Indo-Pacific Geo-Economic Competition

This research is supported by the Japan Foundation, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, and Institute of the National Interest, Chung- Ang University.

This conference addressed geo-economic strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific, exploring both the theoretical and thematic contours of this concept and issue specific dynamics in the areas of finance, trade, energy, and technology competition. Participants focused on the impact of renewed great power competition between Washington and Beijing in the Indo-Pacific region across these four issue areas. Each addressed central concerns for the future of the global economic order and offers a lens to understand interstate competition in light of the geopolitical shifts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tensions between the United States and China have risen in the last two years, with the acceleration of financial decoupling and each side levying threats to further restrict foreign investment and capital mobility. The pandemic has motivated a shift towards supply chain diversification and decoupling, which presents opportunities for middle powers to enter the competition in these emerging industries. In energy, governments are reorienting towards renewables as a secure source of power, for example South Korea’s stimulus package focused on “greening” the economy. Digital trade and intellectual property are also key areas of competition, with lead firms like Huawei promoting their technology for both pandemic management and economic recovery, while middle powers seek greater digital autonomy.

The conference included eight panels on these topics, with several papers covering each issue. The panels were complemented by a roundtable discussion engaging leading experts on South Korea, Japan, China, and Taiwan.

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