IN FOCUS: ESCAP
ESCAP has just launched a new Advisory Service facility for paperless trade and trade facilitation, in collaboration with UNNExT. Government organizations from developing countries of the region are welcome to apply for the services, through which highly qualified/expert human resources will be provided by ESCAP to support trade facilitation and paperless trade (TF/PT) programmes and projects. Requests will be considered on a first-come first-served basis, with priority given to countries with special needs. http://www.unescap.org/unnext/
IN FOCUS: ESCAP
A Regional Workshop on Business Process Analysis for Trade Facilitation and Single Window will be organized in Bangkok on 20-22 April 2011.
The Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) 2011 will be held on 4-5 October in Seoul , Republic of Korea , along with a number of side events on trade facilitation and paperless trade. Please send any ideas and suggestions on this year's forum and exhibition to Mr. Sangwon Lim ( email@example.com ).
Sixty-seventh session of the Commission at UNESCAP, 19-25 May 2011
The Commission session will comprise two parts: the senior officials segment, which will be held from 19 to 21 May 2011 in preparation for the ministerial segment, which will be held from 23 to 25 May 2011. http://www.unescap.org/commission/67/
A. GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS AND IMPACT ON TRADE AND INVESTMENT
Developing nations fight inflation, The Wall Street Journal, 8 January 2011
Inflation is spreading across the world's largest emerging nations, leaving a noisy rattle in what have been the engines of global growth in recent years. Central banks in Brazil, Russia, India and China, the fast-growing so-called BRIC nations now responsible for nearly a fifth of global economic activity, have all raised interest rates in recent weeks, and are testing more exotic measures to stanch rising prices, especially for food: India and Russia banned exports of onions and wheat, respectively, while China has promised price controls on items such as cooking oil. India 's food inflation has picked up recently. Brazil said Friday that its 2010 inflation rate had risen to 5.9%, its fastest rate in six years, raising the chances the nation will push its already sky-high interest rates even higher, potentially hampering growth.
Accessed on 8 January < http://online.wsj.com/html?mod=googlenews_wsj >
Economic crisis forces world leaders to look at pension reform, The Wall Street Journal, 27 January 2011
The global economic crisis has forced policy makers to confront a long-simmering problem fraught with political danger: the growing burden that public pension systems are placing on government budgets in an era of large deficits and mounting debt. With the global elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland, this week, there is much fretting about the threat to the developed world's public finances posed by their aging societies and slow post-crisis economic growth. Doubts about governments' ability to pay pension benefits are central to these worries. Public retirement plans have helped sharply reduce poverty rates among the elderly across the developed world over the last 60 years. The plans are among the most sacred welfare-state programs, and few politicians have risked the electoral backlash that would likely arise from an effort to cut pension benefits.
Accessed on 27 January < http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110127-717083.html >
Inflation pulls plug on Asia 's emerging markets, The Wall Street Journal, 12 January 2011
Some of the best-performing markets of 2010 have started the new year with a disconcerting, inflation-inspired selloff. Stocks in emerging markets from India across Southeast Asia have taken their lumps the last few days as investors worry that central banks in the region will need to fight inflation with a battery of interest-rate increases that will temper growth in coming months. The BSE benchmark Sensex is off 6.2% this year. Above, the Bombay Stock Exchange building stands lit up on Nov. 5. Indonesian stocks have slumped 6% this year as investors worry about inflation. Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits Beijing . WSJ's Jake Lee speaks to Heard on the Street Asia Editor Mohammed Hadi about these stories. "You can't have erosion of purchasing power and hope growth will remain. The two are pretty inconsistent," says Sanjay Mathur, an economist for Royal Bank of Scotland in Singapore . India 's Sensex, which closed 2010 near its record high reached in November, fell for the sixth session in the row and is off 6.2% this year on expectations that the Reserve Bank of India would resume its campaign of rate increases to fight food-price-driven inflation.
Accessed on 12 January < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870451>
Asian manufacturing data show growth continuing, The Wall Street Journal, 1 March 2011
SINGAPORE —Manufacturing data from two of Asia's key economies indicate the regional growth story remains intact, with a slight moderation in China 's figures reflecting the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday more than any real loss of momentum, economists said. China 's official Purchasing Managers Index, issued by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and the National Bureau of Statistics, fell to 52.2 in February from 52.9 in January, its third consecutive month of decline. A separate index from HSBC, prepared by Markit, fell to a seven-month low of 51.7 in February from January's 54.5. Still, any reading above 50 indicates that manufacturing is growing, and experts said February's lower readings probably reflect the long holiday closure at the beginning of the month. A similar index for India showed manufacturing growth accelerating in February, with HSBC's India PMI rising to 57.9 from 56.8. Coming after data Monday showed Indian gross domestic product grew a robust 8.2% in the October-December period, the strong PMI reading suggests Asia 's growth is continuing apace.
Accessed on 1 March < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704444604576173141168319276.html >
Asian nations on subsidy spree as inflation hits, AFP, 6 March 2011
KUALA LUMPUR — As prices of food and fuel reach historic highs, Asian nations with a wary eye on Middle East uprisings are doling out subsidies that experts warn are storing up trouble for the future. Robust Asian economies largely escaped the global downturn, and are now in danger of overheating, stoked by low interest rates, demand from increasingly affluent citizens, and a flood of capital from depressed Western economies. Supply shocks caused by severe weather are also fuelling inflation that has seen the price of basic commodities spiral -- an irritation for Asia 's growing middle class but a matter of life and death for its countless poor. The UN's food agency said last week that world food prices have now hit record levels, and that oil price spikes triggered by the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa could push them even higher. From regional giants China and India to emerging tigers Indonesia and Vietnam , governments are trying to soften the blow with a raft of populist measures including subsidies, cash handouts and price controls.
Accessed on 6 March < http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hCTjzbwU5_HUH58BHJHapJKm>
Bangladesh to clock 7 pct GDP growth in 2011-12 fiscal: central bank, People's Daily Online, 30 January 2011
The central bank of Bangladesh Sunday rolled out its monetary policy for the second half of the current fiscal year ending June 2011, and predicted more than 7.0 percent GDP growth for the South Asian country in the 2011-12 fiscal year. Bangladesh Bank (BB) said the half yearly monetary policy, spanning from January to July 2011, is designed to support the government's policies and programs in pursuit of faster inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. The monetary program like previous one for July to December period has been chalked up in line with the national budget for 2010-11 (July 2010-June 2011) fiscal year which set the country's real GDP target at 6.7 percent, it said. "There is a bright possibility of achieving 6.7 percent GDP growth in the current fiscal year unless the country faces any crisis," BB Governor Atiur Rahman said, unveiling the policy at a press conference Sunday.
Accessed on 30 January < http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/7277311.html >
China's yuan value hits new high against U.S. dollar, Xinhua, 21 February
BEIJING, Feb. 21-- The value of China's currency, the yuan, hit a record high for the fifth straight trading day Monday with the central parity rate at 6.5705 yuan per U.S. dollar, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading system. The central parity rate of the yuan, or RMB, was 76 basis points up from 6.5781 on Feb. 18, the previous trading day. China 's central bank announced on June 19 last year that it would reform the yuan exchange rate formation mechanism to improve its flexibility. On China 's foreign exchange spot market, the yuan can rise or fall 0.5 percent from the central parity rate each trading day. The central parity rate of the RMB against the U.S. dollar is based on a weighted average of prices before the opening of the market each business day.
Accessed on 21 February < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/>
China logs surprise trade deficit, The Wall Street Journal, 10 March 2011
BEIJING—China reported a surprise trade deficit for February, its first in 11 months, as export growth slowed sharply and import growth remained strong in part because of rising prices for oil and other commodities. China imported $7.3 billion more than it exported last month, the General Administration of Customs said early Thursday in Beijing . That compares with a trade surplus of $6.45 billion in January and a median forecast for a $3.9 billion surplus from economists in a Dow Jones Newswires survey. China last reported a monthly deficit in March 2010, when the figure was $7.2 billion. Economists warned not to make too much of a single month's data, especially since China's economic statistics in the first two months of the year are generally distorted by the timing of China's Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in early February this year and later in the month last year. China 's exports in February rose 2.4% from a year earlier, down from January's 37.7% rise and below the Dow Jones Newswires survey's forecast of a 25.9% expansion. Imports rose 19.4%, down from January's 51.0% increase and below the survey's forecast of a 32.8% rise. China 's net exports are generally weaker early in the year, as exporters stock up on raw materials and components for peak retail seasons later in the year. "The big miss of export forecasts by consensus is more technical (related to the timing of Chinese New Year effect) instead of reflecting faster-than-expected deterioration in fundamentals," said Wang Qing , China economist for Morgan Stanley.
