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China and Cambodia sign multiple agreements
on cooperation. ChinaView,
8 April 2006.
China and Cambodia on 7 April signed nearly
a dozen agreements designed to strengthen
bilateral cooperation in fields including
economy, trade, health and protection of
cultural relics. The documents, among others,
include agreements on bilateral economic
and technical cooperation and on cooperation
in combating transnational crime, a memorandum
of understanding (MoU) on the construction
of the Cambodian Section of the Greater
Mekong Subregion Information Superhighway
Network, and an agreement on the second
phase of a project of joint protection of
the Angkor Temples.
Accessed on 11 April < http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2006-04/08/content_563388.htm
Japan tells China to change ‘unfair’
trade practices. Japan Times,
12 April 2006.
Japan and Gulf nations agree on free
trade talks. Kkhaleej Times,
6 April 2006.
Japan and the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) which includes Bahrain, Kuwait,
Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates agreed to meet in Riyadh
in May to prepare for free trade negotiations.
GCC accounted for 75 per cent of oil imports
by Japan last year. Japan and GCC countries
plan to start official negotiations in
July and want to reach an agreement in
2008. Japan hopes to use the talks to
reduce the six states’ five per
cent tariffs on most imports and to help
Japanese companies export more automobiles
and construction machinery. Japan has
been pushing for more FTAs around the
world. It has already signed accords with
Malaysia, Mexico and Singapore. It has
also struck basic accords the Philippines
and Thailand, and launched negotiations
with Chile, Indonesia, the Republic of
Korea and the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Accessed on 7 April
Japan urged China on 11 April to alter trade
practices that it considers unfair, such
as imposing tariffs on auto parts that are
as high as those on assembled cars, and
expanding its list of hazardous chemicals
on short notice to effectively block exports
of items that contain them. Japan has requested
that China lower to 10 per cent its planned
25 per cent tariff on auto parts, scheduled
to take effect in July, if the value of
imported auto parts exceeds 60 per cent
of the assembled vehicle's price. The 25
per cent tariff is the same as that levied
on finished cars. On 30 March 2006, the
United States of America and the European
Union filed a joint complaint with the World
Trade Organization over China's ‘unfair’
treatment of American and European auto
Accessed on 17 April < http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20060412a1.html
Syria and Malaysia discuss joint cooperation.
ChamPress, 10 April 2006.
Syria and Malaysia met to discuss cooperation
and ways of developing it in all fields.
The talks focused on enhancing cooperation
in agriculture through the exchange of
scientific and technical expertise, particularly
in the domain of developing the food industry
and managing agricultural resources. Moreover,
they also covered the possibility of establishing
joint investment projects and activating
the private sector's role.
Accessed on 11 April <
Pakistan and Oman to expand economic
relations. Business Recorder,
4 April 2006.
Pakistan and Oman have agreed to expand
their bilateral relations in diverse areas,
including economy, trade, investment,
education and defense. Pakistan invited
Oman to consider building storage and
warehouse facilities in Gwadar. Oman has
also been asked to make use of Pakistan's
defense production capabilities and facilities.
Accessed on 4 April
Series of accords signed with Yemen.
Business Recorder, 11 April 2006.
Pakistan and Yemen have signed a series
of agreements to promote cooperation in
the fields of media, tourism and sport.
The two countries agreed to invigorate
private sector participation for increased
bilateral commerce and economic ties and
also reaffirmed their commitment to forging
cooperation in terrorism jointly.
Accessed on 11 April
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
United States rice auction receives
cool response from local consumers.
The Korea Herald, 6 April 2006.
The first public auction of rice imported
to the Republic of Korea originating from
the United States was held on 5 April
2006. It was the first time foreign rice
was made directly available on the market
for consumers. The Ministry of Agriculture
began electronically auctioning the initial
shipment through the state-run Korea Agro-Fisheries
Trade Corporation. However, response to
the action was weak, only 16 bids were
submitted. The Republic of Korea is obliged
to import rice from Australia, China,
Thailand and the United States under agreements
made with the World Trade Organization
in 2004. Rice farmers have been vociferously
opposing trade agreements that call for
a further opening of the rice market.
Accessed on 7 April
Russian Federation to work closer with
Myanmar. The Moscow Times,
4 April 2006.
The Russian Federation and Myanmar agreed
to step up a number of partnerships. Among
others, a Russian oil company signed a
memorandum of understanding (MoU) with
Myanmar's Energy Ministry. Furthermore,
Myanmar called on Russian companies to
invest in Myanmar, naming rubber, gas
and oil as possible areas for cooperation.
Accessed on 4 April < http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/04/04/042.html
United Sates of America and Singapore
agree to hold talks to speed up tariff
cuts. Channel News Asia,
31 March 2006.
The United States and Singapore agreed
on 30 March to launch discussions to consider
acceleration of the elimination of tariffs
on some products under their two-year-old
free trade agreement (FTA).
Accessed on 3 April
Singapore and Indonesia to establish
Batam and Bintan as Special Economic Zones.
Channel News Asia, 4 April 2006.
Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to
jointly establish a Special Economic Zone
(SEZ) encompassing the Indonesian islands
of Batam and Bintan. It will be the first
of seven such zones Indonesia wants to
have across the country.
