negotiations with Japan. 

CHOI Seokyoung is the former Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and former Senior Negotiator for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). He is a career diplomat with more than 36 years of experience with trade and economic affairs. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat in Singapore. He accepted a position as a member of the advisory group of the UN Central Emergency Response Fund in October 2015. Currently, he is a visiting professor at the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University.

Gregory DOMINGO is the former Trade Secretary of the Philippines from 2010-2015, He has previously held a variety of directorships, including Executive Director at SM Investments Corporation, and Director at BDO Private Bank. Prior to his position as Trade Secretary, he was Vice-Chairman and Managing Head of the Board of Investments; President of Carmelray-JTCI Corp (CJC); and Managing Director & Treasurer (Manila) of Chase Manhattan Bank/Chemical Bank. He served on the Board of the Foreign Exchange Association of the Philippines, and was a member of the Open Market Committee of the Bankers of the Association of the Philippines.

Peter GREY is currently the Senior Adviser for International Business Engagement and Co-Chair of the Japan Business Group at Corrs, Chambers Westgarth. He has served as the former Ambassador of Australia to Japan and former Ambassador of Australia to the World Trade Organization (WTO). During his time as Chief Trade Negotiator and Deputy Secretary of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), he focused on trade and commercial policy, negotiations, and bilateral political and economic relations. He is on the Board of the Asia Society Australia, the Executives of the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee, and the Australia Korea Business Council.

Shotaro OSHIMA served as Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Korea. Prior to this, he represented Japan as the Permanent Representative to the WTO, and was the Chairman of the Dispute Settlement Body and then the Chairman of the General Council of the WTO. His other roles have also included Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs for Japan. He is currently Chairman of the Institute for International Economic Studies.

Mari Elka PANGESTU was Indonesia's first Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy from 2011 to 2014. From 2004 to 2011, she served as Indonesia's Minister of Trade, representing Indonesia in multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade negotiations, coordinating the developing countries bloc (G33) in the WTO, and playing a leadership role in ASEAN during Indonesia's year as chair. She is currently Professor of International Economics at the University of Indonesia. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta.

About the Asia Society Policy Institute

With a problem-solving mandate, the Asia Society Policy Institute tackles major policy challenges confronting the Asia-Pacific in security, prosperity, sustainability, and the development of common norms and values for the region. The Institute builds on the mission of the Asia Society, which has sought for 60 years to explain the diversity of Asia to the United States and the complexity of the United States to Asia, and to be a bridge in problem-solving within the region and between Asia and the wider world.

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