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 ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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/
OECD upbeat on growth, warns on inflation, Euro News, 5 April 2011
With economic recovery taking root in major economies the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is warning that central bankers need to increasingly focus on tackling inflation. In its latest forecast the OECD has lifted its growth projections for the G7 for the first half of the year but left out Japan . Pier Carlo Padoan, the OECD's chief economist, said: “Growth looks to be stronger in respect to what we are anticipating in the November economic outlook. It's around three percent from the G7 as a group from which we have to exclude Japan .” He added: “Of course the downside of this scenario is that there might be risks on the inflation front.” The OECD believes growth in the G7 economies – minus disaster-hit Japan – will average 2.9 percent on an annualised basis in the second quarter of this year, with Canada the strongest performer and Britain the weakest.
Accessed on 5 April <http://www.euronews.net/2011/04/05/oecd-upbeat>
IMF taps Asia for global economic growth, CBC News, 28 April 2011
Asia will continue to lead global economic growth over the next two years even as it grapples with risks including inflation, turmoil in the Middle East and the effects of Japan 's tsunami, the International Monetary Fund said Thursday. "Robust" regional growth of close to 7 per cent will be fueled by exports and domestic demand, Anoop Singh, director of the Washington-based body's Asia & Pacific department, said in the twice-yearly report. Asia 's overall economy grew 8.3 per cent in 2010. Growth will be driven by economic powerhouses China and India . The IMF forecasts China 's economy will grow 9.5 per cent while India will expand about 8 per cent over the next two years. But the fund warned of "pockets of overheating" across the region as consumer price inflation rose to 4.5 per cent in February. Higher oil and food prices are starting to feed into broader inflation and will affect the poor, the fund said. Inflation is also being driven by low interest rates in many Asian countries. "In most economies in Asia , further monetary tightening is needed as interest rates in those economies remain below levels generally consistent with stable growth and low inflation," said Singh, who also urged countries to adopt more flexible exchange rates as a weapon against overheating.
Accessed on 28 April < http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2011/04/28/business-imf-asia.html >
Asian growth engine is slowing, The Wall Street Journal, 31 May 2011
HONG KONG— Asia 's emerging-market growth engines appear to be downshifting in the face of rising inflation and interest-rate increases. One of the strongest recent indications of slowing expansion came Tuesday when India announced its economy grew 7.8% in the January-through-March period from a year earlier, compared with 9.4% in the same quarter last year and slower than the 8.3% rate in the last three months of 2010. While still robust, that was less than economists expected and below 8% for the first time since the end of 2009. The decline in expansion was driven by a sharp fall in investment and the slowest increase in the services sector in several years, raising doubts that India will achieve the 10% growth rate the government has targeted anytime soon. "The omens for Indian GDP growth are not particularly good" said Robert Prior-Wandesforde, economist for Credit Suisse. Despite the deceleration, he expects India to continue its course of interest-rate increases aimed at taming inflation, which hit 8.7% in April compared with a year earlier. He figures growth for both the current fiscal year and the next—ending almost two years from now on March 31, 2013—will be only 7.5% compared with 8.5% in the recently-ended fiscal year. South Korea, meanwhile, said Wednesday its consumer-price inflation slowed for the second straight month in May, but core inflation accelerated to a two-year high. One of the strongest recent indications of slowing expansion came Tuesday when India announced its economy grew 7.8% in the January-through-March period from a year earlier, compared with 9.4% in the same quarter last year and slower than the 8.3% rate in the last three months of 2010. In May, the consumer price index rose 4.1% from a year earlier, easing from the preceding month's 4.2% rise. The gain was lower than the 4.2% increase forecast by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires. Core inflation, which strips out volatile energy and agricultural prices, accelerated to 3.5% from 3.2% in the preceding month, compared to a year earlier.
Accessed on 31 May < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304>
Study shows trade's shrinking role in China 's growth, The Wall Street Journal , 29 April 2011
BEIJING — China doesn't depend much on its trade surplus for growth any longer, according to a World Bank study, marking a sharp shift in the development model that helped turn China from an economic backwater into the world's second-largest economy. While China 's trade surpluses are expected to average around $200 billion in 2011 and 2012, the World Bank said, that is 2.7% of projected gross domestic product, or just 0.2 percentage point of its expected growth. Part of the reason for the diminished role for trade in China is meager demand in the rest of the world, which is struggling to recover from the global financial crisis, said Louis Kuijs, a World Bank senior economist in Beijing . But he also pointed to "a structural process going on, coming from a strongly growing Chinese economy" that sucks in imports. The World Bank study could make it more difficult for the U.S. to argue for further Chinese action on its currency, especially coming on the heels of a quarter in which China ran a small trade deficit. U.S. political leaders for years have pointed to China's immense trade surpluses as evidence its currency is undervalued, and have pressed Beijing over and over to increase the yuan's value. The two countries are bound to tangle again over China 's exchange-rate policy during a meeting of top Chinese economic and political leaders and their U.S. counterparts in Washington on May 9 and 10. Since China let its currency float somewhat in mid-June 2010, it has appreciated 5%.
Accessed on 29 April <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527>
China's rising wages propel U.S. prices, The Wall Street Journal, 9 May 2011
HONG KONG—Wages are rising in China , heralding the possible end of an era of cheap goods.
For the past 30 years, customers would ask William Fung, the managing director of one of the world's biggest manufacturing-outsourcing companies, to make his products—whether T-shirts, jeans or dishes—cheaper. Thanks to China 's seemingly limitless labor force, he usually could. Now, the head of Li & Fung Ltd. says the times are changing. Wages for the tens of thousands of workers his Hong Kong-based firm indirectly employs are surging: He predicts overall, China 's wages will increase 80% over the next five years. That means prices for Li & Fung's goods will have to rise, too. "What we will have for the next 30 years is inflation," Mr. Fung said. "A lot of Western managers have never coped with inflation." The issue is likely to hover behind talks Monday, between Chinese and U.S. leaders in Washington at their annual Strategic Economic Dialogue. Currency and debt issues are expected to dominate the agenda. But there are signs that the low labor costs—and cheap currency—that led to China 's huge trade surplus with the U.S. could be reaching a tipping point. This comes amid pressure from rising wages as China 's working-age population begins to decline.
Accessed on 9 May <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870384920>
G-20's efforts on growth stall, The Wall Street Journal , 15 April 2011
The Group of 20's flagship effort to bolster global growth is floundering and unlikely to get much of a lift from a conference of its finance ministers in Washington Friday. At a September 2009 summit in Pittsburgh , the leaders of the G-20 industrial and developing nations committed to "rebalance" global growth, so that it relied less on U.S. consumer spending. With Americans tightening their grips on their wallets, new sources of growth would have to be found. In practice, that meant countries with big current-account surpluses— China and Germany in particular—were expected to boost consumer spending and import more, while the U.S. was expected to reduce its current-account deficit by exporting more to those countries and others. The current account is the widest measure of trade flows and includes international investment income. The U.S. deficit and the Chinese surplus are roughly similar to where they were during the Pittsburgh summit. "Global demand rebalancing is not progressing," the International Monetary Fund said this week. The IMF, which acts as a scorekeeper for the G-20, stressed that China and other surplus countries need to do more to boost domestic demand. It also warned that China 's surplus could soar over the coming years.
Accessed on 15 April < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527487045 >
India factory output growth slows, the Wall Street Journal , 14 June 2011
NEW DELHI -- India 's factory output grew 6.3% in April from a year earlier, reflecting cooling economic growth that could deter the central bank from tightening monetary policy too aggressively. The data issued Friday are based on a new index that will be the primary indicator for gauging industrial performance going forward. The government also issued the data under the old series, which showed output of mines and factories grew 4.4%. That was below the 5.0% median estimate in a poll of 13 economists. It is also far lower than the 7.3% rise in March under the old index, but above February's 3.65% rise. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee called Friday's data "disturbing," but said trends will become apparent only when officials have been able to analyze the numbers over a longer term. Government bond prices rose as expectations eased for aggressive RBI rate increases. The most-traded 7.80% bond due in 2021 was last trading at 96.90 rupees, after rising to an intraday high of 97.06 rupees, compared with 96.89 rupees before the data. Economists were expecting the industrial output reading to be stronger under the new index than the old one, due to the inclusion of more items that better reflect contemporary consumption trends. Chief Statistician T.C.A. Anant said the new data series will better capture periods of economic slowdown and recovery than the old series. However, he didn't say if economic growth this fiscal year through March would receive a boost due to the shift to the new index. Analysts are increasingly scaling back their expectations for India 's economic growth, which may prompt the Reserve Bank of India to slow its policy tightening.
