Welcome to E-TISNET Monthly News to keep you abreast
of the latest developments on trade and investment relevant to the Asia-Pacific
region. E-TISNET Monthly News is the electronic and user-friendly
version of the former TISNET Trade and Investment Information
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Agriculture deal with Malaysia opens
door for FTA. The Age, 10 March
Australia and Malaysia have signed a memorandum
of understanding (MoU) that aims to foster
trade in agriculture, food processing, livestock
and fisheries. The MoU underpins private
and government-sector links, including training
and exchange programs, joint studies, better
links between research and development activities
as well as information exchanges on natural
resource management and water policies.
Australian agricultural exports to Malaysia
- sugar, wheat, dairy, meat, wool, wine,
and fruit and vegetables - were valued at
$A 860 million in 2005, making up about
one-third of Australia’s exports to
Malaysia. Malaysian exports to Australia
were worth $A 6 billion last year. Malaysia
is Australia's 12th largest export destination
and the seventh largest source of imports.
Key imports are cocoa, spices and wood products.
Accessed on 10 March
Government approves renewal of trade
deal with India. The Daily Star,
16 March 2006.
The Government has approved the renewal
of the bilateral trade agreement between
Bangladesh and India for two years. The
revised bilateral trade accord was first
signed in 1980 and then renewed periodically;
but it was not renewed since 2001 and
trade between the countries is currently
being carried out by extension of the
agreement on short-term ad hoc basis.
Accessed on 16 March < http://www.thedailystar.net/2006/03/16/d60316012418.htm
India and Bangladesh to boost trade.
BBC, 21 March 2006.
India and Bangladesh have agreed to address
their trade imbalance and step up efforts
in the war on illegal drugs. A joint statement
said expanding trade was important for
both countries. India said the neighbors
had also agreed to "join hands"
in fighting terrorism.
Accessed on 24 March < http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4823828.stm
India looking into Comprehensive Economic
Partnership Agreements with Japan and
the Republic of Korea. The Hindu,
1 March 2006.
India is exploring the possibility of
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements
(CEPA) with Japan and the Republic of
Korea to boost trade and investment ties
with these countries. Currently, India
and Japan are examining the possibility
of a CEPA in the context of work done
by a Joint Study Group (JSG), whereas
an India-Republic of Korea JSG has already
recommended a CEPA covering trade in goods
and services, measures for trade facilitation
and promotion of investment flows among
other things. A Joint Task Force had been
set up to work out details for such a
Accessed on 2 March < http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/006200603011501.htm
Trade agreement gives tariff preference
to Chile. The Financial Express,
9 March 2006.
India and Chile signed a Preferential
Trade Agreement (PTA) in New Delhi on
8 March, providing tariff preferences
on identified products from both countries.
The Indian products to benefit from the
agreement include textiles, chemicals,
pharmaceuticals, engineering and agricultural
machinery. Chilean products include newsprint,
cellulose, fish meal, copper, wood-boards
and salmon. The agreement provides tariff
preferences ranging from 10-50 per cent
on 178 tariff lines to Chile and a similar
range of preferences on 296 tariff lines
to India. The PTA which covers about 91
per cent of goods being exported by India
to Chile and about 98 per cent of Chile’s
export to India, is expected to be implemented
in about two months time.
Accessed on 10 March
India and Myanmar sign three agreements.
MSN Money, 9 March 2006.
India and Myanmar on 9 March signed three
MoUs on cooperation in the petroleum sector,
in Buddhist studies as well as a framework
agreement for cooperation in the field
of remote sensing. India also agreed to
extend nearly US$ 40 million in loans
to Myanmar for various projects.
Accessed on 17 March
Arniko Highway: transit route for Indo-China
trade. Kantipur Online, 15
Nepal is upgrading the Arniko highway
and constructing a Container Freight Station
(CFS) in the Tatopani area to develop
the highway as an immediate transit route
for Indo-China trade. The CFS will also
have customs and quarantine offices, among
others, for trade facilitation.
Accessed on 16 March < http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=68228
Pakistan and Russian Federation agree
to boost economic relations. The
Daily Times, 2 March 2006.