Accessed on 10 March < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703453804576191422676195488.html >
G20 mulls current account, trade deficits-Lagarde, Reuters, 14 February 2011
PARIS Feb 14 (- The Group of 20 economic powers will discuss whether current account and trade balances should be included in a range of indicators used to track economic imbalances, French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Monday. "Among the indicators, there is the current account balance, which is quite logical," Lagarde told a news conference presenting France 's aims for a meeting at the end of the week of G20 finance ministers and central bankers in Paris . She added that there was also "a long debate on whether to include the trade balance with its flows of products and whether to include flows of services." Bank of France Governor Christian Moyer said that the debate was not intended to be an exercise in point fingers at countries with large deficits.
Accessed on 14 February < http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/14/france-g20>
Trade and monetary issues top agenda at G-20 meeting, New York Times, 14 February 2011
PARIS — Developed economies still recovering from the financial crisis are looking for ways to regain momentum as the global economy shifts in favor of China and other emerging markets. That task will be high on the agenda when finance ministers of the Group of 20 leading economies meet here this week, three months after President Obama and other G-20 leaders sparred at a tension-filled gathering in Seoul over how to resolve the trade, currency and monetary imbalances that are widening a divide in the world economy. Signs of trouble that had worried officials before the global financial crisis — volatile capital flows, exchange rate pressures and rapidly growing foreign-exchange reserves — have been gathering new momentum in emerging markets. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned in a recent speech that these issues could cause the next crisis if left unresolved.
Accessed on 14 February < http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/business/global/15group.html >
Indian budget reins in spending increases, The Wall Street Journal, 1 March 2011
NEW DELHI — India 's finance minister unveiled a national budget Monday that surprised markets with his aggressive plans to shrink the deficit, which has risen in recent years. In doing so, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee dismissed critics' assertions that India would fail to curb its budget deficit at 5.1% of gross domestic product this year. Mr. Mukherjee is also facing political pressure to increase social-welfare spending to help his party in state elections set for later this calendar year. But instead, he is reining in overall government spending in his 12.58 trillion-rupee ($277.89 billion) budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1, reflecting a spending increase of 3.4% from the current year. Recent budgets have had spending increases of as much as 20% year to year. Mr. Mukherjee is betting on substantially higher tax revenues to shrink this year's fiscal deficit to 5.1% of gross domestic product, down from an earlier target of 5.5%. He set the target for next year's deficit at 4.6% of GDP, less than the 4.8% target for the current year. The government projects the deficit will decline to 4.1% in 2012-13. Accessed on 1 March < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274 >
IIMF says India growth to stay strong, The Wall Street Journal, 6 January 2011
WASHINGTON -- India 's economy is expected to continue expanding rapidly in coming years, but authorities should raise interest rates to curb inflation and push ahead with fiscal and financial reforms to maintain that growth, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday. "Sustaining rapid growth over the medium term will depend on sustaining reforms to facilitate infrastructure investment," the IMF said in a report on India 's economy. India 's economic growth was among the strongest in the world last year, making it one of the driving forces of the global recovery. The IMF forecasts that India 's gross domestic product will grow 8.75% this financial year, which runs through March. Growth will taper off to about 8% the following year, the IMF said. But India also is grappling with high inflation, surging inflows of foreign capital and high levels of government debt. The IMF recommended that India accelerate its plans to end economic stimulus measures adopted during the global economic crisis.
< http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704405704576064250877675900.html >
India ETFs in freefall as inflation concerns rise, ETFDB, 18 January 2011
The start of 2011 has been a very rough one for most of the world's major emerging markets as they have seen their share prices fall across the board. Moderating fears over the economic situation in a number of developed markets have pushed many investors back into industrialized nations while concerns over rate hikes have spooked others from putting excess cash into emerging countries. Arguably, the worst hit by this recent trend is the nation of India , a country that many were looking to lead the emerging world this year. Yet, India's leadership in the market has not come to fruition so far in 2011; of the ten worst performers in the Emerging Market Equities ETFdb Category seven are funds tracking the Indian market including two of the three worst performers, a situation that has left many to wonder if India is not yet ready for the emerging markets spotlight.
Accessed on 14 January <http://etfdb.com/2011/india-etfs-in-freefall-as-inflation-concerns-rise/ >
Japanese officials blame speculators for yen surge, The Wall Street Journal, 17 March 2011
TOKYO—The yen's spike to a record against the dollar Thursday prompted warnings from Japanese officials, who blamed the currency's strength on speculation in an apparent attempt to justify potential intervention. "Under thin market conditions there are various speculations and nervous movements," said Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda. "Based on this I will closely watch the market situation," Mr. Noda said at the Finance Ministry, declining to comment on whether Japan will intervene for the first time in half a year in the currency markets. The relatively measured tone of Mr. Noda's response to the yen's abrupt rise suggested the ministry wasn't immediately poised to sell yen in the currency market. But market participants said intervention was likely if the yen resumes its climb. Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers will hold a teleconference Friday morning Japan time to "discuss movements of various financial markets," Mr. Noda said. His French counterpart, Christine Lagarde, proposed a G-7 meeting to discuss support for Japan , as well as consequences of its natural and nuclear disasters, and how to prevent them from fueling volatility on global capital and commodity markets.
Accessed on 17 March < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704261504576205314202462874.html >
Japan's Q4 growth figures reveal temporary slump, Xinhua, 21 February 2011
TOKYO, Feb. 21 -- Japan's negative output ratio widened to 3.8 percent in the October-December quarter, from a revised reading of 3.5 percent in the previous quarter, suggesting a momentary slump in economic growth in the fourth quarter, the Cabinet Office said in a report on Monday. According to the government data, the economy contracted 1.1 percent on an annualized basis and in real terms in Q4, marking the first decline in five quarters with the government blaming a drop in consumer spending and falling exports for the slip. However, according to the latest figures the government believes that the negative output ratio will narrow again in the first quarter as the economy is largely expected to bounce back at an annualized pace of 1.1 percent, outdoing its potential growth rate thanks to increasing demand for Japanese products from other countries. The Cabinet Office calculates the output ratio (or gap) on the assumption that Japan 's potential economic growth rate is 0.4 percent and the Q4 output gap will be reviewed in March after revised GDP for the quarter is released on Mar. 10.
Accessed on 21 February < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/business/2011-02/21/c_13742136.htm >
Japan posts first trade deficit in 22 months, The Wall Street Journal, 23 February 2011
TOKYO — Japan posted a rare trade deficit in January as Asia's Lunar New Year holidays tempered a rise in exports to China while rising crude prices pushed up the cost of imports. Data from the Ministry of Finance showed Wednesday that the deficit stood at 471.4 billion yen ($5.7 billion), falling into the red for the first time in 22 months. Economists had been expecting a 49.6 billion yen surplus. In December, Japan logged a surplus of 725.85 billion yen, up 33.8% from a year earlier. Analysts warn it's entirely possible that the trade balance will log more deficits in the months ahead as soaring crude prices may keep the value of imports above exports. In a worst-case scenario, they say Japan may enter a short period of stagflation, which occurs when higher external costs push up prices, but companies are largely unable to pass them on to consumers due to a sluggish domestic economy. "This is just the beginning, and we will see much stronger imports ahead. And while the risk isn't large yet, we have to flag the risk of the economy falling into stagflation," said Hiroshi Watanabe, an economist at Daiwa Institute of Research. Accessed on 23 February < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703775704576161040333598916 >
Government must broaden tax net to fight economic crisis, Daily Times, 9 March 2011
ISLAMABAD : To combat current economic crises, government should bring big landlords in the tax net instead of shifting burden to common man. Similarly, levying withholding tax of 3.5 percent on traders and intermediaries of raw agriculture produce and petroleum prices needs to be rationalised, Central President of Pakistan Computer Association (PCA) Munawar Iqbal said while addressing the general body meeting of the association. Central President PCA said the country is currently experiencing high inflation and impact of recent hike in petroleum prices would further increase the already skyrocketing prices of every item of common use products, hitting a common man directly. He said that for broadening tax base, government should take businessmen on board instead of keeping non-stakeholders in loop.
Accessed on 9 March < http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C03%5C08 >
Singapore economy sees record expansion in 2010, BBC News, 3 January b2011
Singapore 's economy expanded at a record rate in 2010, driven by a surge in manufacturing activity. The economy grew by 14.7% last year, rebounding strongly from a 1.3% contraction the previous year. Singapore 's growth surpasses the previous record of 13.8% set in 1970, although Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the pace would slow in 2011. The economy expanded by 12.5% in the fourth quarter, helped by a 28.2% growth in the manufacturing sector. "At 14.7%, Singapore is the fastest growing Asian economy in 2010," said Alvin Liew, an economist with Standard Chartered Bank. According to figures from the International Monetary Fund, only Qatar had faster growth, at 16%. Singapore 's GDP, valued at 247.33bn Singapore dollars ($191bn; £123.7bn) in 2009, is very dependent on external trade and exposed to changes in the global economy.
