Japan's Feb. Trade Surplus Is at $7.29 Billion

March 22 2017, Bloomberg

Dr Elms' interview with Bloomberg

"Japan’s exports rose the most in two years in February, after a lull in January that was due to the Lunar New Year celebrations in Asian trading partners. Asian Trade Centre Executive Director Deborah Elms weighs in on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Asia."

Japan's Trade Surplus vis-à-vis the US and the TPP

March 22 2017, Bloomberg

Is The TPP Dead?

March 17 2017, Nitor Network Podcast

Japan could lead a resurgent TPP: Asian Trade Centre

March 15 2017, CNBC

""If you look at what the U.S. committed in the TPP, the reality is they did very little, in part because the U.S. market is already open," Deborah Kay Elms, executive director at the Asian Trade Centre, told CNBC."

After US drops TPP, China joins member states in trade talks

March 14 2017, CNBC

"China won't be taking the lead on the Chile talks, Deborah Kay Elms, executive director at Asian Trade Centre, told CNBC. "The onus is on the current members, particularly Japan, to decide if they want to continue promoting the gold standard agreement or consign it to the dust bin.""

TPP Summit a Critical Moment for Canada’s Asian Trade Ambitions

March 13 2017, The Globe and Mail

Written by Carlo Dade and Deborah Elms

RCEP Envoys Make Progress on Trade Deal in Kobe But Complexity Threatens Timeline

March 3 2017, Japan Times

"“Apparently (Chinese negotiators) are known for biding their time and then releasing all their requests at the very end of the negotiations. Hopefully they will not wait until too late in the talks this time, because ASEAN in particular takes a long time to come to any sort of agreement,” said Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Center in Singapore, who attended the first four days of the Kobe round."

Asia Goes Back to the Future on Trade to Manage in Trump Times

February 15 2017, Bloomberg

"The prospect of sitting down at the table will be daunting for any country, according to Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, a Singapore-based consultancy that also trains trade negotiators.

“In order for you to have a U.S. first at all time and in all categories, the other party in a bilateral negotiation must be getting the short end of the stick every single time,” she said. “Why would any party sign up to that kind of agreement?”"

How the TPP could survive without the US

February 14 2017, Southeast Asia Globe

Written by Deborah Elms and Minh Hue Nguyen

These Countries Could Be Trump’s Next Trade War Targets

February 13, 2017, Bloomberg

“Almost every country in Asia exports somewhere between an awful lot and a lot to the United States,” said Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, a Singapore-based consultancy. “Trade deficits are a problem. At any moment there could be an angry Donald Trump in your face or a Twitter coming your way. Have other countries woken up to this problem? Perhaps not.”

Trump Trade Plans Spell Trouble For Asia Apparel Sourcing

February 3 2017, Just-Style

"It is a little unclear how they intend this to work but it would hit the apparel industry extremely hard," Deborah Elms, executive director of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre, told just-style. 

If Trump Hits China, Regional Demand Would Soften Blow in Asia

February 3 2017, Bloomberg

"We do have more demand coming out of Asia than before," said Deborah Elms, Singapore-based executive director of the Asian Trade Center. "So there will be less of an impact than there might have been at other points of history."

A TPP without America: A viable idea, if political will exists

February 3 2017, Today Online

"Dr Deborah Elms (DE): I doubt that leaders of TPP signatories will be held accountable for the US withdrawal from the trade pact. It seems fairly clear that Mr Trump is so unpredictable that it would be hard for anyone to pin the blame for the US’ withdrawal on others at this juncture. However, I do think that these leaders will be judged on how well they manage the fallout from the US withdrawal; this is especially so if the economic landscape changes dramatically against the TPP members."

The TPP is dead. Long live the TPP

January 30 2017, iPolitics

"Ratifying the TPP would send an unequivocal message that Canada is worth time and attention as a trading partner because it can negotiate and, more importantly, get agreements approved by its Parliament.  In an Asia overwhelmed by the rush to adjust to the Trump era, this is a crucial asset for a country trying to cut through the competition for attention" 

The TPP is dead. Long live the TPP

January 27 2017, The Straits Times

"Now that President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, does it mean the deal is dead? Emphatically not."