Accessed on 14 June 2011 <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230425930 >
Analysis: Impact of investment upgrade rating on Republic of Indonesia, The Jakarta Post, 28 April 2011
It has been more than 12 years since the 1998 Asian financial crisis, and Indonesia still has not managed to regain its investment grade status from rating agencies like Fitch, S&P's and Moody's. In the last few years, Indonesia has been blessed with relatively stable political condition, which enabled both portfolio and foreign direct investments to come in. This coupled with strong international commodities prices accelerated Indonesia 's economic growth, resulting in flushed foreign exchange reserves, which reached the highest ever at US$106 billion in March 2011. The above trends translate to the maturation of Indonesia 's institutions and policy framework, as evidenced also by the easing of the country's fiscal and external debt burdens stemming from the government's track record of pragmatic fiscal and debt management policies. The strong fundamental improvements that we have seen in Indonesia in recent years is the reason why, Fitch is looking to upgrade Indonesia's long-term foreign currency sovereign debt to investment grade sometime in the next 12-18 months. This move, when it materializes, will reinforce the market's perception that Indonesia has been on the right track. More importantly, the upgrade, reflecting a safer investment destination, would make it possible for a wider universe of international investors, including massive US pension funds, to begin investing into the Indonesian stock market.
Accessed on 28 April < http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/04/28/analysis-impact
Government increases 2011 growth target to 6.5%, The Jakarta Post , 20 May 2011
The government has officially increased this year's economic growth target to 6.5 percent, from 6.4 percent set earlier in the 2011 state budget. Finance Minister Agus Martowardodjo read out the change in a speech on the government's "Macroeconomic Framework and Main Fiscal Policies for the Year 2012" during a House of Representatives' plenary session on Friday. Agus said the government had decided to increase the growth target, in line with optimism regarding global economic growth. "The increasingly prospective global economy in 2011 and Indonesia 's positive economic performance in 2010 provide strong grounds for the government to become more optimistic and to work harder in running the economy in 2011," the minister said. "The government is optimistic that the 2011 economic performance will accelerate at a higher level, namely 6.5 percent; supported by stronger investment performance, international trade, as well as the government's and public consumption," he added. Last year, the economy expanded 6.1 percent. In the first quarter of 2011, the economy grew by 6.5 percent. Vice President Boediono and Central Statistics Agency head Rusman Heriawan had earlier said the 6.4 percent growth target was too low, and that Indonesia could perform better this year.
Accessed on 20 May < http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/05/20/govt-increase>
Japan disaster pressures asia prices, The Wall Street Journal, 1 April 2011
HONG KONG— Japan 's natural and nuclear disasters could worsen an inflation problem already looming over Asia 's fast-growing economies. Supply-chain disruptions and increased Japanese demand for imported raw materials and untainted food are likely to boost price pressures in a region that, like much of the world, is already coping with rising prices for energy, food and other commodities. The inflation situation was underscored Friday when South Korea reported its consumer prices rose 4.7% from the year earlier, faster than the 4.5% rate in February. That was the fastest increase in 29 months and kept the inflation rate above the top end of the Bank of Korea's 2% to 4% inflation target for the third month in a row. Emerging Asian countries are particularly vulnerable because of their strong trade links with Japan and booming local economies already struggling to tame prices. Prices of DRAM microchips used in mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices have risen about 8% since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami on fears of supply concerns, according to DRAMeXchange, Asia 's biggest spot market for memory chips. Liquefied natural-gas prices have increased between 10% and 20% in markets in Europe and Asia, as traders speculate that Japan will use it to replace nuclear power for its electricity generation needs. Lumber-company stocks in Malaysia have benefited from investor bets that wood prices will rise as Japan rebuilds. "Periods of disruption or stress to the Asian supply chain have always been inflationary," says Glenn Maguire, Asia-Pacific chief economist for Société Générale in Hong Kong . He analyzed supply disruptions over the past couple of decades—including the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the technology supply bottleneck in preparation for the Y2K calendar turnover in 2000—and found they invariably led to higher prices for both consumers and producers.
Accessed on 1 April < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527487045302045762>
Japanese urged to spend again, The Wall Street Journal, 11 April 2011
TOKYO — Japan 's economy minister is urging the nation to emerge from the shadow of self-restraint that has enveloped the country in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami, in an attempt to foster consumer spending and boost economic activity. It's Cherry-blossom season in Japan , a time for lively parties known as "hanami." Government officials want residents here to tone down the alcohol-fueled events, following last month's earthquake and tsunami. WSJ's Yoree Koh reports from Tokyo . "I think it's time to stop this feeling of self-restraint, and many ministers share that view with me," Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano said. Mr. Yosano's comments Friday represent the first official backlash against jishuku—the Japanese word for "self-restraint"—which has become a buzzword over the past month. What started as an unspoken movement reflecting national solidarity, with people voluntarily turning off lights to conserve energy and organizations canceling events such as concerts, has threatened to bring Japan new trouble: a prolonged economic slump. Now, some Japanese are rebelling, as an anti-jishuku campaign has started to fan out, mainly across Tokyo.
Accessed on 11 April <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274>
Ringgit hits new level since Asian financial crisis, The Star , 26April 2011
PETALING JAYA: The ringgit closed below 3 to the greenback yesterday, breaking a psychological barrier and hitting a level not seen since the dark days of the Asian financial crisis. The local currency settled at 2.992 to the US dollar, gaining 2.34% since the beginning of the year and charting another multi-year high.
However, exporters need not fear as its rise has been in tandem with the strengthening of other currencies in the region. Economists told The Star there would be cause for concern only if the ringgit appreciated more than currencies whose exports competed head-to-head against Malaysia 's. They said investors were now focusing on emerging economies, including Asia 's, given that there was less risk to growth. They pointed out that the reasons for the better performance of the region's currencies were expectations of tighter monetary policy due to inflation worries, stronger economic fundamentals and robust demand (compared to developed economies). When compared with other major currencies, the ringgit had generally weakened since the beginning of the year. The ringgit weakened by 4.06% against the pound and fell by 3.07% versus the Aussie dollar and 2% against the Canadian dollar.
Accessed on 26April < http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/4/26>
Singapore tightens monetary policy, Market Watch, 14 April 2011
SYDNEY — Singapore said Thursday that it is tightening its monetary policy, with economic growth and inflation both expected approach the top of targeted ranges in 2011. The move came as the government announced a rapid acceleration in economic growth for the January-through-March quarter. Singapore 's economy grew 23.5% at a quarter-on-quarter annualized rate in the first quarter of 2011, according to the country's Ministry of Trade and Industry. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the economy grew by 8.8%. The result was well about the median forecast for a 12.4% annualized increase, according to a survey of analysts reported by Dow Jones Newswires. On an annual basis, the economy expanded by 8.5%, compared to 12.0% annual growth in the previous quarter. At the same time, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said it was raising its foreign-exchange rate trading band, effectively tightening monetary policy by increasing the value of the local currency. There will be no change to the slope and width of the band, it said.
Accessed on 14 April < http://www.marketwatch.com/story/singapore-tightens-monetary-policy>
B. TRADE FACILITATION AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION
ADB – SOUTH ASIA
Deal signed to facilitate imports into Pakistan, The Express Tribune, 4 May 2011
ADB, Australian company join hands to share trade risk. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Australia 's Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) have signed a trade facilitation agreement which will help Pakistan 's economy, says the Australian High Commission in Islamabad . According to the agreement, inked in Sydney on Tuesday, EFIC will share the risk that ADB, through its trade finance programme, takes in guaranteeing letters of credit for exports of Australian goods to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in order to make it easier to import crucial Australian goods. This will help companies which struggle to get trade finance to buy key inputs for export production or end-products from overseas, including from Australia . A lack of trade finance holds back business and means less job creation, restraining economic growth for regional economies. “It will greatly assist Pakistani and Australian companies to do business, which in turn is good for the economy. Trade creates jobs, raises standards of living and promotes sustainable economic growth,” said Australia 's High Commissioner to Pakistan Tim George. Australia is a major exporter to Pakistan . In 2009-10, oilseeds, fertilisers and coal were among biggest exports to Pakistan which totalled more than A$610 million. Australia and Pakistan have a Joint Trade Committee to discuss opportunities to expand bilateral trade and investment and Australia is due to host a meeting of the committee this year.