Accessed on 3 January < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12106645 >
South Korean exports to lift growth, The Wall Street Journal, 27 January 2011
SEOUL — South Korea 's economic growth slowed in the final quarter of last year, but the pace of expansion is likely to pick up again due to healthy exports and a rebound in local demand, adding to inflationary pressures. Gross domestic product in the three months through December rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5% from the previous quarter, easing from a 0.7% gain in the third quarter, the Bank of Korea said Wednesday. The slowdown was due mostly to domestic factors, as Korea 's export-dependent economy posted gains in shipments of goods overseas. "Compared with the third quarter, the manufacturing and construction sectors showed a decline," the BOK said in a statement. "Private consumption also declined, but exports increased." The decline wasn't as marked as expected. Economists on average had forecast 0.3% growth, while the central bank last month forecast 0.4%. "The Korean economy now has gotten out of the global financial crisis. The domestic economy will continue to expand every quarter this year, although there could be some ups and downs," said Jung Young-taek, head of the BOK's economic statistics department.
27 January < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB30001424052748704698004576104921154798008.html >
Thai economy leaves recession as exports grow, The Wall Street Journal, 22 February 2011
BANGKOK — Thailand emerged from a brief recession in the October-December quarter as exports continued to grow at a healthy clip, along with private investment and domestic consumption, but the expansion is forecast to moderate in 2011. Gross domestic product was up 1.2% from the July-September quarter, resulting in full-year growth of 7.8%, said Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, the government's economic-planning agency. Compared with the year-earlier quarter, GDP was up 3.8% in the fourth quarter. Mr. Arkhom told a news conference that fourth-quarter growth was held back somewhat by widespread flooding, but said the outlook for 2011 remained positive, thanks to rising income and plenty of liquidity at home and a strengthening global economy, while financial institutions have excess liquidity to support the private sector. Thailand slipped into a recession in the middle of last year, with GDP down 0.4% in the second quarter and 0.3% in the third. The slump didn't cause too much alarm at the time as the third-quarter contraction was negligible, while exports and domestic demand remained firm.
Accessed on 22 February < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB300014240527487034988045761 >
Thailand Raises Benchmark Rate to 2.5%, The Wall Street Journal, 10 March 2011
BANGKOK —The Bank of Thailand raised its benchmark interest rate for a third straight time Wednesday and signaled it will continue raising rates as it battles to curb rising inflationary pressures. The central bank's Monetary Policy Committee lifted the benchmark rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 2.5%. The Bank of Thailand has raised rates by 1.25 percentage points since it started the tightening cycle in July. Thailand joins other Asian nations in trying to fight inflation amid strong economic growth; rising prices for food, energy and other materials; and inflows of foreign capital. Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor Paiboon Kittisrikangwan said that pressure on headline and core inflation will continue to rise and that negative real interest rates—currently around minus 1%—remain a concern. Negative real interest rates result when the rate of inflation exceeds interest rates, reducing the value of household savings. "The real rate is expected to be in the negative territory for another meeting or two," he said. He said the committee discussed the possibility of raising the rate by more than a quarter percentage point, but the policy committee "assessed that gradual normalization of the policy rate remains appropriate for anchoring inflationary expectations and reducing the risk of financial imbalances in the economy." The decision to raise the rate by one-quarter of a point was unanimous.
Accessed on 10 March < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704132204576189772953547378.html >
USA - JAPAN
U.S., Japan warned by IMF, rating agencies on debt, Reuters, 27 January 2011
WASHINGTON - The United States and Japan received sharp warnings from the IMF and ratings agencies on Thursday that they must tackle their huge budget deficits to avoid investors dumping their bonds, which would create a sovereign debt crisis and push up their borrowing costs. Rating agency Standard & Poor's on Thursday cut Japan 's long-term debt rating for the first time since 2002, and a day after a U.S. agency raised its 2011 budget deficit forecast by 40 percent. In the United States , Moody's Investors Service warned said while the risk to the United States ' coveted top triple-A rating was small, it was rising. For details, see The International Monetary Fund had harsh words for both the United States and Japan , saying they urgently need to act to cut their deficits. As a political battle heated up in Washington over the budget, the U.S. Treasury took steps to prevent the government from hitting a legal limit on its debt. Republicans are demanding spending cuts as the price of their support for raising the $14.294 trillion debt ceiling. President Barack Obama this week announced a five-year freeze in annual domestic spending, which the White House estimates will save more than $400 billion over the next decade, but an International Monetary Fund official said on Thursday that more is needed. Carlo Cottarelli, director of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department, said Washington must be more specific in detailing plans that go further.
Accessed on 28 January < http://mobile.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE70Q8JI20110127 >
Vietnam raises key interest rates again, Reuters, 8 March 2011
HANOI, March 8 - Vietnam's central bank said on Tuesday it was raising its refinance and discount rates to 12 percent, and would set the rate it charges banks for overnight loans at the same level. It made the announcement on its website (www.sbv.gov.vn), and the decision took effect on Tuesday. The refinance rate was increased to 11 percent from 9 percent on Feb. 17. The discount rate was last increased by 100 basis points to 7 percent on Nov. 5, 2010.
Accessed on 8 March < http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/08/vietnam-economy-rates-confirmation >
B. TRADE FACILITATION AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION
China to further promote trade facilitation with ASEAN, People's Daily, 3 March 2011
China will further promote trade facilitation of the China-ASEAN free trade area (FTA), according to a commerce ministry official on Wednesday. Sun Yuanjiang, the deputy director of the department of international trade and economic affairs under the Ministry of Commerce, made the remarks during a seminar on East Asia Free Trade Area in the eastern city of Ma'anshan . China will simplify application procedures for preferential certificates of origin and customs clearance for companies from both regions, Sun said. Further, a platform will be set up for sharing application and verification information to enhance management transparency, he said. China will also work to hasten bilateral negotiations on health, plant health, technical barriers and trade facilitation, Sun added. It will additionally promote trade liberalization and economic and technical cooperation, improve the investment environment and boost people-to-people exchanges with ASEAN members, Sun added.
Accessed on 3 March < http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/7306156.html >
CHINA – PAKISTAN
Pakistan , China aim to enhance tariff concessions to 90 percent, The News, 10 March 2011
ISLAMABAD : Pakistan and China will begin bilateral talks in the second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on Thursday (today) for enhancing tariff concessions from existing 36 percent to 90 percent, a senior official of the commerce ministry said on Wednesday. A two-day dialogue at the federal capital will finalise the modalities of FTA for the next phase and will also review the first phase of the FTA, the official told The News. Pakistan and China signed a free trade agreement on Nov 24, 2006. The base year for tariff reduction or elimination was 2006 for China and 2006-07 for Pakistan . The commerce ministry official said that both sides achieved the set target of 36 percent tariff elimination on tradable items in the first phase of FTA. The second phase of FTA will aim at tariff concessions of up to 90 percent for the next five years ending in 2017. The remaining 10 percent will be included in “no concession list”, said the official.
Accessed on 10 March < http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=35260&Cat=3&dt=3/10/2011 >
CHINA – TAIWAN
Taiwan opens wider to Chinese investment, Focus Taiwan, 3 March 2011
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced on Wednesday that Taiwan will open an additional 42 industry areas to Chinese investment, which will conditionally allow Chinese companies to acquire stakes or forge joint ventures in five sensitive high-technology sectors. The five key technology sectors are integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing, semiconductor packaging and testing, flat panel and component manufacturing, machine tool manufacturing, and electronic and semiconductor equipment manufacturing. The new list covers 25 areas in the manufacturing sector, eight in the service sector and nine in the public construction sector. It brings to 247 the total number of areas that will be opened to Chinese investment since the first round of liberalization in June 2009 that opened up industries such as textiles, plastics and handsets. "The first list in 2009 served as a test of the market's temperature, and the second round is expected to attract more Chinese investment because of its strategic advantages," Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang said.
Accessed on 3 March < http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_Detail.aspx?ID=201103030012&>
Foreign investment in India slows, The Wall Street Journal, 25 January 2011
Foreign direct investment into India fell by more than a third from April to September 2010, owing to hurdles in environmental clearances, problems in land acquisition and poor infrastructure, according to India 's central bank. The Reserve Bank of India , in its quarterly macroeconomic review published Monday, said foreign direct investment to India in the period was $12.6 billion, a 36% decline from the 2009 period. Economists point to procedural delays as one reason for falling foreign direct investment. Above, the central bank in Mumbai. The central bank report is in line with a recent U.N. Conference on Trade and Development estimate saying India 's foreign direct investment for all of 2010 fell 32% to about $24 billion. The RBI report noted that the sharpest declines were in the construction, mining and business-services sectors. It said a major reason was reportedly "environment sensitive policies pursued, as manifested in the recent episodes in the mining sector, integrated township projects and construction of ports, which appear to have affected the investors' sentiments."