Moving ahead with the TPP

January 26 2017, TRT World

Executive Director of the Asian Trade Centre, Deborah Elms, offers her opinions during a live interview with TRT World on whether quitting the TPP will help American workers.

Elms argues that, "The TPP would have helped small companies, consumers, the environment and labour.  And killing the TPP has harmed all those interests".  

The Newsmakers: TPP Takedown

Tuesday, January 1, 2017, Bloomberg

"Deborah Elms, executive director of Asian Trade Centre, discusses Donald Trump's policies and the concerns over a trade war between the U.S. and China. She speaks to Bloomberg's Tom Mackenzie on "Bloomberg Markets" from the UBS Greater China Conference in Shanghai." 

Chinese Media Warn of Conflict with US as Trump Appoints Navarro 

Friday, December 23, 2016, CNBC

"The Chinese are now frantically reading everything Navarro's written, becoming increasingly worried and scrambling to see who they can reach out to," said Elms. She believes a full-blown trade war may be inevitable if Trump continues to fill top posts by anti-China strategists."

Other Deals Gain Traction

Friday, December 2, 2016, ChinaDailyAsia

“If the TPP does die, it is the loss of a lot of work. Five years of negotiations, more than 20 formal rounds of talks and many more informal negotiating sessions, thousands of flights and countless hours in country capitals,” said Deborah Elms, executive director at the Asian Trade Centre, a regional policy strategy firm."

For TPP, Ball is in Asia's Court: Expert

Wednesday, 23 November 2016, CNBC

"The TPP is dead in the water in the U.S. but trade isn't dead in Asia, says Deborah Kay Elms, executive director at the Asian Trade Centre."

Trump to dump TPP trade deal: World leaders react

Tuesday, 22 November 2016, BBC

"This is very depressing news. It means the end of US leadership on trade and the passing of the baton to Asia. At a time of slowing economic growth, the world can ill-afford watching the largest economies turn inward."

With Trump win, China looks to seize Asia free trade leadership

Tuesday, 22 November 2016, Reuters

"Deborah Elms, who runs the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre consultancy and advises governments, said the lack of U.S. involvement in future trade deals could spur more off-shoring by U.S. companies.

"If you want to take advantage of RCEP, you need to be in Asia to service Asian markets. That means you need to be physically present with at least some part of your operation," Elms said.

Governments in the region should take advantage of RCEP momentum, she said."

Poundwatch: The view from Asia

Monday, 3 October 2016, BCC

"Brexit is really important for investors in Asia," Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, told me. "Most Asian investors have routed their European investments through the UK. The UK market alone is not the reason these companies are in the UK."

An Anti-Free Trade America?

Mon 31 Oct 2016, BCC

"Meanwhile, Deborah Elms of Singapore's Asian Trade Centre and a senior fellow in the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry's Trade Academy, tells us what is at stake from an Asian point of view. And, on a lighter note, Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times loses her mobile phone and tells us how she survived phonelessness."

TPP has one window of opportunity

Sunday, 25 Sep 2016, CNBC

The ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal could still happen during the "lame duck" period, says Asian Trade Center's Deborah Elms.

Is the U.S. Missing the TPP Train?

August 26 2016, Bloomberg

"Renegotiation in search of a better deal that can win over critics in Washington isn’t an option, says Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, an advisory firm in Singapore. She adds: “As soon as the U.S. starts to modify the agreement, the other 11 countries are going to say, ‘We have things we would like to add.’ Then it unravels.”"

[...] "However, if the TPP has no future, then countries that had been counting on that agreement will instead push to make RCEP stronger. “They will double down on getting RCEP done and having a meaningful agreement,” says the Asian Trade Centre’s Elms. A TPP failure “really changes the dynamic of what happens in Asia.”"

