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IN FOCUS: ESCAP
WTO/ESCAP Advanced Regional Seminar on the GATS and Services Negotiations, Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia , 4-7 May 2010
This seminar offers advanced training on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and developments in the ongoing services negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda. The seminar is intended to respond to particular sector- and policy-related interests expressed by participants. It may thus be used as an opportunity to discuss areas/sectors that are not fully reflected in the current classification system (e.g., environment- or energy-related services), issues that have arisen in recent studies on the GATS (e.g., the status of investment treaties under the Agreement) and/or the implications of GATS-related dispute rulings.
For more information please visit < http://www.unescap.org/tid/projects/gats10.asp >
The 66 th session of the Commission took place in Incheon, Republic of Korea from 13 to 19 May 2010. The Commission session comprised two parts:
• Senior Officials Segment from 13-15 May 2010
• Ministerial Segment from 17-19 May 2010.
The Ministerial segment was inaugurated His Excellency Mr. Chung Un-Chan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea . Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, addressed the session, bringing to the meeting the message from the Least Developed countries and the Dhaka outcome document on the review of the Brussels Prgramme of Action. His Excellency Edward Natapei, Prime Minister of Vanuatu also addressed the session tabling the Port Vila Outcome Statement on future priorities for sustainable development in the Pacific Island Developing nations following the regions midterm review of progress towards implementation of the Mauritius Strategy.
For more information please visit < http://www.unescap.org/66/ >
A. GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS AND IMPACT ON TRADE AND INVESTMENT
I2010 world economic growth revised upward: UN report, The Times of India , 27 May 2010
UNITED NATIONS: The world economy should recover from last year's contraction with growth of three percent this year and 3.2 percent in 2011, but the pace of the recovery is too weak to close a global output gap, a revised UN report said Wednesday. The updated "2010 World Economic Situation and Prospects" said most economies posted positive growth in later 2009 and early 2010 on the back of fiscal stimulus packages and expansionary monetary policies. The study, which revised upward a forecast of world growth of 2.4 percent made in January, however warned that stronger recovery was needed to recuperate job losses and close the output gap resulting from the deep recession.
Accessed on 27 May < http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-world-economic >
CHINA – USA
China and US to deepen cooperation to reinforce global economic recovery, Bernama, 26 May 2010
BEIJING , The two-day China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue ended Tuesday with the signing of 26 agreements and both countries agreeing to deepen cooperation to strengthen and reinforce the global economic recovery. Consensus was reached in many issues involving financial, currency structure reforms, trade and investment and the stability and reform of the financial market. They also agreed to enhance dialogue and coordination in macro economic policies. China said it would introduce financial and monetary policies and undergo structural reforms that would encourage consumption which is expected to play a more important part in the economic growth. The US agreed to realign its financial policy's focus from overall demand and employment to reduce federal financial deficit to ensure long term and sustainable finance.
Accessed on 27 May < http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsbusiness.php?id=501266 >
EU - ASEAN
EU and ASEAN unite efforts against economic crisis, Xinhua , 27 May 2010
The European Union (EU) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Wednesday signed the Madrid Declaration, which unites their efforts against the economic crisis, underlines their cooperation in the fight against terrorism and nuclear proliferation as well as making a statement for regional integration. Speaking at a press conference at the end of their meeting, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who was the main representative of the EU in the meeting, the Foreign Minister of Brunei, Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and the General Secretary of the ASEAN, Surin Pitsuwan, who is from Thailand, said they were satisfied with the meeting held in Madrid.
Accessed on 27 May < http://news.xinhuanet.com/world/2010-05/27/>
Indonesia : Confident economy, The Jakarta Post , 31 May 2010
While many European countries are struggling to avoid slipping back into recession, being dragged down by the deepening debt crisis engulfing the eurozone, one of the main problems facing the Indonesian economy appears to be how to avoid growing too far, too fast. Much of the heat in the economy is coming from the home front, with rising consumer demand and private sector investments adding fuel to the fire. Though having eased slightly from its record highs as of the beginning of the year, Indonesia 's consumer confidence levels are still slanted well into the positive, according to a recent study conducted by market research firm Roy Morgan, with the confidence index standing at around 121.6 points as of the end of the first quarter.