Accessed on 4 May < http://tribune.com.pk/story/161310/deal-signed-to-facilitate-imports>
AUSTRALIA - CHINA
Australia seeks China 's tourists as U.S. visits wane, The Wall Street Journal , 6 June 2011
SYDNEY — Australia will launch this week a new initiative to attract more visitors from China , as the usual tourists from the U.S. and Japan stay put in the face of uncertain economies and the strong Aussie dollar. The campaign will focus on collecting research on China 's emerging middle class and its main cities in an effort to double the number of Chinese visitors to Australia by the end of the decade. In the first quarter of this year, roughly 129,000 Chinese short-term visitors came to Australia , about 9% more than the number of U.S. citizens that headed Down Under, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In the year-earlier period, the percentage of U.S. visitors was 14% higher than China visitors. The number of U.S. tourists coming to Australia has been nearly flat at about 40,000 per month for most of the decade, but it dipped in 2009 as the U.S. economy suffered a hit. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar has lost about one-third of its value compared with the Aussie since the end of 2008, making the trip increasingly expensive for Americans. Faced with outcry from the local tourism industry, the government and groups in states such as Queensland , home to the Great Barrier Reef , are eyeing a greater share of the $48 billion that the Australian government estimates that 57.4 million Chinese travelers spent overseas last year. "We know how important this market is going to be for us," said Kerri Anderson, a spokeswoman for Tourism Queensland , which has set up "China-ready" workshops for those in the holiday industry throughout the tourism-rich Queensland state. Outside mining, tourism is one of Australia 's biggest sources of foreign currency earnings, accounting for more than 2.5% of gross domestic product worth an estimated 34 billion Australian dollars ($36.5 billion). But the industry has suffered not just from the strength of the Aussie dollar but also a sharp loss of visitors from tsunami-hit Japan and flooding that hit large swathes of Queensland.
Accessed on 6 June < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230>
AUSTRALIA – INDONESIA
Australia bans cattle exports to some Indonesian meatworks, The Wall Street Journal, 31 May 2011
CANBERRA -- Australia 's Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig Tuesday suspended live cattle exports to 11 meatworks in Indonesia identified in a television report as abusing the animals before slaughter, but the minister will be hard-pressed to limit the suspension in the trade to just a few meatworks. There has been widespread condemnation in Australia from legislators, animal welfare groups, labor unions and livestock producers of the brutality shown in television footage of the meatworks, which weren't named by the minister, and many calls for the entire trade to be stopped. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and welfare group Animals Australia said the television program exposed "the worst abuses ever documented in Australia 's live export trade." Potentially at stake is an export trade in live animals for slaughter. Marketing concern Meat & Livestock Australia estimates the entire trade, which is mostly sheep and cattle, employs 13,000 people across rural and regional Australia and is valued at A$1.8 billion. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, live cattle exports totaled 873,573 animals valued at A$698.2 million, according to MLA. Indonesia is the single biggest market for live cattle, taking 520,000 beasts in 2010, or about 60% of total exports. The furore in Australia has drawn a mixed response from Indonesia , with one official admitting "weakness" in some meatworks. Thomas Sembiring, the chairman of the Indonesian Live Cattle and Meat Importers lobby, wants the bans lifted. The ban will have a significant impact because consumers prefer to consume fresh meat to frozen meat, he said. "We hope the government will (persuade) the Australian government to lift the ban," he told Dow Jones. "It will be difficult to get new suppliers of live cattle as other countries are still having problems with cattle disease. Australia 's cattle health is very good. "But Riwantoro, who only uses one name and is director for cattle at Indonesia 's Ministry of Agriculture, said the ban won't have a big impact in Indonesia , as the government has continuously put effort into increasing domestic cattle production and is gradually lowering imports as it aims for self-sufficiency by 2014.
Accessed on 31 May < http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110531-702903.html >
China expands import ban, The Wall Street Journal , 5 April 2011
BEIJING—China expanded a ban on imports of food from Japan to include more products and regions, as officials also expressed concern over Tokyo's decision to discharge some 11.5 million liters of radiation-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. The expanded import ban includes edible agricultural products and feed from 12 areas in Japan , including Tokyo . It replaces a previous import ban that included fruits, vegetables, dairy, seafood and other "water products" from five prefectures near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The statement, dated April 8, by China 's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine is the latest effort by Beijing to minimize the impact on China of Japan's ongoing nuclear crisis. The statement didn't specify how long the ban would last. The more rigid ban came as the government expressed its concern Friday over Japan 's release of radiation-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean , and encouraged its neighbor to "act in accordance with relevant international laws." Friday's statement, published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the first official response from the Chinese side, which has struggled to ease public anxiety about the nuclear crisis set off in Japan by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Accessed on 5 April < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703548>
Rules set for yuan FDI by end of year, China Daily, 14 June 2011
HONG KONG - China will issue rules on yuan-denominated foreign direct investment (FDI) into the mainland before the end of the year, a move that will allow easier repatriation of the Chinese currency according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). "Once the new rules come out, it will provide a greater degree of certainty and easier access by investors when they have renminbi funding in Hong Kong and elsewhere," said the HKMA's Chief Executive Norman Chan. China, the world's second-largest economy, will grow 9.5 percent this year, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. This is luring investment and boosting capital inflows that add to China 's record $3 trillion of foreign-exchange reserves, and hampering central bank efforts to limit gains in real estate and the price of consumer goods. "China may not want the offshore pool of yuan to return in the form of portfolio investments into equities or real estate as these markets do not need much fresh capital, but they would welcome more foreign direct investment," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, an economist at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong. "There could be more dim sum bond issuance to raise funds for investment in China , which could push up yields." Dim sum note sales may increase to 200 billion yuan ($31 billion) in 2011, from 37.5 billion yuan last year, as global investors bet on the yuan appreciating more than the currencies of Brazil, India and Russia, according to an estimate from Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. Dim sum bond issuance has reached 68 billion yuan so far this year. Overseas investment in China rose 26 percent to $38.8 billion in the first four months of the year, China 's Ministry of Commerce said last month. Currently, foreign direct investment in yuan needs case-by-case approval from the authorities, Chan said.
Accessed on 14 June < http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/usa/business/2011-06
Indian government approves 21 fdi proposals, RTT News , 4 May 2011
The Indian government has approved 21 proposals of Foreign Direct Investment aggregating to Rs.1,027.20 crore, based on the recommendations of Foreign Investment Promotion Board or FIPB, including those of AC India and Oriental Tollways. Of the total 47 FDI proposals taken by the FIPB, the board deferred decision on 17 applications and rejected nine, the Finance Ministry said. The board gave its approval to Oriental Tollways Pvt. Ltd., Delhi and Haryana, for induction of foreign equity in an investing company. The proposal is likely to bring in FDI worth Rs.475 crore. ACB ( India ) Ltd., Delhi , which is engaged in the business of coal washing and electricity generation, was given ex-post-facto approval for issue of warrants to the extent of Rs.120.16 crore, while Kale Consultants. Pune, engaged in IT sector, was given ex-post-facto approval for issue of warrants for Rs.97.51 crore. The government approved Darjeeling Organic Tea Estates proposal of Rs.93.37 crore for induction of foreign equity and a collaborator to carry out the business of production, distribution and export of tea.
Accessed on 4 May
INDIA - PAKISTAN
India ready to remove non-tariff barriers, Dawn, 28 April 2011
ISLAMABAD , April 27: India has offered to remove Pakistan-specific non-tariff barriers during the first trade talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks on Wednesday. Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood and his Indian counterpart Rahul Khullar led the talks in Islamabad , opening a two-day session aimed at boosting business between the two countries. The two sides agreed to revive all those committees/working groups constituted before the Mumbai attacks so as to resume work on measures for facilitation and promotion of trade. The potential of bilateral trade is estimated to go up to $6.5 billion from the current $2 billion. On Thursday, Islamabad will raise the issue of Delhi 's opposition at WTO to European Union's decision to provide duty-free access to Pakistani goods, while India may seek ‘most favoured nation' status and discuss the possibility of export of electricity and petroleum products. Sources told Dawn that the Indian delegation had agreed to eliminate all Pakistan-specific non-tariff barriers (NTBs). “We are ready to remove NTBs if there is any Pakistan specific,” said the Indian side. Pakistan wanted India to remove a raft of NTBs, for example lab tests for textiles, directing imports of specific goods through designated terminals, etc. But the Indian officials have maintained that there exist no Pakistan-specific NTBs, saying they are for all imported goods. There appeared to be some “cultural” problems wherein “Pakistani goods get “special treatment”, a trade official said, adding Pakistani exports could make a mark in textiles, surgical equipment and sports goods.