In a meeting held on 1 March, Pakistan
and the Russian Federation have agreed
to find ways to boost economic relations
between the Government and private entrepreneurs
of the two countries. The Russian Federation
informed that a delegation of top companies
would visit Pakistan at the end of March
and would also hold an exhibition in Karachi
to introduce products and services, which
could be offered to the Government and
the private sector. The Russian Federation
also expressed willingness to participate
in power projects in Pakistan as well
as aim of the upcoming investment opportunities
under the privatization programme of Pakistan.
Accessed on 2 March
SOUTH ASIAN FREE TRADE AREA
SAFTA fully into force as formalities
get complete. The Rising Nepal,
23 March 2006.
The Secretariat of the South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has announced
the formal enforcement of the South Asian
Free Trade Area (SAFTA) Agreement with
effect from 1 January 2006. SAFTA was
signed at Islamabad during the 12th (SAARC)
Summit on 6 January 2004. All the member
States have since completed the formalities
including depositing of their Instruments
of Ratification with the Secretariat which
formally launches SAFTA which is to be
completed by 1 January 2016. The first
round of customs duty reduction will take
place as agreed by the member states in
July/August 2006. Bangladesh, Bhutan,
the Maldives and Nepal will have to maintain
the customs duty from 0-5 per cent within
the next 10 years while India, Pakistan
and Sri Lanka will have to do the same
within seven years.
Accessed on 24 March
Singapore, Panama sign free trade agreement.
Channel News Asia, 1 March 2006.
Singapore and Panama have signed a Free
Trade Agreement (FTA), paving the way
for improved bilateral ties. According
to the FTA, companies in both countries
will have greater access to each other's
markets and trade and investment links
will be boosted. With nearly US$ 2 billion
in trade last year, Panama is Singapore's
largest trading partner in Latin America;
whereas Singapore was Panama's 6th largest
trading partner in 2004. Under the FTA,
tariffs on 98 per cent of Singapore's
domestic exports will be eliminated. The
FTA will also promote investments with
greater certainty, safeguards and dispute
settlement. It also spells out both parties'
commitment in maintaining an open and
transparent system of procurement. The
comprehensive agreement also covers customs
procedures, trade in goods and services,
and financial services.
Accessed on 2 March < http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/economicnews/view/195682/1/.html
Thailand and Chile agree to conduct
free-trade pact study. Chinaview,
12 March 2006.
Thailand and Chile have agreed to carry
out a feasibility study this year to pave
the way for the signing of a bilateral
FTA. Areas of potential cooperation between
the two countries include the establishment
of partnerships between Thai small and
medium enterprises and Chilean companies
in the field of biotechnology, hotel,
restaurant industries and tourism.
Accessed on 13 March < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-03/12/content_4293193.htm
Turkey, Ukraine to boost energy, trade
cooperation. Channel News Asia,
2 March 2006.
The foreign ministers of Turkey and Ukraine
agreed on an action plan to boost cooperation
between their countries, particularly
in the fields of energy and trade. Both
countries lie on the route of pipelines
carrying Russian natural gas, and earlier
this year, Ukraine, hit by a severe winter,
became the target of Russian accusations
of illegally siphoning off supplies destined
to European countries. In late January,
Turkey complained that the amount of Russian
gas coming via Ukraine decreased for several
days. It was agreed that the energy ministers
of both countries would meet soon to discuss
in detail ways of boosting energy cooperation.
Under the action plan, the two sides also
agreed to step up efforts to improve investment
conditions and remove outstanding legal
obstacles for trade, including a possible
easing of visa regimes.
Accessed on 2 March
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
United States of America and Malaysia
announce intention to negotiate Free Trade
Agreement. Office of the United
States Trade Representative, 8 March
The United States intends to negotiate
a FTA with Malaysia, with the goal of
removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers
and expanding trade between the countries.
The negotiations will begin after the
expiration of a 90-day consultation period
with the United States Congress. The United
States is Malaysia’s largest trading
partner and the largest foreign investor
in Malaysia. United States exports to
Malaysia totaled US$10.5 billion in 2005.
Accessed on 13 March
B. CUSTOMS REGULATIONS AND CHARGES
Azerbaijan and Islamic Republic of Iran
mull customs relations’ development.
Azertag, 7 March 2006.
Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran
have met on 6 March to discuss issues including
political, cultural, and economic and trade
links between two counties. Azerbaijan stated
that the number of the customs checkpoints
on borders of two countries should be increased,
the visa regime simplified and that the
customs services of two countries should
make concrete measures in this field. Azerbaijan
has also invited the head of the Islamic
Republic of Iran’s customs services
to visit Azerbaijan. The meeting also proposed
to open some other customs checkpoints,
such as the Aslanduz-Horadiz point, for
operation of the Bilasuvar joint market
on the border of two countries, and to arrange
an exhibition of products made in Ardebil
Accessed on 10 March
New act to make Customs more transparent.