Accessed on 31 May < http://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia-confident-economy >
Japan 's key economic gauge rises for 12th straight month in March, Xinhua, 12 May 2010
TOKYO , Japan 's key gauge of the current state of the economy rose for the 12th straight month in March, the Cabinet Office said in a preliminary report on Wednesday. The composite index of coincident economic indicators, Japan 's broadest indicator of economic health, rose 1.1 points in March from a month earlier to stand at 101.1 against the 2005 base of 100. The index of leading indicators, an economic indicator which predicts conditions over the next several months and consists of 12 indexes such as account inventory ratios, machinery orders, stock prices and other leading economic indicators climbed 4.4 points in March to stand at 102.8, marking a 13th month of consecutive rise. The Cabinet Office also reported the index of lagging indicators, which reflects conditions in the recent past, rose 1.2 points in March to stand at a preliminary 85.4 against the 2005 base of 100. The Cabinet Office maintained its recent assessment based on the coincident CI, saying the index shows Japan 's economy is " improving."
Accessed on 12 May < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010 >
Econonomic stability taking hold in Pakistan: IMF, Daily Times, 26 May 2010
ISLAMABAD : The country's economy is getting back on an even keel after a balance of payments crisis 18 months ago but it remains vulnerable to shocks and a risky market for investors, the IMF's representative in Islamabad said on Tuesday. Political uncertainty, chronic insecurity and a budget deficit inflated by spending to tackle a Taliban insurgency are all threats to recovery, but the outlook is far brighter than when the country was on the brink of default in 2008. “In terms of the economy, stabilisation seems to be taking hold ... progress has been made,” Paul Ross of the International Monetary Fund said in an interview with Reuters. The government turned to the IMF for an emergency package of loans in November 2008, when inflation was 25 percent, central bank reserves were the equivalent of just one month of imports and the current account deficit had widened to 8.5 percent of gross domestic product for fiscal year 2007-08.
Accessed on 25 May < http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.>
Pakistan raises growth hopes, Asia Times, 25 May 2010
KARACHI - Islamabad has raised Pakistan 's economic growth target for the financial year ending June 30 to 4.1% from 3.3%, on the back of stronger-than-expected performances by large-scale manufacturers and the services sector. The latest data counter concern that the initial growth target would prove drastically over-optimistic, as happened last year when actual growth came in at 1.2%, well down from the 2% target and the lowest in eight years. The basis for the rethink on growth is a rebound in large-scale manufacturing (LSM) and a strong performance from the services sector. LSM grew 4.4% in the current fiscal year against 3.7% in the previous period, while the services sector surpassed its 3.9% target with a 4.6% increase, according to the Planning Commission of Pakistan, which prepares the growth targets.
The commission has projected a 4.5% gain in gross domestic product (GDP) for the next financial year. That is still well below the economic expansion of neighbors China , at more than 10%, and India , with 8%, as Pakistan struggles to attract foreign aid and investment to revive an economy pummeled by inflation and terrorism.
Accessed on 25 May <http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LE25Df02.html>
Russia Should Consider Capital Controls, IMF Says, Business Week , 11 May 2010
Russia may have to implement capital controls to defend the economy against excessive inflows, the International Monetary Fund said. “Managing capital inflows is one of the key challenges facing the Russian authorities,” the IMF said in a report published on its website today. “All lines of defense against excessive inflows -- macroeconomic and prudential policies as well as capital controls -- should be considered.” Russia , whose economy contracted a record 7.9 percent last year when the crisis hit the world's biggest energy exporter “with particular virulence,” should guide domestic demand once the economy recovers and curb government spending, the IMF said. The authorities must also keep inflation low by allowing greater flexibility in the exchange rate, which would discourage speculative capital flows, according to the IMF.
Accessed on 11 May < http://www.businessweek.com/russia-should-consider-capital-controls>
\Thai Growth Positive, for Now, The Wall Street Journal, 24 May 2010
BANGKOK — Thailand 's economy surged in the first quarter on robust exports, consumption and investment, with the government maintaining its 2010 growth forecast despite some of the deadliest riots in the country's modern history. But the economy is likely to lose momentum in the months ahead, with the degree of the slowdown depending heavily the political situation, the government said. Gross domestic product expanded 3.8% in the first quarter from the October-December period. Compared with a year earlier, GDP rose 12.0%—its fastest pace in 15 years, said Ampon Kittiampon, the secretary general of the National Economic and Social Development Board. The figures easily beat market expectations. The median forecast of six economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires was for GDP to increase 9.5% on year in the first quarter. GDP was estimated to have grown 2.1% from the fourth quarter of last year, based on projections from three economists.
