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
The Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) 2011 ‘ Trade Facilitation beyond Borders: International Supply Chain Efficiency' 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 including the following:
Dialogue on Regional Cooperation for Trade Facilitation
World Bank Workshop on Trade and Transport Facilitation Assessments
High – Level Workshop on Mongolian Trade Corridors
UNNExT Workshop on Data Harmonization and Legal Issues for Paperless Trade
Launch of Asia Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2011
UNNExT Advisory Committee Meeting
Asia Pacific Trade Agreement Workshop
Multimedia Exhibition on Trade Facilitation and
Field Trip to Incheon Port
Asia to lead global economy out of crisis, People's Daily , 29 August 2011
Although the world economy has been dragged down by the European and U.S. debt crises, China 's exports reached a record 175.1 billion U.S. dollars in July, with an increase of 20 percent from a year earlier, after dropping four consecutive months. The exports of India and some other countries have also increased significantly, and even Japan is showing signs of recovery. The substantial increases in the exports of certain countries despite the global trend showed that global economic demand was higher in July than in June, which was encouraging news for investors worldwide. Asia maintains great momentum for economic growth. Due to the ongoing European and U.S. debt crises, there have been growing worries among investors that the United States and developed European economies may suffer a double-dip recession, which has caused major turmoil in the global financial markets. The stock markets in the United States , Europe and Asia have suffered severe declines over the past two weeks. The economies in some Asian countries and regions are increasingly affected by the debt crisis, sparking greater panic among investors. "Economic globalization and the U.S. and European debt crises have also made it impossible for Asian countries not to get embroiled," Sun Fei, a famous financial investor and economist, said. The U.S. and European debt crises, economic slowdowns in developed economies and a new round of quantitative easing policy will in many ways pose challenges to emerging economies, such as the inflows of "hot money" and the sharp appreciations of their own currencies. Furthermore, if the stock market continues to plunge, the U.S. administration will likely adopt the third round of quantitative easing policy or continuously keep interest rates super-low, putting more pressure on emerging economies.
Accessed on 29 August < http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90780/7583086.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.
Accessed on 7 September < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527>
Australia's economic growth has bounced back, with Gross Domestic Product growing 1.2% in the June quarter, Radio New Zealand News, 7 September 2011
Australia 's economic growth has bounced back, with Gross Domestic Product growing 1.2% in the June quarter. The improvement follows a 0.9% fall in the March quarter, and was largely driven by a rise in business inventories and household spending. City Index's chief market analyst Peter Esho says Australian economic growth is stronger than anyone expected. He says the expectations are for the improvement trend to continue and there is a lot of momentum behind the Australian economy. Australia 's annual economic growth sits at 1.4%.
Accessed on 7 September < http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/business/84573/australia's>
IMF cuts Australia growth rate, Perth Now , 21 September 2011
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says a global forecast that slashes Australia 's growth rate is "a ringing endorsement" of the local economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its latest World Economic Outlook, predicts the Australian economy will grow at only 1.8 per cent this year, down from its previously forecast 3 per cent. But it also says Australia is in about the best fiscal position of any developed country in the world. Ms Gillard seized on that aspect of the report when asked how the government intended to protect Australia from what the IMF warns is a ``dangerous new phase'' for the global economy. ``It also gives a ringing endorsement to the Australian economy,'' she told the Nine Network today. The IMF said Australia could look forward to growing faster than any other major advanced economy, Ms Gillard noted.
Accessed on 21 September
< http://www.perthnow.com.au/business/markets/imf-cuts-australia-growth-rate/story >
Exports led Asia-Pacific out of the global economic crisis, UN News Centre , 25 July 2011
Exports have led Asia and the Pacific out of the global economic crisis, according to a new United Nations report, but it will be difficult to continue the growth without opening new markets within the region, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) reported today. “Export recovery has led Asia and the Pacific out of the 2009 global economic and financial crisis, allowing the region to emerge as an important stabilizing force and engine of world economic growth,” ESCAP said, citing its Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2011 Post-crisis Trade and Investment Opportunities, released today in Bangkok at the UN-backed Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF). “Trade in the region has returned to pre-crisis levels while foreign direct investment flows to selected parts of the region, in particular East Asia, have also fully recovered,” ESCAP said. “However, it will be challenging for Asian economies to maintain current levels of export growth unless they develop new markets within the region.” ESCAP estimates show that the export growth recovery in Asia-Pacific developing economies in 2010, estimated at 17.3 per cent, after negative growth of nearly 8 percent a year earlier, will stabilize to 9 percent in 2011. “Developed economies are still the major destination for the region's exports, but with the European Union, Japan and the United States facing an economic slowdown, Asia-Pacific countries must rely more on intra-regional trade which can also make the region more resilient to external shocks,” ESCAP said. “Opportunities for export expansion will depend largely on the growth of intra-regional demand and the ability of various developing countries of the region to restructure and diversify their exports to meet that demand,” said Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, in presenting the report. The report also recommends that Asia-Pacific countries take the lead in exports of climate-smart goods and technologies. “As the region will have to come to terms with the expected effects of climate change, there is a collective imperative to increase regional trade and investment in these goods,” Dr. Heyzer said. The APBF, along with the Committee on Trade and Investment – an annual regional forum for policymakers and stakeholders – are two key events during the Second Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week, which starts today and is organized by ESCAP with the theme “Post-Crisis Trade and Investment Opportunities for Asia and the Pacific.” Some 400 government and business leaders are discussing how Asia-Pacific developing countries can benefit from the current economic environment to boost business investment and trade within the region, and at the same time, ensure that this reduces wide socio-economic development gaps and promotes sustainable and inclusive growth. “The business community in the region will have to continuously demonstrate innovative and productive approaches to convert post-crisis challenges to opportunities,” Dr. Heyzer told the opening session.
Accessed on 25 July 2011 < http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39139&>
Economic recovery 'close to a halt', The Echo, 8 September 2011
Economic recovery appears to have come close to a halt in the major industrialised economies, with falling household and business confidence affecting both world trade and employment, according to new analysis released by the OECD on September 8 2011. Growth remains strong in most emerging economies, albeit at a more moderate pace. "Growth is turning out to be much slower than we thought three months ago, and the risk of hitting patches of negative growth going forward has gone up," OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan said during a presentation of the OECD's latest Interim Economic Assessment. Economic growth in the G7 economies excluding Japan will remain at an annualised rate of less than one per cent in the second half of 2011. The debate over fiscal policy in the United States , the sovereign debt crisis in some countries of the euro area and the fact that governments have fewer options to boost growth are driving both business and consumer confidence downward. The extent of bank deleveraging, due to the impact of regulatory changes, may also have been underestimated. Earlier improvements in the labour market are now fading, hiring intentions are softening and there are greater risks that high unemployment could become entrenched.
On the upside, a number of OECD countries are taking serious fiscal and structural reform measures, which should boost confidence. US president Barack Obama's announcement later on September 8 was expected to provide a boost to job recovery in the United States . Japanese growth is expected to be buoyed by the ongoing reconstruction efforts following the earthquake and tsunami. Inflation may have peaked in emerging markets, which will allow for some policy easing. Investment levels in many OECD countries remain well below historical averages, offering the possibility for renewed corporate spending in the coming months if uncertainty abates. "The policy imperative is to rebuild confidence," Padoan said. The OECD recommends that central banks keep policy rates at present levels, and barring signs of recovery, consider lowering rates when there is scope.
Accessed on 8 September < http://www.sofiaecho.com/2011/09/08/1151982>
The Yen's appreciation still hurts Japanese economic recovery, Actionforex, 8 September 2011
The economic recovery in Japan still moves in a narrow range as the Yen's appreciation has negative results on nation's growth rates, supported the companies' earnings to decline and reduced the competitive ability of Japanese companies. Today, the Japanese machinery orders index has fell to the most level in more than ten months during July, as the Japanese currency (Yen) reached to the highest level against the US dollar since the World War II, damping the demand on the nation's exports. The Japanese economy issued the machine orders monthly reading which slumped to -8.2% during July, compared with a previous incline by 7.7% in June, while the actual reading came higher than expected -4.2%. Moreover, Japan's machine orders index annual reading which slid to 4.0% during the year ended July, compared with previous reading of 17.9% a year earlier, while the analysts' forecasts that referred to 8.3%. The Yen's advance yen is a concern to the major Japanese companies, despite the intervention of the central bank to reduce its value but the big companies, where it is to hurt the overseas products, which makes them more expensive amid other goods. On the other hand, the Group of Seven nations (G-7) are going to meet this week as global policy makers struggle to sustain an economic rebound from the 2008 recession. Yesterday, the Japanese policy makers left the interest rates unchanged at "virtually zero" a range of 0.0% to 0.10%, also they kept the amount of asset-purchase fund at 15 trillion yen along with keeping the credit-loan program unchanged at 35 trillion yen to encourage banks lending in one of the government's efforts to give more supports for the economic recovery. Furthermore, Japan 's current account total increased to 990.2 billion yen during the month of July, compared with a previous reading 526.9 billion yen in June, while the actual reading came lower than anticipations that estimated of 1175.8 billion yen.
Accessed on 25 July 2011 < http://www.actionforex.com/analysis/daily-forex-fundamentals/the-yen >
China 's economic momentum holds up, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2011
A Chinese leading indicator climbed for the third straight month, adding to evidence that the world's second-biggest economy is withstanding Europe's debt crisis and faltering growth in the US . The index rose 0.5 per cent to 155 in May, The Conference Board said on its website today, citing a preliminary reading. The gauge is designed to capture prospects over the coming six months. April's index was revised to a 0.1 per cent gain from a previous 0.2 per cent increase. The data may maintain pressure for more tightening after China last week reported faster-than-forecast second-quarter growth as domestic investment countered slowing export gains. In Beijing , lawmaker He Keng said today that government efforts to curb housing prices have so far been insufficient and inflation will be higher than the government's target this year.
Accessed on 20 July < http://www.smh.com.au/business/world-business/chinas-economic>
Crisis creating ODI opportunities, China Daily, 7 September
The global debt crisis presents opportunities for Chinese companies planning to invest overseas amid enticing prospects for outbound direct investment (ODI), the Ministry of Commerce said on Sept 6. Recent figures would seem to contradict the ministry's optimism but changing global circumstances have actually made investing overseas easier, according to officials. China 's ODI for July fell 58 percent year-on-year to $3.7 billion, the first monthly decline this year, as investment into the US , the EU and Japan dropped, according to the ministry. The global situation did hurt ODI, ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said prior to the opening of the 15th China International Fair for Investment & Trade. But now is a "fairly good time" for Chinese companies to go overseas, he said. The largest investment fair in China has attracted 636 international organizations and 482 heavyweight participants from foreign governments, companies and institutions. The five-day fair officially opens on Sept 7 in Xiamen , Fujian province. "There is widespread enthusiasm over the fair an increasing number of countries welcome Chinese investment," Shen said. From January to July, China 's ODI in the non-financial sector increased just 3.3 percent year-on-year to $27.6 billion. But Wang Shengwen, deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Outward Investment and Economic Cooperation, said earlier that ODI this year would probably see "double-digit" growth. "As a result of the debt crisis, restrictions on foreign investment will be reduced and more nations are becoming receptive to ODI," Wang said. In 2010, China 's investment into the EU more than doubled to $5.96 billion. Investment into the US surged 44 percent and ASEAN and Russia saw increases of about 60 percent. Japan recorded a massive jump in Chinese investment of 302 percent. "Chinese investment into the EU will continue to grow rapidly in 2011," Shen said. Investment in the Asia-Pacific accounted for 71.9 percent, with Latin America accounting for 13.8 percent.
Accessed on 20 July < http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2011-09/07/content_13636588.htm >
Chinese economic data signal policy is on hold, The Wall Street Journal , 12 September 2011
The latest economic data from China reinforce a growing consensus among economists that Chinese policy is on hold as global uncertainty deepens. Inflation is easing, although still worryingly high, and exports are buoyant, but facing a bleak economic outlook in the U.S. and a debt crisis in Europe . That leaves Chinese economic officials in a holding pattern as they try to navigate the world's second-largest economy to a soft landing. Data released on Sunday suggested the government is keeping its options open, with money supply coming in slightly below expectations and loan growth surprisingly slightly on the upside. China 's broadest measure of money supply, M2, was up 13.5% for the 12 months ended August, lower than the 14.7% rise for the 12 months ended July and short of economists' expectations. The median forecast of the 12 economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires was 14.5%. Chinese financial institutions issued 548.5 billion yuan ($85.9 billion) in new yuan loans in August, up from 493 billion yuan in July and above economists' expectations of 500 billion yuan. "While the bank lending number may be higher than consensus, it's not an indication that the central bank is letting up on its still-tight policy stance. If they were to loosen policy too quickly, it would reignite the fire in the speculative property sector," said Song Seng Wun, a Singapore-based economist with CIMB Research. Generating new yuan loans of between 500 billion yuan and 550 billion yuan each month is in line with the Chinese government's need to keep the economy growing at its current pace, Mr. Song said. "The bottom line is that the central bank will stand pat for now," he said. "They will ensure liquidity for productive uses and will continue to discourage lending to the nonproductive segments of the economy, such as property."
Accessed on 12 September < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240531119043535045 >
Economic, debt worries mount in Euro Zone, The Wall Street Journal , 9 September 2011
LONDON—The unexpected departure of European Central Bank chief economist Jürgen Stark intensified investors' worries about the euro-zone financial crisis Friday and unleashed a broad pullback from risk in European financial markets, sinking the euro to its lowest level in more than six months. The cost of insuring European government debt against default rose to record highs as peripheral sovereign bond markets were hit by a fresh selloff, prompting the European Central Bank to step in again to support the market by buying Italian and Spanish government bonds. The cost of insuring European banks against default were also trading around record highs. The euro fell to as low as $1.3652 against the dollar, its lowest level since Feb. 23, while France's Societe Generale led European bank shares down, ending down 10.6% at its weakest point since Lehman Brothers went bust in 2008. Share prices fell across the board, led by financial stocks. Europe 's banks have now lost more than a third of their market value so far this year, marked by concerns that the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis could spread to banks, many of which hold government bonds.
Accessed on 9 September < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240531119032857045765>
What ideas is Europe mulling to solve its debt, Reuters, 26 September 2011
Europe is working to ramp up the fire-power of its bailout fund amid growing alarm over its slow handling of a debt crisis that threatens to derail a global economic recovery, but European policymakers disagree over the best course of action. Many of the options to bolster the 440 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) have catches, including opposition from countries like Germany , which fears a replay of its disastrous economic policies of the 1920s. Meanwhile, euro zone officials played down reports on Monday of emerging plans to halve Greece 's debts and recapitalize European banks to cope with the fallout, stressing that no such scheme is on the table yet.
HOW BIG MUST THE EURO ZONE FUND BE TO STOP THE CRISIS?