Beijing Time, 7 March 2006.
Effective from 1 March 2006, China has introduced
the new Customs Statistics Act. The act
provides specifications on goods to be listed
in customs statistics, valuation principles
as well as other technical requirements
for establishing a comprehensive customs
statistics. It also prescribes that customs
should set up the system of regular announcement
of statistics, opening customs statistics
to the public; that customs statistics staff
are obligated to keep official secrets and
business secrets and that the clients have
the right to enquire the original and relevant
customs statistics information of their
declaration within the retention period.
Accessed on 10 March < http://en.ce.cn/Insight/200603/07/t20060307_6288818.shtml
China to raise export tariffs on copper
products. China View, 9 March
The Ministry of Finance announced that
China will raise export tariff rates on
25 categories of copper and copper-related
products as of 10 April 2006. The Tariff
Committee of the State Council has decided
to raise the provisional export tariff
on refined copper and copper alloy from
5 per cent to 10 per cent, while the tariff
rate on copper products will rise from
zero to 10 per cent. The move is designed
to limit the export of energy-intensive
and heavily-polluting commodities.
Accessed on 13 March < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-03/09/content_4281812.htm
Palmoil, soyoil import tariff value
increased. The Business Standard,
3 March 2006.
India has raised the import tariff value,
the base price at which import duty is
levied, on palmoils by US$ 11 a tonne
and crude soyoil by US$ 23 a tonne. The
increase may help converge prices of imported
oils and domestically produced ones. At
present, imported oils are selling at
Rs 3-4 per 10 kg; cheaper than the locally
Accessed on 7 March
HONG KONG, CHINA
Hong Kong, China and Thailand customs
decide to strengthen cooperation.
China View, 1 March 2006.
Hong Kong, China and Thai customs authorities
signed a document on 1 March 2006 to strengthen
cooperation in fighting transnational
crime. The arrangement marks the will
and commitment of both administrations
to fight against smuggling, drug trafficking,
and to protect intellectual property rights.
Hong Kong, China has so far signed similar
agreements with Australia, Belgium, Canada,
France, India, New Zealand, the United
Kingdom, the United States and the Republic
Accessed on 2 March < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-03/01/content_4245239.htm
Malaysia fast tracks commitment to
ASEAN Common Effective Preferential Tariff
Programme on automobiles. Bernama,
23 March 2006.
Malaysia brought forward its commitment
to liberalize its automotive sector in
line with that of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) under the National
Automotive Policy (NAP). The import duties
for qualifying ASEAN vehicles, namely
those with at least 40 per cent local
content, will be reduced to 5.0 per cent
from 15 per cent previously effective
from 23 March 2006.
Accessed on 24 March < http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_business.php?id=187411
Nepal urges India to withdraw newly
imposed duty. Nepal News,
7 March 2006.
Nepal has requested India to withdraw
the four per cent additional customs duty
being enforced since 1 March on Nepali
exports applicable to products on which
India extracts excise duty internally.
According to the Ministry of Industry,
Commerce and Supplies, the imposition
of the additional duty is against the
provision of the Nepal-India trade treaty.
The trade treaty between the two countries
provides preferential duty free market
access to Nepali products to India except
three sensitive products and four items
with quantitative restrictions.
Accessed on < http://www.nepalnews.com/archive/2006/mar/mar07/news03.php
Pakistan and Islamic Republic of Iran
finalize MoU for Customs Cooperation.
Pakistanlink, 11 March 2006.
Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran
have finalized a MoU on the implementation
of the bilateral agreement on customs
cooperation. The new protocol will enable
the customs administrations of both countries
to undertake regular review meetings in
each other's territory. The review will
also resolve day-to-day problems arising
in the context of import and export of
cargo and to evolve strategies for the
circumvention of Customs offenses. The
customs administrations have also agreed
to exchange data on bilateral trade.