Accessed on 24 May < http://online.wsj.com/article/>
B. TRADE FACILITATION AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION
Bangladesh 's FDI set to fall sharply, The News , 26 May 2010
DHAKA: Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Bangladesh is set to fall sharply in the first eight months of the current fiscal year which ends in June, officials said on Tuesday. The BOI said the country received FDI proposals worth $615 million in July-February period compared with $2.1 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year. An acute energy crisis between July and February hit economic activity and had a knock-on effect on foreign and local investment, officials at the state-run Board of Investment (BOI) said. Demand for power in Bangladesh grows eight to 10 per cent annually, outstripping supply. World Bank country director in Bangladesh , Ellen Goldstein, speaking separately, said: “ Bangladesh must raise electricity production by 10 per cent yearly to meet demand and become a middle income country by the end of 2021.”
Accessed on 26 May < http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=241229 >
India considering 100 pct FDI in retail –report, Reuters , 25 May 2010
India 's commerce and industry ministry is considering to propose 100 percent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail but with stiff sourcing requirements, the Economic Times reported on Tuesday.
Cyclical Consumer Goods
"We are preparing the paper that will be placed for public debate in some time," the newspaper quoted an unidentified senior official in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion as saying. At present India does not allow foreign investment in multi-brand retail, while up to 51 percent is allowed in single brand retail. The discussion paper is expected to make it mandatory for multi-brand retailers to sell products at wholesale prices to small shopkeepers, giving them the benefit of scale on sourcing, the newspaper said.
Accessed on 25 May < http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSGE64O02620100525>
PAKISTAN - AFGHANISTAN
ICCI Asks Afghanistan to Facilitate Pakistan in Trade with Central Asia , Online News, 12 May 2010
ISLAMABAD : Pakistan has provided many facilities to importers of Afghanistan under the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) and it should reciprocate by extending same facilities to Pakistani traders for promoting trade with Central Asian Republics (CARs), which is a huge market for Pakistani products. This was said by Zahid Maqbool, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) while chairing a meeting of businessmen at ICCI. He said that Afghanistan slaps many tariff and non tariff barriers on Pakistani exporters depriving them from enhancing exports of fruits, cement, pharmaceutical products, ready made garments, leather jackets to CARs. He called for removal of all these barriers to give a fair treatment to Pakistani businessmen.
Accessed on 12 May < http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=162883 >
C. TRADE FINANCE
India : Government must talk to RBI to protect exporters' interest, Business Standard, 10 May2010
Last week, the commerce ministry released the export figures of the financial year 2009-10 that showed a decline of 4.7 per cent. The cheerful news was that after 13 months of decline, the exports had shown positive growth from November 2009 onwards, and for March the growth was 54 per cent, helped by a low base effect and fiscal aid from the government, as well as signs of a rebound in global trade flows in 2010. The ministry was optimistic about 15 per cent export growth in the current financial year. However, what does not seem to have engaged the attention of the commerce ministry is the possibility of trade credit drying up in the export markets as a result of tightening Basel II capital adequacy norms for banks. Last week, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) expressed concern that proposals to introduce a new framework to limit excessive leverage in the world's banking system may have unintended, negative consequences on trade finance, and urged the creation of a special trade finance working group to examine the problem. Last month, ICC also released the results of a trade finance survey among 161 banks in 75 countries showing that while demand is high, access to affordable trade finance remains constrained, despite the G-20 agreement last April to support the flow of trade finance to the businesses.
Accessed on 10 May < http://www.businessstandard/govt-must-talk-to-rbi-to-protect-exporters>
ARAB - RUSSIA
Lack of legislation hinders Islamic finance march in Russia, Arab News , 31 May 2010
MOSCOW: There is no doubt of the potential for Islamic finance in Russia and the CIS countries, but the major stumbling block is the absence of enabling legislation and a regulatory framework to facilitate Islamic financial products such as Murabaha, Ijara and sukuk. These sentiments could not have been articulated better at the Moscow Forum on Islamic Finance & Investments which was held in the Russian capital last Thursday and attended by a host of local and international participants including Ali Hassan Jaafar, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Russia.