Accessed on 25 January < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704698004576104011818941244.html >
RM127bil in potential investment, The Star, 9 March 2011
KUALA LUMPUR : This year's total potential investment stands at RM127bil, surpassing the initial RM83bil target under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said. Najib, who announced another nine entry point projects under the ETP yesterday, said the high level of investment commitment indicated that the country offered a conducive investment ecosystem that encouraged private sector investment. Entry point projects were expected to generate RM76bil this year, he said. The additional boost of RM50.6bil was a result of a first-time exercise with 5,835 survey letters sent out to local and foreign companies here to determine their investment commitment for the year.
Accessed on 9 March < http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/3/9/nation/20110309081002&sec=nation >
Myanmar puts lid on its rice exports, The Wall Street Journal, 3 March 2011
SINGAPORE — Myanmar halted rice exports to keep local prices in check, a senior industry official said Thursday, as the country grapples with a bruising new round of inflation. The halt wasn't expected to create major dislocations in the market for Asia's most-important food, in large part because Myanmar isn't a main exporter of the crop. Still, it underscored that governments remain jittery about the cost of food, which helped to trigger the unrest in the Middle East . Economists are particularly wary of the possible proliferation of agricultural export bans, for fear they could propel prices even higher on international markets. The steps are popular with some governments when food costs are rising, as they are now, because they help ensure an adequate local supply, keeping domestic prices lower. But they also often lead to higher costs elsewhere as buyers are forced to find new sources. A round of export bans in 2008 helped to contribute to a dramatic spike in food prices that year, while a Russia ban on wheat exports last summer likewise helped to send prices of that crop climbing. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, world food prices in February were up 2.2% from January—the eighth monthly rise in a row—to the highest level in real and nominal terms since the agency started monitoring prices in 1990. And volatility in oil prices, the FAO warned, could push its index even higher. Global cereal supplies are also expected to tighten sharply this year due to low stock levels.
Accessed on 3 March < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703300904576178083353231872.html >
ADB hopes Pakistan will benefit from CARs cooperation, The Star, 10 March 2011
ISLAMABAD : The Asian Development Bank (ADB) hopes that Pakistan can benefit from the regional cooperation through connectivity with the Central Asian Republics (CARs) in areas of oil, gas, electricity, communication links and trade facilitation and related initiatives and peace building process in Afghanistan will result in enhancing the regional cooperation. An initiative of 10-member countries — Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) — that was also joined by Pakistan a few months back, possessed the potential to include projects of significance, such as, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline, import of crude oil for utilising facilities of refineries, electricity and initiatives under the National Trade Corridor (NTC) for establishing road, rail and air links with Afghanistan and beyond CARs.
Accessed on 10 March < http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=35431&Cat=2&dt=3/10/2011 >
Russia creating $10 billion investment fund, 9 News , 8 March 2011
Russian government is setting up a $US10 billion ($A9.87 billion) joint investment fund with private equity firms in a bid to bring new foreign capital to the country, the Financial Times reported on Monday. The report follows President Dmitry Midvale's commitment last year to create a "special sovereign fund" that could help boost his economic modernization effort and make Moscow into a global financial centre. The Financial Times said that Goldman Sachs has been asked to informally guide the project, with the Blackstone, Carlyle and Apollo Management private equity firms also approached. Middle East sovereign wealth funds have also been asked to join, the Financial Times said, without naming specific countries. Russia is expected to formally launch the initiative at the end of March following a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the report said. Medvedev has voiced repeated plans to raise foreign capital that could help improve the country's investment climate and support his economic modernisation drive. He first floated the idea in June 2010, promising to create a joint investment fund within a year, and then reaffirmed that message in January at his keynote address to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Accessed on 8 March < http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8220879 >
Shippers look to dried food, Bangkok Post, 11 March 2011
Thai exporters of 16 vegetables to the European Union are likely to ship dried products in order to reduce the risk from insect infestations in fresh produce. The requirement of 100% inspections of Thai shipments before export has been in effect since January, changing the working process of public agencies, exporters, farmers and packaging entrepreneurs. The Department of Agriculture reported some products could not pass the inspections, so various exporters may shift to dried vegetables. The 16 vegetables fall into five categories, including varieties of basil, chilies and capsicum peppers, eggplants, bitter gourds and parsley. The EU threatened to ban Thai exports due to insect infestations but later gave Thailand until next March to improve the quality of products. It has attached one key condition: If it finds insects in Thai shipments more than five times in one year, it will ban the listed produce. Kiat Sittheeamorn, president of the Thailand Trade Representative, has sought cooperation from both the public and private sectors for implementation of the 100% inspection.
Accessed on 11 March < http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/economics/226113/shippers-look-to-dried-food >
C. WTO-RELATED NEWS
Trade ministers order Doha push, Reuters, 29 January 2011
DAVOS, Switzerland - Two dozen trade ministers agreed on Saturday to make a final push for a new trade deal, ordering their officials to do what it takes to make the necessary compromises. World Trade Organization members had been intensifying efforts to finally clinch a deal in the decade-old Doha round after the G20 said 2011 was a window of opportunity to reach agreement. Negotiators at WTO headquarters in Geneva have been waiting for ministers meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos to give a clear signal that they should make the necessary concessions and trade-offs. "There is unquestionably a renewed sense, in some people of urgency, in some people optimism, but ... we have yet to see substantial progress," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said. "But we do think there is a different negotiating dynamic," he told Reuters in an interview.
Accessed on 14 February <http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/01/29/us-davos-trade-doha-idINTRE70S2ZF20110129?type=GCA-Davos2011>
Deal threatens relevance of G20, The Japan Times, 21 February 2011
PARIS — The world's dominant economies struck a watered-down deal on how to smooth out trade and currency imbalances many say exacerbated the financial crisis, but the difficulty in getting vastly different economies such as China and the United States on the same page doesn't bode well for the Group of 20 rich and developing countries as a forum for global decision making. G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Paris agreed Saturday on a list of technical indicators to track those imbalances — caused by some countries consuming more while others tend to hold on to their money — but left the more tricky questions of when those imbalances actually become dangerous and what to do to mitigate them for later. Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said the agreed set of indicators was in line with what Tokyo wanted. He also indirectly urged China and the other emerging economies to keep working together on developing the right mechanism for addressing economic imbalances.
Accessed on 14 January <http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20110221a2.html>
WTO faults China over export limits, The Wall Street Journal, 18 February 2011
BRUSSELS—The World Trade Organization on Friday will issue a preliminary report concluding that China has no legal right to impose export restrictions on nine raw materials, say trade diplomats and lawyers familiar with the case. The quotas, license requirements and other measures on industrial ingredients such as zinc and coke, many vital for making steel, have been a key irritant in China's simmering trade tensions with trading partners. "This [case] is a punch against China's trade policy," says Simon Evenett, an economist at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. "It means you can't use protectionism as a policy tool on natural resources. "The raw-materials case, which follows a complaint filed in 2009 by Mexico, the U.S. and the European Union, doesn't concern China's politically sensitive export restrictions on 17 minerals known as rare earths, some of which are essential to the production of smartphones and other high-tech appliances. But a victory is likely to pave the way for the U.S. to file a separate WTO complaint on the rare-earths policy, trade analysts said
Accessed on 18 February <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB30001424052748703561604576150301821467250.html>
China hails WTO ruling on US trade duties, Business Day, 14 March 2011
CHINA on Saturday welcomed a ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that partly vindicated its objection to an earlier ruling that had backed the right of the US to impose extra duties on goods from China that Washington said were unfairly priced and subsidised. The appellate body ruled on Friday that US parallel anti- dumping and antisubsidy duties imposed on four Chinese imports — standard steel pipes, rectangular steel pipes, off-road tyres and laminated woven sacks — were inconsistent with WTO rules. hina hailed the ruling and called on the US to end the way it calculated antidumping duties on unfairly priced goods and countervailing duties on subsidised products, according to state news agency, Xinhua. The case turned on the treatment of goods from a country that is not a market economy and where the state influences prices.
Accessed on 14 March <http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=137097>
Russia's WTO entry to improve management in business: poll, Itar-Tass, 8 February 2011
Moscow, Most Russian experts believe that the country’s membership to WTO will be beneficial as it will improve its business practices. According to an opinion poll, most respondents (43 percent) believe that Russia's WTO entry will streamline quality certification for enterprises and organizations. Another 25 per cent are sure that business will have to engage in quality certification. At the same time, 20 per cent of polled people believe that Russian business will be more actively using grey schemes to get ISO, while another 12 percent said nothing would change in that sphere. Most of the polled people (68 per cent) believe that positive changes as to matching international quality standards will take place inside Russian business. Of all the polled respondents, 52 per cent are sure that the quality of management in the Russian business will improve if Russia joins the WTO, and will keep improving to reach world standards in the future. Seven per cent say the quality of management will shortly reach the world level.
Accessed 8 February <http://news.oneindia.in/russiaswto-entry-to-improve-management-in-businesspoll>
US reduces dumping duty on shrimp, Vietnam News, 9 March 2011
HA NOI — Shrimp exports to the US are enjoying a reduction in anti-dumping taxes.