Rough calculations suggest the EFSF, which borrows its funds from the markets backed by guarantees from euro zone states, might cope with a bailout of Spain but that it would not have enough ammunition if Italy needed help. The EFSF is already committed to providing 17.7 billion euros in emergency loans to Ireland and 26 billion to Portugal . In addition, it takes over the remainder of Europe's contribution to an initial bailout of Greece , which is likely to require around 25 billion euros, and is expected to provide two-thirds of a 109 billion euro second bailout of Greece . Taken together, the EFSF's current commitments total at least 142 billion euros, leaving it 298 billion euros. A package for Spain might top 290 billion euros, according to some estimates, while a rescue bill for Italy could total almost 490 billion euros. Some experts suggest doubling the EFSF. Others talk of boosting it to "several trillion." But the way to restore confidence, which will be determined by the reaction of stressed markets, goes beyond simple mathematics. believe the EFSF could do the same.
Accessed on 26 September < http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/26/us-eu-crisis-options>
Direct foreign investment fell 15.1% in 4 months, manilastandardtoday , 13 July 2011
Foreign direct investment in the Philippines fell 15.1 percent to $552 million in the four months to April from $650 million last year as a result of the European debt crisis and the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa , statistics showed. The Bangko Sentral said the drop also was due to the “generally sluggish growth in the advanced economies, particularly Japan and the United States ....” The net inflows in April also fell, and to $81 million from $167 million in March and $85 million a year ago. “[But] Positive balances were recorded across all the major categories of FDI during the month in review,” the central bank said. “The reinvested earnings and other capital accounts yielded net inflows of $55 million and $6 million, respectively.” The net equity capital infusion amounted to $20 million, a decline of 64.9 percent from a year earlier, although it meant the Philippines continued to be a recipient of foreign funds on account of its strong macroeconomic fundamentals and favorable growth prospects, the central bank said. The net equity capital inflows in the year to April fell 1 percent to $101 million. The gross equity capital placements reached $150 million compared with the $197 million recorded a year ago. The top sources of foreign investment in the first four months were the United States , Singapore , Hong Kong , Japan and the Netherlands . Those investments were infused in the real estate, mining, manufacturing, the wholesale and retail trade, utilities and construction sectors. The other capital account, which consists largely of inter-company borrowing or lending between foreign direct investors and their subsidiaries or affiliates in the Philippines, registered a net inflow of $283 million in the first four months, although that was lower than the $357 million recorded a year ago.
Accessed on 13 July < http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2011/july/13/news >
India to emerge stronger from global economic crisis, says finance minister, Financial Express, 30 August 2011
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday India would emerge stronger from the global economic crisis and serve as a safe haven for global investors. “We could be a source of stability for the world economy and provide the safe havens for restless global capital,” he said while speaking at a golden jubilee function of the Indian Economic Service (IES).
He said high growth would enable the country to spread the benefits of growth to the poor. Mukherjee said the government was trying to move towards fuller integration of the economy with the proposed implementation of a uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country. Speaking at the same function, Reserve Bank of India governor D Subbarao highlighted to IES officers five principles that should guide policy formulation — practising economics keeping people in mind, fitting economic models to real world and not real world to models, applying judgment, avoiding group-think and having a sense of history. Expanding upon the last point by alluding to one study on 800 years of financial crises, Subbarao said the fundamental reasons for most of the crises are the same. These are excessive borrowings, herd behaviour and irrational exuberance. The governor argued that knowing the past aids the process of policy-making.
Accessed on 30 August < http://www.financialexpress.com/news/india-to-emerge-stronger-from-global-economic-crisis-says-finance-minister/839118/0 >
Foreign direct investment in Indonesia up 21 pct in Q2 y/y, Reuters , 21 July 2011
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indonesia rose 21 percent in the second quarter of 2011 from a year ago, as strong commodity prices attracted investors into the mining sector, the government said on Thursday. FDI from April to June was 43.1 trillion rupiah ($5 billion), which followed $4.6 billion of foreign investment in the first quarter, the country's investment board (BKPM) said. This took FDI in the first six months to just short of a half of its full year target for a record 156 trillion rupiah this year. Last year foreign investment into Indonesia reached a record 148 trillion rupiah. Southeast Asia 's largest economy has been a hot destination for foreign investors in the past two years due to its resilient economic growth, abundant resources, emerging middle class and political stability.
Accessed on 21 July < http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/21/indonesia-investment >
Foreign investment soars, South Korea fifth-largest spender, The Jakarta Post, 21 July 2011
Foreign direct investment in Indonesia rose 21.1 percent to Rp 43.1 trillion (US$5.04 billion) in the second quarter of this year from Rp 35.6 trillion in the same period last year, with South Korea becoming the fifth-largest investor during the period. Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chairman Gita Wirjawan said on Thursday that the investment from Korean firms reached $199.1 million in 133 projects during the second quarter, representing 4.2 percent of total foreign investment in the period. The figure rose from $139.3 million in 109 projects in the first quarter this year. “This is, among others, supported by investments from Posco, Hankook, Samsung and LG. Since the signing of Posco's projects last year, around 200 South Korean firms have also come to BKPM,” he told reporters in a quarterly investment report press conference in Jakarta . Posco Steel Corp is teaming up with state-owned steel producer PT Krakatau Steel Tbk. to build a plant in Cilegon, Banten, with an anticipated investment of $6 billion, while tire maker Hankook, the world's seventh-largest tire maker, is constructing its seventh plant in Lippo Cikarang in Bekasi, West Java , at a cost of $353 million. Gita said he believed Korea would maintain its position in the top-five foreign investors in overall investments this year as a number of substantial projects would be realized soon, including infrastructure and petrochemical ones. Based on cumulative foreign investments, Korea is the sixth-largest foreign investor at present. According to BKPM, the total realized investment in Indonesia during the second quarter of this year was valued at Rp 62 trillion, up 22 percent from Rp 50.8 trillion in the same period last year. Foreign direct investment with a 69.5 percent share of the total investment during the second quarter of this year came mostly from the top five foreign investors: Singapore ($771.4 million in 203 projects), the Netherlands ($634.3 million in 51 projects), the United States ($577 million in 47 projects), Japan ($389.8 million in 150 projects) and South Korea, Gita said.
Accessed on 21 July < http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/07/22/foreign-investment >
Chasing the commodities boom, The Wall Street Journal , 4 August 2011
High food and commodity prices have hobbled poor consumers and triggered riots in emerging markets this year. But in commodity-driven economies like Indonesia , the rising prices are lifting millions of farmers and miners out of poverty—and creating opportunities for global companies. Rubber tappers, cocoa pickers, coal miners and other rural laborers have in some cases seen their incomes more than triple in the past three years, making the workers wealthier than some city residents and putting them on the radar of such multinational consumer-goods makers as Honda Motor Co. and Unilever PLC. Zulfan Effendi, a 36-year-old palm-oil farmer from the western island of Sumatra , says he used to struggle to make ends meet. But in two years, prices have doubled for palm oil, which is used in everything from chocolate to ethanol. That has let him add rooms to his house and fill them with luxuries he once couldn't afford, like a Samsung flat-screen TV. The money he spends on groceries has tripled. "My life is much better," he says. "I used to just have a small plantation and big debt. But now the debt is gone, and I've been able to double the size of my fields." The trend is causing companies to change how they price, produce and promote their products, reaching further outside of the companies' traditional strongholds. Honda now bases its Indonesia sales projections in part on prices for products such as palm oil and cocoa. The Japanese company is pitching to miners and plantation workers by using promotional caravans that put on festivals in rural areas, complete with dancers, folk singers and the company's latest motorcycles and scooters. Honda motorcycle sales in the first half were up more than 25% from a year earlier, says Johannes Loman, executive vice president of PT Astra Honda Motor, which sells Honda motorcycles and scooters in Indonesia . "Sales move with the prices of palm oil, cocoa, rubber and coal," he says. "The prices are higher than they were a year ago, so we are expecting growth will increase. " Brazil , Thailand , Malaysia and other lower- and middle-income countries also are seeing spending power rise in rural areas. Although commodity prices are off their peaks this year, they remain high.
Accessed on 4 August < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014>
FDI in telecom sector showing declining trend, The Nation , 22 July 2011
The telecom sector has attracted merely $79.1 million foreign direct investment (FDI) in the fiscal year 2010-11, showing a declining trend as compared to previous years. The share of telecom sector in overall FDI contracted to 5 per cent in the previous fiscal year against 17 percent of the year 2009-10. The FDI in telecom sector was 1824 million dollars in 2006-07, 1438m dollars in 2008-09, 815 million dollars in 2008-09 and 374 million dollars in 2009-10. According to a telecom news website quoting official statistics reported on Thursday that the overall telecom sector including Long Distance International (LDI), cellular, broadband and various class value-added service providers have brought only $79.1 million FDI during 2010-11. The telecom industry that contributed highest in the FDI among all different industries has failed to continue its spending on infrastructure and technology, as telecom operators are reluctant to invest in the country where their returns are constantly squeezing against their increasing operational expenses. The FDI level is the lowest since year 2003-04 in the telecom sector as FDI continued to increase till 2009-10. The sector used to be considered highly potential as landing billion dollar investment with host of economic activities.
Accessed on 22 July
< http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Business/22-Jul-2011/FDI-in-telecom-sector-showing-declining-trend >
Businesses fear decline in foreign investment, Bangkok Post , 21 July 2011
Thailand may lose as much as 100 billion baht per year in foreign direct investment (FDI) if the Pheu Thai Party moves ahead with its promise to increase the minimum wage to 300 baht per day nationwide, says the Thai Chamber of Commerce. "Investors take into account many factors, including political and economic stability as well as labour efficiency," said Dusit Nontanakorn, the chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. "In the past we might have been less worried about this, but in four years the Asean Economic Community will provide more options for investors." He spoke yesterday at a meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking. Mr Dusit said that increasing the minimum wage would make Thailand less attractive than countries with lower wages and affect Thailand 's FDI, worth about 400 billion baht per year. The chamber estimates a minimum wage of 300 baht per day works out to US$260 per month, compared with the current rates of $50-60 in Burma , $60-70 in Cambodia and $70 in Laos . Increased production costs, said Mr Dusit, will also affect the country's competitiveness as product prices rise. "Foreign investors will probably switch investment to Vietnam , Indonesia and other neighbours if Thailand 's competitiveness declines," he said. Thanavath Phonvichai, an economist at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said higher wages would deal a heavy blow over the next two to three years, as 30-40% of Thai businesses are labour-intensive. Thaveekij Jaturajarernkul, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries labour committee, said workers themselves would not have jobs if businesses are not able to survive. "We [the business sector] are asking for justice, since we are bearing the burden while the government is standing there laughing at us [businesses and workers] arguing," he said. Martin Schneider, chairman of the Thailand committee of the Swiss-Asian Chamber of Commerce, said important factors considered by foreign businesses regarding labour include not only cost of labour but also regulations about labour conditions.
Accessed on 21 July < http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/economics/248029/businesses>
Thailand steps on gas for growth, The Wall Street Journal, 1 September 2011
BANGKOK — Thailand 's new government said a quick set of aggressive measures will ramp up economic growth rates next year, but economists worry that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's populist policies are storing up trouble for months to come. Ms. Yingluck, a 44-year-old business executive, was elected in a landslide in July after pledging to reprise the kind of free-spending policies popularized by her elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup five years ago. Among other things, Ms. Yingluck plans to raise Thailand 's minimum wage next year and slash corporate tax rates in a bid to perk up local consumer spending and wean the country off unpredictable export markets in the U.S. and Europe . Her economic point man, Commerce Minister Kittirat Na Ranong, told reporters in Bangkok on Wednesday that the policies will drive up growth rates by an additional 2.5 percentage points next year. The Thai central bank has previously projected Thailand 's economy will expand 4.2% in 2012. The program is sparking widespread concern among economists and policy analysts, though. Most recently, Ms. Yingluck's moves to suspend the collection of an excise tax on gasoline and diesel sales has prompted criticism that the government is reverting back to market-distorting subsidies at a time when other Asian nations are trying to shake off their dependence on state-funded measures to keep fuel prices down. Cutting the excise tax makes fuel cheaper for consumers while depriving the government of revenue for its oil fund, which it uses to lower the cost of other fuel products such as liquefied petroleum gas. Both Indonesia and Malaysia are slowly moving toward removing fuel subsidies. Indonesia 's government last week introduced a new pilot project aimed at limiting the use of subsidized fuels, and aims to cut its subsidy bill to 123.6 trillion rupiah, or $14.5 billion, next year from the 129.7 trillion rupiah it expects to pay this year. Malaysia 's leaders, meanwhile, are gradually attempting to withdraw subsidies on natural gas in order to push up prices to market-determined levels. Ms. Yingluck argues that suspending excise taxes on diesel, gasoline and biofuels will help temper inflation, and Mr. Kittirat said Tuesday that inflation wouldn't rise much beyond the 4.1% increase recorded in July. The recently suspended levies cut the retail price of 91-octane fuel by 7.17 baht, or 24 U.S. cents, a liter. They also lowered 95-octane gas costs by 8.02 baht and reduced diesel by 3 baht a liter. Some economists question the timing of the fuel subsidies. Inflation, while still a threat, appears to be ebbing in Asia as the U.S. and Europe struggle to cement a fragile economic recovery. "The risks appear to be more on the growth side than on inflation," said Tim Condon, an economist with ING in Singapore.
Accessed on 1 September < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240531119 >
B. TRADE FACILITATION AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION
Afghanistan joins Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic Cross-Border Transport Accord, The Financial, 14 September 2011
Afghanistan , Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan have finalized an agreement that will allow Afghanistan to take part in a cross-border transport accord recently ratified by the two Central Asian countries. Senior officials from the Central Asian neighbors agreed on Afghanistan 's accession to the Cross-Border Transport Agreement (CBTA) at a meeting in Bangkok , Thailand . Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan signed the CBTA in December 2010. The CBTA, signed under the framework of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program, will ease the movement of goods, vehicles, and people across international borders. Vehicles and goods from participating countries will be able to cross designated borders faster, thanks to streamlined customs inspections and reduced requirements to transfer shipments between vehicles. Established in 2001, CAREC brings together Afghanistan , Azerbaijan , the People's Republic of China (PRC), Kazakhstan , Kyrgyz Republic , Mongolia , Pakistan , Tajikistan , Turkmenistan , and Uzbekistan . It promotes the implementation of regional projects in energy, transport, and trade facilitation. To date, member governments, ADB, and other international financial institutions have approved over 100 CAREC-related projects worth about $16 billion. These projects include six land transport corridors that cover 3,600 km of roads and 2,000 km of railway. They traverse the CAREC region north-south and east-west, linking Europe, East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East , and beyond. “ Afghanistan 's accession to the CBTA represents a milestone in transforming a key CAREC transport corridor into an economic corridor,” said Juan Miranda, Director General of ADB's Central and West Asia Department. “The CBTA will facilitate cross-border and transit trade, thereby increasing business activity and investment in CAREC countries.” Mozammil Shinwari, Director General of Afghanistan 's Ministry of Commerce and Industries, said Afghanistan is keen to join the CBTA as a means to promote trade with Central Asian countries and beyond. “The CBTA will serve as a pilot project for removing barriers to the efficient cross-border transport of goods and people in the CAREC region,” he said.