Accessed on 31 May < http://arabnews.com/economy/islamicfinance/article59407.ece >
D. WTO RELATED NEWS
PHILIPPINES - THAILAND
WTO ruling on tobacco row put off, Manila Times, 10 May 2010
The release of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) preliminary ruling on a tobacco tax dispute between the Manila and Bangkok has been pushed back to next month, according to a Philippine trade official. Trade Assistant Secretary Jose Antonio Buencamino told reporters last week that the dispute settlement panel that heard the case would release a report on the interim review by the end of June. The final report on the Philippine-Thailand trade row may be released by August, he said.
Accessed on 10 May < http://www.manilatimes.net/wto-ruling-on-tobacco-row-put-off >
China pledges new WTO procurement offer by July: U.S., The China Post , 27 May 2010
BEIJING -- China agreed to submit a “robust” revised offer to join the World Trade Organisation's government procurement accord by July, the United States Treasury said in a statement summing up the results of talks in Beijing this week. The commitment, made at the Sino-U.S. Strategic & Economic Dialogue in Beijing this week, comes after meetings in which U.S. negotiators pressed China on government purchase regulations that foreigners see as discriminatory. China had previously submitted an offer to join the GPA, which foreign negotiators rejected as inadequate. In a bilateral meeting in October, it pledged to submit the revised GPA offer during 2010. Foreign firms are eager to continue to sell to government bodies in China , the world's third-largest economy.
Accessed on 27 May < http://www.chinapost.com.tw/business/hina-pledges.htm>
India committed to Doha, will make it clear at OECD meet, Economic Times , 27 May 2010
NEW DELHI : In an indirect rebuttal to recent US allegations that India , Brazil and China were holding up an agreement at the World Trade Organisation, India is expected to reiterate its commitment to concluding the on-going Doha multilateral trade round at the informal ministerial meet hosted by Australia at the sidelines of the ongoing OECD meeting in Paris this week. “Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma is likely to talk about the efforts already made by India in putting the talks back on track and express the country's willingness to do everything to expedite the negotiations,” a government official told ET. The informal ministerial scheduled on Thursday will be attended by trade ministers from all OECD member countries and other important players at the WTO like India , Brazil , China and Argentina .
Accessed on 27 May < http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Policy/articleshow/5978945.cms >
Kyrgyzstan : WTO or Customs Union - Pick Your Poison, Eurasianet , 25 May 2010
With Putin's recent invitation for Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to join the new Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union, many have wondered whether Kyrgyzstan could join in line with its standing commitments to the World Trade Organization. One commonly held misbelief is that the WTO and a customs union are mutually exclusive - actually there are several customs unions that function within the WTO (such as the EU). However, WTO rules do not clearly provide for customs unions between WTO members and non-members. Kyrgyzstan 's dilemma is simple. When the country agreed to join the WTO in 1998, it adopted a relatively open trade regime. This is common among small, import-reliant countries. Kyrgyzstan committed to an average tariff on imports of 5.1 percent.
Accessed on 26May < http://www.eurasianet.org/node/61148 >
Malaysia may take EU directive on palm oil to WTO, The Star , 26 May 2010
KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia has no qualms about taking the discriminatory EU Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED) requirements for palm oil usage as biofuel to the World Trade Organisation, said Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron. “This is no joke but we will have to wait and cannot act on it now as the EU RED will only be implemented as national legislation by the year-end,” he told local and foreign participants on the last day of the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference yesterday. Yusof said the proposed directive had not only affected palm oil exports into Europe but also disrupted the business of European biodiesel producers planning to use palm oil as feedstock for their biofuel production.
Accessed on 26 May < http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/5/26/business/>
Russia hopes for U.S. support in its WTO bid, RIA Novosti, 26 May 2010
Russia is counting on support from the U.S. political and business community in joining the World Trade Organization, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday. " Russia 's admission to the World Trade Organization would significantly alter the general atmosphere. We would like this and we hope that the U.S. government, the U.S. administration and business community will throw their support behind this idea, because we are tired of sitting in the waiting room trying to join this organization," he said. Russia has been in negotiations to enter the WTO for over 16 years, and is the only major economy outside of the global trade body. "We have been trying to join it longer than the Chinese did, although our economy is smaller and we generally have sufficiently open rules, understandable to all," Medvedev said.
