Premiered on:
20 Oct 2021 (Wednesday)
3:00–4:30 pm (Manila)
Microsoft Teams Meeting

Implementation Challenges of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

RCEP is expected to address the multitudes of rules of origin that have proliferated in the Asian and Pacific region. At the same time, compared to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and other regional agreements, RCEP does not provide for strong disciplines in new areas and has been qualified as a “shallow” agreement. This webinar shed light on the foundations of these apparently contradictory statements to conciliate expectations through an analysis of RCEP commitments and built-in agenda. It discussed the commitments undertaken in RCEP in the regulatory and behind-the-border measures, and examined the classic elements of a free trade agreement (tariff concessions and rules of origin).

Video Link:

Link to YouTube


Agenda (PDF)

Previous Episode:

Understanding Financial Inclusion
16 Sep 2021 3:00–4:15 pm

Next Episode:

Managing the Development of Digital Marketplaces in Asia
16 Feb 2022 2:00–3:00 pm
Opening Remarks:
Ramesh Subramaniam Director General, Southeast Asia Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Ramesh Subramaniam has been with ADB for over 24 years. His principal focus has been on economic policy and structural reforms, and infrastructure financing. He has worked on shaping ADB’s engagement overall and in selected sectors in 23 countries directly. He has been serving as director general for Southeast Asia since 2017; preceded by a stint as DG of ADB’s procurement and financial management department. Ramesh is quite passionate about helping countries avoid and overcome crises, and manage post-disaster situations.

Ramesh has an MA in Economics from University of Madras, India (1988); and a Ph.D. in Economics from McMaster University, Canada, where he was also a Lecturer (1990-93). He has been a Research Fellow on Industry at University of St. Andrews in United Kingdom and Rockefeller Fellow at Yale University Economic Growth Center from January 1994 to March 1997.

A Preliminary Assessment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
Stefano Inama Chief, ALDC, UNCTAD

Stefano Inama is a Chief, Technical Assistance, Trade and Customs in the Division on African and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), UNCTAD Geneva, Switzerland.

Mr. Inama possesses over 30 years of experience on trade and customs issues matured advising Governments and private sector. He has designed and managed research and trade-related capacity building programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America, with a focus on trade laws and policy, regulatory and institutional trade issues with a specialization on rules of origin and market access. He has written extensively on these subjects as well as on related industrial policy questions.

He is the author of one of the most comprehensive analytical books on rules of origin (Rules of origin in International Trade, Cambridge University Press, 2009, forthcoming edition 2021) and has co-authored ASEAN rules of origin :a way forward and The foundations of the ASEAN Economic Community, Cambridge University Press 2015.

Mr. Inama has been representing UNCTAD during the negotiations in the Technical Committee on Rules of Origin (TCRO) established at the World Customs Organizations and most recently at the Working group on the revision of annex K of the Kyoto convention.

His work of advise and technical assistance to the WTO LDC group during WTO negotiations on Duty Free and Quota Free (DFQF) and rules of origin has been instrumental to the adoption of the Bali and Nairobi WTO Ministerial Decisions on preferential rules of origin for LDCs.

Mr. Inama provides advise to Governments on negotiations on rules of origin in FTAs negotiation such as the EU-South Africa FTAs ,EU-Philippines the ASEAN –[People's Republic of] China FTA and lately the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) and to regional organizations such as ASEAN, COMESA,SADC, ACP and AU.

Most recently Mr. Inama has launched with Prof Bernard Hoekman an annual round table meeting of experts and a platform on rules of origin at the European University institute in Florence,Italy. Such initiative is designed to provide a forum to discuss groundbreaking initiatives and emerging issue on rules of origin and their administration.

Mr. Inama is also providing practical advice to private companies to comply with rules of origin regulations and administrative procedures and in such capacity has been participating to annual events organized by Deloitte and other consulting firm.

Mr. Inama holds Masters and LLM degrees from the University of Bologna and College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium. He is member of the faculty of the ASEAN integration through at Center of International Law of Singapore and has been Visiting Lecturer at the Columbia University, the World Trade Institute, Master in International Law and Economics, M.I.L.E. and at IELPO International Economic law and Policy.