Accessed on 28 April < http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/28/india-ready-to-remove>
Japan fears investment outflows in quake's aftermath, The Wall Street Journal , 31 May 2011
TOKYO —The March 11 earthquake and its aftermath have raised the risk of an outflow of foreign capital and talent from Japan , complicating the government's goal of attracting more inward investment. A number of proposals that could have helped secure foreign investments are now on ice: Since the disaster, the government has delayed plans to push through a corporate tax cut seen as important to help lure businesses to Japan and shelved discussions on whether to join a wide-ranging trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Coaxing foreign businesses to set up shop in Japan is an even more pressing task now, given that the hollowing-out of the manufacturing and service sectors is set to accelerate following the quake. Not only is the government tasked with increasing investment as it rebuilds swaths of the country, but also, at the same time, the outward flow of people and capital is expected to quicken. "We are going to see the shift of business abroad," says Masaaki Kanno, chief economist at J.P. Morgan in Tokyo . "The government should promote overall deregulation in the form of lower obstacles for potential entrants to the Japanese market and invite capital from all over the world." Foreign direct investment into Japan is still a fraction of that in most other developed countries: Despite a governmental pledge made five years ago to increase Japan 's total FDI to 5% of gross domestic product by 2010, it hovered around 3.8% at the end of 2010. The disaster "will not be a catalyst for inward foreign direct investment," says Brian Mccappin, head of Citigroup global markets for Japan . "It will be a catalyst for more Japanese investments overseas." Even before the disaster, Tokyo had lost the hotly contested race to become Asia's financial center, with bankers migrating at a rapid clip to both Hong Kong and Singapore . Global giants such as Procter & Gamble Co. have farmed out certain divisions from Japan to Singapore over the years. This type of movement—given Japan 's weak economic outlook and its shrinking population—is likely to continue.
Accessed on 25 April < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527023036548045>
Agriculture private investment seen doubling in two years, Reuters , 25 April 2011
SINGAPORE - Private investment in agriculture globally is expected to double to around $5 billion to $7 billion in two years, a farm consultancy executive said on Monday. "What we are seeing right now is a lot of interest from institutional investors, private capital, pensions and endowment foundations to invest in real assets," said Chris Erickson, managing director of Boston-based farm consultancy HighQuest. "Farmland today globally provides a very interesting investment scenario," he told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry seminar in Singapore . "Over the next couple of years you are looking at $5-7 billion of investment in agriculture globally," Erickson said, adding that the investment would be double that seen in the last two years.
Access on 25 April < http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/25/us-agriculture-investment-interview>
South Korea's foreign direct investments surge in 2010, RTT News , 21 April 2011
Outstanding foreign investment in South Korea increased to $825 billion last year from $726.5 billion in 2009, Bank of Korea said Thursday. Direct investment increased by $9.3 billion to $127 billion, while there was a $101.1 billion increase in portfolio investment during the period, the central bank said. However, financial derivatives and other investments declined from the previous year. Investments in assets totaled $396.6 billion last year, which was $43.1 billion more than a year earlier.
Accessed on 21 April < http://www.rttnews.com/Content/AllEconomicNews.aspx>
Taiwan exports and imports reach record highs, Taiwan Today , 9 June 2011
Taiwan 's exports in May rose to a historic high of US$27.88 billion, up 9.5 percent from the same month a year ago, the Ministry of Finance said June 8. Imports also rose to an all-time high of US$26.65 billion, 19.8 percent more than last May. The trade surplus for last month came to US$1.23 billion, down 60.9 percent for the same period last year. The drop in the trade surplus is due to the global price surge in raw materials including gas and coal, the MOF said. The top three export commodities were electronics, basic metals, and plastics and rubber products, which accounted for 25.9 percent, 9.8 percent and 8.2 percent of the total, respectively. Exports of information communications technology products and machinery had the highest growth rates among all export categories at 74.8 percent and 31.2 percent, respectively. “The European and U.S. markets have been very fond of smart phones and tablet computers,” Lin Lee-jen, head of the MOF Statistics Department, said in explaining the double-digit growth rate for ICT exports.
Accessed on 9 June < http://www.taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xitem=167175&CtNode=415 >
C. WTO-RELATED NEWS
Doha talks deadlock puts a price on free trade, Money Control, 21 April 2011
Talks aimed at removing trade barriers worldwide are going nowhere after a decade, documents due out on Thursday will show, raising fears of protectionism and questions over whether the rules of the game should change. Delegates and trade officials agree that the hundreds of pages of legal texts and backup documents that were meant to revive the ambitious but stalled Doha round of talks may well have the opposite effect -- showing how little has changed since the last attempt to strike a deal in 2008. Global prosperity is at stake, the World Trade Organisation says. International trade traditionally grows about twice as fast as the world economy, and is one of its engines with USD 15 trillion of goods changing hands last year. Tariffs on imports, subsidies for exports, and quotas for both, restrict it. Economists cite the depression of the 1920s and 1930s, when protectionism was rampant, and the long period of prosperity that followed early free trade moves in 1945, as evidence that free trade is indeed a force for good. Free trade supporters say failure would particularly hurt poor countries, which rely on trade to lift them out of poverty. "The consequences of a failure to conclude the Doha Round will be more detrimental to developing countries, particularly the least-developed among them," WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said last week.
Accessed on 21 April < http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/world-news/doha-talks-deadlock>
Doha-Lite trade deal clears hurdle at WTO, The Wall Street Journal, 1 June 2011
The World Trade Organization's 153 members agreed Tuesday in Geneva to a less-ambitious Doha Round of global trade talks, stripping away enough contentious issues that it now appears feasible to finish a deal by the end of the year. The endorsement of what WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy calls an "early harvest" means the group now risks a significant failure if its members can't agree to even a Doha-lite deal. It also suggests that the era of big, multilateral trade deals is over. The final result of a decade of talks, say trade officials and analysts, is likely to be a package of measures designed to help developing nations—including common customs standards, and the elimination of tariffs and quotas on exports from the poorest countries. Gone from the negotiations are several difficult—though potentially lucrative for big business—issues, like reducing tariffs on industrial goods, restricting farm subsidies, opening service trade and cementing intellectual-property rules. The new so-called Plan B "is a serious scaling back of ambition," says Simon Evenett, a professor at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland . "It won't take 10 years to figure out if this small deal can be done." The biggest opponent of the new agreement is the U.S. , say trade officials. It would be expected to grant concessions in key areas such as cotton subsidies. Officials from China , India and Brazil say they support the proposal. U.S. businesses, never enthusiastic about the Doha Round, are less likely to be excited now. Hopefully, the new deal "is a down payment" for a more ambitious agreement down the road, says Christopher Wenk, who follows global trade for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But it is clear, he adds, that the Doha project is now outdated. "Look how much the world has changed since 2001," he says. The Doha Round, named after the city in Qatar where negotiations were started in November 2001, began as an idealistic campaign to rebuild global trade rules that help poor countries and temper poverty-fueled radicalism, after the Sept. 11 attacks. But the high-mindedness quickly crashed against the political realities that Western countries won't give up farm subsidies and tariffs unless they get big concessions in return, such as access to the booming markets of China , India and Brazil . Those emerging economies haven't given in, and the result has been a stalemate. Tuesday's deal is a recognition that certain realities aren't going to change, say trade officials and analysts.
Accessed on 1 June < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527023045631>
Doha trade deals within sight: Lamy, The Jakarta Post , 21 June 2011
The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) expressed hope that talks on the Doha Round of global trade negotiations would conclude this year, with Indonesia a “key player” in the process. Dismissing concerns that the agenda was dead, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said in Jakarta on Tuesday that only had one last agenda was left in the Doha talks to agree upon: Reducing tariffs. Nineteen of 20 trade topics on the table were ready for conclusion, he added. The agenda, widely known as the Doha Round, which was aimed at lowering trade barriers around the world to increase global trade, has been deadlocked since 2008. Developed markets, led by the US , want large developing economies such as China and India to cut tariffs to zero, a demand rejected by the fast-growing emerging economies. “This appears as the final stage of the negotiation,” Lamy said at a news conference on the review meeting of the Aid for Trade initiative. The initiative, aimed at helping developing countries expand trade and develop trade-related skills and infrastructure to implement and benefit from WTO agreements, is considered “one of the ways to reconnect” the Doha agenda. Speaking at the Panglaykim Memorial Lecture hosted by the Panglaykim Foundation and Centre for Strategic and International Studies following the meeting, Lamy acknowledged that compared to other talks, such as the Tokyo Round and Uruguay Round, the Doha Round may take longer due to the larger numbers of countries involved as more negotiators would lead to more complex negotiations. Earlier in a discussion at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Jakarta on Monday, Lamy urged countries such as Indonesia , Malaysia , the Philippines , Singapore and Thailand to help broker a compromise on the key sticking point in the negotiations, the reduction of industrial tariffs.