Accessed on 13 March < http://www.pakistanlink.com/Headlines/March06/11/06.htm
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
New customs post to open for inter-Korea
travel. Joong Ang Daily,
3 March 2006.
The Unification Ministry announced that
new customs, immigration and quarantine
offices, to check travelers from and between
the two Koreas are to be opened on 15
March. The official opening comes nearly
two months after the officials moved into
the buildings, following their completion
in late January. The Republic of Korea
set up its first clearance office for
travelers to and from the Democratic Republic
of Korea in July 2000, following the first-ever
inter-Korean ministerial talks, in which
the sides agreed to reconnect cross-border
roads and railways for the first time
since the end of 1950-1953 Korean War.
Accessed on 7 March
Russian Federation raises oil export
duty from 1 April 2006. Top.rbc.ru,
1 March 2006.
The Russian Federation will raise the
export duty for oil from US$ 160.8 to
US$ 186.4 per tonne from 1 April 2006,
this being the maximum export duty that
has ever been levied in the Russian Federation.
The export duty is US$ 137.9 per tonne
for light oil products and US$ 74.3 per
tonne for dark oil products.
Accessed on 2 March
Lanka to cut tariff on Indian imports
from next month. The Financial
Express, 27 March 2006.
Sri Lanka will relax its import tariff
on a multitude of Indian goods from April,
as part of a bilateral trade deal. Over
2,000 Indian goods are covered under the
new tariff structure. The tariff rate
for Indian finished goods will fall from
28.0 per cent to 8.40 per cent and from
2.5 per cent to 0.75 per cent for industrial
raw materials and machinery. Under the
Indo-Lanka free trade agreement, tariffs
are to come down to not less than 70 per
cent of the general customs duty rate
this year. Also, Sri Lanka will relax
its tariffs by 30 per cent for Pakistani
goods from July. The complete phase out
will be reached on goods from India by
2008 and by 2010 for goods from Pakistan.
Accessed on 27 March < http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=121734
Law streamlines customs inspections.
Viet Nam News Agency, 15 March
Goods being imported and exported in and
out of Viet Nam are now being cleared
more efficiently following the implementation
of a new Customs Law. The new law, which
streamlines goods inspection procedures,
has resulted in 70 per cent of imports
being waived from actual inspection, a
30 per cent rise from levels two months
ago. Some 87 per cent of exports bypass
inspection, up from 62 per cent previously.
The new law also shortens the time needed
for customs clearance for goods that are
being exported or imported. It now takes
between 5 and 60 minutes to complete customs
procedures for most export goods - 28
per cent faster than before.
Accessed on 16 March < http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=04BUS150306
C. NON-TARIFF MEASURES
Dhaka to seek full market access.
The Daily Star, 15 March 2006.
Bangladesh seeks greater market access for
its goods in India to minimize the US$ 2
billion trade gap. The Ministry of Foreign
Affairs stated that it expected a unilateral
decision from India for 100 per cent market
access for Bangladeshi products and lifting
of all kinds of para-tariff and non-tariff
barriers in reciprocation of Bangladesh’s
market opening policy to Indian goods and
Accessed on 20 March < http://www.thedailystar.net/2006/03/15/d60315050256.htm
European Commission invites balanced
proposal for relaxation of rules of origin.
The Daily Star, 15 March 2006.
The European Commission has invited a
balanced proposal from Bangladesh for
relaxation of the EU Rules of Origin (RoO)
on trade facilities. Furthermore, at a
meeting held in Dhaka, the EU assured
Bangladesh of providing technical and
vocational training, training to shrimp
farmers and shrimp testing machines as
part of their assistance for building
Bangladesh's trade capacity and also assured
support in moving the country's cause
at the next trade negotiations under the
World Trade Organization.
Accessed on 15 March < http://www.thedailystar.net/2006/03/15/d60315050256.htm
European Union furniture makers seeking
anti-dumping measures versus China imports.
Forbes, 7 March 2006
Commission adopts provisional anti-dumping
measures on Chinese and Vietnamese leather
shoes. EU Commission Press Release,
23 March 2006.
The European Commission has adopted proposals
by the European Trade Commissioner to
impose a provisional anti-dumping duty
on leather shoes from China and Viet Nam.
The measures follow a preliminary Commission
investigation that has identified clear
evidence of disguised subsidies and unfair
state intervention to the leather footwear
sector in China and Viet Nam. The Trade
Commissioner on 23 March firmly reiterated
his willingness to work with the Vietnamese
and Chinese Governments to address the
questions of competitive distortions raised
by the Commission’s investigation.
