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Past Events

Singapore APEC Study Centre Events


Symposium on Competition Law, Regulation and SMEs in APEC: Understanding the Small Business Perspective, 4 May 2015, ISEAS

Across the APEC region, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent more than 95 per cent of all firms regulated by competition agencies, yet the existing body of knowledge about how they deal with competition laws and policies is extremely limited. This symposium examined this issue and discussed the ways in which competition regulators can more effectively deal with SMEs in the future. The presentations covered a range of topics, including:

  • Individual papers on the state of competition law and SMEs in specific APEC countries (China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea and the Pacific Islands)
  • Tools to engage with, and educate, the SME sector
  • The experiences of SMEs in countries where competition laws have only just been introduced,  which are often quite different to those where such laws are well-established and longstanding
  • The problems for competition regulators when the law conflicts with certain SME assistance policies (such as encouraging clusters, direct aid to certain sectors, and so on).

They keynote address was delivered by Dr Alan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat. Some of the symposium’s key findings, for policy-makers, legal practitioners and business leaders to note, are that: (i) small firms are sometimes the potential victims of competition law breaches, but at other times are also contravenors; (ii) there is rarely much empirical data which measures the impact of competition law on SMEs, or their perceptions of the law (only Singapore and Australia measure the latter); and (iii) industry associations are an important issue. Sometimes they act as a supporter of competition law enforcement and education; at other times they help facilitate breaches of the law.

The paper presentations from this symposium are slated for publication as an edited volume in 2016. 




Seminar on State of the APEC Region 2014-2015: Looking Back, Looking Forward, 20 November 2014, ISEAS

The e-flyer is available at this link.

The Symposium on Regionalism in the Asia-Pacific: Current and Future Developments,
21 August 2014, ISEAS




Asia has been witnessing a proliferation of Regional Trading Arrangements (RTAs) since the late 1990s.  More recently, ASEAN adopted the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement in 2011. In parallel, arising out of a P4 arrangement, involving Singapore, Brunei, Chile and New Zealand, the United States initiated the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Collectively, these economic integration processes signal a strong commitment towards achieving greater trade and investment liberalization, and more importantly, a growing understanding of the need for trade and investment facilitation for member economies to participate in the global value chain of production. Instead of undermining, these regional exercises can be seen as a building block for the multilateral trading system of the WTO.

This is a general message coming out of a symposium convened on 21 August 2014 by the Singapore APEC Study Centre and the ASEAN Studies Centre at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS). The objectives of the symposium were to: a) Share insights on the latest RTA initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the RCEP, TPP, CJK, TTIP, Pacific Alliance and APEC; b) Gain perspectives from countries that may or may not have multiple membership in these RTAs; and c) Examine the challenges and opportunities for merging these trade groupings in the future. The symposium gathered Asia-pacific experts to discuss AEC, RCEP, TPP, TTIP, Pacific Alliance, APEC, sub-regional arrangement, which are currently in different stages of negotiation and implementation. The symposium also discussed about a future possibility of an FTAAP and implication for the WTO.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Allan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat via Skype. Dr. Bollard gave an account of three big APEC deliverables under the Chairmanship of China in 2014:

  • In the area of regional economic integration, there will be more clarity from APEC Leaders for a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP): what it means; what the milestones will look like; and how that path will relate to the TPP, RCEP and all of the other economic integration initiatives taking place in the region.
  • A connectivity blueprint will be the second deliverable. A lot of work has been done on putting together a draft blueprint that borrows from the framework of three pillars used to develop ASEAN’s Master Plan on Connectivity: physical; institutional; and people-to-people connectivity. The prime product out of APEC in terms of people-to-people connectivity has been the APEC Business Travel Card. This year, APEC is looking at extending that card and making it more sophisticated.
  • The third deliverable relates to what has been referred to as an accord of various aspects of innovative growth. This concerns APEC’s efforts at discussing new ways of organising growth.      
  • In conclusion, Dr Bollard noted that APEC is changing slightly as it looks for new growth drivers. It will continue to be an incubator for growth and may serve as a forum to bring together some of the different initiatives discussed at the Symposium: the Pacific Alliance, RCEP, CJK, and so forth.