Accessed on 26 May < http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100525/159153402.html >
Viet Nam : WTO membership spurs progress, Viet Nam News , 25 May 2010
HCM CITY — Viet Nam has achieved significant social and economic progress since becoming a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in January 2007, according to a government report. Government policies have created favourable economic conditions for local businesses to flourish and helped lure foreign investment, as well as raise the the country's capacity to compete in the global market. Growth has been seen in export turnover, foreign direct investment (FDI) and product distribution, according to the report from the Central Economy Research and Management Institute's Document and Information Centre. One of the most significant achievements was export turnover, which rose by 21.3 per cent in 2007, reaching US$62 billion in 2008, a surge of 29.5 per cent compared to 2007.
Accessed on 25 May < http://vietnamnews/WTO-membership-spurs-progress>
E. REGIONAL AND BILATERAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT RELATIONS
CHINA - MONGOLIA
China : Free trade pact with Mongolia on the cards, China Daily, 12 May 2010
BEIJING : China has initiated feasibility studies for a free trade agreement (FTA) with Mongolia to further strengthen bilateral trade ties between the two nations, a top official from the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday. "We're still in very initial stages of discussions," said Zhou Changting, counselor of the Asian affairs department under the Commerce Ministry, adding that the plan was proposed to cement trade ties between the two nations, especially in the mining sector. According to figures from the ministry, bilateral trade between the two countries reached $2.4 billion in 2009, 50 times higher than 1991 and accounted for 47.4 percent of Mongolia 's total foreign trade. China has been the largest trade partner of the country for 11 consecutive years. Mongolia has some of Asia 's richest deposits of 80 minerals including coal, copper, iron ore and zinc, but most remain largely unexploited due to the undeveloped economy.
Accessed on 12 May < http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchin/2010-05/12/>
CHINA - USA
Foreign Minister: China , U.S. sign 26 agreements, Xinhua, 26 May 2010
As the second round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue concludes in Beijing , Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi says the two sides have reached 26 specific agreements. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said, "The Strategic Dialogue between China and U.S. covers a wide and important range of issues. The decision makers from both sides also held talks on topics such as energy safety, climate change and UN peacekeeping. The two sides have signed many cooperative documents, including energy, the environment, technology, and enforcement of custom sanitation. China and the US are undertaking the responsibility on dealing with world peace and safety. The two sides should take actions to establish a partnership to face these challenges.
Accessed on 26 May < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/ >
U.S. to recognize China MES, Xinhua , 27 May 2010
BEIJING , The United States has agreed to recognize China 's market economy status (MES) as soon as possible, according to a statement from the Chinese side on Tuesday upon the conclusion of the second round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). According to the statement, "the US will recognize China 's MES promptly via the cooperative forum of the Sino-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade". "The wording means there has been no breakthrough at all regarding the recognition of China 's MES," said He Weiwen, an executive council member of the China Society for WTO Studies. China 's Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Monday that the US is yet to recognize China 's MES and the two sides would continue discussions on this issue at upcoming meetings.
Accessed on 27 May < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china >
INDIA - ASEAN
India , ASEAN negotiations on services FTA in June, The Hindu , 24 May 2010
Officials from India and the ten South East Asian nations will meet next month to speed up the ongoing talks for opening trade in services, an area of immense interest for Indian professionals. The two sides aim at entering the market opening pact in the services sector by August, a Commerce Ministry official said. “Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officials will reach here in June and we will take our talks further,” the official said. India and the ASEAN signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in goods in August last year and are engaged in intense negotiations to expand this pact to include services and investments. The services sector is of key interest to India as it contributes over 55 per cent to its GDP. The services sector has also emerged as an important area for export earnings. The country is looking at expanding trade with the ASEAN in several services, including banking, insurance, health, accountancy, architecture and engineering.
Accessed on 25 May < http://beta.thehindu.com/business/Economy/article436914.ece >
INDONESIA – INDIA
Indonesia firm on FTA with India despite opposition news, Domain-B, 24 May 2010
Indonesia will go ahead with the implementation of another free trade agreement with India despite strong opposition from local industries about a similar trade deal with China early this year, trade minister Mari Elka Pangestu said in Jakarta last week. She said that together with other ASEAN countries, Indonesia would implement the free trade agreement with India to take advantage of India 's massive local market. Mari said that Indonesia would fully implement the ASEAN-India FTA (AIFTA) on 1 June and was also scheduled to implement similar trade deals with South Korea , Australia and New Zealand.