The anti-dumping duties were placed on frozen warm water shrimp from Viet Nam. The products were taxed from February 1, 2009 through January 31, 2010, reported the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). The US Department of Commerce (Dock), after conducting their fifth administrative review, imposed new, reduced duties by between 1.28 per cent and 2.56 per cent to 1.36-1.67 per cent on various exporters across the country. For the past five years, the US has levied duties ranging from 2.5 to 25.76 per cent on frozen shrimp imported from Viet Nam. Viet Nam filed a case with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in February 2010 to contest the tariffs. This marks the first time Viet Nam has filed a complaint with the global trade body's dispute settlement system since it formally joined the WTO in January 2007.
Accessed on 9 March <http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/US-reduces-dumping>
D. REGIONAL AND BILATERAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT RELATIONS
AUSTRALIA – MALAYSIA
Australia and Malaysia commit to trade deal within 12 months, Reuters, 3 March 2011
CANBERRA , Australia and Malaysia will kick start stalled trade talks on and sign a bilateral free trade deal within 12 months, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Thursday after talks with her Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak. The two countries started trade talks in 2005, but negotiations have been stalled since 2007, when both countries focused more on a regional trade agreement between Australia , New Zealand and the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation. Malaysia is Australia 's 11th largest trading partner, with about $11 billion in bilateral trade each year. Australia is a major buyer of Malaysian crude petroleum, while Australia is a key supplier of education services, copper, aluminum and wheat. "We have determined today that we will conclude this free trade agreement between our two nations within the coming year, and we want to see it concluded and signed before the anniversary of this visit next year," Gillard told reporters after talks with Najib in Parliament house. Accessed on 3 March < http://af.reuters.com/article/metalsNews/idAFL3E7E301C20110303 >
CHINA – ISRAEL
China, Israel pledge to enhance economic cooperation, Xinhua, 3 March 2011
JERUSALEM , Israeli President Shimon Peres and visiting Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming held a meeting Wednesday, pledging to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries. China is now playing a constructive and increasingly important part in global economy, Peres said, adding that Israel sees great opportunity in China 's development. He expressed Israel 's willingness to join hands with China to further expand the mutual- benefit cooperation between the two countries. Peres highlighted the key role of technology innovation in economic development of Israel and China , and said his country is ready to expand economic, trade, agricultural and technological collaboration. Chen said he appreciates Peres' effort in promoting Sino- Israeli relations. China will step up communication and cooperation with Israel , and work together to enhance the technological collaboration, Chen said, adding that he and his delegation aim to strengthen economic partnership with Israel and further expand and deepen the bilateral cooperation in practical terms. The two sides also exchanged views on major regional and international issues of shared interest.
Accessed on 3 March < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-03/03/c_13758226.htm >
INDIA – ASEAN
India, Asean may ink services, investment pact by year-end, Live mint, 3 March 2011
India and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asian) grouping expect to clinch their much-awaited trade agreement in services and investment by the end of this year, Malaysia 's trade minister Mustapha Mohammed said. “We wish it (the services agreement) could have been done last year, we hope it can be concluded by the end of this year,” Mohammed said while speaking at the inauguration of the India-Asian Business Fair in New Delhi . “There has to be a time frame. We cannot go on talking on the issue.” India 's trade minister Anand Sharma said both sides are at an advanced stage of concluding the services agreement. Indian commerce ministry officials have admitted earlier that it was a “strategic mistake” to conclude the bilateral trade pact with Asean without an agreement on services where India holds an advantage. The two parties aim to increase trade to $70 billion (Rs.3.16 trillion) by 2012 from $50.33 billion last year.
Accessed on 3 March< http://www.livemint.com/2011/03/02213427/India-Asean-may-ink-services.html?atype=tp >
INDIA - JAPAN
India, Japan sign free trade agreement, The Times of India , 16 February 2011
Japan and India signed on Wednesday a bilateral free trade agreement that would abolish duties on more than 90% of trade for 10 years. Japanese foreign minister Seiji Maehara and Indian commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma concluded the pact in a ceremony at the foreign ministry in Tokyo . The pact will "promote a strategic partnership between the two countries so that they can establish win-win relations and achieve growth", Maehara said. Sharma said the pact "provides an overarching framework to promote our economic cooperation, both trade and investment, which will be rewarding for both India and Japan ". "We have noted in our mind that this will usher in a new era of economic engagement, which will bring development, innovation and also prosperity in both of our societies," he said. The deal would eliminate tariffs on 90 percent of Japanese exports to India , such as auto parts and electric appliances, and 97% of imports from India , including agricultural and fisheries products, until 2021, the Japanese government said.
Accessed on 16 February < http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-Japan-sign-free-trade-agreement >
INDIA – PAKISTAN
India-Pakistan chamber hails resumption of dialogue, Daily Times , 15 February 2011
KARACHI : The resumption of dialogue between Pakistan and India at Thimpu on secretary level will help resolve the issues between both the neighbouring countries. President, India Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry S M Muneer said this reflected the willingness of the governments of both countries to make a roadmap leading to progress and prosperity. The business communities of both the countries have great expectations from the dialogue between Salman Bashir and Ms Nirupama Rao, which would overcome the suffocation and frustration created after the Mumbai incident, he said. He said the India Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry was willing to give all out support to the respective governments in developing productive economic policies which is the need of hour. He proposed for establishment of a joint think-tank between the two countries to work on the roadmap of friendship and also removal of the non tariff barriers.
Accessed on 15 February < http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page>
INDIA – SOUTH KOREA
Korea, India agree on upgrading their free trade pact, Yonhap, 20 January 2011
NEW DELHI , South Korea and India agreed Thursday to improve their free trade pact that went into effect early last year in a bid to further boost bilateral trade. South Korea and India implemented their free trade agreement on Jan. 1 of last year. It's known as a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) and covers services and investment as well as competition and other issues. During a meeting with Indian Commerce Minister Anan Sharma, South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon also agreed to streamline procedures to issue visas to help boost investment and business activities, according to Seoul 's trade officials. Kim told reporters here Wednesday that Seoul and New Delhi will work to further trim tariffs on some products to boost their bilateral trade, saying the trade pact is based on tariffs in 2006. Trade volume between South Korea and India jumped 41 percent last year from a year earlier to US$17.1 billion, according to Seoul 's trade ministry.
Accessed on 20 January < http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/business/2011/01/20/71/>
INDIA - INDONESIA
Jakarta, Delhi ties point out new trend, The Wall Street Journal, 26 January 2011
Indonesia and India vowed to double trade to $25 billion a year by 2015, with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday signing $15 billion of investment pacts with Indian firms in an unmistakable sign of how fast-expanding ties between emerging nations are steadily reshaping the global economy. Economists call it "South-South" investment, and it is becoming an increasingly important growth strategy for dozens of developing economies around the world as they look beyond investment flows from the once-powerful economies of Europe, Japan and North America . At the same time, the biggest developing nations— China and India—are moving quickly to secure energy and minerals supplies from other, resource-rich emerging countries such as Indonesia to ensure they keep their economies fully powered up.
Accessed on 26 January < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB30001424052748704698004576103740709551386.html >
IRAN - AFGHANISTAN
Tehran-Kabul trade could reach $6 billion, Tehran Times, 6 March 2011
TEHRAN –- The Afghani ambassador to Iran said, despite existing problems, trade between Tehran and Kabul could reach $6 billion. Abidollah Abid who was speaking at a gathering of businessmen and economic officials at the Iran-Afghanistan Trade Promotion Conference here pointed out that Kabul has a high capacity for exporting products to Iran , ISNA reported. Meanwhile, the Iranian Deputy Commerce Minister Hamid Safdel said at the conference said that the current trade balance between the two countries is $1.3 billion. Speaking to reporters at Afghanistan 's embassy in Tehran in early February, Ambassador Abidollah Abid said a number of cooperation agreements were signed during meetings between Afghan and Iranian officials recently. According to the agreements, Tehran and Kabul will further cooperate to facilitate shipment of goods and expanding economic and trade ties, he noted. Abid also said Iran undertook to sell oil products to Afghanistan without any limitation.
Accessed on 6 March < http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=236963 >
PAKISTAN – TAJIKISTAN
Implementation of ATTA vital for boosting bilateral trade with Tajikistan, Associated Press of Pakistan , 8 March 2011
ISLAMABAD , Mar 8 (APP): Implementation of Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA) would help enhance the bilateral trade between Tajikistan and Pakistan .“Tajik government should ask Afghanistan for implementation of ATTA which would help both countries in emerging trade activities, as it provides trade access from land route to transports to reach CIS states for business”, Muhammad Tauseef Zaman acting president Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI) said in a meeting with a Tajik business delegation here on Tuesday. The 33 members Tajik business delegation visited ICCI for B2B business to business) meetings with entrepreneurs having common interest in various fields.