For a full summary report of the Symposium, click here.  


Panellists’ Presentations

The programme and the presentation slides of the participants are found below. Click on the links to access the presentations by the panellists (where available) and click on their names for their brief bios.

Session 1: Current Developments and Future of TPP Negotiations/Agreement

Genesis and Political-Economy Rationale of the TPP Agreement 
Masahiro Kawai,
Professor, Graduate School of Public Policy, 
University of Tokyo, Japan

Political-Economy of Joining TPP: Case of Malaysia
Cassey LEE,
Senior Fellow, 
Institute of Southeast Asian  Studies, Singapore

Chinese Perspective on the TPP Agreement
WANG Yuzhu,
Associate Professor, 
Institute of Asia-Pacific  Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,  China

Japan Managing Multiple Memberships: TPP, RCEP and CJK
Takashi TERADA,
Professor of International Relations, Doshisha
University, Kyoto

Challenges in TPP Negotiations and its Possibility of Success
Deborah K ELMS,
Executive Director, 
Asian Trade Centre


Session 2: Current Developments and Future of RCEP Negotiations

Political-Economy Rationale of RCEP
Yose Rizal DAMURI,
Head of Economic Department,
Centre for  Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta 

Importance of RCEP for CLMV countries
VO Tri Thanh,
Vice President,
Central Institute for Economic  Management (CIEM), Vietnam

An Indian Perspective of RCEP
Amitendu PALIT,
Head (Partnerships & Programmes) and Senior Research Fellow,
Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore

Challenges in RCEP Negotiations and its Possibility of Success
Sanchita Basu DAS,
Fellow and Coordinator of APEC Study Centre,
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore


Session 3: Progress, Challenges and Future of AEC and ASEAN+1 FTAs, CJK, TTIP and Pacific Alliance

CHIA Siow Yue,
Senior Research Fellow,
Singapore Institute of  International Affairs

Hyung-Gon JEONG,
Vice President,
Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)

Malcolm COOK,
Senior Fellow,
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

TTIP and its Similarities and Differences with TPP
Michael PLUMMER,
Eni Professor of International Economics,
John Hopkins University, Bologna, Italy

Pacific Alliance
Sebastian HERREROS,
Economics Affairs Officer,
Trade and Integration  Division in UN Economic Commission for Latin  America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Chile

Subregional Cooperation: IMT-GT, GMS, BIMP-EAGA
Jayant MENON,
Lead Economist,
Office of Regional  Economic Integration, Asian Development  Bank, Philippines


Session 4: Asia-Pacific RTAs and their Possibility of Convergence for an FTAAP

APEC, RCEP and TPP: Possibility of convergence for an FTAAP
Robert SCOLLAY ,
New Zealand APEC Study Centre, University of Auckland

The WTO and the Future of Multilateral Trading System
Patrick LOW,
Chief Economist,
World Trade Organisation and  Vice President of Research, Fung Global  Institute, Hongkong



Research Outputs

Selected papers presented at the Symposium will be published as ISEAS Working Papers and/or ISEAS Perspective pieces in the months ahead.  

For more pictures from the discussion, click here.


"APEC Economic Trends and Priorities: Innovate for a Better Future with Sustainable Growth", 16 Apr 2014

In this seminar, representatives of the Policy Support Unit - the research and analysis arm of APEC - will present the latest APEC Economic Trends Analysis report as well as APEC priorities and the work agenda for 2014. Some key considerations include how APEC could explore new areas of growth, promote regional connectivity, and support the multilateral trading system.