Accessed on 24 March
Germany and Italy are seeking European action
against the alleged dumping of Chinese furniture.
Furniture makers are preparing to file an
anti-dumping complaint to the European Commission,
alleging China has been selling upholstered
sofas and other seats at below domestic
prices. Germany and Italy together account
for almost half the EU's annual 117 billion
euro furniture production.
Accessed on 13 March < http://www.forbes.com/work/feeds/afx/2006/03/07/afx2577729.html
India targets tripling of handicrafts
export. The Hindu, 19 March
India targets tripling Indian handicrafts
export to Rs 39,000 crore by year 2010,
creating 20 lakh new jobs in the process.
The Government will initiate a series
of long and short term measures in consultation
with the Export Promotion Council for
Handicrafts to substantially enhance productivity
and export competitiveness of Indian handicrafts.
Although handicraft exports have been
growing consistently at over 20 per cent
over the past decade, India's share in
international handicrafts is just about
two per cent. Handicrafts is the second
largest employment generator after agriculture.
Accessed on 20 March < http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200603191921.htm
OECD countries agree guidelines on
licensing of healthcare genetics.
OECD, 1 March 2006.
As response to concerns that patenting
of genetic inventions and restrictive
licensing of their use is reducing access
to the benefits of the technology and
discouraging new research, OECD member
countries have now adopted a set of guidelines
for the licensing of genetic inventions
used in healthcare. By setting out principles
and best practices for businesses, researchers
and health systems that enter into license
agreements for genetic inventions, the
guidelines aim to encourage broad licensing
and timely dissemination of biotechnological
innovation. The guidelines were developed
by a broad group of experts from diverse
backgrounds and were subject to wide public
consultation prior to adoption. Though
they are not legally binding, they represent
an important political and moral commitment
on the part of OECD countries. Governments
have agreed to report back in four years
time on progress in their diffusion and
Accessed on 2 March
The full text of the guidelines is available
at: < http://www.oecd.org/sti/biotechnology/licensing
Focus on agriculture-based products
to boost export. Pakistan Tribune,
15 March 2006.
The President of Pakistan said on 13 March
that to develop Pakistan’s export
potential, the Government was pursuing
a five-point future strategy, with special
focus on development of agriculture-based
products, for boosting the country's export.
The five-pronged strategy includes use
of diplomacy in a more effective and efficient
way and signing of free trade agreements,
including with Latin American and Far
Accessed on 16 March < http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=137416
Pakistan, United States ink declaration
of principles on integrated cargo/container
control programme. Pakistan Tribune,
5 March 2006.
Pakistan and the United States have signed
a declaration of principles on enhancing
international maritime trade security
under a bilateral initiative called the
Integrated Cargo/Container Control (IC3)
Programme. The IC3 programme envisages
joint screening of United States-bound
containerized cargo from Pakistan via
live video link by the Customs authorities
of Pakistan and United States. The screened
cargo will not be subjected to re-examination
by United States Customs on arrival at
United States ports.
Accessed on 7 March < http://paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=136257
New non-tariff zone established in
An Giang province. Nhan Dan,
10 March 2006.
The southwestern province of An Giang
officially established a non-tariff zone
(NTZ) within the Tinh Bien international
border gate on 10 March in an effort to
promote local production and business
activities. Covering an area of 66.5 hectares,
the NTZ is divided into two parts, one
for goods production and the other for
services, international trade and showrooms.
In 2002, the Tinh Bien border gate was
upgraded to an international border gate.
It helps increase goods exchanges between
Viet Nam and Cambodia. Along with the
establishment of a NTZ, the province also
introduced new incentives to encourage
all economic sectors, including overseas
Vietnamese and foreign investors, to invest
in the non-tariff zone.
Accessed on 13 March < http://www.nhandan.com.vn/english/business/100306/investment_new.htm
Viet Nam shrimp exporters request
United States to review anti-dumping action.
Thanhien News, 1 March 2006.
