The Pacific Pension & Investment Institute (PPI) is pleased to welcome our members to Sydney, Australia and the 2018 Asia Pacific Roundtable. We thank all of our partners, especially our hosts in Australia, who have graciously supported us in all aspects of this program.
A global economy predicated on trade and transcontinental investment has been an integral pillar of the international system throughout the post-war era. And yet, as we head into the last quarter of 2018, the historical guarantor of the global system—the world's largest economy—has taken a decidedly antagonistic stance towards globalization. The United States is now attempting to re-negotiate long-standing trade agreements and withdrawing from efforts to create new ones. It has been particularly aggressive in its stance toward China; now the world's two largest economies are on the cusp of a trade war with unknown repercussions.
Against this tense backdrop, the PPI community will convene in Australia for discussions about the Asia-Pacific region and its place in the global economy and financial system. The growing economies in this region are asserting themselves despite of—or due to—the headwinds of protectionism emanating from the world's largest nations. In this vein, the 11-remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership signed the re-named Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in March.
Indeed, the ASEAN regional bloc is slated to become the world's fourth-largest economic body by 2030. Its favorable demographics and growing wealth are attractive to institutional investors, though legal issues, regulatory challenges, and political risk remain. The much-discussed rise of China is particularly relevant for the nations in this region, with the Yuan presenting itself as an alternative international settlement currency for commodities.
Australia's unique geographical location and rugged national ethos offer a fascinating test-case of how nations are navigating a changing global order. The decisions these governments make in the coming years—both vis-à-vis regional actors and the global giants—will have profound impacts on a global system which has become reliant on the growth coming from the Asia-Pacific.
Our roundtable will explore these issues and more with an array of distinguished guests and PPI members. We will hear from political experts, seasoned investors, and past and current senior government officials, including the Honorable Kevin Rudd, the 26th Prime Minister of Australia. Among other topics, we will have sessions on the rising role of sovereign wealth funds, the superannuation industry, and tech disruptions to physical infrastructure. We will have discussions on the growing economic ties between Asia and the Latin American trading bloc known as the Pacific Alliance, and what this might mean for future trade relations. We will explore the growing role of Japan and India and examine the potential opportunities in the emerging economies in the region.
As always, the value of a roundtable to our members goes well-beyond the formal sessions. Our goal is to provide ample opportunity to meet and discuss relevant subject matters with your peers. PPI's membership is our greatest asset, and I hope you will actively participate in the discussions and introduce yourself to your colleagues during the breaks and meals.
We strive to create an environment that is conducive for peer-to-peer learning. For many members, this is a key reason for attending PPI programs over those of our competitors. It is therefore critically important that PPI uphold practices that encourage openness and a deeper sharing of information, insights, and experiences. In that vein, I want to emphasize PPI’s longstanding traditions. This includes our No Marketing Policy as well as adherence to the Chatham House Rule (no attribution of comments made). We will strictly enforce both of these conventions.
Thank you very much for your continued strong support of PPI and for your active participation in our global network of senior institutional investors. With best wishes,
Lionel C. JohnsonPresident