Pramila Crivelli Economist, Regional Cooperation and Integration Division, ERCD, ADB

Pramila Crivelli is an economist at the Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Her main fields of specialization are applied econometrics in international trade policy, regional trade agreements, trade negotiations, rules or origin, nontariff measures and geographical indications. At ADB, her portfolio also covers APEC and regional public goods.

Prior to joining ADB in November 2020, she was an assistant professor at the Goethe University Frankfurt leading the Chair of International Trade. Her work has been published in academic peer reviewed journals including the Journal of International Economics and the World Economy.

She received her PhD from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She accumulated extensive experience in applied economic policy and technical cooperation serving as an economic affairs officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, researching at the European University Institute and the World Trade Organization, and carrying out consultancies for various clients in Asia and Africa. She has a strong expertise in delivering capacity building and advisory services to governments, public and private institutions, and trade negotiators in multilateral and regional fora.

Panel Discussion:
Cyn-Young Park Director, Regional Cooperation and Integration Division, ERCD, ADB

Cyn-Young Park is Director of the Regional Cooperation and Integration Division in the Economics Research and Regional Cooperation Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In her current capacity, she manages a team of economists to examine economic and policy issues related to regional cooperation and integration (RCI) and develop strategies and approaches to support RCI. During her progressive career within ADB, she has been a main author and contributor to ADB’s major publications including Asian Development Outlook (ADB’s flagship publication), Asian Economic Integration Report, Asia Capital Markets Monitor, Asia Economic Monitor, Asia Bond Monitor, and ADB Country Diagnostic Study Series. She has also participated in various global and regional forums including the G20 Development Working Group, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ASEAN+3, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). She has written and lectured extensively about the Asian economy and financial markets. Her work has been published in peer reviewed academic journals including the Journal of Banking and Finance, the Journal of Financial Stability, the Journal of Futures Markets, the Review of Income and Wealth, and the World Economy.

Prior to joining the ADB, she served as Economist (1999-2002) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where she contributed to the OECD Economic Outlook. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Economics from Seoul National University.

H.E. SIM Sokheng Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia

SIM Sokheng is currently the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia. He used to be the ASEAN Senior Economic Official Lead and the Chief Negotiator. He has been serving in the Ministry of Commerce for over 23 years. Prior to the current appointment, he had been appointed and served as the Acting Director of the Department of International Cooperation, Director of the Department of Intellectual Property and the President of Secretariat of the National Committee for Intellectual Property Rights of Cambodia, the Director-General for International Trade, and then as the Under-Secretary of State.

Deborah Elms Executive Director, Asian Trade Centre

Deborah Elms is the Founder and Executive Director of the Asian Trade Centre (ATC). She is Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for the Asia Business Trade Association (ABTA), Co-Chair of the Trade Policy Committee of the Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA), and also a senior fellow in the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Trade Academy.

Previously, Dr Elms was head of the Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade & Negotiations (TFCTN) and Senior Fellow of International Political Economy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Dr. Elms received a PhD in political science from the University of Washington, a MA in international relations from the University of Southern California, and bachelor’s degrees from Boston University. Dr Elms publishes the Talking Trade Blog.

Tan Hsien-Li Assistant Professor and Executive Director, ASEAN Integration through Law Project, Centre for International Law, University of Singapore

Tan Hsien-Li is the Co-Director of ASEAN Law and Policy at the Centre for International Law (CIL) and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore (NUS). Dr Tan has held fellowships at the European University Institute, Florence, and the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice, NYU School of Law. She was also the AsianSIL Research Fellow at NUS and the Ushiba Memorial ASEAN Fellow in Tokyo. Dr Tan has published The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (2011), Promoting Compliance: The Role of Dispute Settlement and Monitoring Mechanisms in ASEAN Instruments (2016, co-authored) and Can ASEAN Take Human Rights Seriously (2019, co-authored with Alison Duxbury) (all published by Cambridge University Press).