All Vietnamese shrimp exporters who have
sent shipments to the United States since
July 2004 have submitted requests to the
United States Department of Commerce (DOC)
to reconsider the anti-dumping tariffs
against them. Viet Nam is among six countries
on whom the United States slapped anti-dumping
tariffs, the others being China, Brazil,
Ecuador, India and Thailand. The DOC will
choose three companies at random and consider
their export prices for one year as compared
with the prices when they first exported
shrimp to the United States. Then, it
will fix new tariffs for these three companies
and impose the average tariff rates for
the rest. High anti-dumping tariffs did
not stop most of the six countries from
ranking among the top 10 suppliers of
shrimp to the United States market last
Accessed on 2 March < http://www.thanhniennews.com/business/?catid=2&newsid=13120
D. INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY-RELATED INFORMATION
APEC Health Task Force outlines priorities
for the year ahead. APEC, 2
The APEC Health Task Force (HTF) has agreed
on its 2006 work plan that includes a joint
action plan to address health and economic
impacts of infectious disease and in particular
deal with pandemic influenza preparedness
and response. The work plan focuses on areas
such as risk communications and public awareness
of issues relating to pandemics and ensuring
the continuity of business and economic
activities in the event of a crisis. Another
priority of the HTF will be pursuing activities
to strengthen the ability of APEC economies
to respond to HIV/AIDS, focusing on creating
an enabling environment for employers to
implement effective workplace practices
for people living with HIV/AIDS and supporting
prevention activities in work place settings.
Accessed on 7 March < http://www.apec.org/apec/news___media/media_releases/280206_vn_htf.html
China speeds up water-saving efforts.
Gov.cn, 12 March 2006.
To cope with water shortages, China has
formulated a new idea which emphasizes
management and the scientific use of water
resources. The draft of the 11th Five-Year
Plan for Economic and Social Development,
which is scheduled to be adopted by the
current session of the Tenth National
People's Congress, highlighted the importance
of water management. It noted that China
should transfer its focus from exploration
of water resources to the saving, protection
and proper distribution of water. The
country has launched a South-to-North
Water Diversion Project, the world's largest
water diversion project, to transfer water
from the rainy South to the dry North
via existing or new rivers, channels and
reservoirs. The three thousand kilometer
long route of the project will be completed
or kicked off in the next five years.
The State Council issued a new regulation
earlier this year on the license and fees
for water, which detailed the procedure
and regulated the collection and distribution
of fees. Chinese mega-cities such as Beijing,
Shanghai and Tianjin have also taken measures,
including subsidizing water-saving taps
or toilets, to educating and helping citizens
Accessed on 13 March <
Government to promote agricultural
products sales. GOV.cn, 2
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture unveiled
a series of plans to promote the sale
of Chinese agricultural products both
at home and abroad. China plans to build
more overseas sales platforms abroad to
make domestic agricultural products available
in the overseas market. Furthermore, an
agricultural products sales-promotion
mechanism has taken shape in China which
includes various sales service systems.
Besides the overseas sales platforms,
the Government will establish an online
exhibition hall in the country's major
agriculture website with which to attract
more than 6,000 agricultural products
from about 4,000 domestic companies. In
addition, the ministry will make more
advertisements to promote sales of domestic
agricultural products, and organize more
domestic and overseas agricultural exhibitions
Accessed on 2 March < http://english.gov.cn/2006-03/02/content_215600.htm
Helping promote renewable energy in
Fiji Islands. ADB, 28 February
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will
help prepare a renewable power sector
development project for Fiji through a
US$ 650,000 technical assistance (TA)
grant. The Government of Fiji envisions
a resource-efficient, cost-effective,
and environmentally sustainable energy
sector. To achieve this, the Fiji Electric
Authority (FEA) has embarked on a strategy
to diversify its generation sources and
promote clean and renewable energy. The
financing needs for FEA's plans over the
next five years are estimated at US$ 300
million. The TA will help prepare a project
that will expand, at the least cost, FEA's
program for renewable and indigenous resources,
as well as upgrade FEA's transmission
and distribution networks. The TA will
also assess FEA's financial performance,
analyze the "climate-proofing"
of the proposed project to withstand extreme
climate events and assess the possibility
of using the clean development mechanism
for the project. The Government will contribute
US$ 280,000 equivalent towards the TA's
total cost of US$ 930,000. The Ministry
of Works and Energy is the executing agency
for the TA, which is due for completion
in September 2006.
Accessed on 2 March < http://www.adb.org/Media/Articles/2006/9393-Fiji-Islands-power/default.asp
India and United States to sign agreement
on launching satellites. The Hindu,
3 March 2006.
India and the United States have agreed
to sign a Technology Safeguard Agreement
as part of the measures that will facilitate
India to launch United States licensed
satellites and also third country satellites
carrying United States controlled items.