The discussion will have a special focus on innovation as a pathway for APEC to achieve sustainable growth and bridge gaps in employment and living standards. The Global Financial Crisis has left APEC with a twin challenge of decelerating labor productivity and employment growth. Economic turnaround is a pre-requisite for a revival in employment and productivity but that in and of itself may not be sufficient. The dual task of sustainably raising productivity while at the same time ensuring robust job creation depend critically on an ability to attain higher production efficiency through more innovation.

The full program is available at this link.



Seminar on "Developments in the TPP and Possible Outcomes", 19 September 2013

The seminar on Developments in the TPP and Possible Outcomes was delivered by D/r. Deborah K. Elms, Head of Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade and Negotiations and Senior Fellow of International Political Economy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies on 19 September, 2013 at ISEAS.

Click here for the seminar summary report and the presentation slides.

“Sustainable Growth in a Challenging Landscape”, 16 May 2013

The Centre held a seminar on Sustainable Growth in a Challenging Landscape on 16 May 2013. A panel of three specialists: Dr Ravi Balakrishnan (IMF Resident Representative, Singapore); Ms Quynh Le (Analyst, APEC Policy Support Unit); and Mr Eduardo Pedrosa (Secretary-General, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council) discussed factors affecting global and regional growth in the year ahead. 

The speakers also addressed what proactive measures policy makers and businesses could take to secure inclusive and balanced sustainable growth in the year ahead for economies in Asia and the Pacific?

Click here for Ms Quynh Le's presentation slides. 

Click here for Mr Pedrosa's presentation slides.

Building APEC and ASEAN Connectivity:  Areas of Mutual Interest and Prospects of Cooperation", 3 April 2013

The symposium on Building APEC and ASEAN Connectivity:  Areas of Mutual Interest and Prospects of Cooperation was held at ISEAS on 3 April 2013.  Please click on the following links for more information on the discussions that took place at the Symposium:








“Next Step in Asia-Pacific Regionalism”, 18 September 2012

On September 18, 2012, the Centre held a seminar on the Next Step in Asia-Pacific Regionalism. The discussions focused on two areas: (1) the annual State of the Region report by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC); and (2) key discusssions that took place during the APEC 2012 Leaders' Week (2-9 September) in Vladivostok, Russia. Taking part were knowl­edgeable personalities — Mr Eduardo Pedrosa, Secretary General of PECC, Singapore; Mr Wong Chow Ming, Director-General of International Economics at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore; and Dr Denis Hew, Director of the Policy Support Unit, APEC Secretariat, Singapore.

Click here for the seminar summary report.

Click on the respective speakers' names (above) for their presentation slides.





“APEC at 20: The End of Innocence”, 27 April 2009 

APEC turns 20 at a time of great convulsion in the world economy. Will this unique experiment in trans-Pacific intergovernmental cooperation survive the shift in global economic and political weight towards Asia? According to the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council’s 2008 State of the Region survey, 75 percent of opinion leaders in the region cited “lack of commitment” by member economies to be an important challenge for APEC. How will APEC come to terms with the Bogor target of “free and open trade” for developed economies by 2010, and what will be its raison d’etre in the years to come? What are the challenges for trans-Pacific institution building and economic cooperation in the years ahead? These were some of the key issues that Mr. Woo Yuen Pau, President of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and Chair of Canada PECC highlighted and discussed at this seminar. 

Click here for Mr Woo Yuen Pau's presentation slides.


“APEC: Relevant or Passé”, 16 March 2009

Following the Asian financial crisis of 1997, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was criticised as being little more than a talkfest that failed to act to help its member economies directly affected by the crisis. In the midst of the current global financial crisis and economic slowdown, can APEC make a meaningful contribution to the recovery of the Asia-Pacific region? Ambassador Michael Tay, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat based in Singapore, shared his thoughts and led the discussion on this issue in a public seminar hosted by the Singapore APEC Study Centre last 16 March 2009 in ISEAS.

Click here for the seminar summary report.