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Can private standards restore credibility to the palm oil industry?


Author: Helen E S Nesadurai, Monash University Malaysia Palm oil has gained notoriety for its links to tropical deforestation, biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, disturbance of carbon-rich peat land, exploitation of workers and land grabs. Despite various non-governmental organisation (NGO) campaigns against palm oil since 1997, its principal producers and exporters (Malaysia and Indonesia) had […]

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Reorienting Hong Kong’s external relations


Author: Kalvin Fung, Waseda University After more than six years of negotiations (including a failed attempt to become part of the ASEAN–China free trade agreement) Hong Kong has finally signed the long-awaited ASEAN–Hong Kong free trade agreement (AHKFTA). On the surface, Hong Kong appears to be the biggest winner of the trade deal. Given that […]

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Communist coalition concludes Nepal’s political transition


Author: Sujeev Shakya, Nepal Economic Forum The completion of federal and provincial elections in December 2017 marks the end of an almost 12-year political transition and the beginning of a new economic future for Nepal. In June 2017, when the World Economic Forum reported that Nepal was the third-fastest growing economy in the world after […]

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Search for new sources of growth momentum in Asia


Author: Christopher Findlay, University of Adelaide It has not been an easy year for Australia or the Asia Pacific and many of the challenges the region has faced will continue over into 2018. The first is to find new sources of growth. Some economies in the region are busy catching up to the technological frontier. […]

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What challenges will Australia and the region face in 2018?


Author: Christopher Findlay, University of Adelaide 2017 was not an easy year for Australia or the Asia Pacific and many of its challenges will continue over into 2018. The first great challenge for Australia and the region is to find new sources of growth. Some economies in the region are busy catching up to the […]

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Democracy between military might and the ultra-right in Pakistan


Author: Farooq Yousaf, University of Newcastle Pakistan’s 2017 was a mixed bag. Unlike what the ruling party had expected, the country’s opposition parties and electronic media were still clinging on to the Panama leaks issue that started in 2016 and were still asking former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif to resign. The year also saw […]

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Moon’s economic reform agenda takes flight


Author: Hwa Ryung Lee, Korea Development Institute While every year has its challenges, 2017 was no ordinary year for South Korea. In the aftermath of former president Park Geun-hye’s impeachment, a presidential election was held in May 2017 — much earlier than originally planned. This election saw the key economic priorities of the former government […]

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Can New Zealand’s unlikely coalition deliver in 2018?


Author: Stephen Levine, Victoria University of Wellington In September 2017, the New Zealand National Party lost office after being in power for nine years. It was unable to secure a parliamentary majority after two of its coalition partners failed to return to Parliament and a third, ACT New Zealand, retained only its one seat. Although […]

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Timor-Leste’s precarious position after 2017


Author: Bec Strating, La Trobe University Timor-Leste ends 2017 with great uncertainty over the future of the Greater Sunrise gas field, over the stability of its government and over its ambitions to become a member of ASEAN. In the long-running Timor Sea dispute between Australia and Timor-Leste, the year started with a bombshell. In January […]

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Myanmar peace process bends under military and ethnic division


Author: Ashley South, CMU In October 2015, during the last months of Thein Sein’s military-backed regime, the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) was signed between the government, the Myanmar armed forces (Tatmadaw) and eight of the country’s 21 main ethnic-armed organisations (EAOs). EAOs are militias recruited from the local population from different parts of Myanmar, some […]

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