PM Lee is right - this US Congress must pass the TPP

August 24 2016, The Straits Times

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an agreement that helps keep the US front and centre in the Asia-Pacific and we share Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's hope that the United States Congress will ratify it.

Former US trade official urges TPP concessions

August 22 2016, Radio New Zealand

Asian Trade Centre executive director Deborah Elms said the US was in danger of damaging its ability to negotiate free trade deals if TPP failed.

"Washington has this sense that somehow you cannot do the TPP, and everybody else will continue to negotiate with Washington. I think that's a mistake.

"I think if the TPP doesn't pass, I don't see why New Zealand would ever, at least in the near term, sit down with the Americans and negotiate on any other important trade deals. Because why would New Zealand do that? Why would Australia do that? Why would Japan do that?"

Aborting TPP Would Damage U.S. Trade Credibility : ATC

August 11 2016, Bloomberg TV Malaysia

The future credibility of trade deals involving the United States will be called into question if America chooses to withdraw from the TPP, says Deborah Elms, Asian Trade Centre executive director. She speaks to Bloomberg TV Malaysia's Sophie Kamaruddin.

Will US approve TPP in lame-duck period?

June 20 2016, Radio New Zealand

“But the executive director of the Asian Trade Centre in Singapore, Deborah Elms is hopeful the many years of negotiations will not be wasted.

"The few sensible people left in the room recognise that the odds of approval after that [November's elections] are not promising, and I think there are a number of people who've realised that it needs to get done," Dr Elms said.

Dr Elms and other TPP supporters are banking on Congress backing the TPP in the period between elections in November and mid-January - the so-called lame duck period.

"The lame-duck session is one where all rules don't apply. Lots of unpopular things get done in the lame-duck period, and I think in this particular lame-duck period TPP is the first thing on the agenda of unpopular things that will get done.””

Bid to get a China-backed Asia trade pact in 2016 seen failing short

June 17 2016, Reuters

“Deborah Elms, executive director of the private Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre, said progress wasn't anywhere near enough for a 2016 deal.

"If we are just talking about some countries making adjustments to initial offers we are not ready to close. We are not in that ballpark," she said.”

Spotlight: G20 must take action on slow global growth

May 26 2016, Xinhua

“With the Doha round still in a deadlock, experts expect G20 policymakers to seek progress in certain segments of trade when they gather in China's coastal city of Hangzhou in September.

"It's not going to be easy. But if you don't move forward, then the alternative, from my perspective, is not particularly promising, either, especially at a time when you have global slowdowns," said Deborah Elms, executive director of Asian Trade Center, a Singapore-based consultancy.”

Experts have put forward different explanations, citing both cyclical and structural factors, however, they remain unconvincing.

"It's puzzling. We don't have a clear understanding of what's going on really," Elms said. Elms said protectionism is one of the explanations. So is the slowdown of the world's major consumer markets and the fact that some companies are moving production closer to their final markets. However, she said the above still does entirely explain the slowdown.”

Overseas push critical for growth

March 7 2016, The Business Times

“"If you want to be really competitive in this global economy, you have to have services," said Deborah Elms of the Asian Trade Centre. "So that means you have to push your domestic firms to be competitive in the wider market.””

“Dr Elms called for more policy support to help smaller firms sharpen their competitive edge. Infrastructure for trade finance and payments, for example, can be improved so that firms can internationalise faster.

She also said more effective feedback channels may be needed so that the government will be in tune with what firms need to tap into market opportunities overseas.”

China's trade dispute with EU could turn ugly

January 30 2016, Straits Times

“"The non-market economy designation has become a symbol. It's hard to argue that you are a great power when you are one of a handful of countries that are non-market," Dr Deborah Elms of the Asian Trade Centre told The Straits Times.”

“Dr Elms said Chinese officials might even be unsure as to how they want to change WTO rules. "I think they just want to be taken seriously as a major player with the ability to influence the agenda... released from the constraints of the accession protocol," she said.”

What difference will TPP make for Singapore?