Accessed on 14 September
< http://finchannel.com/Main_News/World/93620_Afghanistan_Joins_Tajikistan,_Kyrgyz_Republic_Cross >
China increases export edge, the Australian, 19 July 2011
MORE than a year after China started letting its currency climb against the US dollar, the nation is a bigger force in exports than ever, adding to its dominance as a trading power and complicating efforts by other nations to wrest away manufacturing jobs. The latest evidence of China 's prowess came yesterday, when it reported that exports hit $US162 billion ($151bn) in June and $US874bn in the first half of the year, both records and up nearly 20 per cent from the year-earlier periods. The growth, which came despite economic difficulties in key markets like the US and Europe and supply-chain disruptions in Japan , is bound to boost pressure from the US and others on Beijing to let the yuan appreciate further and faster. China's closely watched trade surplus for June widened to more than $US22bn, from $US13bn in May, figures which indicate a lack of progress toward the Group of 20 nations' goal of rebalancing global growth. China's trade surplus for the first half of the year, though, was down 18 per cent, reflecting its increased buying of raw materials used in infrastructure projects, which sent the value of imports up even faster than exports. The export performance comes despite rising costs for Chinese manufacturers, which are dealing with the highest inflation in three years, government-directed wage increases and a yuan that has strengthened more than 5.5 per cent against the US dollar in the roughly 13 months since China let it go -- although it has weakened against other major currencies in that period. Indeed, since China began to let the yuan rise against the US dollar in June 2010, China has actually gained market share in exports to the world's largest markets, according to information compiled by Global Trade Information Services, a data provider. China 's critics, including vociferous members of the US Congress, say an undervalued currency unfairly helps its exporters. The US -- and a number of Chinese economists -- say it also holds back the transformation of China 's economy to one reliant more on domestic demand and less on international trade. "It's amazing how much has been written about the yuan, yet with the data in hand, so little has changed," said Luca Silipo, Hong Kong-based chief Asia economist for French investment bank Natixis.
Accessed on 11 July
< http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/world/china-increases-export-edge/story-e6frg90o-1226092173616 >
Yuan FDI a boost to HK bonds, China Daily , 19 July 2011
A pilot project that allows overseas investors to invest on the mainland using the yuan will attract more multinationals to follow US giants such as McDonald's to issue yuan bonds in Hong Kong , the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said. In June, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, took a significant step forward to set new approval procedures for yuan-denominated foreign direct investment (FDI), which allows foreign investors to use the yuan to launch new businesses as well as mergers and acquisitions on the Chinese mainland. This policy provides opportunities for overseas companies to launch funds in raising capital in the yuan in Hong Kong and invest in the mainland market directly after obtaining the permission from the PBOC. Thanks to the expansion of yuan trade settlement activities and a rapidly growing pool of yuan liquidity, Hong Kong has become a center for offshore yuan bonds, also known as dim-sum bonds. Caterpillar Inc, the US equipment giant, raised 2.3 billion yuan ($356 million) by issuing a second round of yuan-denominated bonds in Hong Kong earlier this month. The issuance followed a bonds sale worth of 1 billion yuan in November 2010. McDonald's Corp, US fast-food chain, is also preparing to sell its second round of yuan bonds this year. It raised 200 million yuan of yuan bonds in August in Hong Kong . McDonald's did not elaborate on the upcoming deal. "From the perspective of companies in the US and other parts of the world, there are notable benefits for them to use the yuan when making direct investments on the mainland, particularly for projects that are expected to generate incomes in renminbi," the spokesperson of HKMA, who preferred to remain anonymous, told China Daily. "For FDI, that requires financing. The offshore yuan market in Hong Kong provides a convenient channel for raising funds in the yuan, thus allowing the full alignment of currency in the whole process, from funding, investment and future earnings," he said. As the mainland's economic links with the rest of the world continue to grow, the use of yuan in cross-border transactions is expected to expand. In the first half of 2011, the yuan bond issuance in Hong Kong amounted to more than 42 billion yuan, more than the total of 36 billion yuan in 2010.
Accessed on 19 July < http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/usa/2011-07/20/content_12942869.htm >
INDIA – BANGLADESH
Dhaka urges Delhi to send draft framework on transit, The Financial Express , 18 September 2011
Dhaka has requested Delhi to send its draft framework on transit/transshipment as part of Bangladesh 's initiative to resume talks on signing the flagship deal which collapsed during the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit.
Foreign Ministry sent the request to its Indian counterpart late last week after getting a final keynote paper from the Core Committee on transit. Foreign ministry sources said during the Indian Prime Minister's historic visit, Delhi repeatedly requested Dhaka to allow it use Chittagong and Mongla ports without having any framework deal. But Dhaka, which is yet to respond to their request, is pressing India for signing a framework deal under which both the sides would sign separate protocols. "The Core Committee on transit was rigid on its position that without having a framework agreement, India 's demand for using the country's sea ports could not be met. Bangladesh should ensure its financial benefit before signing such a deal," Mojibur Rahman, Chairman Tariff Commission said. He said the Core Committee on Transit Tuesday submitted a keynote paper to the Foreign Ministry by which the committee concluded its given responsibility on preparing a report on the issue. According to the foreign ministry sources, the government now wants to form a joint working group involving experts and officials from both the countries to further advance talks on transit deal. The government also intends to form an organization on transit so that it can follow international norms and practices in accomplishing all the formalities on transit set by both the governments. Earlier, before the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, the Core Committee on transit identified around a dozen of sub-heads where Bangladesh could impose fee and set a baseline cost for transporting per tonne goods per kilometre from one part of India to other part through Bangladesh and from Bangladesh ports to Indian territories. "But no discussion was held about the issues including signing of transit protocols, routes or fees. Indian delegation was only interested to get approval from Bangladesh to use the Chittagong and Mongla ports. They even did not show interest in discussing transit modalities during Manmohan Singh's visit," a senior foreign ministry high official said preferring anonymity. Earlier, the Commerce Ministry formed a Core Committee with Tariff Commission Chairman Mujibur Rahman and asked them to submit its reports on routes and fees, and assess the volume of traffic on transit by December 25, 2010. The Core Committee submitted its report before the Indian Prime Minister's visit and set a base line fee by following international best practices. The Core Committee suggested charging India , Nepal and Bhutan minimum transit fees between 2.5 cents and 7.0 cents a tonne for every kilometre of travel depending on the mode of transport.
The panel also suggest that Bangladesh should bargain with the three nations for fixing transit charges at levels higher than the base fees to reap the maximum benefit from transit.Besides, the government committee identified 22 separate routes for all three modes (railway, road and river ways) to provide transit facilities to India , Nepal and Bhutan . Among the routes seven have been identified for road, nine for rail and six others are identified for river-ways, Tariff Commission sources said. Meanwhile, the present government in the 2009-10 budget imposed Tk 10,000 and Tk 1000 respectively as fee to transport a container/per tonne of goods through Bangladesh by other countries.
Accessed on 18 September 2011 < http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=149 >
ASEAN Regulatory Reform Dialogue held in Indonesia, Xinhua , 29 July 2011
ASEAN integration took another step forward, as delegates met for the First ASEAN Regulatory Reform Dialogue (ARRD) in Jakarta on Thursday. ARRD, chaired by Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, is an important avenue to exchange views and information on regulatory reform efforts and policy measures, and to discuss measures and activities to take forward ASEAN initiatives on regulatory reform related issues. This effort is a positive and pro-active step towards looking into ways to deal with impediments to trade and investment facilitation, as ASEAN advances its economic integration. Specialists in structural and regulatory reforms from the World Bank, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, also shared their knowledge, tools, approaches and experiences at the Dialogue. In today's complex and interconnected world, regulations assume a greater role than ever before as a fundamental tool of government, and an integral part of a well-functioning economy. Regulatory reform is a multi-faceted task that involves various stakeholders, and it requires cooperation between all levels and all stakeholder groups in ASEAN, namely government administration, business and peoples. Dato Lim said: "ASEAN is diverse and there is no 'one size fits all' formulation to address regulatory reform .. but there is scope for a degree of regulatory coherence in many areas, especially in areas committed under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint." The Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, S. Pushpanathan, who participated in the Dialogue, said: "for a successful regulatory reform to take place, it is important that we bring in the private sector and other stakeholders to participate in the regulatory reform and policy-making process."
Accessed on 19 July < http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?article>
Managing diversity is ASEAN's main challenge, The Jakarta Post , 14 August 2011
Managing diversity is a huge task for ASEAN, which needs closer economic convergence and internal cohesion if it is to step out of the shadow of China and India , an ASEAN official says. The two Asian economic giants have become increasingly competitive as regional and global growth centers, attracting the world's investors and multinational firms. “ASEAN needs to offer investors a strong and viable alternative if it is to compete,” dean and CEO of the Asian Development Bank Institute, Masahiro Kawai, said at the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Forum in Manado, South Sulawesi, on Saturday on the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting (AEMM). Diversity is a key characteristic of ASEAN, he said, and member states differed not only in economic development, but also in culture, religion, forms of government and political systems. Kawai said Singapore 's per capita GDP was 14 times higher than the average of all ASEAN member states and 87 times larger than that of Myanmar . Indonesia had 40 percent of the entire population of ASEAN and was 570 times larger than Brunei . “Such diversity translates into different economic aspirations and development challenges across member states,” he added. Kawai said ASEAN would face challenges in the next two decades, a manageable period in which to conduct growth forecasts, set development aspirations, identify key policy challenges, introduce structural reforms and observe the effect of policy changes. He cited the example of China , India and Korea 20 years ago, when all three countries set ambitious growth targets and introduced structural reforms. These countries have since made tremendous improvements in socioeconomic conditions since the early 1990s.
Accessed on 14 August < http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/08/14/managing >
Indonesia offers tax incentives to spur growth, The Wall Street Journal , 15 September 2011
Indonesia is set to issue new regulations to allow tax holidays for certain investments and to revise rules for tax allowances as part of efforts to lure much-needed investment that will help propel growth, senior government officials said Monday. Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said the government will issue a decree later Monday for a tax-holiday program that will apply to industries that include base metals, oil refining, petrochemicals and renewable energy. Mr. Martowardojo told reporters at a press conference that to be eligible for a tax holiday, the project needs to involve investment of at least 1 trillion Indonesian rupiah ($117 million). The tax holiday would last at least five years from the time the project begins commercial operations. The government will also expand the business areas eligible for tax allowances. To qualify for a tax allowance, which reduces the amount of tax that might stem from the project, companies need to make an investment of at least 50 billion rupiah. The tax allowance is aimed at encouraging investments in sectors deemed as high priorities by the government, in infrastructure development and in projects in remote areas. A joint ministerial team comprising officials from the Ministry of Industry, the investment coordination board—known as the BKPM—and the Ministry of Finance will review investment proposals and decide whether they qualify for the tax incentives, said Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa. The approvals will be given on a case-by-case basis, the ministers added. The changes indicate the government is continuing to make efforts to boost foreign direct investment, said OCBC economist Gundy Cahyadi, who forecast FDI to reach a new high of over $15 billion this year. Economists said the increase in foreign direct investment could also help offset the impact on the country should there be sudden reversals of short-term inflows.
Accessed on 15 August < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240531119033929045765>
Japan keen on EAC growth, says Jica, Daily Monitor , 26 August 2011
The Japanese government has reaffirmed its commitment to continue supporting East African Community's infrastructure developments. The region's secretariat had feared that Japan would not be able to contribute funding especially after it was hit by a massive earthquake recently. During a meeting in Arusha , Tanzania with the East Africa Community secretariat leaders, Mr. Yukihide Katsuta, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) chief representative in Tanzania , said early this week that the agency is keen on strengthening its assistance to the EAC integration agenda; especially in the area of infrastructure growth.
Key promoter : Japan is a key promoter of the region's trade and investment growth that has been mainly done through efforts to reduce logistical and transportation costs to the EAC land locked countries. Jica has churned support for projects in the region including: corridor studies, implementation of trade facilitation instruments, harmonisation of axel load, one stop border posts and integrated border management systems, customs, ports, roads and rails transport among others. The agency has also undertaken numerous corridor studies in the EAC region including the Taveta – Holili link. Mr. Katsuta said the recently approved axle load laws and regulations is a big achievement for the EAC is likely to improve the region's trade fortunes. Jica, the Japanese funding arm, provided technical and material support for the development of the EAC axle load laws and regulations that was completed recently.
Accessed on 26 August < http://www.monitor.co.ug/Business/-/688322/1225642/-/view>
Wave of FDIs into Malaysia, Business Times, 30 August 2011
Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia attracted RM31.7 billion in foreign direct investments (FDIs) for the first seven months of this year, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. Last year, Malaysia attracted RM47.2 billion in total investments, both foreign and domestic. Mustapa said the government's initiatives, namely the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), have raised the interest of the investing community. "In July alone, we approved 61 manufacturing projects investments - mostly domestic (55.8 per cent) - totalling RM4.3 billion," the minister pointed out.
For the first seven months of the year, he added, the manufacturing sector attracted 514 projects of which RM15.8 billion are foreign investments. These projects are expected to generate 63,387 employment opportunities. Speaking to Business Times, Mustapa said Malaysia saw a 76 per cent jump in FDIs in the first half of the year with RM21.3 billion versus RM12.1 billion in the same period last year. Some 52 per cent of these FDIs valued at RM15 billion were in the manufacturing sector. Japan led the pack with RM3.4 billion worth of investments followed by the US (RM2.3 billion) and Singapore (RM1.4 billion), the Netherlands (RM1.2 billion) and Taiwan (RM1.2 billion). Elaborating on the figures, Mustapa said electrical and electronics products (RM6.5 billion) continue to be the main industrial sector draw to foreign interest in Malaysia, followed by basic metal products (RM2.4 billion), chemicals and chemical products (RM1.7 billion) and food manufacturing (RM1.1 billion). He disagreed that Malaysia was losing out in terms of capital-intensive investments. " Malaysia continues to be an attractive location for quality projects, including capital-intensive projects."
Accessed on 30 August < http://www.btimes.com.my/articles/rup2900a/Article/ >
MoCS pushes for early meeting of trade facilitation team, REPUBLICA , 19 July 2011
KATHMANDU, The government has initiated steps to activate local authority level bilateral trade talks with China to eliminate administrative and non-tariff barriers after talks at the Prime Minister and Minister levels failed to yield desired result. The two sides had decided to resolve trade-related problems, especially non-tariff barriers, through dialogue at the local level as well when Nepal-Tibet Trade Facilitation Committee (NTTFC) -- a top level forum for bilateral trade talks -- met. For that, the two governments had decided to form respective working groups, including local level authorities, to spearhead the dialogue. “We have already taken initiatives to form a working group from our side, and also requested the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu to form a similar group so that we could hold discussions on existing problems soon,” said Toya Narayan Gyawali, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS). Under the initiative, the MoCS has asked the Tatopani Customs Office to nominate its members for the talks which will be held in Nepal soon. It has also asked the Department of Customs (DoC) to delegate due authority to working group as envisaged by the NTTFC meeting. "We are preparing to hold the meeting of working group within a month, after both the sides nominate the working group members," Gyawali said. Going by the bilateral understanding, the working groups will have representatives from local border authorities, industry and commerce departments. The understanding also authorizes the groups to settle trade-related problems, including quarantine and customs related hassles. In case policy supports are needed, they can refer the issues to the respective central authority for its inputs and decision.