Accessed on 25 May < http://www.domain-b.com/economy/trade/>
KOREA – JAPAN – CHINA
Korea , Japan , China to Sign 3-Way Investment Treaty within This Year, Arirang News, 23 May 2010
Korea , Japan and China agreed to sign a three-way investment treaty within this year to boost economic partnership. At a meeting attended by trade ministers from the three nations in Seoul on Sunday they reaffirmed the importance of making efforts to reach a substantive agreement on the trilateral investment framework over the next few months. The representatives also discussed ways to conclude a joint study on the feasibility of a free trade agreement by 2012 and touched upon preparatory efforts on the upcoming G20 summits in Toronto , Canada in June and in Seoul in November.
Accessed on 24 May < http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp>
SINGAPORE - INDIA
Singapore, India to boost trade, The Straits Times, May 12, 2010
NEW DELHI - SINGAPORE and India said yesterday that they expect to double bilateral trade in five years as trade ministers of the two nations launched the second review of their landmark Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). Signed in June 2005, the CECA with Singapore was the most ambitious trade deal attempted by India - covering goods, services and investment. Since the CECA came into effect, bilateral trade has boomed and despite last year's economic slowdown across the world, hit US$16 billion (S$22 billion) according to Indian figures. Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang and his Indian counterpart expressed confidence that this could be doubled by 2015, even as they instructed their officials to conclude the review within a year's time. 'We hope the review will be the pathfinder for new opportunities in trade,' said Mr Lim. ' India sees some value in Singapore because we are small and able to set the pace for liberalisation of the economy.'
Accessed on 12 May < http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Money/Story>
SRI LANKA – INDIA
Sri Lanka : India keen on CEPA but Sri Lanka not a major export destination, The Island , 25 May 2010
An Indian diplomat says India is keen to finalise a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with Sri Lanka although the island nation is not considered a major export destination. "The official stand of India is that it would like to see the comprehensive economic partnership agreement finalised soon. India is not doing this to expand its export market in Sri Lanka . We do not see Sri Lanka as a major export destination," Santosh Jha, Economic and Commerce Counsellor of the Indian High Commission in Colombo , said. "We want to see Sri Lankan exports to India grow, as long as it does not hurt our domestic industries. When I say this, one may wonder whether I am trying a fast one to hoodwink Sri Lanka , after all, why should I be concerned about the exports of a country that is not mine? But this is the truth in all honesty," he said.
Accessed on 25 May < http://www.island.lk/2010/05/25/business2.html>
F. DO YOU KNOW THAT?
Trade within Asia key to growth now, Economic Times , 12 May 2010
Against the backdrop of slow recovery in the developed world, repayment crisis led cuts in government spending and protectionist moves in many countries such as the US , export-dependent Asian economies will have to increasingly depend on trade within the region to sustain their economic growth. Indeed, trade within the region has been increasing but infrastructure deficit would place limitations on this growth. The latest report of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) has identified developing highways and railway networks as imperatives to scale up intra-regional trade in Asia and the Pacific. The UN body, in particular, has stressed the need to implement the TransAsian Railway network and the Asian Highway network. The two projects would required billions of dollars of commitment from the countries.
Accessed on 12 May < http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Trade-within-Asia-key-to-growth>
China , Japan , South Korea
China, Japan, South Korea launch joint research on free trade area, Xinhua, 6 May 2010
SEOUL , China , Japan and South Korea on Thursday kicked off a joint research on setting up a free trade area (FTA) among the three nations. During the first round of joint research meeting on the FTA held in South Korea's capital Seoul, China's Vice Commerce Minister Yi Xiaozhun, Japan's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Otabe Yoichi and Deputy Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroyuki Ishige and South Korea's chief FTA negotiator Lee Hye-min signed a joint statement saying that the three nations, in light of consensus reached previously, will make efforts to complete the joint research ahead of the trilateral leaders' meeting of the three countries in 2012.
ccessed on 6 May < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/>
JAPAN - KOREA
Japan , Korea to Exchange Information on Emissions Trading, Business Week , 23 May 2010
Japan and South Korea agreed to exchange information on a proposed emissions-trading mechanism, the Japanese environment ministry said today in a statement. Minister Sakihito Ozawa met South Korean counterpart Lee Maanee for bilateral discussions yesterday, ahead of today's three-nation meeting with China, according to the statement. The three countries today adopted a five-year plan that pledges cooperation on the environment, focusing on 10 areas including climate change and biodiversity conservation, the statement said. A climate bill before the Japanese Diet calls for a so- called cap-and-trade mechanism to help cut greenhouse gases, and South Korea has said it's also considering the system. Japan wants bilateral trading to reduce volatility in the carbon market and lower the risk of domestic companies shifting production overseas where regulations are more lax, Nikkei English News reported last week.