November 15 2015, Straits Times

“Says Dr Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, which does research on trade activities in Asia: "In the past, Singaporean firms might have had an advantage with their FTA benefits.  However, now competition in some TPP countries could come from new firms.””

And although Singapore already has free trade agreements with all of the TPP countries except Canada and Mexico, and other regional deals through Asean, they "do not have the same depth and breadth of commitments" as the TPP, says Dr Elms. This is because the TPP opens up more sectors than any of Singapore's previous FTAs, she explains.

Also, products assembled by Singapore companies from components sourced from Asean cannot be shipped into the US, Canada or Mexico under the current rules. But when the TPP goes into force, "parts and components can be added from across all 12 countries for shipment into the 12 markets", Dr Elms says.”

Company Stampede to Southeast Asia Seen on Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Pact

October 7 2015, Wall Street Journal

“The final agreement looks likely to be “the best trade liberalization we’ve seen in 20 years,” said Deborah Elms, co-founder and executive director of the Asian Trade Centre. “I expect there to be quite a stampede” of foreign investment in Southeast Asia when the final text of the agreement is published, she said.”

RCEP: The next trade deal you need to know about

October 14 2015, CNBC (video included)

“Deborah Elms, executive director at Asia Trade Centre, agrees: "The TPP has been viewed [with a fair amount of skepticism] by many of the RCEP countries. They were working towards a deadline at the end of the year ... but they were not under a great deal of pressure. Now that the TPP is closed, I think the pressure for some kind of high quality result out of RCEP is likely to mount.””

“Asia Trade Centre's Elms notes that a "lack of enthusiasm" for trade liberalization in countries such as India and Indonesia is "creating headaches for the more ambitiously-minded countries in the grouping.””

“"If you're not in the TPP and you don't have agreements with the European Union, that's a bit alarming [because] your major trading partners are not connected to you. So [China] will want to make sure that the supply chains in Asia work to their benefit as much as possible," Elms said.”

"Some of the ASEAN countries that are not in the TPP really need to have a higher quality outcome in RCEP [in order] to sustain the competitiveness of their own economies and the region as a whole," Elms told CNBC.”

TPP pact signed, but a tough road lies ahead

February 5 2016, Today Online

“Dr Deborah Elms, executive director of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre, told TODAY that if all 12 nations move quickly, the TPP could come into force within 60 days of the last member state completing its procedures, and this means that the TPP could be launched this year or early next year.

In an emailed response, she noted that TPP nations “created a second mechanism to bring the agreement into force — as long as at least Japan and the US and four other members have finished (ratification) procedures, the deal starts automatically in April 2018”.”

Trade expert sees US Congress hardening against TPP

January 29 2016, National Business Review (NBR)

“Dr Deborah Elms, Executive Director, of the Asian Trade Centre, sums up:

This election cycle has seen increasing tensions in the Republican party.  A rise of protectionism appears to have led many candidates to push back against free-trade and free-market ideas.  Perceptions matter and many potential voters on the campaign trail seem convinced that global trade has caused them to suffer significant economic harm with limited benefits.” (continued)

Are TPP negotiations finally coming to an end?

September 29 2015, The Online Citizen

7 quotes, including:

“Executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, Dr Deborah Elms, described the TPP as "game-changing", but said it was "not appreciated in many respects". With the agreement aimed at opening up a majority – if not all – of various sectors for investment, negotiations have been tricky as countries have sought to get the best deal for themselves while not giving too much ground in terms of their own protectionist policies.”

“One major issue holding up agreement on the terms of the TPP is that of dairy, Elms said. Canada, a member state, currently has very protectionist measures over its dairy industry and market, with a system in place to keep out foreign – and especially American – dairy products. The Canadian dairy industry also has a strong political voice in Canada – a fact that politicians cannot ignore as the country goes into campaign mode for the next federal election.”