Accessed on 19 July < http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news>
ADB to ratchet up connectivity, energy co-operation in South Asia, South Asian News Agency , 12 August 2011
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to lend $1.5 billion to improve cross-border connectivity and increase energy cooperation among five South Asian countries — Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan over a period of three years. The indicative lending programme of ADB has been included in its draft regional cooperation strategy (RCS) for 2012-2014. The planned lending programme will soon be placed at the board meeting of the Manila-based bank for final decision, a top official in the Economic Relations Division (ERD) under the Ministry of Finance, said. Of the total, $1.11 billion or 74 per cent will be spent against the head of improving cross-border connectivity, $325 million or 23 per cent for energy cooperation and the rest of above $40 million or three per cent of the total fund has been earmarked for trade facilitation, according to the RCS of the Bank. “We are mostly convinced over the draft strategy of ADB. The ERD, on behalf of the government, will show its green signal to the Bank latest by next August 20 as we were asked to give our opinion on the draft RCS,” a senior ERD official told the FE. “Intra-regional trade share of South Asian countries is expected to increase from the current 3.9 per cent to above six per cent by 2014 after completion of the programme,” he added, quoting a recent estimate of ADB on the issue. If the efficiency of transport and trade facilitation was improved, intra-regional trade within South Asia would increase by almost 60 per cent and trade with the rest of the world would increase by over 30 per cent, according to the estimate of ADB included in the RCS. South Asia is home to a quarter of the world's population, but accounts for only three per cent of world GDP. According to the planned outcome of the lending programme, average cross-border transit time of trucks from Kolkata to Dhaka will be reduced from current 20 days to 11 days; sub-regional cross-border freight traffic will be increased from current $5.0 billion to 6.0billion in 2015 after the successful completion of the lending programme. Besides, at least 1,000 kilometre of regional transport routes will be constructed or improved under the project. Container handling capacity of Colombo port facilities will be increased by 50 per cent. The $1.5 billion regional development project of ADB has projects to develop road, rail networks, air and maritime gateways.
Accessed on 12 August < http://www.sananews.net/english/2011/08/adb-to-ratchet-up-connectivity>
VIETNAM - USA
US eyes ‘hot' local market, Vietnam Net, 18 July 2011
Washington — Catherine Mellor, Director Asia of the US Chamber of Commerce, said Viet Nam was a "hot market" that US companies should boost investment and trade activities in. Mellor, speaking at the Viet Nam Business Seminar which was held in Baltimore last Thursday, assured Viet Nam News Agency's US-based reporter of US companies' appreciation of Viet Nam, which, she said, was a fast growing country with hard-working, intelligent people and Government committed to facilitating trade development with the US. At the seminar, which was sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and attended by about 40 US executives and nearly 30 VCCI member companies, Alexander W. Koff, Chairman of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP, said: "Viet Nam is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia and is quickly becoming the place for American companies to invest." The US law firm chairman called on US companies to enter Viet Nam because " Viet Nam has a young, educated population that speaks English. It has a stable political system." He reaffirmed that Viet Nam was a "dynamic place." He added that since the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1995, the US has become one of Viet Nam 's biggest foreign investors and two-way trade with Viet Nam recorded high increases. Also at the seminar, Bill Burwell, a trade specialist at the US Department of Commerce, highlighted Viet Nam's achievements in 2010, including becoming a full member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Partnership (TPP) negotiations; GDP per capita going from US$189 in 1993 to $1,113 in 2010 and a poverty rate that fell from 58 per cent in 1993 to 10.6 per cent in 2010. According to the specialist, US companies should boost investment and trade activities in Viet Nam in various areas, including power generation, telecommunications equipment and services, oil and gas machinery and services, airport ground support equipment, environment and pollution control equipment and services, medical equipment, education and training, architecture and construction and engineering. Burwell recommended that US companies should start doing business in Viet Nam soon, especially given the Department of Commerce has listed Viet Nam as one of six next-tier markets under the national export strategy along with Indonesia , South Africa , Saudi Arabia , Turkey and Colombia . Talking with US and Vietnamese businessmen attending the seminar, Viet Nam's Ambassador to the US Nguyen Quoc Cuong reaffirmed Viet Nam's facilitation of FDI for US investors by continuing to improve the macroeconomic situation, reviewing and adjusting investment and business related policies in order to comply with WTO commitments, and strengthening Viet Nam's FDI promotion activities in the US.
Accessed on 18 July < http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/Economy >
C. WTO-RELATED NEWS
WTO cuts trade growth forecast, cites economic turmoil, Reuters , 24 September 2011
The World Trade Organization, citing turmoil in the global economy, on Friday cut its forecast for the growth of trade in 2011 from the 6.5 per cent it predicted in April to 5.8 per cent, and warned that the final figure could be lower. The WTO said the move reflected the fact that trade had grown more slowly than expected in recent months "and the outlook for the global economy is increasingly uncertain." Since the April forecast, it said, "developed economies in particular have been buffeted by strong headwinds." These included "the lingering effects of the tsunami in Japan, the prolonged impasse and credit downgrade in the United States, and the ongoing euro area sovereign debt crisis ..." the WTO added. "Disappointing output and employment data have damaged business and consumer confidence and contributed to the recent turmoil in financial markets," it said. Developing countries would fare much better than rich, industrialised powers, it said, adding that it now expected developed economies' exports to rise by only 3.7 percent this year, based on a GDP increase of 1.5 percent. Developing economies were likely to increase their exports by 8.5 percent, based on a GDP increase of 5.9 percent, it said. The new forecast came with a warning from the WTO economists who issued it that it was compiled amid "an unusually high degree of uncertainty, which implies a slowdown in world trade rather than a decline." The world economy "may be at an inflection point where growth could pick up if policy makers devise a solution to the debt crisis that restores confidence to the financial system," it said.
Accessed on 25 September < http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/09/23/idINIndia-59518920110923 >
New transparency initiative launched at UN-backed global trade review, A ssociated Press of Pakistan , 18 July 2011
UNITED NATIONS: Several United Nations agencies and their partners on Monday launched an open information initiative designed to eliminate the ‘transparency gap' in world trade, as a global review of the six-year-old Aid for Trade initiative got under way in Geneva, a UN news release issued in New York said. The Transparency in Trade Initiative (TNT), launched in Geneva by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Bank, the UN Statistics Division and other UN agencies, is a joint project aiming at eliminating the transparency gap resulting from the lack of access to data on country-specific trade policies, according to UNCTAD. “Free access to data will make it easier for exporters and policy-makers to meet relevant standards and requirements,” the agency stated. “Increasing transparency in trade will improve the trading environment in Africa and in Africa 's export markets; it will facilitate the continent's exports to both regional and international markets,” said Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank. The two-day Global Review of Aid for Trade, which opened on Monday, is aimed at assessing what has been achieved since the launch of the Aid for Trade Initiative in Hong Kong in 2005. Aid for Trade aims at helping developing countries, particularly those classified as least developed countries (LDCs), acquire the trade-related skills and infrastructure to implement and benefit from WTO agreements and to expand their overall trade. The participants at the global review include senior officials from the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), as well as dozens of international trade organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private corporations. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to address the group on Tuesday. Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the WTO, opened the meeting by detailing some of the results of Aid for Trade implementation activities on the ground worldwide. “This covers projects and programmes from countries as geographically and alphabetically distant as Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe - and most countries in between,” he said. “Results range from increased export volumes to more employment, to faster customs clearance times and impacts on poverty.”
Accessed on 18 July < http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?optio >
Doha deal not sole focus of upcoming WTO summit, Business World , 30 August 2011
NEGOTIATIONS for the Doha Development Agenda will unlikely be completed by yearend with World Trade Organization (WTO) members expanding the focus of a December meeting on improving existing mechanisms, a senior official said. WTO Deputy Director-General Harsha V. Singh, who was in Manila last week, told BusinessWorld that officials were nevertheless expected to discuss a deal for least developed countries (LDCs) at the Dec. 15-17 ministerial conference. "The Doha Round will not be the only subject of the ministerial conference. Members will also be planning on how to take the WTO forward after the conference in terms of the regular functioning of the system and what to do to make it more efficient...," Mr. Singh said. His sentiments echo those of Yonov Frederick Agah, chairman of the WTO general council, who said in July that "the WTO is not synonymous with the Doha Round: the WTO is more than the Round." Nevertheless, attempts to salvage some parts of the Doha Agenda -- at least for provisions extending trade assistance or preferential treatment to more LDC exports -- will be on the table in Geneva , Mr. Singh said. "No system can function in a sustained manner if there is no fair treatment of all members, so that means weaker parties, from least developed countries to low middle income developing countries, are allowed more flexibilities," he explained. "What is clear is that no one wants the Doha Round to be finished. They want it to continue, because it tackles issues that if you don't address, you will have to revisit sometime," he added. Mr. Singh attributed the Doha deadlock to policymakers' obligations to work on both global and domestic concerns. "The lack of progress in the Doha round today ... is based on different understandings of the changes in the economic sector in the world. Each country has its own economic and social concerns, and it is that gap that is creating a lack of progress," he said.
Accessed on 30 August < http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=Doha-deal>
World Bank Chief Calls Open Trade Best Economic Stimulant, Voice of America , 18 July 2011
World Bank President Robert Zoellick is urging the United States to take the lead in pushing the moribund Doha-round free-trade talks forward. He said open trade is the best way to help the struggling global economy. Zoellick delivered his blunt assessment at a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva on Monday. Zoellick said practically everybody in the world is in dire economic straits. He noted Europe is struggling with the eurozone. The United States is bogged down with debt and deficits, and is in desperate need of a growth strategy. He said Japan is coming out of a nuclear disaster and is struggling with low growth. “So, it seems to me that in addition to the work on sovereign debt and deficits, the world needs a global growth strategy," said Zoellick. "And, opening trade drives growth. It is the best driver of structural forms that the world has seen. We have seen it with proven effectiveness all throughout the past 60 or 70 years. So, why not revive Doha ?” That is a question more easily asked than answered. Zoellick has invested a lot of his time and his capital as a trade negotiator in Doha . He helped launch the Doha Round of free-trade talks in 2001, and remains deeply disappointed that 10 years later an agreement remains elusive. Agriculture continues to be the main stumbling block to a deal. The developing countries are demanding the United States and European Union cut their farm subsidies. But the United States and European Union are calling on developing countries and emerging economies, such as India and Brazil , to open their markets to industrial goods and to grant greater access to services.
Accessed on 18 July < http://www.voanews.com/english/news/economy-and-business/World>
WTO chief urges countries to break Doha deadlock, Express India, Expressindia , 6 September 2011
New Delhi In a last-ditch effort to put Doha round trade negotiations back on track, World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy today called upon all member countries of the organisation to come forward for resolving the contentions with “leadership, pragmatism and determination”. “We can't give up because of steep slope or long path,” Lamy emphasised, adding that WTO is a member-driven organisation and its negotiations are a collective enterprise. He was speaking at the inaugural function of Regional Trade Policy Course 2011, at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, here today. Lamy is on a two-day visit to India during which he is scheduled to meet with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and interact with dozen-odd CEOs over lunch on Tuesday. The visit is being seen as an attempt by Lamy to revive negotiations now being termed by some as a failure. At the same time questions are being raised on the role of the WTO in multi-lateral trade. Even after decade-long negotiations, the Doha talks have moved at snail's pace because the US has, so far, refused to cede ground on issues like cotton subsidy to farmers, and concession to least developed countries, or LDCs. At this stage, consensus looks far-fetched as the US prepares for elections next year. The US also does not want to increase the duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) access to goods from LDCs along with trade facilitation because it would be a task to convince the senators in the country battling a severe economic downturn. Unable to deliver the promise of concluding the Doha round by 2010-end, Lamy is likely to seek support from India for developing a strategy to put forth on the table when WTO ministerial conference takes place in Geneva in December.
Accessed on 6 September < http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/WTO-chief-urges-countries >
China to appeal a WTO ruling on exports of minerals, BBC News, 29 August 2011
China is fighting a ruling by the World Trade Organisation that it illegally restricted exports of key raw materials. Last month, the WTO upheld complaints by the US , European Union and Mexico that China had broken global free trade rules by imposing quotas and taxes on exports of certain minerals. Commodities like bauxite, magnesium and zinc are used in a range of products in several industries. Gavin Wendt, from Mineral Life in Sydney , told the BBC's Asia Business Report that these raw materials are very much in demand.
Accessed on 29 August < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/14705180 >
China has decided to appeal the WTO agreement directed against Chinese measures on the restriction of export of raw materials, Caspionet , 3 September
The officials appeal published on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has a call to cancel the number of articles of the report. The Xinhua agency has appealed against a report of the World Trade Organization, which talks of measures taken by China on the restriction of exports of some types of raw materials. On July 5th, 2011 the expert group of the WTO announced the report supporting the suit filed by the USA , the EU and Mexico in 2009 due to the restriction of export of such raw materials as zinc, carbon, magnesium and others. The report states that measures taken by China relating to export duties do not correspond to the rules of the WTO and the responsibilities which China accepted when entering the organization. Chinese officials have announced that their policy regarding the export of raw material is aimed at environmental protection and maintaining non-recoverable natural resources.
Accessed on 3 September
WTO asks India to train other emerging economies in negotiation skills, The Economic Times, 30 August 2011
In an endorsement of the hard bargaining by India in trade negotiations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has asked New Delhi to train other emerging economies in evolving trade policies and developing negotiation skills. "This is a big recognition. It means that the WTO has faith in the training abilities of our experts," commerce secretary Rahul Khullar told ET . WTO director general Pascal Lamy will be in New Delhi to inaugurate the three-month course on September 5. Trade experts from the Centre for Trade and Development, a research body affiliated to the commerce department, will run the programme with help from experts from the WTO headquarters in Geneva and WTO's Asia-Pacific Training Centre in Hong Kong .Accessed on 30 August < http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-08-30/news/29945341_1
Pakistan 's products to get custom exempted access to EU, Daily Times, 10 September 2011
KARACHI : The Indian government has agreed to withdraw its objection at World Trade Organisation (WTO) on European Union (EU) decision allowing duty free access to 75 products from Pakistan . The Foreign and Commerce Ministries of Pakistan had been pursuing this matter at the government level. This matter was also taken up with Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Secretary General Dr Rajiv Kumar, who reported assured that he would take up the matter with Indian Prime Minister (PM). Pakistani High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik has been informed that the Indian PM Manmohan Singh has agreed to withdraw their objection at WTO, in the forthcoming meeting in October 2011. The formal announcement is expected at the forthcoming Commerce Ministers meeting in Delhi on September 28 and 29, 2011 with business delegation. The facility of the custom duty free exports of textile and leather products will benefit EU countries, as they will get the finest products on the cheapest price in the world. EU has exempted Pakistan 's leading value-added textile and leather products exports from custom duty for the next three years. Undenatured ethyl alcohol of actual alcoholic strength of 80 percent was also included in the 75 lines. The exemption will benefit sixty-five textile product lines, but not bed linen, with four out of 10 EU imports in that category already exporting from Pakistan are heading the list, which also includes six lines of leather goods and three of footwear. “Though the custom duty exemption will benefit these sectors but the huge beneficiaries will be European countries as they will sell finest products of the world on huge interest,” cotton and cotton products analyst, Shakeel Ahmad said. Ahmad said the EU free custom duty offer was applied on January 1, 2011 and it was termed as an aid-linked package designed to help recovery from the flood catastrophe. He further said falling rupee against dollar and other major currencies and finest exports on cheaper rates from Pakistan would greatly benefit the EU countries. He said lifting duties on the products would result in an estimated increase of EU imports from Pakistan to the tune of around $ 140 million.