Accessed on 8 March <http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view >
RUSSIA – IRAN – AZERBAIJAN
Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan sign act on cooperation in railway projects, Itar-Tass, 8 February 2011
TEHERAN, Russia , Iran and Azerbaijan have signed a package of agreements on cooperation in the implementation of railway projects. At a ceremony held at the presidential palace in Tehran on Tuesday the document was signed by the heads of railway agencies of the three countries - the head of the Russian Railways company, Vladimir Yakunin, head of the railways of Iran , Ali Abdu Mohammed, and president of Azerbaijan Railways, Arif Askerov. The tripartite agreement provides for the accelerated implementation of the project for a transport corridor North-South, in particular, the construction of its section between the Iranian city of Qazvin and Rasht and Astara on the border with Azerbaijan . In addition, two bilateral arrangements were inked - the Iranian-Russian agreement on cooperation in railway construction, which provides for the electrification of the railway Tehran - Bandar-Abbas and an Iran-Azerbaijani agreement on cooperation in the implementation of railway projects.
Accessed on 8 February < http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15780488&PageNum=0 >
SOUTH KOREA – EU
Trade pact is 'win-win' for South Korea , EU: envoy, Yahoo News, 18 February 2011
A sweeping free trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union is a "win-win" deal for both parties, an EU diplomat said Friday after Europe 's parliament approved the deal. The parliament in Strasbourg voted 465-128 for the pact Thursday after securing safeguards to protect Europe 's auto industry from tough South Korean rules on fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.” This FTA is a win-win deal to both sides and will bring great benefits to both EU and Korean businesses, workers and consumers on both sides," Tomasz Kozlowski, EU ambassador to Seoul, told a press conference. The trade accord is the most ambitious the EU has negotiated with an outside partner, and the first with an Asian nation. The two sides will axe 98 percent of customs duties within five years, apart from a few Korean farm products which will take longer. Rice is completely excluded from the deal. The EU in a statement cited one study showing that the pact would more than double trade over the next 20 years.
Accessed on 21 February < http://uk.news.yahoo.com/18/20110218/tbs-trade-pact-is-win-win-for-s-korea>
Korea-EU FTA bill introduced in parliamentary committee, Yon hap, 3 March 2011
A ratification motion for the free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the European Union (EU) was presented to a parliamentary committee on Thursday for approval, but a partisan divide remains over when to pass the bill with the opposition calling for a full examination of the deal's possible impact on the local economy. South Korea and the EU signed the agreement last October, agreeing to put it into force on July 1. The European Parliament approved the FTA on Feb. 17, bringing it one step closer to coming into force this July. Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon (L) answers questions from members of the legislative committee on foreign affairs, trade and unification during a full session of the committee on March 3.
Accessed on 3 March < http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/03/03/6/0301000000AEN>
EU-Korea free trade pact lost in translation, The Korea Times, 8 March 2011
When the European Parliament approved the free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea midway through February, the pact looked set for smooth sailing. Just ahead of the parliamentary reviews here, however, things abruptly changed because of discrepancies located in the Korean- and the English-language versions of the accord. The original Korean-language text signed last October was found to have numerous translation errors of late. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) corrected them to present the ratification motion to the National Assembly last week. Yet, domestic experts contend that there are additional mistakes, some of which they say might be intentional. Particularly under debate is content added to the Korean-language version, which is not present in the English-language one. Regarding requirements of architect license holders, the English text on construction and design services in Annex 7-A-4 says ``Foreign architects licensed under their home country's law may acquire a Korean architect license by passing a simplified examination, which covers only two of the regular test's six subjects.”
Accessed on 8 March < http://app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id= 133071 &Itemid= 2>
SOUTH KOREA - USA
Korea-U.S. free trade agreement faces more hurdles, Chosun-Ilbo , 9 February 2011
A Cabinet meeting on Tuesday signed off on amendments to a free trade agreement with the U.S. agreed during supplementary talks at the end of last year. The talks were held over U.S. demands to change parts of the FTA the two sides signed in 2007, but instead of revising the existing text, they agreed to exchange letters that contain details of the changes. The changes were made to adjust the time frame for removing tariffs on automobiles and pork, and weaken environmental safeguards for cars from the U.S. Korea will lower its 8 percent tariff on U.S. car imports to 4 percent instead of eliminating it immediately and get rid of it four years later, while lowering tariffs on American pork in stages, scrapping them altogether in 2016.
A ccessed on 9 February < http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/02/09/2011020900794.html >
Obama urges congress to begin discussions on Korea FTA without delay, Yon hap, 8 March 2011
WASHINGTON , The Obama administration on Monday urged Congress to begin discussions for the ratification of a pending free trade deal with South Korea as a prelude to presenting it to Congress. In a letter to Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said his office "has completed its preparatory work on the U.S.-Korea trade agreement and stands ready to begin technical discussions on the U.S.-Korea trade agreement draft implementing bill and draft Statement of Administrative Action." U.S. administration officials usually meet with members of the House Ways and Means Committee to discuss the drafting of bills before submitting them for ratification.
Accessed on 8 March < http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/03/08/17/0301000000AEN2011>
TAIWAN - INDIA
Taiwan, India explore feasibility of FTA, Focus Taiwan, 8 March 2011
New Delhi , India and Taiwan have begun work on a feasibility study to pave the way for the opening of formal talks on a free trade agreement (FTA), India 's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said Monday. The announcement represented further progress in Taiwan 's efforts to sign FTAs with its trade partners. A similar process was launched between Taiwan and Singapore last August -- two months after the signing of the Taiwan-China Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement. Rao told a delegation of Taiwanese journalists that Taiwan 's Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations are jointly assessing the possibility of a Taiwan-India FTA. The two sides will await the outcome of the study before deciding when to begin FTA negotiations, Rao said.
Accessed on 8 March < http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_Detail.aspx?Type=aECO&ID=20110308000>
USA – PHILIPPINES
US ties labor, IPR issues to garments bill, Manila Bulletin, 6 March 2011
MANILA, Philippines - U.S. authorities have raised labor and intellectual property rights issues of the Philippines as deterrents to an early passage of the proposed garments and textile bill “Save Our Industries Act”, which seeks to revive the textile and garments industries of both the U.S. and the Philippines. Thelma Dumpit-Murillo, director of the Garments and Textile Industry Development Office (GTIDO) of the Department of Trade and Industry, told reporters that labor and IP issues were raised by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) during the recent videoconference on the bilateral Philippines-US Trade and Investment Facilitation Agreement (TIFA). According to Murillo, the USTR was not optimistic as to the passage of the “Save Our Industries Act” bill in the near term because there are labor rights and IP issues that have to be resolved by the Philippine government yet.
Accessed on 6 March < http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/307786/us-ties-labor-ipr-issues-garments-bill >
VIETNAM – EU
Nation set to ink new free trade agreement with EU, Vietnam News , 9 March 2011
HCM CITY — Viet Nam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) could be set to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) to boost the bilateral trade, says a report released yesterday. An FTA would hold significant potential to strengthen the economic relationship between Viet Nam and EFTA, the report by a Joint Study Group established August 2010 by Viet Nam 's Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ambassadors of the EFTA states ( Iceland , Liechtenstein , Norway and Switzerland ) said. The Deputy Minister of Norway‘s Department of Industry and Trade, Halvard Ingebrigtsen, said the FTA signing was expected in July. The report was an important step towards the comprehensive FTA that would cover trade in goods and services, investment, government procurement, intellectual property rights and competition.
Accessed on 9 March < http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/Economy/Nation-set-to-ink-new-free-trade>
E. DID YOU KNOW THAT?
INations seek success beyond GDP, The Wall Street Journal, 10 January 2011
Money isn't everything. But in measuring the success of nations, it isn't easy to find a substitute. Political leaders are increasingly expressing dissatisfaction with gross domestic product—a monetary measure of all the goods and services a country produces—as a gauge of a nation's success in raising living standards. In November, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to build measures of national well-being that would take into account factors such as peoples' life satisfaction, following a similar effort by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Their efforts cut to the core of what economics is supposed to be about: What makes us better off? How can we all have more of it? Anyone hoping for a clear-cut answer, though, is likely to be disappointed.
Accessed on 10 January < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704064504576070343252409876.html >
Emerging nations tackle food costs, The Wall Street Journal, 25 January 2011
Fast-growing emerging nations are taking increasingly aggressive actions to beat back rising food prices as they grow more worried of threats to stability if prices don't start to retreat. Developing-market governments have unveiled a laundry list of measures—including price caps, export bans and rules to counter commodity speculation—to keep food costs from disrupting their economies as price spikes that some had hoped were temporary have stretched into the new year. Some economists worry that any further supply shocks could push prices even higher, triggering a food-price crisis like the one the world witnessed in 2008, when higher food costs led to violent unrest across the developing world. Toyota hangs on as world's No. 1 automaker, while developing nations are grappling with rising food inflation. WSJ's Jake Lee speaks to Asia Heard on the Street Editor Mohammed Hadi about these stories.