TPP signed: the reactions from Asia

October 7 2015, Global Trade Review

““The academic in me is a bit disappointed as the academic would say you should hit 100%,” Deborah Elms, chair of the Asian Trade Centre tells GTR. “But the reality is that will never happen, so the question is: how far off 100% are you? I think we’re looking at 97% or 98% overall. Even sectors that didn’t get everything they want for the most part got more than they have now.”

““You don’t have to have all 12 economies there at the start. The rules have been drafted so you can have probably eight members covering ‘x%’ of global trade, because they want to make sure to have both the US and Japan at the start. But this gives some wriggle room to countries to decide we don’t want to be there at the beginning,” Elms says.”

Why sign free trade pacts

November 16 2015, Straits Times

“Similarly, Asia Trade Centre executive director Deborah Elms says "the battle in the US will be tough" .

"Members of Congress do not see many benefits from voting on trade agreements and an election year in 2016 makes taking a tough vote even harder," she adds.”

Winners and losers in the world's biggest trade deal

July 28 2015, CNBC

“"The biggest winner will be Vietnam as foreign investors start to flood the country. Number two might be Malaysia and number three is Japan," Deborah Elms, executive director at Asia Trade Centre, told CNBC on Tuesday.”

“For Japan, the opening of services markets is a major advantage, explained Elms of Asia Trade Centre. A TPP deal would open the services markets of each member nation to one another, and because Japan's services sector is relatively uncompetitive, it has a lot of room to grow, she said.”

“"This deadline is truly a real deadline [compared to previous ones] because the window is essentially shut," Elms said. "If no agreement is signed by this weekend, countries will have to wait until after the next U.S. presidential election in 2017. By then, who knows what will have happened? I would not like the odds of success then. It's make-or-break now.””

Xi Jinping reiterates US invitation to AIIB

September 23 2015, Global Trade Review

““I think with the AIIB, there is a potential economic part. There is money to be made if you can increase the infrastructure, in both delivering and using said infrastructure. But there is a political part of this, saying: we want to show that we can play a role since we’ve been so cut out of leadership positions in things like the ADB, World Bank, IMF, we will just make our own thank you very much,” Deborah Elms, chair of the Asia Trade Centre, tells GTR.”

Singapore’s Open Economy to See Limited Benefits From TPP

November 19 2015, World Politics Review (paywall)

“In an email interview, Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, discussed the TPP and its expected impact on Singapore’s economy. …”

Thailand's tough choice: TPP or RCEP

October 27 2015, The Nation

“Singapore-based trade expert Deborah Elms said: "With only some Asean countries poised to enjoy the benefits of TPP [currently Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam]; and RCEP poised to link Asean's dialogue partners - including China and India - for the first time, it is more important than ever for Asean to complete its goals under the AEC (Asean Economic Community”.”

Vietnam companies show little interest in TPP

December 15 2015, Thanh Nien News

“The final agreement looks likely to be “the best trade liberalization we’ve seen in 20 years,” Deborah Elms, co-founder and executive director of the Asian Trade Center, said.

“I expect there to be quite a stampede” of foreign investment in Southeast Asia when the final text of the agreement is published, she added.”

TPP helps Vietnam balance economic dependence on China

16 October 2015, VietNamNet Bridge

“Deborah Elms, CEO of the Asia Trade Centre based in Singapore, has the same views with Ambassador Ted Osius, saying that many foreign investors will flock to Vietnam after the TPP takes effect.”

RCEP trade talks in Korea gaining global attention as the emerging Asian equivalent of US-led TPP

October 17 2015, International Business Times (AU)

““If you're not in the TPP and you don't have agreements with the European Union, that's a bit alarming because your major trading partners are not connected to you. So China will want to make sure that the supply chains in Asia work to their benefit as much as possible,” said Deborah Elms, Executive Director at Asian Trade Centre.”

““Some of the ASEAN countries that are not in the TPP really need to have a higher quality outcome in RCEP in order to sustain the competitiveness of their own economies and the region as a whole,” Elms told CNBC.”