Accessed on 24 May < http://www.businessweek.com/japan-korea-to-exchange-information>
Viet Nam business confident about trade growth, HSBC survey shows, Viet Nam News, 27 May 2010
HCM CITY — Viet Nam is the third most confident of 17 markets polled globally about overall trade activity and growth in the next six months, the HSBC Trade Confidence Index released on Tuesday has found. It is behind only the United Arab Emirates and India among key economies in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Latin America, North America, and Europe . The survey polled 5,120 trade-oriented small and mid-market enterprises about trade volume, buyer and supplier risks, the need for trade finance, access to trade finance, and the impact of foreign exchange and government trade regulations on their businesses.
Accessed on 27 May < http://vietnamnewsVN-business-confident-about-trade-growth>
G. RECENT PUBLICATIONS ON TRADE AND INVESTMENT
Eco-efficiency Indicators: Measuring Resource-use Efficiency and the Impact of Economic Activities on the Environment, UNESCAP (available online, PDF version, 5.41 MB, 252 pages)
The conventional "grow now, clean up later" approaches to economic growth are increasingly placing the futures of regional economies and societies at risk. The forward-thinking policymaker is tasked to promote development based on eco-efficient economic growth and, at the same time, record more inclusive gains in human welfare and socio-economic progress. In order to assist policymakers in responding to such challenges, ESCAP's activity on green growth has been developed to focus on five paths: sustainable infrastructure development; investment in natural capital; green tax and budget reform; sustainable consumption and production; and the greening of business and markets. The ESCAP “Greening of economic growth” series provides policymakers with quick access to clear, easy-to-read guidance to specific "green growth" policy tools and actions. This publication, Eco-efficiency Indicators: Measuring Resource-use Efficiency and the Impact of Economic Activities on the Environment, is produced as an output of an ESCAP project entitled “Pursuing Green Growth by improving eco-efficiency of economic growth in Asia and the Pacific” under the Korea-ESCAP Cooperation Fund.
Accessed on 31 May <www.unescap.org/esd/environment/>
Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2010, UNESCAP (available online, PDF version, 4.11 MB, 252 pages)
This year's Survey, entitled “Sustaining Recovery and Dynamism for Inclusive Development” assesses the critical issues, policy challenges and risks that the region faces in the months ahead as it leads the world economy in recovery from a dire recession. It also outlines the elements of a policy agenda for regaining the region's dynamism through inclusive and sustainable growth.
Accessed on 28 May <http://www.unescap.org/survey2010/.pdf >
Theme Study 2010: Financing an Inclusive and Green Future, UNESCAP (available online, pdf version, 14.86 MB, 132 pages)
Financing an Inclusive and Green Future starts by estimating the financial needs of the region for closing the gaps in achievement of the MDG targets and identifies potential sources for those funds at national, regional and international levels. It also shows how Asia and the Pacific can take the lead in developing a more inclusive and development friendly financial system that will reach out to the millions of 'unbanked' - providing them with the opportunities and security of a well functioning financial system. Finally, the report discusses challenges -including technology and finance- for promoting growth that is both inclusive and sustainable -green growth- that will help the region achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Accessed on 26 May <http://www.unescap.org/66//Theme-Study/
Asia-Pacific Publications Catalogue 2009, UNESCAP (available online, PDF version, 3.49 MB, 99 pages)
This catalogue provides information on publications released by ESCAP and its Regional Institutions in the year 2009
Accessed on 26 May <http://www.unescap.org/unis/catalogue_2009>
Development Cooperation Report 2010, OECD (available online, PDF version, 3.49 MB, 99 pages)
This report, issued by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), is the key annual reference for statistics and analysis on the latest trends in international aid. The report notes that, with only five years left to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the challenges due to the economic, food and climate change crises are mounting. The report stresses how aid should be delivered more effectively and how it can contribute to a cleaner growth process in developing countries.
Accessed on 26 May <http://puck.sourceoecd.org/upload/4310031etemp.pdf >
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