Article Title

Asia Pacific Perspectives Vol. 7 No. 1, July 2007

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Editor's Introduction by Joaquin L. Gonzalez III

Cross-Regional Trade Cooperation: The Mexico-Japan Free Trade Agreement by Sarita D. Jackson

Latin American and Asia-Pacific countries are fervently forging economic cooperative relationships, which began with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in 1989. The two regions have shifted away from looking intra-regionally for economic stability against the forces of globalization. Rather, they have moved towards emphasizing cross-regional trade pacts. Cross-regional trade pacts present a number of advantages for member countries. The Mexico-Japan FTA, as a case study, shows us that trade and FDI between member countries increase with cross-regional free trade agreements (FTA). However, FTAs between the Latin American and Asia-Pacific regions do not have a direct impact on trade and FDI. As trade relations between Mexico and Japan show, there have periods of expanded trade activity prior to the implementation of a cross-regional trade pact. Instead, a number of other variables play a key role in promoting trade and FDI such as the regulatory environment, fiscal policy, and physical infrastructure. Furthermore, cross-regional trade agreements present other new opportunities for the countries involved. Latin American and Asia-Pacific countries that sign onto inter-regional trade deals have access to other regional markets that may consist of larger economies, low cost producers, and more efficient production mechanisms.

Asean Regionalism: Growth Through Integration by Richard Payne

With the rise of China and India, Southeast Asia risks turning into a backwater and its economies becoming marginalized by dominant regional powers. GDP growth and foreign direct investment are two economic indicators that show how far ASEAN is falling behind. Analysts argue that greater cooperation and economic integration could improve the economics of investment in ASEAN. Despite the formation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area in 1993, progress toward economic integration remains slow and intra-regional trade, as a percentage of the region's total trade, has even declined from 1994 to 2001. Adjustments need to be made. ASEAN should build economic integration by: 1) promoting regionalization and supporting private sector initiatives; 2) pursuing a multipolar strategy to integration; and 3) utilizing voluntarism as a core strategy in promoting integration.

The Role of Government in Technology Transfer to SME Clusters in Indonesia: Micro-Level Evidence from the Metal Working Industry Cluster in Tegal (Central Java) by Tulus Tambunan

It is evident everywhere that levels of productivity are higher in large enterprises (LEs) and foreign-owned enterprises than in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), partly because they have higher levels of technology capacity. Thus increasing the productivity of SMEs might be facilitated through improved knowledge or technology. The literature on development of SME clusters in developing countries argues that clusters are an effective means for technology transfer to SMEs and government can play as the main source of technology transfer to the clusters, especially in regions where production linkages between LEs and SMEs are not yet well developed. This study indeed shows that in Indonesia government agencies are currently the largest providers of training and similar assistance. However, these programs are marred by a low level of coverage, a lack of effective evaluation and assessment, and a supply rather than a demand orientation. The case study of Tegal metalworking industry also shows that the most important channels for the transfer of technology to SME clusters not only government agencies but also subcontracting arrangements with LEs.

A Futuristic Look into the Filipino Diaspora: Trends, Issues, and Implications by Soledad Rica R. Llorente

The Filipinos overseas... Where are they? Why do they go? What is their future outlook? There are currently eight million Filipinos working and living in almost all countries of the world save one. They constitute a real diaspora, a people displaced, dislocated and dispersed. This article addresses those critical questions by investigating this particular phenomenon and the economic, cultural and political forces propelling it. The study analyzes the serious social and ethical challenges encountered by Filipino workers overseas, and their families back home. It also examines the policy implications for the Philippines and host countries such as the United States. By presenting current demographic data such as age, gender, occupation and regional concentration not only in the U.S but also in other countries, the study attempts to define future trends in terms of the phenomenon's direction and strength. The research framework of the study is critical hermeneutics, which is interpretive and anthropological, using the theories of both Western and Filipino philosophers, political scientists and anthropologists. This article aims to provide deeper understanding and raise the consciousness of communities regarding the Filipino diaspora especially in the United States.