Accessed on 10 September < http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\09 >
Time running out for Russian WTO accession warns minister, RIA Novosti , 18 July 2011
Russia 's accession to the World Trade Organization could be delayed for years if talks involving the Russian delegation do not succeed in resolving all the remaining issues, Russia 's Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina said on Saturday. “We have to agree all the problematic issues by the end of July,” Nabiullina said, adding that among the most thorny questions was tariffs on cars assembled in Russia , support for the agricultural sector and veterinary and phytosanitary control. Her comments echoed Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who said on Friday that Russia 's accession to the WTO could be drawn out if the remaining issues were not resolved in the next few weeks. She recalled that all the major issues had to be sorted out this year, so that next year only the formalities of the process remained. If issues like tariffs on cars assembled in Russia remained unresolved, it would be impossible to get an agreement, she said. “We either get a broad approach, or there will be a long pause,” she said. Asked whether she thought a resolution was likely, Nabiullia said: “I am an optimist. At least, we are doing all we can to get an agreement.”
Accessed on 18 July < http://en.rian.ru/business/20110618/164699652.html >
Tajikistan gives WTO membership priority, Zarifi said, Central Asia Online , 18 July 2011
Tajik Foreign Minister Khamrokhon Zarifi said Tajikistan places a higher priority on joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) than on joining the Russian-Belarusan-Kazakhstani Customs Union, Interfax reported July 18. Tajikistan lacks a common border with the Customs Union countries and will wait for Kyrgyzstan to join the Union before pursuing its own future membership, Zarifi said, adding that since Kyrgyzstan and China already belong to the WTO, it makes sense for Tajikistan to contemplate WTO membership first. Tajikistan 's most recent round of talks on WTO accession was a success, he said.
Accessed on 18 July < http://centralasiaonline.com/cocoon/caii/xhtml/en_GB/newsbriefs/caii/newsbriefs/2011/07/18/newsbrief-10 >
D. REGIONAL AND BILATERAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT RELATIONS
Private sector told to push for regional integration, The Jakarta Post , 14 August 2011
ASEAN deputy secretary-general Pushpanathan Sundram said Saturday he expected private companies across the region and from dialogue partner countries to be more actively engaged in the drive to integrate the region economically. He said it was important for ASEAN to listen directly to responses and feedback from the private sector on the implementation of measures stipulated in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) blueprint. “We have provided several channels for ASEAN officials and the private sector such as consultations and business dialogue with industry associations, business councils from ASEAN and partner countries,” he said at the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Forum in Manado , North Sulawesi . The forum was held by the Indonesian Trade Ministry, the US Mission to ASEAN and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting (AEMM). Sundram said that despite positive progress in the implementation of AEC blueprint measures, several challenges remained, such as how to ensure the timely implementation of measures and track their impact. “It is also necessary to have mechanisms to handle issues such as coordination at national and regional levels,” he said. During his presentation, Sundram reported that ASEAN was nearing full economic integration. As of July this year, 73.43 percent of all measures in the AEC blueprint had been implemented, the ASEAN Secretariat reported. “By the end of this year, we still have around 114 measures that have to be implemented in the second phase of economic integration,” Sundram said, adding that after 2011, ASEAN would be ready to enter the third and fourth phases of integration. The Secretariat says tariffs on 99.65 of traded goods in the six ASEAN founding countries ( Brunei , Indonesia , Malaysia , the Philippines , Singapore and Thailand ) had been fully removed, while for Cambodia , Myanmar , Laos and Vietnam (CMLV), 98.86 percent of tariffs had been reduced to between 0 and 5 percent.
Accessed on 18 July < http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/08/14/private-sector-told >
Implementation of Afghan-Pakistan transit trade agreement deferred, the News, 26 July 2011
The government has deferred the implementation of Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) for another sixty days allowing over 4,000 containers, including three hundred containing food items, to be shifted to Afghanistan . An official said that most of the 300 food containers are of sugar and ghee (both items would not have been allowed had APTTA been operationalised) belonging to very influential business groups, which only last year transported 55,000 tons of sugar to Afghanistan . This deferral of the APTTA would help these business groups to clear these containers within two months' time. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has issued a circular to defer the operation of Article 3 of the Protocol 3 of the APTTA. The FBR in its circular, which has been received by the Customs Collectors, Model Customs Collectorate in Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta, said the operation of the provisions of the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Rules, notified vide SRO 601(1)2011 dated 13.3.2011, pertaining to the Customs security for goods was deferred for a period of sixty days, starting from July 7 to help the brotherly people of Afghanistan. The deferment was approved by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillan soon after the meeting of President Asif Ali Zaradari with his Afghan counterpart in Kabul on July 21, an official, requesting anonymity, said. President Zardari had allowed the transportation of the 300 containers of food items to Afghanistan . The official, however, said that interestingly the circular was issued on July 22, but it takes effect from effect from July 7, which shows that a decision was taken at an earlier meeting between Zardari and Karzai in Islamabad in June. Zardari had called for transforming the bilateral transit trade agreement of Pakistan and Afghanistan to trilateral transit trade agreements with the Central Asian Republics (CARs), the official added. Referring to the provisions of the Article 3 of the Protocol 3 of the APTTA, he said the condition of the customs security was waived off. The customs security means en-cashable financial guarantee submitted by traders or their brokers on the transit goods for an amount equivalent to the import levies of both Pakistan and Afghanistan . He said the condition was one of the biggest hurdles in the implementation of APTTA as no financial institution and bank was ready to pay the guarantee for transit goods. However, the condition of bank guarantee for the Afghan transport will stay, which again will make operation of the APTTA 2010 difficult, he added. Tufail Gorwara, president Customs Association, expressed ignorance about the food containers and said that after June 12, the last date for the implementation of the APTTA, they received no containers with food items. He said currently over 3,000 containers of Afghan goods are lying in different ports of the country. Muhammad Ishaq, former vice president Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber Pakistan of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI), said that Pakistan would lose $3000 on each container on account of Port Handling Charges, Clearing Agent Charges, Transportation and other relevant expenses.
Accessed on 11 July<http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=59453 >
AZERBAIJAN - RUSSIA
Azerbaijan and Astrakhan Region of Russia sign deal on trade-economic, scienctific-technical and cultural cooperation, vestnikkavkaza, 16 September 2011
The government of Azerbaijan and the Astrakhan Region in Russia have signed a deal on trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation in Baku , Trend cites Russian spokesman of the region YuriShedrin as saying. The document was signed by Azerbaijani Vice-Premier Yagub Eyubov and Governor of the Astrakhan Region Alexander Zhilkin. The previous document signed 7 years ago expired in 2010. Zhilkin is heading a business delegation. Azerbaijan conducts foreign trade with 71 Russian regions. Deals on trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation were signed with 15 of them. Russian-Azerbaijani trade turnover increased by 71.5% in the first half of 2011, reaching $1.455 billion. Exports increased by 58.9%,reaching $776.1 million, exports from Azerbaijan increased by 88.5%,reaching $679.2 million. Interregional cooperation plays an important role in trade turnover between the two states. Azerbaijan was visited by delegations from Tambov Region, Karachay-Cherkessia and Dagestan to sign deals on trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation.
Accessed on 11 July < http://vestnikkavkaza.net/news/politics/17683.html >
CANADA – CHINA
Canada en route to much stronger trade ties with China, envoy says, the Globe and Mail , 29 August 2011
China 's ambassador to Canada says the Harper government's about-face regarding his country has strengthened bilateral relations and should foster a major increase in trade and investment. Ambassador Zhang Junsai says relations between Canada and China are rapidly improving now that Ottawa has recognized the need to diversify its economic and trading focus beyond the United States and Europe . The diplomat also cited Canada 's return of a high-profile Chinese fugitive as a key milestone that will fortify the bond between the two countries. Mr. Zhang said he expects trade between Canada and China to continue to increase and predicts more Chinese foreign direct investment in Canadian companies and assets as a result of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government's shift in policy towards the Asian economic superpower. “After a few years, the [Harper] government has been exposed to international affairs,” Mr. Zhang said in an interview at the Chinese consulate in Vancouver . “ China is playing an increasingly peaceful and constructive role in the world. China has performed very well during the financial crisis and I think all this is seen by the Canadian people that China is making contributions to the world economy,” he said. “More importantly, China has a huge market. There is a great potential for both countries to develop friendly relations.” Concerns about China 's human-rights record and a pledge not to sell out those values to the “almighty dollar” saw Mr. Harper wait five years from the time he took office before making his first official visit to China in 2009. The Prime Minister was chided during his stay by China 's Premier Wen Jiabao for waiting so long to come to Beijing . Nonetheless, the trip represented a key change in the relationship that set the stage for recent improvements, according to Mr. Zhang, who was appointed ambassador nine months ago.
Accessed on 29 August < http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific>
Chinese FM meets with counterparts, ASEAN secretary-general on cooperation, Xinhua, 21 July 2011
BALI, Indonesia, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with his counterparts of Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and South Korea as well as ASEAN secretary-general here Thursday to promote bilateral relations. Yang met with his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Both sides shared the same view that the two countries should implement the consensus reached by both leaders on further promoting bilateral relations and boost pragmatic cooperation in all sectors. The two sides believe that the China-ASEAN agreement on the guidelines of implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) sends a positive signal and the next step is to speed up pragmatic cooperation. Yang also praised the positive role that Marty plays as Indonesia is the rotating chair of ASEAN. During a meeting with Lao Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Yang said the two countries should enhance high-level exchanges, deepen cooperation in economy and trade, and boost China-Laos bilateral relations to a new level. Thongloun agreed with Yang and thanked China for its long-term help and support. During Yang's meeting with Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, the two sides agreed to work on a plan on strengthening China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic partnership, expand the size of economic and trade cooperation, enhance people-to-people interaction and step up support and cooperation with each other in international and regional affairs. While meeting with ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, Yang praised the agreement on the guidelines of implementing the DOC, saying this is conducive to increasing mutual trust and calling for initiating pragmatic cooperation as soon as possible.
Accessed on 21 July < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-07/22/c_131000964.htm >
CHINA – CENTRAL ASIA
China 's top legislator proposes stronger ties between China, Central Asia , Xinhua , 22 September 2011
Visiting Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo on Thursday called on China and countries in Central Asia to consolidate traditional friendship and strengthen pragmatic cooperation. Wu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), made the call in a keynote speech delivered at the legislative assembly of the Supreme Council of Uzbekistan during an official goodwill visit to Uzbekistan . Wu spoke highly of China-Uzbekistan cooperation in politics and trade as well as the fight against the "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism. He said bilateral trade between the two countries reached 2.48 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, up 29.2 percent year-on-year. He also said his visit to Uzbekistan , the first as China 's top legislator, was aimed at "implementing the important consensus reached by the two heads of state and lifting bilateral ties to a new level." Meanwhile, Wu also called on China and Central Asian countries to earnestly carry out consensus reached by the countries' leaders to promote continuous development of relations. Wu also made a three-point proposal to further boost the time-honored friendship and practical cooperation between China and Central Asian countries. Firstly, political mutual trust needed to be strengthened in an effort to raise the level of strategic cooperation, Wu said. He said China and Central Asian countries understood each other's major concerns and firmly supported each other's core interests, which was a unique strategic advantage for their good-neighborly friendship. Wu said China and the region should give each other stronger support, at both bilateral and multilateral levels, on major issues concerning each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security, stability and development. They also needed to strengthen strategic coordination in international and regional affairs, and maintain active information exchanges on global issues such as global economic governance, climate change, and energy and resources security so as to coordinate their positions and safeguard their common interests, Wu said, adding they should also strive to promote a regional and international environment conducive to peace and development.
Accessed on 22 September < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-09/22>
CHINA – MERCOSUR
A China/Mercosur trade agreement would be “something extraordinary”, Mercopress , 6 September 2011
A free trade agreement, (FTA), between China and Mercosur could be “something extraordinary”, said Argentine Foreign Affairs minister Hector Timerman who next Thursday begins a political and business mission in Beijing . Minister Timerman begins this week a political and business official visit to Beijing and Shanghai Minister Timerman begins this week a political and business official visit to Beijing and Shanghai. “Currently there are no talks on a FTA between China and Mercosur but we are approaching the point where we will have to address the issue as we deepen bilateral ties, and that would be something extraordinary”, said Timerman who will also visit Shanghai . The delegation which will be headed by Minister Timerman includes representatives from the food, wine, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, oil, iron and steel, with the purpose of tapping potential business with China . Timerman was interviewed by the Chinese media in anticipation of his visit and reveals some of the issues to be discusses with his counterparts and the business community. “There is the possibility that Chinese companies make their purchases directly. We have appointment with several Chinese companies because we know about their projects and the agenda includes a meeting with the 18 most important CEO of China” said the minister. Argentina and China forged diplomatic ties in 1972 and the Asian giant has become Argentina 's second largest trading partner after Brazil , with a turnover of 13.5 billion dollars in 2010. Regarding the world situation and growing fears of a slowdown in the US and something worse in the Euro zone, Timerman said that China and Latin America should cooperate closer, “even considering setting up an anti-crisis fund in the region”. Accessed on 6 September < http://en.mercopress.com/2011/09/06/a-china-mercosur>
CHINA – NEPAL
Senior Chinese official outlines proposal to boost China-Nepal ties, Xinhua, 17 July 2011
Visiting senior Chinese official Zhou Yongkang put forward a range of measures here Wednesday to promote China-Nepal relations. Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, put forward the proposal in a meeting with Nepalese caretaker Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal. The two sides, Zhou said, should maintain the momentum of high-level diplomacy and promote exchanges and cooperation between their governments, parliaments, political parties and peoples. Meanwhile, the two neighbors needed to deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as infrastructure construction, agriculture, tourism and border trade and assign priority to major cooperation projects, he said. In parallel, China and Nepal should continue to beef up communication and cooperation both on their security and law enforcement issues and on important international affairs, Zhou said. He proposed efforts also be made to boost bilateral people-to-people exchanges, especially those between the young generations, to reinforce the foundation for the bilateral friendship. Zhou thanked the Nepalese government for its steadfast support for China over issues related to Tibet and Taiwan , expressing the hope that Nepal would continue to prevent Tibetan separatists from using Nepalese soil to act against China . While accentuating the time-honored friendship between the two nations, Zhou also conveyed Beijing 's sincere wish that Nepalese political leaders can bring peace and stability back to their country as soon as possible. Khanal expressed gratitude for China 's selfless aid to his country and said that, as China 's friendly neighbor, Nepal was pleased to see China 's peaceful development and growing prosperity. He described China as Nepal 's true friend, adding his country was ready to work with China to promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields and steer the Nepal-China relationship further forward.