Accessed on 21 June < http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/06/15 >
D. REGIONAL AND BILATERAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT RELATIONS
Australia's beef with Jakarta over imports, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 April 2011
The details of private trade negotiations between Australia and Indonesia have been inadvertently revealed, indicating Canberra 's growing concerns about restrictions imposed on the multi-million dollar beef export industry. Indonesia last month announced it would enforce a variety of changes to meat and livestock trade, including capping imports of live cattle and boxed meat, affecting an industry worth more than $600 million last year to Australian exporters. A new regulation banning most types of imported offal was also proposed, with Jakarta putting the change down to "health concerns", affecting trade worth $50 million. Trade Minister Craig Emerson has publicly praised the relationship between Australia and Indonesia , saying after a meeting with his counterpart, Mari Elka Pangestu, in Jakarta that the bilateral relationship had never been stronger. The talks, held on Wednesday as part of the 9th Trade Ministers' Meeting between the two countries, also progressed moves towards ratifying the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. "I think it's true that the relationship between Australia and Indonesia has never been in better shape and I'm very optimistic about what can be achieved in the coming years," Dr Emerson said at a joint media conference at the Indonesian Trade Ministry on Wednesday night. But it's clear Canberra remains concerned about the import restrictions. During a meeting behind closed doors with the Indonesian trade minister, Dr Emerson said Australia wanted clarification on the import restrictions and offal ban, suggesting the latter contravened World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations.
Accessed on 21 April < http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/australias-beef-with-jakarta-over-imports>
BANGLADESH - SRI LANKA
Dhaka, Colombo to boost trade, The Daily Star , 20 April 2011
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have agreed to remove the constraints of tariff and non-tariff regime, and go for simplification and harmonisation of mutually recognised standards to boost bilateral trade that now stands at only $45 million a year. Addressing a joint press conference with his Bangladesh counterpart Dipu Moni in Dhaka yesterday, Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris said the Joint Economic Commission meeting to be held here shortly will take up the issues including the Agreement on Investment Promotion and Protection. He also said Sri Lanka is ready to initiate talks with Bangladesh regarding Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Both the sides also agreed to diversify the tradable goods and look for innovative ways to give a fresh impetus to trade relations, he added. Turning to the current situation in Sri Lanka , the minister said terrorism in his country impeded expansion of trade and “we have now embarked upon a new era to expand e bilateral trade and investment." Peiris said after the defeat of terrorists and return of stability in Sri Lanka , a congenial atmosphere has been created to increase investment and trade with Bangladesh . "We are now in the process of accelerating economic activities.” Peiris and Dipu Moni addressed the joint press conference on the outcome of talks between the ting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which were followed by the signing of five deals relating to cooperation in the fields of trade, agriculture, fisheries, vocational education and cultural exchange. The Sri Lankan minister said they discussed political cooperation in exchange of information about terrorist activities and terrorist financing so that the terrors could not raise their heads in the future. The two foreign ministers said the official talks covered the entire range of bilateral issues, including political, commercial, economic, connectivity and religious matters.
Accessed on 20 April < http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=182407 >
CHINA – BRAZIL
CHINA - MALAYSIA
China and Brazil sign trade deals at Bric summit, BBC News , 13 April 2011
China and Brazil are strengthening their trade and investment ties. China and Brazil have signed several trade agreements on the sidelines of a shortened Bric summit in Brasilia . The deals are aimed at boosting trade and energy co-operation between the two states and include a pact to build a Chinese steel plant in Brazil . The four emerging economies of Brazil , Russia , India and China make up Bric. The summit was brought forward by a day after China 's President Hu decided to return home early to deal with the aftermath of a major earthquake.
This is the second summit of the Bric leaders, following their meeting in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg last year. The countries also reiterated calls to have a greater say in global financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). " Brazil , Russia , India and China have a fundamental role in creating a new international order that is more just, representative and safe," said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The group has been pushing for reform of the global financial system, which it says is unfairly dominated by developed economies such as the US and Japan.
The Bric countries account for 40% of the world's population and, therefore, should have a greater say in the way the global economy is managed, they argue.
Accessed on 15 April < < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8624052.stm >
Malaysia and China boost ties with slew of agreements, The Star , 29 April 2011
Malaysia and China have taken a major step forward in bilateral relations with a slew of agreements signed and a pledge to break barriers. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao expressed their desire to outdo achievements in the bilateral sphere for the good of both nations. A total of eight agreements and MoUs were signed in the presence of both leaders yesterday. Among others, Malaysia and China have agreed that bilateral trade be settled in local currencies. A student exchange programme is also to be introduced next year. A traditional Chinese medicine centre of excellence will be set up in Malaysia , while Bank Negara will establish a representative office in Beijing .
Accessed on 29 April < http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/4/29/nation/8578215&sec=nation>
CHINA - RUSSIA
Russia sees energy cooperation with China "unique ", The People's Daily, 14 June 2011
There was a great scope and enormous potential for the "unique" energy cooperation between Russia and China , Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko told Xinhua in St. Petersburg on Monday. Shmatko made the remarks at a press conference after a seminar sponsored by the Russian Energy Ministry on development of fuel and energy. Answering a question raised by Xinhua on Sino-Russian energy cooperation, Shmatko said the bilateral energy cooperation was "unique" in form and scale. Shmatko noted there were still rooms for the further development of the bilateral cooperation in various fields, including the fields of electric power, energy equipment manufacturing, coal, and renewable and clean energy. The two countries have reached an agreement on Russia 's oil supply to China , and they were expected to reach a similar agreement in energy cooperation, Shmatko said. "The bilateral cooperation in these fields is of strategic significance for both parts," Shmatko said. At the end of May, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan visited Russia and attended the seventh round of the Sino-Russian energy negotiators' meeting. During their talks, the two sides reached consensus on several issues of common concern. The Sino-Russian crude oil pipeline project was put into operation on Jan. 1 this year, which was seen as a breakthrough in bilateral energy cooperation between the two countries.
Accessed on 14 June < http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/7409049.html >
INDIA – EU
India-EU FTA talks in crucial phase, The Times of India, 26 April 2011
PARIS : Negotiations between India and the European Union (EU) for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have entered a crucial phase and contours of the deal have started to emerge but there are still some issues which need to be resolved, EU official say. India and the European Union have concluded nearly 12 rounds of negotiations on the FTA and are expected to meet again in early May or June. Indian officials say both sides are making efforts to sign the deal within the current year. EU is one of India 's leading trade partners and Indian exports to Europe have expanded over the years. Both EU and India expect substantial gain in their trade in goods and services from the FTA, negotiations for which were launched in 2007. New Delhi has also signed several bilateral trade agreements including with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean), Japan and Korea and is discussing similar pacts with Malaysia and Thailand . EU officials say the FTA is crucial for Europe at this juncture as it grapples with economic woes and a free trade deal with India would provide access to one of the fastest growing economies and markets. Both sides agree that the deal would be mutually beneficial. EU officials hope that the India FTA would help trigger FTAs across Asia.
Accessed on 26 April < http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/India-EU-FTA-talks-in-crucial>
INDIA – NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand, India leaders want free-trade pact, AP , 28 June 2011
India 's and New Zealand 's leaders support early completion of a free-trade agreement between the countries, they said after meeting in New Delhi . New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he hopes free trade talks launched with India last year will lead to a deal by next March, as the countries aim to boost two-way trade from today's $1.2 billion to $3 billion. Key, who is traveling with a large business delegation, is also expected to discuss India 's desire for more cooperation in energy, possibly nuclear, Foreign Affairs spokesman Vishnu Prakash said. India 's commerce and industry minister said during a visit to New Zealand in May that the two Commonwealth countries could increase cooperation in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, dairy, tourism and films. Key began a three-day visit to India on Monday with a trip to the Taj Mahal in Agra , where he posed for photographs with his wife, Bronagh. Key also played cricket with underprivileged children.
Key met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the ruling Congress party, on Tuesday. Key and his delegation also met Indian business leaders at a lunch hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industries. The joint statement issued afterward said both prime ministers supported early finalization of the free trade agreement and that Key and Singh agreed to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation.