Accessed on 25 January < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704678004576089820057254318.html >
WCF strengthens ties with Asian chambers, The Financial, 9 March 2011
The Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) successfully held its 25th Conference in Istanbul , Turkey with a turnout of more than 150 delegates from 27 CACCI countries. Special guests at the event included ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF) Chairman Rona Yircali. During the event, Rona Yircali and the WCF team met with chamber organizations from across the Asian region in a bid to strengthen the global chamber network and to garner insight into chamber needs in the region, according to ICC. “Improving our understanding of the needs and ambitions of the chamber network is an integral part of WCF's work,” said Mr Yircali. “Regular contact and dialogue with members in all parts of the world is essential.”
Accessed on 9 March < http://finchannel.com/Main_News/Business/82625_WCF_strengthens_ties_with_Asian>
China overtakes Japan as world's second-biggest economy, BBC News, 14 February 2011
China has overtaken Japan as the world's second-biggest economy. Japan 's economy was worth $5.474 trillion (£3.414 trillion) at the end of 2010, figures from Tokyo have shown. China 's economy was closer to $5.8 trillion in the same period. Japan has been hit by a drop in exports and consumer demand, while China has enjoyed a manufacturing boom. At its current rate of growth, analysts see China replacing the US as the world's top economy in about a decade. "It's realistic to say that within 10 years China will be roughly the same size as the US economy," said Tom Miller of GK Dragonomics, a Beijing-based economic consultancy.
Accessed on 14 February < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12427321 >
Food for thought — and action — in India, The Wall Street Journal, 29 January 2011
It's time for India 's government to put its money where its mouth is. New Delhi has raised some $30 billion since March by selling state assets and telecom airwaves. That's about as much as the country will attract in foreign direct investment this fiscal year. There's one area above all else where this money should be directed: food security. New Delhi talks a lot about guaranteeing food for India 's poor, but there's a need for smart investment to address fundamental problems. The neglect of farms poses a threat to India 's economic future, not least through inflation. The persistence of double-digit increases in food prices earlier this year, regardless of weather, has made clear this is a structural problem. Meanwhile, lagging productivity in agriculture is contributing to income inequality. The sector employs 52% of India 's work force but the farm economy is growing at a rate of less than 2% a year. That's half its rate of growth in the late 1980s and 1990s. Yet GDP growth in agriculture is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty, compared with similar growth in other sectors, the World Bank estimates.
Accessed on 29 January < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB30001424052970203513204576047541282652696.html >
Vietnam power outages risk investment as price increases loom, Bloomberg, 15 February 2011
Rolling electricity outages in Vietnam may deter foreign manufacturers from using the country as an export base, prompting the government to raise prices to boost investment in power plants. Vietnam may increase the cost of average household electricity by a record 15 percent next month, Vietnam News reported yesterday. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said last week factories and other major energy consumers must cut power use by at least 1 percent, the state-run newspaper reported. Severe power cuts “would make it very difficult for me to explain to the board that we want to stay here and want to develop the company here,” Boy Schallert, managing director of Aalborg Industries A/S, said by telephone, adding that the company has no imminent plans to leave the country. “We hope we will be fine this year, but we fear the worst.”
Accessed on 15 February <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-14/vietnam-power-outages-risk>
SPECIAL SEGMENT: JAPAN EARTHQUAKE AFTERMATH
Worries Rise Over Disrupted Supplies, The Wall Street Journal , 17 March 2011
Worries about supply-chain disruptions from Japan 's earthquake continued, with some Asian businesses saying they were slowing production to preserve stockpiles of crucial components. A semiconductor industry group in the Philippines flagged its concern about access to important raw materials. But some Japanese factories reported progress Wednesday in restarting operations, raising hopes that long-term disruptions might be avoided. Japanese-made equipment and materials play a key production role in many of the region's main industries, from automobiles in Thailand to semiconductors in the Philippines . While many businesses said they have adequate inventories of materials for the time being, some said they were cutting output as they attempted to gauge the impact of the earthquake and disruptions caused by continuing problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In Thailand, Toyota Motor Corp., Thailand 's single biggest auto maker is slowing production until March 25 to preserve stockpiles of Japan-made components, such as the transmission for Camry and Prius hybrid models.
Accessed on 17 March < http://online.wsj.com/article/>
Japan 's Central Bank Pumps $85.5 Billion in Market, ABC News, 13 March 2011
A ship washed away by tsunami sits amid debris in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, Sunday, March 13, 2011 after Japan 's biggest recorded earthquake hit its eastern coast Friday. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye) Japan 's central bank has injected 7 trillion yen (US$85.5 billion) into money markets after the devastating earthquake and tsunami raised dire worries about the world's third-largest economy. Stocks fell in early trading Monday on the first business day after the disasters. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average shed 494 points, or 4.8 percent, to 9,760.45 just after the market opened. Preliminary estimates put repair costs from the earthquake and tsunami that struck Friday in the tens of billions of dollars — a huge blow for an already fragile economy that lost its place as the world's No. 2 to China last year.
Accessed on 13 March < http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13129153 >
Japan 's $309B natural disaster costliest ever, CBC News, 23 March 2011
The costs of reconstruction after this month's earthquake and tsunami are expected to be more than $309 billion US, the Japanese government said Wednesday. That would make it the most expensive natural disaster in history, easily surpassing Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans in 2005. The Insurance Information Institute calculated that cost at $125 billion. The Japanese Cabinet Office estimated direct losses of between $198 billion and $309 billion in damage to housing, roads, utilities and businesses across seven prefectures. The latest projection is considerably higher than others. The World Bank on Monday said damage might reach $235 billion. Investment bank Goldman Sachs had estimated it at as much as $200 billion.
Accessed on 28 March < http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/03/23/>
China Bans Some Food Imports From Japan, The Wall Street Journal, 28 March 2011
BEIJING — China said Saturday it had discovered trace levels of radiation in northeastern Heilongjiang province, a day after it announced a ban on imports of some fresh foods from Japan , adding to fears of possible radiation contamination from troubled nuclear reactors. China 's National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee said the radiation originated at Japan 's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. But the radiation level detected was "below one-hundred-thousandth of the average natural background radiation," and therefore "did not pose a risk to public health or the environment," Xinhua reported. It said no safety measures were needed given the low levels. Saturday's announcement came amid stepped-up efforts by China 's government to reassure residents about nuclear safety, both from Japan 's damaged plants and from China 's own power industry.
Accessed on 28 March < http://online.wsj.com/article/ >
National trade facilitation focal points, as well as other government officials and staffs from relevant international organizations, are also invited to register in the database if they would like to receive information on the activities and tools being made available by UNNExT and collaborating agencies. (direct link: http://www.unescap.org/unnext/expertdb.asp )
Trade facilitation and paperless trade experts (local, regional, international) interested in providing services should take a few minutes to register in the online UNNExT expert database, as this database is expected to become a primary tool for ESCAP and the UNNExT Secretariat to identify qualified human resources to deliver the services.
(direct link: http://www.unescap.org/unnext/expertdb.asp )
- Standing Committee of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement, (38th Session), 8-10 March 2011, Bangkok , Thailand
The objective of the meeting is to finalize the 4th Round of negotiations and negotiate under Services and Investment Framework Agreements.
< http://www.unescap.org/tid/mtg/apta38.asp >
Ad-Hoc Expert Meeting: Trade Facilitation in Regional Trade Arrangements, 30–31 March 2011, Geneva, organized by UNCTAD
Many trade facilitation measures included in RTAs are non-discriminatory against non-RTA trading partners.
On the other hand, RTAs include some trade facilitation measures such as the provision of advanced rulings, the use of regional standards strictly applied only between RTA partner countries, and simplified customs procedures and fees afforded only to RTA members, and may be discriminatory against third parties. Another potential complication arises when a country or a regional grouping is party to several RTAs that apply similar trade facilitation measures with different scopes. This might lead to a "spaghetti bowl" of different customs procedures applied for different trading partners in the region.
The objective of the Ad Hoc Expert Meeting is to suggest, what the role of UNCTAD could be in assisting developing countries in ensuring coherence between regional and multilateral trade facilitation commitments.
Accessed on 21 March <http://www.unctad.org/Templates/meeting.asp
- High-level Asia-Pacific Policy Dialogue on the Implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and other Development Gaps faced by the Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), 12-14 April 2011, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Jointly organized by ESCAP and the Government of Mongolia
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Government of Mongolia will jointly convene a High-Level Asia-Pacific Policy Dialogue on the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and other Development Gaps faced by the Landlocked Developing Countries on 12-14 April 2011 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The High-level Asia-Pacific Policy Dialogue will be organized by ESCAP in collaboration with the Government of Mongolia. The meeting would bring together all key stakeholders of the Almaty Programme of Action, including member governments, the UN system, relevant regional organizations, development partners and the broad spectrum of the civil society from Asia and the Pacific region. Senior policymakers and other stakeholders from the LLDCs of the Asia and the Pacific region, their development partners and other member States will be invited to attend the meeting. The main objective of the meeting is to facilitate the assessment of the progress so far made in the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action in the context of the fast evolving regional and global economic environment and identify key issues and development gaps that would require global and regional cooperation to further advance the objectives of the Almaty Programme of Action, with special reference to other internationally agreed goals including MDGs.