Accessed on 17 July < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-08/18/c_131056707.htm >
HINA – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A blow to Sino-US ties, China Daily , 23 September 2011
Washington's new arms sale to Taiwan squanders chances for further cooperation in political and economic areas Despite Beijing's strong protests, the United States has decided to provide weapons worth of $5.852 billion to Taiwan. Washington 's announcement that it will upgrade Taiwan 's F-16A/B fighters is a serious blow to improving Sino-US relations. This time, the White House argues that it has exercised self-restraint by merely deciding to upgrade Taiwan 's F-16A/Bs. This is intended to mean the US has kept its commitment to both Beijing and Taipei to provide only defensive weapons systems to maintain the balance of military power across the Straits. This is an incorrect argument. No country is entitled to intervene into another country's internal affairs, China 's included, short of a United Nations' Security Council mandate. Indeed all people need protection for their legitimate rights, peace and prosperity. The UN Charter accords such rights to all the people in the world, including the Chinese. This global organization ensures sovereignty to all nations, and it stands unless the Security Council approves to intervene in the event of a massive disaster. China 's economic opening-up and social reform increasingly provides peace and prosperity for both mainlanders and Chinese people living in Taiwan . For the first time in decades, Chinese people living on either side of the Straits are enjoying intensive economic co-development and co-prosperity and the lowest tensions ever under an agreed-upon one-China consensus. Legally and morally, there is no justification whatsoever to warrant international intervention into China 's domestic integration. It is true that people living on the island deserve protection, as mainlanders do as well. Nevertheless, it is up to all Chinese people to work together to protect themselves collectively. Should either side be attacked by a foreign force, Chinese living on either side of the Straits shall organize themselves to deliver the needed assistance for national defense. In a time of peace, they shall cooperate to eventually remove various hurdles that still stand between them, reducing mutual suspicion and fostering better mutual trust.
Accessed on 23 September < http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-09/23/content_13775561.htm >
INDIA – BANGLADESH
Sea change in Indo-Bangla business ties, The hindu Businessline , 20 September 2011
Trade gap with India doubles in five years, The Daily Star , 6 September 2011
The trade deficit between India and Bangladesh more than doubled in just five years, reflecting a galloping economic imbalance between the two close neighbours. The gap, which was $1,998.58 million in fiscal 2006-07, reached $4,057 million in 2010-11, according to Bangladesh Bank and Export Promotion Bureau data. Analysts and businessmen blame the trade imbalance, which is heavily tilted to India , on Bangladesh 's narrow export basket and India 's non-tariff barriers (NTBs). “ Bangladesh needs to explore and exploit the opportunities in the growing import market of India . There is no option but to diversify the export basket of Bangladesh ,” said Prof Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). The good thing is, along with traditional exports such as raw jute, fish and fertiliser, some non-traditional items have made their place in the export basket of Bangladesh , indicating growing scale and scope of exports, said Rahman. “Exports of apparels, leather products, cement, plastic and melamine articles, prepared foodstuffs and beverages are on the rise,” Rahman said. Though India has addressed anti-dumping duty previously imposed on Bangladesh 's exports, Rahman still sees a lot of NTBs including testing and certification and weak border infrastructure that ruin export potential. Bangladesh imported Indian goods worth $4,570 million in fiscal 2010-11, while exported goods worth $512 million. In 2009-10, the figures were $3,202 million and $304 million respectively. Bangladesh 's import from India was $2,268 million in 2006-07. Bangladesh 's export to India is also gradually improving and reached half a billion dollars in 2010-11 from $358 million in 2007-08 and $289 million in 2006-07.
Accessed on 6 September < http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=201273 >
Dhaka has created investment opportunities for India , while New Delhi has agreed to removing entry barriers on Bangladeshi textiles. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka on September 6-7 has changed the course of Indo-Bangladesh economic relations. To be sure, there were disappointments, such as the delay in arriving at a water sharing accord on the Teesta river due to resistance from the Indian side, and backtracking by Bangladesh on its offer of transit to India through its territory. However, the initiative taken to promote greater investment and trade between the two countries was very promising.
In order to enhance investments, the Prime Ministers of both countries issued a joint statement on completion of the talks, paving the way for a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement. Such an agreement would grant investments made by one country in the other a number of guarantees, which typically include fair and equitable treatment, protection from expropriation, free transfer of means and full protection and security. It is expected that with the signing of this agreement, there will be a substantial increase in investment flows, which so far have been insignificant. Cumulative Indian investments in Bangladesh until 2009 were only US$ 248 million, with only 26 per cent of it having taken place up till 2007. Along with the investment agreement, the announcement regarding establishment of a special economic zone for Indian investments is a complementary measure, which is expected to facilitate Indian investments further. On the trade front, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, announced the Government of India's decision to remove 61 items, including 46 from textiles, from India 's negative list for LDCs. This implies that Bangladesh products will now be allowed to enter Indian territory through any port, without paying duty.
Accessed on 20 September < http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/article2468121.ece >
INDIA – JAPAN
Japan-India FTA enters into force to end tariffs for 94% of trade, The Mainichi, 1 August 2011
A free trade agreement between Japan and India entered into force on Monday to scrap tariffs on goods that account for 94 percent of the two-way trade flow over 10 years. The FTA, on which the two countries officially agreed last October, is Tokyo 's 12th such trade deal and offers Japanese firms a chance to build more footing in the rapidly growing economy with a population of 1.2 billion. Under the agreement, tariffs on goods exported to India , such as automotive equipment, steel products, peaches and persimmons, will be scrapped over the next five to 10 years. While tariffs on goods imported from India will be eliminated, including tariffs on nearly all manufactured products, curry powder and tea leaves, the tariffs on such farm products as wheat, beef and pork imported from the country will be exempted. South Korea and others have already made inroads into the vast South Asian market, making it one of the priorities for Japanese businesses to raise their profile in India , where continued economic growth is expected, through increased trade and investment. The negotiations for concluding an FTA between the two countries began in 2007. The agreement was officially endorsed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in October 2010.
Accessed on 1 August http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/business/news/20110801p2g>
INDIA - SOUTH AFRICA
India, South Africa set $15-bn bilateral trade target by 2014, Business Standard, 30 August 2011
India and South Africa on Monday decided to increase two-way trade between both countries to $15 billion by 2014 from $10.64 billion while concluding the India-South Africa CEOs Forum. This was the second meeting of the forum. The first one was held in Johannesburg last year, where five sector-specific working groups were created to ensure seamless trade and business transaction between both countries. “Today we took up the recommendations of the five sectoral groups. All the core areas were touched upon. We are on course but together we will be exploring what further steps are required. We have already reached bilateral trade worth $10 billion in 2010, which was our target for 2012. This year we have already reached $7 billion, and so we have revised the target to $15 billion by 2014,” Minister of Commerce & Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma told reporters after the meeting, here. The forum is headed by Ratan Tata from India and Patrice Motsepe from South Africa . The minister said both sides would also be holding bilateral meetings to have a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the South Africa Customs Union (SACU) comprising Botswana , Lesotho , Namibia , South Africa , and Swaziland . Under a PTA, both countries will reduce their tariffs on a particular number of products from the level they maintain with countries that are not members to the agreement. However, unlike Free Trade Agreements (FTA), PTA does not slash or eliminate duties from a large number of tariff lines. “Relationship with India had been growing enormously. Indian companies are among our largest investors in South Africa . South African companies are also finding a growing role in the Indian market,” said South African trade minister Rob Davies.
Accessed on 30 August < http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/india-south-africa>
INDIA – TAIWAN
FTA will boost bilateral trades between India, Taiwan , Business Line , 16 September 2011
The bilateral trade between India and Taiwan in the last ten years grew by nearly six times to $6.47 billion in 2010 with Taiwan 's exports to India being $3.60 billion. Though it is balanced trade between the two countries, there is a huge scope for improvement in business as global companies are looking at India to set up major manufacturing hub (due to cost escalation in China) and Taiwan can help in export of machinery and auto spare parts to India. While India 's strength is in software, Taiwan 's is in hardware. Both countries can jointly form a strong force in the international market, feels Mr Francis Kuo-Hsin Liang, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan . This department has implemented various economic policies and measures to help industries reinforce their competitive advantage at different stages in Taiwan 's economic development. On his first visit to India , Mr Liang had meetings with various stakeholders in Delhi , Mumbai and Chennai. He took some time to speak to Business Line on various issues, including the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and India's complex tax system, on the sidelines of the three-day Emma Expo India, which showcases Taiwan's electronic & ICT products, machinery, moulds and auto-parts to the Indian market.
Excerpts from the interview:
On your first visit, what is your assessment on the bilateral trade? India has abundant natural resources. It is strategically located in the world trade map and has ample supply of human resources and importantly a large domestic market. In Taiwan , we do not have any of those but have a large educated workforce; advanced technology development and big in ICT (information, communication and technology), machinery, electronics and management. Both the countries can combined our respective strengths to form a strong force in the international market. I truly believe in this.
What's the status on the FTA?
It can be FTA or Economic Cooperation Agreement referring to preferential trade agreement. The Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research in Taiwan and the Indian Council for Foreign Economic Relations in India are conducting feasibility study on the possible negotiations of ECA. They signed an agreement last January and are conducting their studies individually. In a couple of months they will start comparing results for a joint study. However, preliminary result from our institute says such an agreement would be beneficial to both countries in goods, service and technical cooperation. We are encouraged from the results and believe we should seriously look at the joint study. Both governments should think on how to negotiate FTA to help the business community.
How will FTA benefit?
It will open up new trade opportunities. For instance, India not only produces industrial goods but also agricultural products. With the elimination of tariff barriers, Taiwan can buy more from India . Taiwan imports most of our agricultural needs, and on the industrial products we can use the maximum potential of each other's strengths without the disturbance of tariffs. For instance, we can buy many of the light industrial products from India , and in return we can sell machinery and auto parts.
Accessed on 16 September < http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/economy
INDIA - USA
Seafood exporters protest US ‘zeroing' in on Indian shrimp, Business Line, 30 August 2011
The Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) has demanded that the Government take the US to the World Trade Organisation over continued zeroing in on Indian shrimp exports. Indian shrimp exports continue to be battered by anti-dumping duty imposed by the US . The WTO had, in a recent judgment, ruled that the US is violating global trade rules in using the method of zeroing to impose anti-dumping duties on shrimp imports from Vietnam . Practice of ‘Zeroing'
Zeroing is a manner in which the US government imposes anti-dumping duty on select shrimp consignments because they fetch lower prices in the US market. According to an exporter, while almost 90 per cent of shrimp export consignments would fetch fair value prevalent in competing countries, the remaining 10 per cent might have to go for distress sale for a variety of reasons, fetching significantly lower rates. The US government zeroes in on these 10 per cent consignments and imposes anti-dumping duty, much to the detriment of the exporter who has already had to sell his consignment at distress rates. But for the practice of zeroing, Indian shrimp exports would have been entitled to de-minimum duty — that is duty of less than 0.5 per cent — which would have resulted in Indian shrimp exports getting out of the US' anti-dumping purview.
Accessed on 30 August < http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz>
IRAN – CHINA
Iran signs $4 billion core project pacts with China, The Economic Times , 18 July 2011
DUBAI : Iran and China have signed a series of agreements worth USD 4 billion for infrastructure projects as part of a broader bid to boost the trade volume between the two nation, according to a media report. As part of a USD 500 million deal, China agreed to provide Iran with 60 energy recovery incinerators, which are to be installed within a year in major cities and in Iran 's northern tourism hub along the Caspian sea , a report in The Peninsula said. The agreements were signed during a visit by He Guoqiang, a senior executive of the Chinese Communist Party, who heads a delegation visiting Iran . The bilateral agreements include cooperation in water, mining, energy and industrial sectors. China also pledged to boosts its imports of Iranian mineral products, state TV reported. "China is now the leading economic partner of Iran and there are plans for increasing last year's trade volume of USD 30 billion to USD 100 billion in the future," Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Javad Mohammadi-Zadeh was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "Bilateral trade will reach USD 40 billion this year," the Chinese ambassador to Tehran told Iran recently. China and Iran have become major economic partners in recent years, which is partly due to the withdrawal of Western companies in line with sanctions against the Islamic republic over its contentious nuclear drive.
Accessed on 18 July < http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/iran-signs-4-bn>
Push FTA of South Korea, Japan, China toward TPP, The Japan Times , 26 July 2011
Ten years since the concept of a free-trade agreement (FTA) among Japan , China and South Korea was proposed, some visibly significant moves have gotten under way recently. The three countries, at their leaders' summit talks held in Japan on May 21 and 22, reached agreement to conclude the industry-government-academia joint studies on the FTA issue this year and begin intergovernmental negotiations next year. In the wake of the agreement, three research institutes of the three Asian neighbors launched a joint economic and trade forum in Seoul on June 3 to help promote regional economic integration from a private sector's standpoint in preparation for the coming government-level talks. The tripartite forum was set up after about a year's preparations at the proposal of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a think tank created with the Chinese government playing a central role, and with the participation of the Japan-China Organization for Business, Academia and Government Partnership and the Korea International Trade Association. The three-way FTA concept goes back to the idea of a framework designed to strengthen economic relations among the three nations, which was proposed in 1998 by then Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. Complying with his request, I took part in the preparatory work with some leading members of the Japanese business community. Government leaders of Japan, China and South Korea, at their summit held in Manila in October 1999, agreed to have the National Institute for Research Advancement (Japan), the Development Research Center of the State Council (China) and the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (South Korea) start joint studies on ways to "strengthen economic cooperation" among the three countries. Their research projects covered a wide range of related matters including the content and effects of the trilateral FTA and resulted in the positive conclusion that the proposed FTA will help accelerate the economic growth of the three nations and expand their trade. In those days, Chinese and South Korean leaders' responses were positive and they showed considerable interests in the FTA issue. But the Japanese leadership's reaction was regrettably not positive, perhaps in view of political obstacles such as Japan 's agricultural problems. Japan's trade policy began to get oriented toward promoting FTAs and economic partnership agreements (EPAs) around 2000 in line with the currents of the world but lagged far behind the moves of South Korea, which concluded FTA accords with the U.S. and the European Union, and the trends of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, which were widely promoting FTA networks.