Accessed on 28 April < http://in.news.yahoo.com/zealand-india-leaders-want-free-trade-pact-145243302.html >
EU – JAPAN
EU, Japan agree to work towards free trade deal, AFP , 28 May 2011
BRUSSELS – The European Union and Japan said Saturday they had agreed to work towards a multi-billion-euro free trade deal linking the world's third biggest economy to the globe's largest market. A statement issued after a Japan-EU summit said leaders "agreed to start the process" for "negotiations for a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA)/Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), addressing all issues of shared interest to both sides". To this end, the two sides would begin talks "as soon as possible" aimed at "defining the scope and level of ambition" at stake, the joint statement said. Concretely, this means Tokyo and Brussels will have to hammer out a list of problems to address and goals to achieve before the 27-member EU gives its official go-ahead to the launch of FTA negotiations. That process, known in EU jargon as a "scoping exercise", is likely to take six to nine months, EU officials said after the talks between Japan 's Prime Minister Naoto Kan , EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and bloc president Herman Van Rompuy. The summit statement listed issues to look at as including tariffs, non-tariff-measures, services, investment, intellectual property rights, competition and public procurement. To speed up the kick-off of FTA negotiations proper, the EU executive, the European Commission, will immediately begin a process to authorise the talks "on the basis of a successful scoping", the statement added. Japan had long pressed the EU to use the Saturday summit as the stage to announce a formal launch of FTA talks but Europe reneged, demanding more assurances of a level playing field before taking that path. The EU's trade deficit with Japan , it's sixth trading partner, has narrowed over the last decade from 47 billion euros in 2000 to 21 billion in 2010. European nations and business leaders complain of market access problems for foreign firms in Japan.
Accessed on 28 May < http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110528/wl_afp/eujapantradeeconomyfta_20110528120533 >
PAKISTAN – INDIA
Pakistan, India hope trade talks will take dialogue forward, Daily Times, 28 April 2011
Pakistan and India hoped on Wednesday that their ongoing secretary-level trade talks will take the dialogue process forward and help address all issues relating to facilitation and promotion of bilateral economic cooperation with consensus. Sources privy to the first day's meeting of the two-day session between Pakistan Commerce and Trade Secretary Zafar Mahmood and his Indian counterpart Rahul Khullar in Islamabad told Daily Times, “The two teams have completed the review of the trade cooperation from the point where it was derailed after 2007. The decision on all issues relating to facilitation and promotion of bilateral trade would be made with consensus at the conclusion of the talks on Thursday (today) while the progress achieved on a number of issues during the first four round of talks would be the priority areas.” According to the sources, both the countries are expected to agree to open bank branches of at least two private banks to facilitate the bilateral trade, eliminate non-tariff barriers to make the mutual trade beneficial, revise the goods train agreement for facilitating quick and economical trade transactions, increase business visas, open more trade routes and to promote intra-Kashmir trade through the Line of Control (LoC) as per the desire of Kashmiris.
Accessed on 28 April < http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C04%5C28>
PAKISTAN – SINGAPORE
FTA with Singapore : Pakistan offers to resume trade talks, Tribune , 14 June 2011
Pakistan has decided to resume deadlocked talks on free trade agreement (FTA) with Singapore and officials said that representatives of the island-state have been invited in this regard. The talks came to a halt in the last week of May when Pakistan officials had visited Singapore . Officials said that the two countries have so far held four rounds of talks, adding that the Pakistan side was awaiting a response from Singapore . It is learnt that both sides have agreed to accelerate the pace of work on an independent trade deal. An official of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said that Singapore wants 80 per cent reduction in tariff lines, adding that a summary in this regard had been received. The FBR official said that not only Pakistan , but all countries of the world are able to send their products to Singapore without the imposition of any duty. He said that Pakistan will gain access to the services sector in Singapore , improving the country's prospects for manpower exports and remittances, adding that the country will also be able to boost ties with other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) grouping. Sources said that Pakistan 's domestic sector, one of the stakeholders in the process, have reservations about the incentive package offered by the Singapore authorities. They say that the reduction in tariff would tilt the balance of trade against Pakistan , resulting in higher trade deficit. They also contend that such an agreement would hurt the local industry and ultimately affect the national economy.
Accessed on 28 April < http://tribune.com.pk/story/188356/fta-with-singapore-pakistan-offers-to-resume-trade-talks>
RUSSIA - EU
Russia , EU hold summit, but no major breakthrough expected, Xinhua, 9 June 2011
Russian and European Union leaders meet in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday for the Russia-EU summit, but with lingering mistrust and unresolved problems in bilateral relations, no major breakthrough is expected. Russia and the EU have been working for years to lift visa requirements for Russian citizens to travel to EU countries and the initiative is seen by many Russians as a test for EU's political sentiments toward Russia in some sense.The topic figures high on the agendas of each of the recent Russia-EU summits, but due to unresolved problems, both sides expect no breakthrough this time around. On the eve of the summit, Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko told local media that Russian citizens would still need visas to travel to Europe , blaming the EU side for the slow progress on the issue. They (EU officials) are not yet ready for a "political decision" on canceling visa requirement for Russian citizens, Prikhodko said. He added the EU has set no deadline for completing negotiations. Besides the visa issue, the Kremlin also ruled out the possibility of signing a new comprehensive Russia-EU agreement at the summit.
Accessed on 9 June < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2011-06/09/c_13919491.htm >
SOUTH KOREA - CHINA
Korea to Post Highest GDP Growth Once Korea-China-Japan FTA is Sealed, Arirang News, 10 June 2011
It appears as though Korea would post the highest growth rate in terms of gross domestic product if Korea , China and Japan sign a free trade agreement. The Korea International Trade Association said Thursday that, after analyzing a report released by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, the country's GDP would grow by up to about 5.1 percent if such a pact is sealed. GDP growth forecasts for China and Japan stood at 1.5 and 1.2 percent, respectively. As an improvement in trade conditions means an increase in real income, the report stated that the trade deal would enhance welfare benefits in the three nations. For instance, in the case of Korea , welfare benefits would go up by 13.8 billion US dollars. This includes an increase in resource distribution efficiency and capital accumulation, a more open service sector as well as a better trading environment. The projected growth in welfare benefits for China and Japan were lower than Korea 's, with the figures standing at 7.1 billion and 10.6 billion dollars, respectively. The study also showed that a trilateral FTA would have a bigger economic effect than signing separate bilateral pacts. Experts at KIEP explain that as economic structures of the three nations are complementary to each other, resource distribution efficiency could be greatly increased if a trilateral deal is concluded.
Accessed on 30 May < http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View>
SOUTH KOREA – EU
Trade body, EUCCK ink MOU to help firms benefit from FTA SEOUL, Yonhap, 28 June 2011
South Korea 's umbrella trade association and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK) signed an agreement Tuesday that aims to help firms take full advantage of a bilateral free trade pact that goes into effect in July. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) calls for assisting corporate marketing efforts to fuel two-way trade, arrange for the dispatch of trade missions and exchange up-to-date market related information, the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) said. "The free trade pact marks the most noteworthy leap forward in bilateral relations," said KITA chairman Sakong Il . He added that because of its significance every effort must be made so companies can make the most of the favorable trade environment. The free trade agreement, signed in October, is expected to boost trade between South Korea and the 27-member EU by as much as 20 percent in the long run that can translate into more growth, jobs and business opportunities. As of 2010 trade between South Korea and the EU reached US$92.2 billion, up around 17 percent from $78.8 billion tallied in the previous year.
Accessed on 28 June <http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/business/2011/06/28/58/0502000000AEN>
SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
South Korea mulled FTA with North Korea in 2007: ex-trade official, Yonhap, 14 June 2011
South Korea considered proposing a free trade agreement (FTA) with North Korea when they held summit talks in 2007, a former top trade official said Monday. Kim Hyun-chong, who served as Seoul 's trade minister from 2004-2007 and ambassador to the United Nations for the next two years, said he made the offer to then President Roh Moo-hyun in light of projected reunification costs. "Back then, after completing free trade talks with the U.S., I suggested when the president was about to take his trip to Pyongyang that we do a North-South Korea free trade agreement," he said in a forum hosted by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank. Kim is an architect of Seoul 's free trade policy on Washington . He initiated the KORUS FTA talks in 2006 and struck the deal the following year with Susan Schwab, who was U.S. trade representative at the time. Kim did not elaborate on whether Roh actually proposed the bilateral FTA when he met with the North's leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang . The Roh-Kim talks, the second-ever inter-Korean summit, focused on economic cooperation coupled with tension-reducing measures between the two Koreas . He said that he took into account natural resources in the North valued at some US$6.5 trillion, pointing out that Germany spent $2 trillion in reunification costs over the last 20 years. Kim, now working as president and chief legal officer at Samsung Electronics, stressed that the KORUS FTA should be ratified despite controversy over the additional negotiations that took place last year. In late 2010, Seoul and Washington resolved differences over auto trade through further discussions, which critics called re-negotiations that could damage the equilibrium achieved between the two parties in 2007.