Negotiators hope to wrap up Trans-Pacific Partnership talks this month

August 6 2015, Los Angeles Times

“Deborah Elms, a trade specialist in Singapore, called the Hawaii meetings a big letdown given the expectations that a final agreement would be reached.

"I think the plan was to have John Kerry to do a victory lap in Singapore — to say that the pivot [to Asia] is here," said Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Center, a research and consulting firm. If the next round of talks happens in conjunction with the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Malaysia on Aug. 22 to 25, as is being discussed, Elms said she doubted there was enough time to resolve their differences.”

Why US-Japan trade talks are a political theater

April 21 2015, CNBC

“"Even if the economic argument is 100 percent…it's not, because [we] live in a political world," Asian Trade Centre (ATC) executive director Deborah Kay Elms told CNBC. "At this point we're in a little bit of political theater for both sides.””

“And so, at least for now, the Japanese government will fight to keep Japan's 500 percent tariff on rice imports in place, noted ATC's Elms.”

TPP Versus RCEP: What Are The Odds For Thailand? – Analysis

April 6 2016, Eurasia Review

“On the other hand, Singapore-based trade expert Deborah Elms has said, “With only some ASEAN countries poised to enjoy the benefits of TPP (currently Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam); and RCEP poised to link ASEAN’s dialogue partners – including China and India – for the first time, it is more important than ever for ASEAN to complete its goals under the AEC (Asean Economic Community)”.25 It is said that RCEP can create huge benefits and help offset potential losses caused by the TPP.”

What Caused the TPP Talks to Fall Apart?

August 3 2015, Bloomberg

VIDEO

Singapore’s demands complicate TPP — U.S.-India statement wide-ranging — EU nods to TTIP secrecy concerns

November 26 2014, Politico

““You have the issue that these are not, in Singapore’s view, SOEs like any other — certainly not like the loss-making, corrupt firms found elsewhere in this region,” said Deborah Elms, executive director of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre.

As US and China meet at APEC summit, a drama involving billions in trade

November 7 2014, Christian Science Monitor

“Because it has no authority to impose anything, “APEC has always faced the challenge of justifying its existence,” says Deborah Elms, founder of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre, a new think tank.”

“The 12 trade ministers "have been working unbelievably hard,” says Elms. “I think ... they will try to substantially conclude” this week, she adds, though some contentious issues of market access may need to be resolved next year.”

Senate compromise gives Obama ‘fair’ Pacific trade deal

May 14 2015, Financial Times

““While Washington has gotten stuck in partisan battles over [fast-track authority], the timing for TPP has only gotten worse,” Deborah Elms, the executive director of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.”

““This ‘procedural’ issue in the United States Senate … could end up like the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings,” she wrote. “The consequences of this delay could, indeed, reverberate for a long time to come.””

Mega pacts and the fight for Asia's trade future

December 19 2014, The Nation

“"The TPP can be broader and deeper in part because it's a voluntary agreement - members choose to join," says Deborah Elms, executive director of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre.

"The RCEP countries got 'drafted' by virtue of existing agreements. They therefore have differing levels of enthusiasm for the whole exercise.””

“Elms is among those who expect China to eventually join the TPP. "Chinese firms are increasingly in supply chains and not just as a final assembly point. The benefits for firms inside the TPP will be substantial," she says. But Menon believes the FTAAP is a more likely route than an expanded TPP.”

Free-trade pacts: America’s big bet

November 15 2014, The Economist

“Deborah Elms, head of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre, suggests that so far the American pivot has manifested itself mainly as an extra 1,000 marines stationed in Australia. “Without TPP, all the pivot amounts to is a few extra boots on the ground in Darwin,” she says.”

Trans-Pacific Partnership talks stall on US-Japan stand-off

February 25 2014, Financial Times

““Deborah Elms, a trade negotiations expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said that the failure of the US and Japan to move on market access had meant it was impossible for other countries to move on their respective issues.

“I think what it tells us is that unless and until you get serious high level engagement and focus and a commitment to making those politically sensitive decisions, you are going to be in a state of drift,” she said.”