The pact will seek to safeguard the protected
technologies of either country associated
with such missions. The Indian Space Research
Organization (ISRO) and the United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) have also formulated two MoUs that
define the scope of the experiments and
the sharing of responsibilities and data
with regard to the two instruments from
NASA that are to be flown as part of Chandrayaan,
India's first lunar mission scheduled
to be launched next year. The radar will
map the polar landscape and deposits of
water in these cold traps up to a depth
of a few metres. The mineralogy mapper
will assess the mineral resources of the
moon and characterize and map the composition
of its surface at high spatial resolution.
Accessed on 7 March < http://www.hindu.com/2006/03/03/stories/2006030302001500.htm
Industrial zones getting wired for
market edge. The Myanmar Times,
6-12 March 2006.
Internet access will be made available
at four major Myanmar industrial zones
for the first time this year. The Industrial
Development Information System (IDIS)
project will provide internet connections
to businesses in the Mandalay industrial
zone, Hlaing Thar Yar, Aye Thar Yar, Monwya
zones at a relatively low cost to the
users. The aim is to enhance industrial
development through increasing access
to market information. More than 80 per
cent of factories at the Hlaing Thar Yar
zone have agreed to have an IDIS connection
in their workplace. Users will be able
to communicate online with government
ministries, including the Ministries of
Industry, traders and investors from Myanmar
and abroad, financial institutions and
industrial zones’ management committees.
Accessed on 17 March
Livestock development policy approved:
sector's growth to double by 2010.
Business Recorder, 2 March 2006.
The Prime Minister on 1 March approved
an ambitious five-year livestock development
policy envisaging a more than double increase
in the growth rate of the sector from
its current level of three per cent per
annum. According to the policy, the Government
will focus on enhancing indigenous meat,
milk and wool production through a number
of measures to meet the 6 to 7 per cent
target of overall livestock growth rate
by 2010. The major thrust in the strategy
is to encourage the private sector for
playing a lead role in the development
of the livestock while the public sector
focuses on providing safe and quality
products at competitive prices, covering
entire value chain with focus on marketing
and poverty reduction.
Accessed on 2 March
Sri Lanka Telecom links up with Maldives.
South Asian Media, 2 March 2006.
Sri Lanka will add the Maldivian current
telecommunication operator to its list
of regional clients, commissioning an
undersea cable by late 2006. Tenders for
the 10 gigabit undersea cable project
are currently being evaluated. The undersea
link will help the Maldives cut its voice
and data tariffs, which are currently
at a regional high due to its dependence
on international bandwidth through satellite
based technologies. The fixed line giant
plans to use international bandwidth capacity
added through the fourth South East Asia
- Middle East – Western Europe (SEA-ME-WE
4) undersea cable commissioned in November
2005 to become a regional telecom hub.
Accessed on 2 March
Viet Nam targets US$ 2 billion from
exports of electronic products in 2006.
Viet Nam Economy, 28 February
Viet Nam strives to earn US$ 2 billion
from exporting electronic products and
computer parts in 2006, US$ 500 million
higher than last year. The Ministry of
Trade has announced that it will work
to create favorable conditions for foreign
investors to increase production of electronic
products and computer parts. It will also
adjust material import taxes for some
products proposed by foreign investors
and encourage local companies to boost
exports and increase investment in production
projects, meeting large-scale orders.
Accessed on 1 March
E. INVESTMENT-RELATED INFORMATION
ADB loan to boost Bangladesh's capital
market and insurance sector. ADB,
19 March 2006.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) aims to
help reinforce investor confidence in Bangladesh's
financial markets through a US$ 3 million
loan to improve good governance practices
in the capital market and the insurance
sector. The project will strengthen the
regulation and supervision of the capital
market, boost the capacity of regulators,
and provide recommendations to increase
demand for and supply of securities by addressing
market gaps. It will also support Government-led
reforms being pursued in the insurance sector,
including a revamp of the insurance legislation
and the establishment of a new regulatory
authority, based on international best practices.
Accessed on 22 March
Agreement on promoting investment in Pakistan.
Bilaterals, 19 March 2006.
A joint venture agreement between the
Brunei Investment Agency and the Government
of Pakistan was signed on 18 March 2006
with the objective to promote investment
in Pakistan. Both sides will contribute
to equity, and undertake and finance projects
in industrial areas.