Accessed on 14 June < http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/06/14/12/0301000000AEN>
SOUTH KOREA – RUSSIA
South Korea and Russia ink MoU on industrial cooperation, Steel Guru , 4 May 2011
South Korea 's Ministry of Knowledge Economy announced that Mr Viktor Khristenko Russian minister of industry and trade and Mr Choi Joong Kyung South Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy have signed MoU in Seoul for a strategic partnership between the two nations. The agreement addresses three main areas industrial technology, technological standards and trade and investment. With the shared goal of attracting private investment in the commercialization of jointly developed technologies, the two countries outlined plans to collaborate on parts and materials, nanotechnology, machinery and aeronautics, information technology, renewable energy and energy efficiency. The agreement also sets the stage for both countries to utilize South Korea 's industrial know how in automobiles, shipbuilding, electronic appliances and steel. The two countries will pursue joint marketing activities, hold joint seminars and organize exchange programs for skilled personnel.
Accessed on 4 May <http://www.steelguru.com/russian_news/South_Korea_and_Russia_ink_MoU>
Trade group urges early implementation of FTAs with U.S., EU, SEOUL,Yonhap, 25 April 2011
A local trade group urged the government Monday to quickly implement the country's free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States and the European Union, saying the country is still far behind the global average in terms of FTA-generated trade. The call comes amid criticism from the country's opposition parties that the government was rushing to put the new FTAs into effect. The opposition has so far successfully blocked a government bill on the ratification of the FTA with the European Union, signed late last year, despite an earlier agreement between the South Korean government and the European Commission to start implementing the trade agreement from July 1. The European Parliament ratified the Korea-EU FTA in February. According to a report by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), South Korea 's trade generated by FTAs accounted for only 14.8 percent of its entire trade in 2009, far below the global average of 49.2 percent. "Despite claims that the speed at which our country signs FTAs is too fast, this confirms the proportion of FTA-prompted trade in our overall trade is still far behind," the report said. South Korea signed its first FTA with Chile in 2003 and has since signed free trade deals with six other countries, including India , Singapore and the United States . The Korea-U.S. FTA, however, has been put on ice as it awaits parliamentary approval in both countries since being signed nearly four years ago.
Accessed on 25 April < http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/business/2011/04/25/21>
U.S.A. – SOUTH KOREA
U.S. ready to ratify FTA as Korea Lags, Chosun Ilbo , 28 April 2011
Behind U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has said the U.S. Congress will begin the process of ratifying the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement bill in May regardless of progress in Seoul . He was speaking at a press conference on arrival here on Wednesday. The Barack Obama administration will submit the FTA to Congress as soon as possible, and the Korean National Assembly can begin its own ratification process after watching how the U.S. Congress ratifies the bill, he said. Obama is expected to hold prior consultations with congressional leaders from early May before submitting the bill. Locke said his administration has completed all the preparations for the submission of the FTA bill to Congress, where it has majority support. He is in Seoul leading a delegation of four congressmen to build support for ratification and ask the Korean government and parliamentary leaders for help, he added. Locke also commented on trade conflicts between Seoul and Washington , including the ban on exports to the U.S. of products made in the joint Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex. He pledged there will be no more changes to the FTA after what was billed as "supplementary talks" in December, when the two countries agreed to delay the phase-out of tariffs on Korean cars in return for concessions from Washington on pork and medicine.
Accessed on 28 April < http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/04/28/2011042800803.html >
VIETNAM - MYANMAR
Vietnam, Myanmar agree to boost cooperation, VOV news , 13 June 2011
Vietnam and Myanmar have agreed to increase cooperation in many areas, including agriculture, fisheries, financial-banking sector, aviation, telecommunications, oil and gas, mining, electricity equipment, automobile, construction, trade and investment. The agreement was reached during talks in Nay Pyi Taw between Vietnam 's Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and Myanmar 's Vice President Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo during the former's visit to Myanmar from June 9-12. The two sides informed each other of political-economic situation of their countries, discussed bilateral relations and measures to boost multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries in the coming time. They shared their views on developments in Vietnam-Myanmar economic-trade relations in recent years, saying that the ties have not yet matched with the political ties and potential for cooperation between the two countries. Deputy PM Hai proposed that the Government of Myanmar create favorable conditions for Vietnamese firms to expand cooperation and increase investment in Myanmar . Both sides also discussed regional and international issues of common concern and highly valued the two countries' close cooperation within the framework of ASEAN and sub-regional mechanisms such as cooperation between Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), the South Economic Corridor (SEC) as well as at international fora. After the talks, Deputy PM Hai and Vice President Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on animal husbandry cooperation between the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Myanmar Ministry of Livestock Breeding and Fisheries, and a MoU on development cooperation between the Vietnam Ministry of Finance and the Myanmar Ministry's Finance and Revenue.
Accessed on 28 April < http://english.vovnews.vn/Home/Vietnam-Myanmar-agree-to-boost>
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/SB300014240529702035132>
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-powerk>
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 )
The Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF), Bangkok, Thailand | 25-26 July 2011
The Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF) discusses emerging trade and investment opportunities, and promotes cooperation and dialogue between the public and business sectors. It also provides a platform for networking and forming partnerships among the business community in the Asia-Pacific region.
Organized in collaboration with the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking of Thailand, the Asian Development Bank, the Greater Mekong Sub-region Business Forum, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Business Leaders Forum and the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, the 8th APBF 2011 is a major event of the 2nd Trade and Investment Week to be held during July 25-29 2011 in the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok, Thailand.
The APBF 2011 is strategically planned to enhance cooperation and dialogue between the public and business sectors, in particular, for the small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs). Over 300 participants are expected to attend the APBF 2011, including CEOs, ministers, senior policy makers, business leaders and experts from the private sector and representatives from international aid and development agencies.
< http://www.unescap.org/tid/apbf/index.asp >
- WTO/ESCAP Regional Seminar on the WTO and Regional Trade Agreements for Asian Economies, Bangkok , Thailand , 25-27 July 2011
This Seminar will take place at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok , Thailand . Objective of the meeting is to provide participants with enhanced awareness of the RTA dynamics in the region and in global trade relations; to improve their understanding of WTO rules and procedures on RTAs, including the transparency mechanism and the status of the DDA negotiations in this area; and to provide a forum where to explore and discuss RTA- related issues of particular relevance for the region. http://www.unescap.org/tid/projects/asianeco.asp
- Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Fair, Bangkok , Thailand , 25-29 July 2011
Trade and Investment Fair will take place at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok , Thailand . This event is organized as part of the 2nd Session of the Committee on Trade and Investment during the Second Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week, which will convene during the same period.
The worst effects of the global economic crisis are deemed to be contained, though the range of extraordinary measures required to accomplish that feat — mainly through economic stimulus spending – have also transformed the domestic business environments for many of the affected Asia-Pacific economies, leaving them with the need to inject new trade and investment opportunities to be the catalysts for growth and development.
The theme of the Fair is thus “Facing Challenge, Capturing Opportunities”.
This Fair, which will be held bi-annually, essentially intends to maximize information sharing on national trade and investment opportunities, policies, projects and programmes, as well as to facilitate networking of national trade and investment promotion agencies with their stakeholders in the region. It will also serve as a platform for industry networking, information exchange and commercial matching opportunities to the business sectors. http://www.unescap.org/tid/fair/index.asp
- Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) Business Sector Meeting, Bangkok , Thailand , 25 July 2011
The purpose of the APTA Business Sector meeting is to promote a platform for networking and to foster partnerships among the business sector of the APTA Participating States. This meeting will also provide an opportunity for the private sector of the APTA member States to enhance communications and collaboration with the Government Focal Points of the APTA Participating States and the APTA Secretariat of ESCAP regarding the utilization of the APTA to the maximum potential in order to benefit from promotion and expansion of and facilitating intra-regional trade in the near future.
- Expert Group Meeting on Regional Cooperation Mechanisms: Regional Agreement on Electronic Exchange of Trade Data and Documents, Bangkok , Thailand , 25-26 July 2011
The purpose of the EGM is to discuss in details the feasibility and content of a regional cooperation mechanism for electronic exchange of trade data and documents. The need to study the feasibility of such a mechanism or agreement was one of the main recommendations of the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2010, held in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia . A regional agreement on this issue can indeed be expected to facilitate interconnectivity and interoperability between the growing number of national single windows and related paperless trade facilities being developed in the region. It will also come in support of the implementation of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement Framework on Trade Facilitation. The EGM will bring together the Legal Advisory Group Members of the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, as well as a small number of invited experts from developing country Governments of the region for in-depth discussions.
- APCAEM Expert Group Meeting on Development of a Sustainable Agricultural Machinery and Farm Implements Testing Network in the Asia-Pacific Region, 26 July 2011
The EGM will see experts from Asia-Pacific and relevant international organizations undertaking initial discussion on identified mutual beneficial project(s) to enhance trade flows of farm machinery via the development of a regional network linking agricultural machinery testing stations for standards and protocols for the Asia-Pacific economies. Such project(s), when operationalised, would improve farmers' access to safe, quality and affordable agricultural machinery and farm implements. The EGM will also be expected to formulate a concrete action plan leading to the formal establishment of such proposed Asia-Pacific network.
- Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2011: ‘Trade Facilitation beyond Borders: International Supply Chain Efficiency', 4-5 October 2011
The Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) aims to promote trade facilitation as an important component of a comprehensive strategy for national and regional development. The annual Forum provides an open regional platform to exchange information, experiences and practices for trade facilitation in Asia-Pacific, identify priority areas for regional cooperation and integration, and learn about new tools and services which can increase the efficiency of cross-border transactions. The Forum also intends to strengthen regional cooperation and coordination of Aid for Trade and related technical assistance and capacity building in trade facilitation. In addition to regular panel and breakout sessions, the APTFF features an Exhibition on Trade Facilitation in parallel, to maximize information sharing on the works, practices, case studies and findings of trade facilitation service providers, researchers, as well as development/donor agencies, international organizations and government agencies.
- The Third Global Review, Geneva , Switzerland , 18 - 19 July 2011
The Aid for Trade Initiative provides a platform for “developing countries, particularly least-developed countries to build the supply side capacity and trade related infrastructure that they need to assist them to implement and benefit from World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements and more broadly to expand their trade”.
The programme for 2010-2011 stresses the need to mainstream trade into national development plans; support regional integration objectives; further evolve the monitoring and evaluation framework in the area of analysis of impact; and enhanced dialogue between the public and private sector with more systematic approach to their involvement around an agreed set of objectives.
ITC's Case Studies for the Aid for Trade Global Review 2011.
The Third Global Review will be hosted by the WTO in Geneva on 18 and 19 July 2011. The two Global Reviews in 2007 and 2009 have comprehensively demonstrated that Aid for Trade is making progress. Partner countries recognise the need to mainstream trade in their national and regional development strategies, and are making progress towards this objective. Donors are responding by mobilising additonal resources. Here are the ITC's case studies for the 2011 review: http://www.intracen.org/about/aid-for-trade/
- Launch of the World Trade Organization's World Trade Report 2011 on New Era Preferential Trade Agreements, 27 July 2011
The World Trade Organization will take advantage of the presence of a large number of trade and investment specialists attending the Trade and Investment Week to launch its World Trade Report 2011 in the Asia-Pacific region. This year's report will focus on preferential trade agreements, a topic of particular relevance for many ESCAP member States. http://www.unescap.org/tid/tiweek2011_others.asp
G. RECENT PUBLICATIONS ON TRADE AND INVESTMENT
Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2011, UNESCAP , (available online, pdf version, 10.10 MB, 264pages)
The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific is the oldest and most comprehensive annual review of economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific. This flagship publication of ESCAP outlines policies to sustain dynamic growth and to make it inclusive such as boosting internal demand, enhancing connectivity to create a seamless and region-wide market, and building productive capacities in the least developed countries.
This year, the Survey will be released by H.E. Mr. Karim Massimov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan , and by Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, in Astana , Kazakhstan on May 5. Simultaneous launches will take place in 29 locations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Reshaping Global Economic Governance and the Role of Asia in the Group of Twenty (G20), ADB, (available online, pdf version, 968.52 KB, 73 pages)
This report, jointly prepared by ADB and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, aims to provide strategic guidance for emerging Asia 's participation in the G20 and related discussion about reform of global economic governance. The recent global financial crisis underscored the fact that the spirit of cooperation is key to successful reform. Without tighter coordination between old and emerging powers, it will be hard to find lasting solutions to pressing global problems. The rise of emerging market economies heralds a new world order. Yet consolidating the new voices and soliciting a sense of ownership from them pose a real challenge. This report draws on important lessons from the crisis to offer policy recommendations in areas of imminent challenge confronting the leaders from both old and emerging powers.
GATS Mode 4, PTAs and Bilateral Labour Agreements, UNESCAP: Staff Working Paper , (available online, pdf version, 531 MB, 24 pages) The movement of goods and services across borders has gradually been liberalized over the past few decades, thanks in large part to multilateral legal frameworks negotiated in global fora such as the World Trade Organization. In contrast, the movement of people across borders remains severely restricted worldwide. To date, there is no multilateral framework, nor is there an international negotiating forum tasked to regulate global migration flows, despite ever increasing numbers of international migrants and a keener understanding of the contribution that migration and remittances can make to the prospects of developing countries. This paper will examine the patchwork of multilateral, regional and bilateral legal instruments through which migrants from Asia and the Pacific currently legally cross borders in search of employment. It concludes that the existing frameworks are very inadequate: in almost all the multilateral and preferential agreements focusing predominantly on trade (GATS Mode 4 and Preferential Trade Agreements), countries have made binding commitments only with respect to the temporary entry of high-skilled service
< http://www.unescap.org/tid/publication/swp311.pdf >
Social and Economic Impact of Disasters: Estimating the Threshold between Low and High Levels of Risk, UNESCAP: Staff Working Paper , (available online, pdf version, 531 MB, 22 pages)
Catastrophes caused by natural hazards that hit “without warning” serve as grim reminders of the challenge that governments and civil society face in identifying and protecting the areas that are at risk of extreme events. This paper presents a methodology to estimate the threshold of social and economic impact of disasters that indicate events that were the manifestation of high levels of risk. It shows the result of the application of the methodology to Desinventar dataset, which covers 20 countries/regions, and the change in the level of the threshold in the past forty years. The methodology is expected to contribute to the international effort to identify, assess and monitor disaster risks to allow the effective integration of risk reduction into development strategies.
South-South Cooperation in Asia-Pacific: Emerging trends and potential, UNESCAP: Staff Working Paper , (available online, pdf version, 3.5 MB, 4 pages)
With the rise of emerging countries in the Asia and Pacific region as growth poles of the world economy,South-South cooperation (SSC) and triangular development cooperation (TDC) have become viable strategies for development. This Policy Brief reviews the emerging trends and patterns of SSC and TDC in the region, and outlines a policy agenda for strengthening and enhancing their effectiveness.
World Economic Situation and Prospects, UNDESA: Montly Briefing, (available online, pdf version, 321.04 KB, 26 pages)
The United Nations forecast for growth of the global economy was increased slightly to 3.3 per cent in 2011 and 3.6 per cent in 2012. However, the pace of the global recovery remains uneven across countries. Output growth is strong among developing countries and feeble in many developed economies. Serious downside risks to the global recovery remain. Developed economies face continued financial sector fragility, sovereign debt distress and high unemployment rates. Many developing countries face new headwinds, including rising inflation, assets bubble risks and strong exchange rate appreciation. http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/wesp/
The Impacts of Private Standards on Producers in Developing Countries: Literature review series on the impacts of private standards – part II (available online, pdf version, 4.04 MB, 52 pages)
Summary The question of how standards impact trade is more relevant than ever. Against the background of a world economy that is global in scope and organization with economic activities being spread across national boundaries, the liberalization of trade has been one factor contributing to a policy shift from import substitution to export-led growth strategies. This has resulted in the involvement of a large number of producers in export activities and in global or regional value chains. This paper presents the results of a systematic literature review of 47 research papers that assess the evidence regarding socioeconomic and environmental impact at the producer level in developing countries. It provides an overview of the methods used to collect and screen the literature, presents a descriptive analysis of the research, and reviews the findings of selected papers.
< http://www.intracen.org/The-Impacts-of-Private-Standards-on-Producers-in-Developing-Countries-Literature-review-series-on-the-impacts >
Price Volatility in Food and Agricultural Markets: Policy Responses, FAO, IFAD, IMF,OECD, UNCTAD, WFP, the World Bank, the WTO, IFPRI and the UN HLTF, (available online, pdf version, 3.5 MB, 68 pages)
G20 leaders at their summit meeting in November 2010 requested FAO, IFAD, IMF, OECD, UNCTAD, WFP, the World Bank and the WTO (to) work with key stakeholders “to develop options for G20 consideration on how to better mitigate and manage the risks associated with the price volatility of food and other agriculture commodities, without distorting market behaviour, ultimately to protect the most vulnerable.” The preparation of this report, coordinated by the FAO and the OECD, has been undertaken in a truly collaborative manner by FAO, IFAD, IMF, OECD, UNCTAD,WFP, the World Bank, the WTO, IFPRI and the UN HLTF. We, the international organisations, are honoured to provide you with this joint report and look forward to continuing collaboration within the G20 framework to further elaborate and, as appropriate, implement the recommendations of the international organisations that it contains.
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