Since the 1997-98 financial crisis, many East Asian economies have experienced permanent declines of domestic investment and output growth, mainly resulting from the increase in financial risk and decrease in the return on investment.
The investment decline in East Asia, outside of China, combined with the falling in public and private savings in the United States, has contributed to recent surges in global current account imbalances. The reduction of global current account imbalances requires adjustment polices to raise domestic investment in East Asia, such as expansion of public infrastructure investment and an increase in R&D and human capital investment. Continuous structural reforms in the corporate and financial sectors are also required to lower financial risk and improve investment efficiency. Simulations with a global general equilibrium model support the positive role of the investment increase or strong productivity related growth in reducing current account surpluses in East Asia. Nevertheless, a fiscal adjustment in the United States turns out to be more effective in reducing the US current account deficit and thereby correcting global imbalance.
Japan’s trade policy in an era of growing anti-globalism
The market access negotiations [of the Trans-Pacific Partnership] have been conducted bilaterally, so there is a fair amount of bilateralism embedded in the [TPP] agreement, but then you had all the benefits of multilateralism added to that in terms of rules that apply across the board. The problem with the bilaterals is we actually have tried that approach and we found that it is extremely time-consuming. So, none of these new bilaterals being discussed in the Trump administration are going to materialize overnight. They take a lot of time to negotiate—years, probably—and they tend to generate rules that are idiosyncratic.