< http://www.unescap.org/pdd/calendar/CSN-HighlevelDialogue-AlmayPoA/index.asp >
- Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission (third session), 2–6 May 2011, Geneva , organized by UNCTAD
This year's session will address two main themes:
* Promoting investment for development: Best practices in strengthening investment in basic infrastructure in developing countries
* Enhancing productive capacities for development, including through strengthened entrepreneurship policies and improved science and innovation policies
The Commission will allow policymakers, investment promotion agencies and the private sector to exchange experiences and views during the presentation of the Investment Policy Review of Guatemala.
It will also discuss the implementation of the Investment Policy Reviews for Ethiopia and the United Republic of Tanzania, and an update of implementation progress concerning administrative efficiency in previous Investment Policy Reviews.
- PREM Week: Trade Competitiveness Conference, 25 April 2011, organized by the World Bank
More information will be available later in the following link on this event
G. RECENT PUBLICATIONS ON TRADE AND INVESTMENT
Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2010 :
Recent Trends and Developments UNESCAP , (available online, PDF version 7.14 MB, 268 Pages ) (UPDATE)
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) is a recurrent publication prepared by the Trade and Investment Division. It aims to deepen understanding of regional trends and developments in trade and investment; emerging issues in trade, investment and trade facilitation policies; and impacts of these policies on countries' abilities to meet the challenges of achieving inclusive and sustainable development. APTIR 2010 describes and analyses the developments in both intraregional and interregional trade and investment since mid-2009. It is organized in six sections. Section A describes and explains recent trends in merchandise trade flows of selected countries and country-groups, revisits the phenomenon of “Factory Asia” and analyses recent trends in intraregional trade. Section B provides a comprehensive analysis of recent trends in commercial services trade of the economies in the region and an up-to-date breakdown of services trade for different subregions and services sectors. It also describes recent trends in worker remittances which are an important source of external capital and finance for development for various countries of the region.
Accessed on 15 March <www.unescap.org/tid/aptir2590>
WTO Public Forum 2010 , OECD (available online, pdf version, 2.86 228ges)
The WTO Public Forum 2010 provided an opportunity for an informed debate about various aspects of the multilateral trading system. Its special theme was “The forces shaping world trade”. This new publication provides a round-up of the discussions that took place during the event's 43 sessions. he Forum provides a unique opportunity for representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, academics, members of the business community, trade unions, journalists, lawyers and students to discuss trade issues. Among the subjects for discussion in 2010 were the shift of power in international politics, the role of the main actors influencing the multilateral trading system and public attitudes towards the WTO. Sessions also focused on the factors determining world trade and the role of the WTO rules-based multilateral trading system, including the Doha Round, in contributing to the global economic recovery. http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/public_forum10>
The Impact of Trade Liberalisation on Jobs and Growth Technical Note", OECD (available online, pdf version, 1.93 MB, 111 pages)
This report shows how more open markets in goods and services can contribute to creating jobs and increase incomes. Reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers can help in the short run where the economic crisis has led to significant involuntary unemployment by reducing costs of imported products for consumers and by providing new market opportunities for exporters. Taking a longer term view of a more healthy global economy, lasting gains can be found from reallocation of resources across sector and from productivity growth. Reducing barriers to foreign direct investment in services is found to particularly increase demand for higher skilled labour, while the offshoring of services is not found to shift jobs abroad. The report presents in detail new results based on two large scale global computable general equilibrium models, one for goods and one for services, using novel approaches to assess the effects of reducing trade costs related to non-tariff measures, and to assess the effects of regulatory impediments to foreign direct investment in services. The analysis disentangles the effects of actions that the G20 economies could take from the potential effects of global tariff liberalisation efforts in which all countries would participate.
Disaggregated Impacts of CAP Reforms : Proceedings of an OECD Workshop, OECD, (available online, PDF version 4.53 MB, 316 Pages )
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is an important policy for the European Union and accounts for about 40% of the EU budget. Ever since its inception in 1958, the CAP has been regularly reviewed and adjusted to improve its performance and adapt to changing circumstances. At a time when the post-2013 future of the CAP is being discussed and major challenges such as food security and climate change lay ahead, it is important to review the impact of past reforms and to draw lessons for the design of future policies.
This report collects papers presented at the OECD Workshop on Disaggregated Impacts of CAP Reforms, held in Paris in March 2010, which focused on recent reforms. In particular, it examined the implementation of the single payment scheme since 2005 and the transfer of funds between different measures. Special attention was also paid to reforms of the sugar and dairy sectors with respect to the quota system and the restructuring of both these industries. The papers also look at the impact of the new direct payment system on land use, production and income.
OECD Statistics on International Trade in Services 2010, Volume I, Detailed tables by service category, OECD (available online, PDF version 2.72 MB, 450 Pages )
This publication, which is jointly produced by the OECD and Eurostat, includes statistics by detailed type of service on international trade in services for the 30 OECD countries, the European Union and the euro area as well as analysis, definitions and methodological notes. The data are reported within the framework of the fifth edition of the IMF's Balance of Payments Manual and the Extended Balance of Payments Services Classification (EBOPS), which is consistent with the balance of payments classification but is more detailed. This book includes summary tables by country and by service category and zone totals for the European Union, Euro area, G7, NAFTA, OECD - Asia and Pacific,OECD - Europe and total OECD which are comparable. Tables for each individual OECD country and for the EU and the euro area showing data for detailed service categories are also provided. Series are shown in US dollars and cover the period 2000-2008.
< http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/trade/oecd-statistics-on-international-trade-in-services-2010-volume-i-detailed-tables-by-service-category_sits_vol_1-2010-en-fr >
The State Of Food And Agriculture 2010-2011 : Women In Agriculture Closing the gender gap for development , FAO, (available online, PDF version 3.33MB, 160 Pages )
Women make significant contributions to the rural economy in all developing country regions. Their roles differ across regions, yet they consistently have less access than men to the resources and opportunities they need to be more productive. Increasing women's access to land, livestock, education, financial services, extension, technology and rural employment would boost their productivity and generate gains in terms of agricultural production, food security, economic growth and social welfare. Closing the gender gap in agricultural inputs alone could lift 100-150 million people out of hunger. No blueprint exists for closing the gender gap, but some basic principles are universal: governments, the international community and civil society should work together to eliminate discrimination under the law, to promote equal access to resources and opportunities, to ensure that agricultural policies and programmes are gender-aware, and to make women's voices heard as equal partners for sustainable development. Achieving gender equality and empowering women in agriculture is not only the right thing to do. It is also crucial for agricultural development and food security.
< http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i2050e/i2050e.pdf >
The Road to Rio +20: For A Development-led Green Economy, UNCTAD, (available online, PDF version 9.47 MB, 100 Pages )
Without guidance, it is likely that green economy-related disputes will be referred to the World Trade Organization's dispute settlement mechanism, which could be corrosive to the multilateral trading system. Whether a green economy has the potential to become the basis for a new development path will depend on how its benefits are perceived and the burden of the transition costs ultimately shared. UNCTAD will provide a forum for debating and addressing all the issues raised herein in the run up to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. It is the aim of this publication, the Road to Rio +20, to contribute to the debate through a collection of essays that provide different perspectives on how to increase the benefits and reduce the risks in the transition to a development-led green economy. I hope the articles will trigger more critical thinking and awaken the imagination on our journey to Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
< http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/ditcted20108_en.pdf >
Studies in Trade and Investment No. 69: The Development Impact of Information Technology in Trade Facilitation, UNESCAP , (available online, PDF version 7.14 MB, 268 Pages )
ESCAP (2010), "The development impact of information technology in trade facilitation", Studies in Trade and Investment, No. 69, United Nations, New York . The importance of trade facilitation has now been widely acknowledged as an effective way to enhance trade competitiveness and benefit from globalization. Streamlining trade-related procedures has increasingly involved the use of modern information technologies to automate processes, possibly making it more difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in international trade. This publication brings together case studies from five different countries in Southeast and East Asia to examine the impact of IT-based trade facilitation measures already implemented, with a specific focus on their effect on small and medium sized-enterprises. The development of IT systems to streamline the trade transaction processes has typically been partial and often uncoordinated across government agencies involved in trade control, often resulting in limited gains in trade efficiency. However, as big and small and enterprises alike overwhelmingly rely on specialized third parties to complete trade procedures, IT-based trade facilitation measures are generally not found to have a discriminatory effect on smaller enterprises.
Accessed on 17 January <http://www.unescap.org/tid>
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