Accessed on 26 July < http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20110726sf.html >
JAPAN - TAIWAN
Taiwan, Japan sign investment pact, The Japan Times , 23 September 2011
Taiwan and Japan on Thursday signed an agreement that lowers bilateral investment barriers, a significant step toward an eventual free-trade deal between the two countries. In the absence of diplomatic ties, the agreement was signed in Taipei by Mitsuo Ohashi, chairman of the Japan Interchange Association, and his Taiwanese counterpart, Peng Run-tsu, chairman of Taipei 's East Asian Relations Commission. The accord covers three areas: trade liberalization, trade promotion and protection of investment. It will now be sent to Taiwan 's Parliament, the Legislative Yuan, for review before it enters into force. The investment arrangement is the first economic deal Taiwan has signed with a nonallied country since Taipei and Beijing inked a preferential free-trade agreement in June last year. Ohashi said the pact is a major milestone for bilateral relations that will allow exchanges between the two countries to enter a new phase. Japan is Taiwan 's second-largest trading partner and its biggest investor, with more than $16 billion invested over the past 50 years, while Taiwan is Japan 's fourth-largest trading partner and has invested about $1.6 billion in its Asian neighbor.
Accessed on 23 September< http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20110923a3.html >
KAZAKHSTAN – BELARUS
Kazakhstan and Belarus increase trade turnover,
Caspionet , 9 September
The trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Belarus exceeded 300 million US dollars over the first half of 2011. It has been planned to reach the mark of one billion dollars in bilateral trade in the near future. 200 Belarusian companies presented their products at the «Belarus EXPO 2011» 6th National Exhibition in Almaty. Among them were representatives of food, woodworking and light industries. In entrepreneurs' opinion, the Customs Union, whose members are Kazakhstan , Belarus and Russia , has provided new opportunities for integration. Asset Issekeshev, Deputy Prime Minister, Kazakh Minister of Industry and New Technologies.
Accessed on 28 July < http://caspionet.kz/eng/business/Kazakhstan_and_Belarus_increase_trade>
PAKISTAN – IRAN
Pakistan-Iran economic dialogue: Trade barriers dominate first day of talks, Tribune , 8 September 2011
Pakistan and Iran began talks on a 16-point agenda for economic cooperation on Wednesday, with Tehran asking for greater facilitation of the Iranian banking sector from Pakistan and Islamabad asking for the removal of trade barriers by Iran . Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi urged Pakistan to “provide opportunities to Iran's private sector and remove bottlenecks in the banking sector for realising true bilateral trade potential,” a reference to Iran's requests in the past to set up branches of the state-owned Bank Melli in Pakistan, a proposal that sources in the finance ministry said was unlikely to be accepted by Islamabad since it would violate United Nations sanctions against the Iranian financial services sector. Salehi was speaking at the inaugural session of the 18th Iran Pakistan Joint Economic Commission, where he is heading a 40-member delegation from Tehran . Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is leading the Pakistani team at the two-day meeting. A finance ministry official said that while Pakistan would likely not allow Bank Melli to open branches, it would instead propose that Iran use the multilateral Asian Clearing Union platform for channelling the flow of financing to fund its global trade. However, one problem with the ACU is that it uses euros as its dominant currency, whereas Pakistani banks finance trade in US dollars. This problem, however, is not insurmountable, particularly with the use of currency forward contracts and swap agreements. International banks currently do not provide any letters of credit – the primary global tool of transferring funds between two international trading parties – for any transfers of goods and services to and from Iran . This has caused most Iranian businesses to use cash and hawala (informal money transfers) to finance their trade activities, with both of these channels accounting for an estimated 97% of Iranian trade.
Accessed on 8 September < http://tribune.com.pk/story/247600/pakistan-iran-economic-dialogue-trade>
Russia's Medvedev, Germany's Merkel discuss economic cooperation, RIA Novosti, 19 July 2011
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held an unofficial dinner on Monday night in Germany and then discussed issues of economic cooperation, Medvedev's spokeswoman said on Tuesday. "The leaders discussed Russian and German economic cooperation in the context of bilateral agreements and documents planned to be signed as a result of official bilateral talks on Tuesday," presidential spokeswoman Natalia Timakova said. She said Medvedev and Merkel discussed the current economic situation in the European Union, adding that "the leaders particularly exchanged their opinions on the economic situation in Germany and Russia ." "The president and the chancellor also discussed international issues, first of all, the situation in Libya ," Timakova said. Libya has been rocked by fighting between pro- and anti-government forces since mid-February. An international military operation began on March 19 following a UN resolution and has been extended until September.
Accessed on 19 July < http://en.rian.ru/world/20110719/165273207.html >
SOUTH KOREA - USA
South Korea in dilemma over U.S. stalemate in FTA ratification, Yonhap News, 21 July 2011
With skepticism spreading about the possibility of the U.S. government securing ratification of a free trade pact with South Korea this summer, South Korean officials expressed concern Wednesday over major diplomatic and political fallout at home. The Lee Myung-bak administration has eagerly awaited the passage of the free trade agreement (FTA) bill before the U.S. Congress goes into recess on Aug. 6. Lee would like to make an official or state visit to Washington in September or October on the occasion of a signing ceremony. Known for his efforts to strengthen the Seoul-Washington alliance, Lee hopes for such a symbolic event on what would be his last bilateral trip to the U.S. as South Korea 's leader, according to presidential aides. A later trip wouldn't work. "It would be difficult for President Lee to arrange a trip to Washington in November and December, given a series of multilateral diplomatic events scheduled," a South Korean government official said, requesting anonymity. A visit next year would be overshadowed by presidential races in both countries, he added. A delay in the U.S. ratification of the FTA also affects Lee's political strategy. Should the U.S. ratify the FTA first, it would provide the Lee administration and his ruling Grand National Party (GNP) with ammunition in a battle with the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), which is calling for renegotiation of the FTA. The GNP hopes to handle the FTA issue in the August session, while the DP demands measures to protect farmers and workers displaced by the free trade. South Korean officials repeatedly have said it is important for the FTA to be approved in Congress by August. The alternative is a "nightmare," a top-ranking official told correspondents here in a background briefing last month. Still, there is no clear sign of progress in Obama's push for a package deal with congressional Republicans on the FTAs with South Korea , Colombia and Panama , all of which were inked several years ago.
Accessed on 18 July < http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110721000073 >
Sri Lanka, India sign MoU to develop KKS Harbour in the North, Colombo Page, 21 July 2011
Sri Lanka and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday to develop the Kankasanthurai (KKS) port under an agreement the two countries had reached during the visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India in June 2010. During President Rajapaksa's visit it had been agreed in the Joint Declaration issued on the occasion that India would extend assistance for the rehabilitation of the Kankasanthurai Harbour among other infrastructure projects in the Northern Province.
High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha signed the agreement on behalf of Government of India while Secretary of the Ministry of Ports and Highways Mrs. Sujatha Cooray signed for Sri Lanka . Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways, Mr. Rohitha Abeygunawardena and the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama also attended the ceremony. A press release issued by the Indian High Commission in Colombo said the Kankasanthurai Harbour project will be aided by a mix of grant funding and concessional credit from the Government of India. The Kankasanthurai Harbour rehabilitation project is a complex and wide-ranging project that will be completed in multiple stages. The Indian government has already committed 2.2 billion rupees (about US$ 20 million) for three initial steps, mainly for preliminary hydrographic survey, geotechnical investigations and DPR preparation and wreck removal and salvage. In addition to this, the Government of India will provide additional grant funding for the dredging of the harbour and concessional credit for the rehabilitation of the breakwater and construction of a new pier and attendant port facilities, the release said. Final hydrographic survey and preparation of Harbour Chart will also be carried out. A Detailed Project Report (DPR) estimating the total expenditure on the project is to be prepared. Preliminary Hydrographic Survey has already been completed by an Indian agency in June-July 2010 as part of the preparation for this project.
Accessed on 21July < http://www.colombopage.com/archive_11A/Jul21_1311259064CH.php >
Thailand wants early FTA with Pakistan: Thai Minister, APP , 25 July 2011
Thai government is focusing on an early meeting of Pak-Thai Joint Trade Commission for early signing of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Thai Minister, Department of South Asian, Middle East and African Affairs, Mr Nat Pinyo WattanaCheep said this during a meeting with businessmen at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday. Thai Ambassador to Pakistan , Marut Jitpatima, LCCI Acting President Sheikh Mohammad Arshad, Vice President Sohail Azhar, former Chamber's SVP Abdul Basit, Executive Committee Members Mian Zahid Javaid and Dr Shahid Raza also spoke on the occasion. WattanaCheep said, Pakistan and Thailand have very strong credentials to give new strength to their respective economies as both the countries have good geographical locations making them a safe heaven for investment. The two-trade volume is much below their respective potential on various sectors of the economy and lack of dissemination of information could be one of the biggest reasons, he added. He said the recent tragic incident in Norway was enough to make the point that terrorists have no religion, therefore, wrong perception about Pakistan being painted by the international media has nothing to do with ground realities. On this occasion, Sheikh Arshad said the import and export profiles of Pak-Thai indicate that there is a potential to increase exports to each other countries. “However, our average bilateral trade was around $ 682 million during 2007 to 2009, but in 2010, it touched the record figure of $ 953.3 million which is an encouraging sign,” he said and added the trade balance has been favouring Thailand, as Pakistani exports have yet to cross the $ 100 million mark, whereas, Pak imports from Thailand have gone as high as $ 872.4 million in year 2010. In such scenario, the visit of Thai delegation to Pakistan is of great value. He said Pakistan is gateway to the markets of Central Asian Republics and the Gulf, citing, any investment made in Pakistan would find markets in the entire region surrounding Pakistan . Industrial parks development would be a good choice for Thai business tycoons as they would surely be supported by Pakistan government as well, he maintained.
Accessed on 25 July <http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task>
E. DID YOU KNOW THAT?
Asia Bank urges better cooperation, The Wall Street Journal , 26 August 2011
Asian economies need to create regional channels for macroeconomic policy coordination to improve awareness and make it easier to respond cohesively in times of crisis, the Asian Development Bank's chief economist said. During a recent trip to Singapore , Changyong Rhee said the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations shouldn't be seen as a one-stop forum, and it may be appropriate to discuss and tackle issues at different levels, amid different groupings. Mr. Rhee said the creation of a common Asian currency remained a possibility, but said that given current difficulties in the euro zone, such a high degree of policy coordination would need time. "For Asia , I think one of the reasons why we suffered very much from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the 2008 subprime crisis, is that most Asian economies are disconnected from the global policy dialogue and in some sense they're disconnected from the information flows. So they cannot respond and they cannot explain their situations," said Mr. Rhee, who headed the presidential committee for South Korea 's G-20 summit in 2010. "The role of fiscal and monetary policy in general and coordination are important issues. The G-20 is discussing, but the G-20 is only large economies, so regional cooperation is also necessary." Possible models, he said, would be the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Working Party No. 3, or the Group of Seven industrialized nations' gatherings of finance officials. As Asian economies grow in size, intraregional coordination will become increasingly vital. "Having this sort of channel is so important, because whenever the crisis situation happens you have to coordinate. On normal days, you may think that this meeting is not productive, but whenever the crisis happens I think you will really appreciate the existence of this kind of channel," Mr. Rhee said. On the outlook for developing Asia , Mr. Rhee reiterated the ADB was likely to raise its forecast for inflation, while slightly lowering its growth view, when it reassesses its projections in September. Accessed on 26 August <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904787 >
Australia Sets Carbon-Pricing Regime, The Wall Street Journal, 10 July 2011
CANBERRA — Australia plans to close some of the country's biggest polluters and has pledged billions of dollars for renewable-energy projects as the government seeks to roll out one of the world's largest national carbon-pricing plans. Australia is one of the world's largest polluters per capita due to its heavy use of coal-fired power, which accounts for some 75% of electricity output. The plan to price carbon comes less than two years after a global push to tackle climate change stalled in Copenhagen . Only the European Union's emissions-trading scheme will be of comparable size, and industry has criticized Canberra for pursuing the policy in the absence of similar action from the country's biggest trading partners, such as China and the U.S. Unveiling details of the carbon policy on Sunday, the government said it would set a price of 23 Australian dollars ($24.74) per carbon ton emitted by the country's 500 biggest polluters starting in mid-2012, and then raise the price 2.5% a year until 2015. From then, the price would float, though the government would set a floor and ceiling and control the quantity of permits released annually. Emitters would then be able to buy permits from international carbon markets. "We're going to get this done," Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters after launching the tax, promising she will "wear out shoe leather" selling the policy to voters. "It's time to get on with this." The move is a political gamble for Ms. Gillard. Support for her minority government has collapsed since she signaled in February a desire to price carbon, reversing an election promise not to do so. The plan has the backing of the Greens party and a group of independent lawmakers that the Labor party needs to stay in office. But the center-right opposition has pledged to unwind the carbon program if elected, and industry groups are planning a major advertising campaign to oppose the measures. Tony Abbott, the leader of the opposition Liberal Party, said the government was erring by moving ahead of China, and warned carbon pricing would drive up prices and cut jobs "even with carbon pricing, our emissions are going to go up." "Economically, the tax is a harsh blow to import- and export-competing businesses, especially small and medium businesses. Our international competitors get a free kick, of our own making," said Peter Anderson, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce. Modeling supplied by the government projects a modest economic impact overall, including a small increase in the inflation rate in the first year. Under the policy, the government wants to negotiate the closure of some of the biggest coal-fired power plants, or biggest emitters—2,000 megawatts worth by 2020. To ease the impact of the carbon price, the worst-affected power companies will receive a mix of cash compensation and free permits and will also be offered short-term loans to buy permits and to refinance existing debt. To offset competition from countries that don't operate a carbon scheme, the government has pledged A$9.2 billion (US$9.9 billion) in compensation, in the form of free permits, to some energy-intensive businesses: Steel works, aluminum smelters and pulp manufacturers will be among those eligible for 95% to get their carbon permits free, while plastics and chemical manufacturers will be in the 60% group and liquefied-natural-gas producers in the 50% group. Steel works will also receive an additional A$300 million in compensation, a four-year package called the Steel Transformation Plan that would provide transitional support. With the transition program, the government "has produced a package that, if implemented as explained to us, deals with the steel sector's carbon tax issues in a significant way," BlueScope Steel Ltd. Chief Executive Paul O'Malley said in a statement. Retailers, who are already suffering from a downturn in spending by cautious consumers, were worried the tax could further dent consumer confidence.