Accessed on 22 March < http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=4173
Bilateral investment protection agreement
with China on way; trade set to touch
US$ 50 billion by 2010. Outlook
India, 16 March 2006.
India and China have reached consensus
on a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement
(BIPA) and have initiated a draft. The
two countries have also agreed to look
into the possibility of a regional trade
agreement and decided to set up a CEO's
Forum as part of efforts to strengthen
economic ties and enhance two-way trade
to US$ 50 billion 2010. Furthermore, they
have chosen to establish six task forces
related to WTO, harmonization of standards,
rules of origin, non-tariff barriers,
agriculture and reconciliation of trade.
Accessed on 20 March < http://www.outlookindia.com/pti_news.asp?id=370565
International Finance Corporation recommends
corporate governance tier at bourses.
Jang Group, 8 March 2006.
The International Finance Corporation
(IFC) has suggested the introduction of
a corporate governance listing tier in
the stock exchanges for the effective
implementation of corporate governance
in Pakistan. Companies listed on that
tier would commit to comply with all corporate
governance codes, including enhanced provisions
for majority board independence that is
currently voluntary; mandatory director
certification and strengthened audit committees.
IFC suggested to develop a national action
plan for corporate governance; in cooperation
with regulators, issuers and other stake
holders; which should be used to design
high quality and relevant technical assistance
programs in this area.
Accessed on 13 March
Financial services to be included in
Consumer Protection Fair Trading Act.Channel News Asia, 6 March 2006.
The Minister of State for Trade and Industry
has announced that financial services
would now be included in the Consumer
Protection Fair Trading Act (CPFTA), including
insurance companies and banks. The ministry
is currently working with the Monetary
Authority of Singapore to come up with
the implementation details. The CPFTA
came into effect on 1 March 2004, but
since financial services were not included,
many consumers faced hard-sell tactics
and lack of information for financial
Accessed on 13 March
Singapore to target big investors
to boost Islamic banking. Global
Pro, 2 March 2006.
Singapore will target large funds and
high net-worth individuals overseas to
develop its Islamic finance industry.
The Singapore Exchange which operates
the city's securities and derivatives
markets is also looking at Islamic equity
instruments to boost the fund management
industry targeting Muslim investors. Singapore
is vying with neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia
for business from investors and depositors
in West Asia after crude oil prices rose
to a record last year. The city-state
has been promoting Islamic financial services
in the past two years, using its position
as an Asian financial centre. Islamic
law, or Syariah, forbids the payment of
interest and bans investment in businesses
such as alcohol, tobacco and gaming. Islamic
funds consisting of bank assets and money
under management total about US$ 300 billion
Accessed on 2 March
Viet Nam and Egypt sign double taxation
avoidance agreement. Nhan Dan,
11 March 2006.
Viet Nam and Egypt have signed agreements
on avoiding double taxation, fighting
tax evasion and boosting co-operation
in tourism. The two sides also inked two
MoUs on a bilateral information-culture
cooperation programme in the 2005-2010
period and a fair-exhibition cooperation
programme to promote trade and investment
between the two countries.
Accessed on 15 March < http://www.nhandan.com.vn/english/business/110306/business_egypt.htm
F. DID YOU KNOW THAT...?
… China uses a Happiness index
to evaluate development?
A new economic index, that goes beyond
reporting reams of hard industrial data,
is emerging from annual meetings of regional
legislatures that recently wrapped around
the country; it's called the "happiness
Read the full report from the Chinese
Government’s official webpage:
Accessed on 1 March 2006
… climate change could worsen
The effects of climate change have the
potential to exacerbate poverty in Asia.
The direct and indirect effects of climate
change will displace people, threaten
food security in the region, increase
the scarcity of freshwater and lead to
loss of life and property.
Read the whole report from the ADB:
Accessed on 22 March 2006
… Japan plans to crack down
on copyright theft?
A bill seeking to tighten the screws
on intellectual property rights violators
was submitted to the parliament. Intended
to be implemented next year, the bill
stipulates that anyone caught copying
patents or trademarks could face up to
10 years in prison and 10 million yen
Read the full report from Asia Times
Accessed on 22 March 2006.
… the gray economy accounts
for 27,5 per cent of the Republic of Korea?
The Republic of Korea’s underground
economy accounts for 27.5 per cent of
the nation's total output, well above
the average of other developed economies.
Read the full report from the Korea Herald:
Accessed on 28 February 2006.
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