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Vaccine Global Value Chains and Regional Production Capacity in Asia and the Pacific

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the crucial role of vaccines in public health management and economic recovery. Its worldwide impact has raised national security concerns and implications on health policies, particularly on Asia Pacific countries’ readiness to cope with the next pandemic.

Vaccine Research and Development (R&D) in the Asia-Pacific: The economics of vaccine R&D and policy recommendations to overcome market failures and promote R&D cooperation

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of national, regional, and global vaccine research and development (R&D) systems. Translating public and private R&D efforts into effective vaccines in a timely manner requires not only sufficient financial and scientific resources but also a policy-driven R&D ecosystem that fosters innovation, public-private partnerships, and international cooperation.

Demystifying Impact of Food Losses in International Trade of Food Products: Building Narrative for Developing Countries from Indian Perspective

Food loss remains one of the central points of collective action around the world, as reflected in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, but this issue is far more concerning for the developing countries. Several studies highlight the level and stages of food losses. However, there is limited work on understanding the food losses in the context of international trade.

Trade, Investment and Cooperation in Health Product and Services in the Asia-Pacific Region

In Asia-Pacific, over the last few decades, countries have focussed on improving their healthcare sector and have been trying to achieve the targets set by SDG 3 – Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Wellbeing for All at All Ages, and SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals. Yet there are still considerable gaps across the countries, in terms of access to healthcare services and per capita healthcare expenditure.

Mainstreaming sustainable development in regional trade agreements: Comparative analysis and way forward for RCEP

In this paper, we review the sustainable development content of regional trade agreements (RTAs) globally using a new ESCAP RTA Text Analysis tool, followed by a comparative analysis of sustainable development related provisions in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and two other recent “mega” regional trade agreements (RTAs), namely the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the European Union – Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EU – Japan EPA).

Digital economies and evolving regulations: A parametric and nonparametric approach with bad output across countries

The authors use the non-parametric Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and the parametric Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) to workout efficiency and productivity of the ICT sector across 50 countries for the time period 2016 and 2020. By considering OECD - DSTRI index as bad output, the study intends to estimate the influence of digital trade regulations (or digital services trade restrictiveness) on productivity and efficiency of the ICT sector across countries. The SFA scores are compared with the DEA efficiency scores and Malmquist Index based on four DEA problems are used to work out the total factor productivity of the ICT sector across countries and over two time periods. Cross country regression is run to understand the impact of ICT efficiency and productivity on average annual growth rate of GDP per-capita among other control factors. The authors use network readiness index of the World Economic Forum along with OECD-DSTRI index as our database. Broadly, our results are three-fold. Firstly, the authors find that trade restrictiveness has very little to do with technical efficiency based on SFA frontier analysis. Secondly, the authors find no statistical difference in the technical efficiency scores of high and middle-income countries based on DEA analysis. The author also found evidence of Asian countries faring better than the European Union countries in context of technical efficiencies. Thirdly, from our empirical results it seems that adoption of ICT and the so-called disruptive 4IR technologies have replaced labour and henceforth, the author hypothesize that higher unemployment leads to higher growth rate along with a positive impact of network readiness on the growth rates. It seems that net neutrality and addressing pernicious regulations related to the ICT sector - barrier to competition, among others like foreign entry, mobility of people, regulatory transparency across countries can improve the productivity and efficiency of the ICT sector.

Ex-ante evaluation of India’s trade alliance with Indo-Pacific region: A general equilibrium analysis

This study attempts to analyse the economy wide impact of Indo-Pacific alliance between India and rest of the 45 participating countries. We introduce four simulation scenarios in the general equilibrium model. First scenario is the one in which India bilaterally liberalizes trade in terms of tariffs liberalization alone and then removal of tariffs and reduction of non-tariff barriers together with all the countries of Indo-Pacific region. Second scenario is when India bilaterally liberalizes trade with all the Asian countries of the Indo-Pacific region.

IPR waiver in vaccines and opportunities for India: what does the data show?

In light of the spread of Covid-19 cases in India during the second wave, the Government of India (GOI) decided to negotiate for an IPR waiver under section 1 (copyright and related rights), 4 (industrial designs), 5 (patents), and 7 (protection of undisclosed information) of TRIPS Agreement under the World Trade Organization (WTO). The expectation of the GOI is that the proposed IPR waiver would allow more firms to come forward to manufacture vaccines, medicines, and other COVID-19 related medical items, which would in turn augment their availability at an affordable price.

If the US-China trade war is here to stay, what are the risks and opportunities for other GVC economies outside the war zone?

Over the last three years, trade tensions between the United States (US) and China have transformed a fairly open bilateral trading environment into a rather protectionist one. The new administration of the United States has maintained most of the bilateral tariffs and non-tariff barriers put in place by the previous administration. Moreover, incentives to diversify trade partners and localisation have been intensified following COVID-19-induced global supply-chain disruptions.

Digital economy integration in Asia and the Pacific: insights from DigiSRII 1.0

In this paper, we utilize ESCAP (2020)’s framework of Digital and Sustainable Regional Integration Index version 1 (DigiSRII 1.0) to uncover digital economy integration trends across Asia-Pacific region. The results show that Asia and the Pacific has progressed well on conventional digital economy integration, especially due to significant improvements on digital-economy infrastructure and ICT goods trade liberalization.