Accessed on 10 July < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230354460457>
India regaining status as trading powerhouse, economictimes, 21 July 2011
NEW DELHI : India broke into the club of top 20 exporters of goods and reclaimed its position among top 10 services exporters in 2010, moving up two notches in both categories from 2009 in a display of resilience to the economic downturn that continues to cast its shadow on the US and the EU. The 'World Trade Report 2011' of the WTO, released on Wednesday, said trade in goods rebounded to grow by 14.5% in volume terms in 2010 after shrinking 12% in 2009. However, it projected the growth to moderate to 6.5% in 2011. India's goods exports rose at a much sharper 31% in 2010, helping the country not only improve its world ranking to 20 from 22 in 2009 but also expand its market share to 1.4% from 1.2% a year ago. Interestingly, while exports shrunk by 20% in 2009 owing to contraction in demand, India 's share in world trade increased from 1.1% in 2008 and ranking improved from 26 the year before. Experts attribute the robust growth to a change in the composition of exports and addition of new markets. "Our basket has shifted from raw materials to manufactured goods, such as processed agri commodities and engineering items. Our exports have become relatively wide based in manufacturing," pointed out Rajesh Chadha, senior fellow, NCAER. Engineering and petroleum exports now account for 42% of exports as compared to 14% in 2000.
Accessed on 21 July < http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india-regaining-status-as-trading >
SINGAPORE UNITED STATE OF AMERICA
Singapore keeps 3rd spot in competitiveness ranking, Channel News Asia, 7 September 2011
Singapore is the third most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum's competitiveness ranking published on Thursday. The city-state was also placed third in 2009. But within Asia, Singapore is still the most competitive economy. Japan is in 6th place while Hong Kong 11th. Singapore won points for its lack of corruption and for the efficiency of its government. Meanwhile the US slipped two places to fourth, a year after losing the number one position for the first time since the Geneva-based organization began its current index in 2004. A budget shortfall of more than US$1 trillion and public distrust of politicians were among the weaknesses in the world's largest economy. The WEF study also found that a lack of macroeconomic stability continued to be the US ' greatest area of weakness. Switzerland , home to companies including drug maker Novartis and food company Nestle, retained the top spot. It was credited for its innovation and business culture. Sweden was ranked second, up from the fourth spot last year. The WEF credited Sweden for its transportation and high level of ethical behaviour.
Accessed on 7 September < http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories >
U.S. slips to fifth place on competitiveness list, New York Times, 7 September 2011
LONDON — The United States is slipping and emerging markets are improving, but European economies still dominate the list of the most competitive economies in the world, according to a World Economic Forum report released Wednesday. For the third consecutive year, Switzerland ranked first in the forum's annual competitiveness survey, which assesses countries based on 12 categories including innovation, infrastructure and the macroeconomic environment. The United States , which topped the list in 2008, continued its decline, also for the third year in a row, falling one place to fifth. The weaker performance was attributed to economic vulnerabilities as well as “some aspects of the United States ' institutional environment,” notably low public trust in politicians and concerns about government inefficiency. Singapore overtook Sweden to claim the second position. But perhaps surprisingly, given the crisis of confidence that continues to plague the European financial system, Western European countries dominated the survey's top 10 economies. Behind Sweden , Finland ranked fourth and Germany was sixth, followed by the Netherlands and Denmark . Britain was 10th; France was 18th and indebted Greece slid to 90th.
Accessed on 7 September < http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/business/global/us-slides>
World Bank's Zoellick sees anemic growth, The Wall Street Journal , 7 September 2011
In a news conference Tuesday, Mr. Zoellick repeated his warnings that European leaders must urgently address risks to euro-zone sovereign debt, and said China and India face challenges in responding to the weakened economies of the West. U.S. leaders should tackle overhauling the tax code and should be more aggressive in negotiating trade deals, Mr. Zoellick said. But he made a distinction between those long-term concerns and the crisis Europe is facing. " Europe has reached a point where I think the challenges for its leadership are more imminent. In the United States, I don't mean to suggest these problems can be deferred forever, but they're not quite as market sensitive," Mr. Zoellick said in a joint news conference with Singapore's deputy prime minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also the city-state's finance minister. Mr. Zoellick spoke to reporters during a visit to Singapore in which he announced an expansion of World Bank services in the city-state. Mr. Zoellick said bond-buying by the European Central Bank can buy time, but fundamental changes are needed to get Europe 's cash-strapped economies on a sound footing. "We're reaching a key decision point for European leaders," Mr. Zoellick said, noting that the bond-buying has revealed tensions between euro-zone countries.
Accessed on 7 September < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240531119049009045765539>
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 )
- Dialogue on Regional Cooperation for Trade Facilitation Building on Existing Regional/Subregional Framework and Action Plan, 3 October 2011, Seoul, Republic of Korea
To brainstorm and share information among regional/sub-regional organizations on trade facilitation programmes and frameworks. ESCAP is inviting relevant regional/sub-regional organizations to a Dialogue on Regional Cooperation for Trade Facilitation, to be held on the side of the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2011.
< http://www.unescap.org/tid/projects/rctf.asp >
- UNNExT Capacity Building Workshop on Addressing Legal Issues for Single Window Implementation and Paperless Trade, 7-8 October 2011, Seoul, Republic of Korea
The purpose of this pilot workshop is to introduce participants to legal issues that need to be addressed to enable paperless trade and single window implementation at the national level, as well as to facilitate interoperability and interconnectivity of e-trade systems across borders. The objective is to build the capacity of participants to develop comprehensive and harmonized paperless trade legal frameworks, providing a sound legal basis for the operation and interoperability of national single windows and related e-business and e-logistics platforms.
This workshop is organized in connection with the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2011, 4-5 October 2011, Seoul , Republic of Korea.
< http://www.unescap.org/tid/projects/legal-issues.asp >
World Bank Capacity Building Workshop on Trade and Transport Facilitation Assessments (TTFA)
To introduce participants to the World Bank toolkit on conducting trade and transport facilitation assessments
< http://www.unescap.org/tid/projects/wbcb.asp >
UNNExT Capacity Building Workshop on Data Harmonization for Single Window Environment, 7-8 October 2011, Seoul , Republic of Korea
To raise the awareness of and build capacity of managerial level stakeholders in the region on data harmonization. This workshop is organized in connection with the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2011, 4-5 October 2011, Seoul , Republic of Korea.
< http://www.unescap.org/tid/projects/swe.asp >
High-level Stakeholder Workshop for Sub-regional Trade and Transit Cooperation in Mongolian Trade Corridors
To provide a platform for strengthening cooperation on trade and transit issues in the subregion, in particular between China , Mongolia and the Russian Federation , through discussions on at- and behind-the-border bottlenecks and impediments identified in the study conducted by ESCAP.< http://www.unescap.org/tid/projects/mongo-tc.asp >
Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on the Green Economy: Trade and Sustainable Development Implications, UNCTAD Intergovernmental meetings, Room XXVI, Palais des Nations, 8–10 November 2011
To address the trade and sustainable development implications of the green economy, in particular, the concerns related to new forms of green protectionism and aid conditionality.
The green economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication is one of the themes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to be held in Brazil in 2012. UNCTAD, serving as the sustainable trade focal point for the Rio +20 Conference, is convening this meeting. It will also identify key conditions for a green economy to become a vehicle for sustainable development and areas where international action could promote an inclusive, broad-based and fair transition towards a green economy.
< http://www.unctad.org/Templates/meeting.asp?intItemID=1942&lang=1&m=21807 >
Eighth Annual Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion Working Group on Agriculture (GMS WGA8), Siem Reap, Cambodia , 25 October 2011 - 26 October 2011
The Greater Mekong Subregion Working Group on Agriculture (GMS WGA) is convened annually to discuss progress of the GMS regional cooperation program implemented under the Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP).
For the Eighth Meeting of the WGA (WGA-8), the theme will be Enhancing Competitiveness on Sustainable Sourcing and Tracing of Agri-food Products in the GMS.
G. RECENT PUBLICATIONS ON TRADE AND INVESTMENT
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report: Post-crisis Trade and Investment Opportunities, UNESCAP , (available online, pdf version, 4.99 MB, 212 pages)
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) is a recurrent publication prepared by the Trade and Investment Division. It aims to deepen understanding of regional trends and developments in trade and investment; emerging issues in trade, investment and trade facilitation policies; and impacts of these policies on countries' abilities to meet the challenges of achieving inclusive and sustainable development. With its theme of “Post-crisis trade and investment opportunities”, this year's Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment report identifies challenges and opportunities for trade and investment in the region. The report concludes that with strengthened regional cooperation and the right policies, the region will be able to continue its strong trade-and investment-led growth. The report identifies areas of opportunity in trade and investment for regional economies such as intraregional trade and investment, trade in services and trade and investment in climate-smart goods and technologies. It offers three key sets of policy actions to turn those opportunities into reality. One is through measures and strategies aimed at reducing trade costs within the region as well as between the region and the rest of the world. While trade facilitation has become almost a household term, there are still many areas where trade facilitation policies have not been effective. The report focuses on these recurrent problems and spells out concrete actions for Asia-Pacific economies to consider. Secondly, since these and other policies are aimed at enabling firms to do business more easily, the report also explores the conditions necessary for SMEs to connect not only with one another but also to regional and global value chains in order to enhance exports.
Accessed on 21 July <http://www.unescap.org/tid/publication>
Fighting Irrelevance: The Role of Regional Trade Agreements in International Production Networks in Asia , UNESCAP , (available online, pdf version, 3.52 MB, 252pages)
This publication brings together the main research outputs delivered under a common theme “Regional trade agreements and international production networks” of the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT) research programme, Phase II (2008-2010). ARTNeT is an open network of national-level research institutions in the region established by ESCAP and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada . The network has benefited from steadfast support by its core partners, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Trade Organization (WTO). Launched in 2004 with 10 member institutions, by the end of 2010 ARTNeT had grown to 30 institutional members and 11 associate partners in 18 countries in the Asia and Pacific region. ARTNeT's operation is based on a three-pillar approach: (a) the implementation of a demand-driven research programme; (b) the improvement of linking research to policy; and (c) increasing applied research capacity in the region, especially of the least developed and low-income developing country members. This book, as is the case with most of the work published by ARTNeT, combines all three of these components.
Published on 1 August 2011 < http://www.unescap.org/tid>
Redefining the Future of Growth: The New Sustainability Champions, World Economic Forum, (available online, pdf version, 8.55 MB, 56 pages)
The report Redefining the Future of Growth: The New Sustainability Champions, prepared with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), highlights innovative business practices from companies originating and operating in emerging markets. By focusing on a group of 16 exemplary companies called the New Sustainability Champions, the report shows how those businesses create unconventional and profitable solutions that positively impact economic growth and enhance overall sustainability in their regions. The World Economic Forum and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) set out to seek unconventional, practical solutions to the current challenges of growth, aiming to identify and support key business practices, and to relay them to the global community. This project deliberately did not look to governments, environmental organizations or multinational corporations from advanced economies – all sources of well practiced but as yet insufficient answers. Instead, it went to agents who deal with a wide range of constraints in their daily business: rapidly growing companies originating and operating in the emerging markets, where economic prosperity and populations are growing fastest, and where environmental constraints and stresses are often
The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 ,
World Economic Forum, (available online, pdf version, 8034 KB, 256 pages)
Geneva , Switzerland , 7 September 2011 – Switzerland tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, released today by the World Economic Forum. Singapore overtakes Sweden for second position. Northern and Western European countries dominate the top 10 with Sweden (3rd), Finland (4th), Germany (6th), the Netherlands (7th), Denmark (8th) and the United Kingdom (10th). Japan remains the second-ranked Asian economy at 9th place, despite falling three places since last year.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, comes out amid multiple challenges to the global economy and a continuing shift in the balance of economic activity away from advanced economies and toward emerging markets. Policymakers are struggling to find ways to manage the present economic challenges while preparing their economies to perform well in an increasingly complex global landscape and the report offers a unique tool in addressing some key issues.
Published 7 September 2011 <http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GCR>
World Trade Report 2011: The WTO and preferential trade agreements: From co-existence to coherence , WTO, (available online, pdf version, 8034 KB, 256 pages)
The ever-growing number of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) is a prominent feature of international trade. The World Trade Report 2011 describes the historical development of PTAs and the current landscape of agreements. It examines why PTAs are established, their economic effects, and the contents of the agreements themselves. Finally it considers the interaction between PTAs and the multilateral trading system. A ccumulated trade opening — at the multilateral, regional and unilateral level — has reduced the scope for offering preferential tariffs under PTAs. As a result, only a small fraction of global merchandise trade receives preferences, and preferential tariffs are becoming less important in PTAs. The report reveals that more and more PTAs are going beyond preferential tariffs, with numerous non-tariff areas of a regulatory nature being included in the agreements.
Published on 20 July 2011 <http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/anrep_e >
OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2011 , OECD, (available online, pdf version)
This tenth edition of the OECD Science, Technology and Industry (STI) Scoreboard builds on the OECD's 50 years of indicator development to present major world trends in knowledge and innovation. It analyses a wide set of indicators of science, technology, globalisation and industrial performance in OECD and major non-OECD countries (notably Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa) and includes some experimental indicators that provide insight into new areas of policy interest.
Published 20 September 2011 < http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org>
Trade and Development Report, 201: Post-crisis Policy Challenges in the World Economy, UNCTAD , (available online, pdf version, 631 KB, 224 pages)
The Trade and Development Report 2011 focuses on the post-crisis policy challenges in the world economy. It concludes that the recovery is slowing down and that the "two-speed recovery" is mainly the result of wide differences in domestic demand. In developing countries strong wage growth and sustained public support have prolonged the recovery in investment and domestic demand whereas in most developed economies private demand is subdued due to stagnating wages and little improvement in employment. The recent shift towards fiscal and monetary tightening represents a major risk for the global economy. The Report questions whether policymakers have drawn the lessons from the global financial and economic crisis. It shows that the widespread enthusiasm about system reform and supportive pro-growth macroeconomic policies when the crisis erupted has not lasted. Financial regulation reforms are progressing slowly and monetary system reform is limited. Published on 6 September 2011
< http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/tdr2011_en.pdf >
World Investment Report 2011: Non-Equity Modes of International Production and Development , UNCTAD , (available online, pdf version, 5459KB, 250 pages)
lobal foreign direct investment (FDI) has not yet bounced back to pre-crisis levels, though some regions show better recovery than others. The reason is not financing constraints, but perceived risks and regulatory uncertainty in a fragile world economy. The World Investment Report 2011 forecasts that, barring any economic shocks, FDI flows will recover to pre-crisis levels over the next two years. The challenge for the development community is to make this anticipated investment have greater impact on our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Published 26 July 2011 < http://www.unctad-docs.org/files>
The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 , UNHQ, (available online, pdf version, 4.04 KB, 72 pages)
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight targeted development aims designed to free humanity from extreme poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease by 2015. Together, they form a blueprint for development agreed upon by all the world's countries and all the world's leading development institutions. Reliable, timely and internationally comparable data on the MDG progress indicators are crucial for holding the international community to account, encouraging public support and funding for development, allocating aid effectively, and comparing progress among regions and across countries. This report draws on data from numerous international agencies and national governments to present an accounting to date of how far the world has come in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It outlines the significant progress made by some countries towards the MDGs, but also demonstrates that efforts to reach the MDGs by 2015 still need to be intensified. They must address disparities in progress between urban and rural areas, and increase efforts to target the world's hardest to reach populations, namely the extremely poor and those disadvantaged due to their sex, age, ethnicity or disability.
Published on 7 July 2011<http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/11_MDG%20Report >
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