The Asia-Pacific region has been a key driver of the globalization that has reshaped the world’s economic and political environment over the last decades. Bi-lateral and multilateral trade arrangements, from GATT to WTO to TPP and RCEP, have been key components underpinning the rise in global trade that have propelled development of so many Asia-Pacific countries into middle-income countries and above.
However, generating enthusiasm in the United States and other wealthier nations for new trade deals and further economic opening has become more challenging. By contrast, China has become increasingly active in proposing and developing bi-lateral and regional trade agreements with its neighbors.
Do these changes herald a new era for trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region? If so, how might future trade agreements be different? How will global challenges like climate change, increasing nativism, digital services, and a changing political landscape affect and influence both the appetite for, and the shape of trade agreements in the region?
Join Stanford’s China Program for a special conversation between Wendy Cutler, former diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and Gita Wirjawan, former Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia, moderated by Laura Stone, US Department of State and the Inaugural China Policy Fellow at the Asia Pacific Research Center.
Wendy Cutler is Vice President at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) and the managing director of the Washington, D.C. office. In these roles, she focuses on leading initiatives that address challenges related to trade, investment, and innovation, as well as women’s empowerment in Asia. She joined ASPI following an illustrious career of nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where she also served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. During her USTR career, she worked on a range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade negotiations and initiatives, including the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, U.S.-China negotiations, and the WTO Financial Services negotiations. She has published a series of ASPI papers on the Asian trade landscape and serves as a regular media commentator on trade and investment developments in Asia and the world.
Gita Wirjawan is an educator and host of the podcast “Endgame.” He is a visiting scholar at the Walter Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center, Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford University. He is also the founder and chairman of Ancora Group, a partner of Ikhlas Capital, a Southeast Asia focus private equity fund, and advisor to a number of Southeast Asia based venture capital firms. Previously, he served as Minister of Trade and Chairman of Investment Coordinating Board in the Indonesian government from 2009-2014.
Laura Stone, a member of the US Department of State, is the Inaugural China Policy Fellow for the 2022-2023 academic year at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC). She was formerly Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Maldives, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for China and Mongolia, the Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs, and the Director of the Economic Policy Office in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. She served in Hanoi, Beijing, Bangkok, Tokyo, the Public Affairs Bureau, the Pentagon Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. While at APARC, she is conducting research with the China Program on contemporary China affairs and U.S.-China policy.