Accessed on 11
WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
China, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
team up to voice resource constraint.
The Financial Express, 18 April
China, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have
demanded that the multilateral trade facilitation
rules being negotiated at the World Trade
Organization (WTO) should take into account
the resource constraints in developing
countries and address their concerns in
the area of implementation. In a joint
submission, the countries claimed that
given their limited resources and comparatively
low levels of development, a major concern
is that commitments they have to make
might be beyond their implementation capability.
They also apprehended that the promised
technical assistance and capacity-building
support may not be sufficient to meet
Accessed on 20 April < http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=124070
B. CUSTOMS REGULATIONS AND CHARGES
Customs shops for ID management.
ZDNet Australia, 18 April 2006.
The Australian Customs Service (ACS) issued
tender for installing a new identity management
systems, saying its current capabilities
"pose challenges" to security,
privacy and efficiency within the agency.
The new identity management system will
be installed in Canberra, and possibly Sydney.
According to the tender, ACS wants a comprehensive
system based on off-the-shelf software,
including the ability to archive all events
like identity creation and password resets
for audit records. The system must also
generate cryptographic keys for secure access.
The system is part of the ACS' overall identity
management strategy, which aims to address
risk and audit requirements over the next
three to five years.
Accessed on 20 April
Delhi barriers on Dhaka jute goods.
The Daily Star, 16 April 2006.
India has restricted import of jute products
from Bangladesh by raising import duties
from currently eight per cent to twelve
per cent and by imposing non-tariff barriers.
Submissions of chemical testing certificates
have become mandatory for Bangladeshi traders
who export twines. The certificates, to
be issued by the Indian authorities, have
to certify that the twines do not have oil
content over three per cent.
Accessed on 17 April < http://www.thedailystar.net/2006/04/16/d6041601106.htm
China and Japan sign agreement on customs
cooperation. ChinaView, 2
China and Japan have signed an agreement
on mutual assistance and cooperation in
law enforcement, information exchange,
technical cooperation and personnel training
between their customs departments. Under
the agreement, customs of the two countries
are obliged to provide each other with
information on possible activities breaching
the Customs laws and regulations within
their jurisdiction. Furthermore, they
should, at the request of the other, conduct
special surveillance of people suspected
of breaking customs laws. The agreement
will further consolidate the legal basis
for bilateral cooperation between the
Customs departments of the two countries.
Accessed on 3 April < http://news3.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-04/02/content_4376034.htm
Government revises imported oil, brass
scrap tariff. The Financial Express,
18 April 2006.
India has revised tariff values on various
imported vegetable oils and brass scrap.
These revised tariff values come into
effect immediately. The tariff value on
crude palm oil (CPO) will be US$ 20 per
tonne, while that on refined, bleached
and deodorized (RBD) palm oil will be
US$ 435 per tonne and that on other palm
oils US$ 428 per tonne. For crude palmolein,
the tariff value has been fixed at US$
442 per tonne, while that on RBD palmolein
is fixed at US$ 445 per tonne and that
on other palmolein at US$ 444 per tonne.
The tariff value on crude soybean oil
is fixed higher at US$ 518 per tonne.
The tariff value on all grades of brass
scrap is fixed at US$ 2,327 per tonne.
India makes periodic adjustments in tariff
values on imported vegetable oils and
brass scrap taking into consideration
the fluctuations in global prices and
the external value of the Indian rupee
in relation to United States dollar.
Accessed on 20 April < http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=124104
Kazakh Prime Minister issues resolution
to simplify customs clearance of fruits
and vegetables. UzReport.com,
17 April 2006.
The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan has adopted
a resolution on additional measures on
stabilization of prices in consumer markets.
Among other policies, the document entrusts
corresponding bodies to simplify customs
clearance of fruits, vegetables, berry,
melons and gourds by using the single-window
principle and to adjust customs clearance
of products with the Uzbek and Kyrgyz
Accessed on 17 April <
Government to slash import duties on
oil to ease price pressures. The
Manila Times, 27 April 2006.
The Philippines has agreed to reduce import
duties on oil, instead of a proposal to
lift the value-added tax (VAT) on the
product. The impact of reducing oil tariffs
on Government revenues is expected to
be smaller than suspending the VAT. At
present the Government collects a 3 per
cent duty on imported oil, based on the
assumption of the price of US$ 56 per
barrel for Dubai crude oil, the benchmark
for Philippine purchases of the commodity.
The tariffs will be reduced to 2 per cent
if Dubai crude reaches US$ 61, to 1 per
cent if it reaches US$ 66 and to zero
if it reaches US$ 72 per barrel. Besides
oil tariff reduction, the Government also
plans to allot bike and motorcycle lanes
in major roads, and to implement daylight
savings time (DST) scheme.
Accessed on 27 April
Russian Federation to lift some raw
material import duties. Interfax,
3 April 2006.
The Interdepartmental Commission on Protective
Measures in Foreign Trade approved the
lifting of import duties on some raw materials
that are either not produced in the Russian
Federation or not produced in sufficient
quantity. The commission will recommend
the Government to lift import duties on
raw materials containing germanium, natural
and depleted uranium, natural latex, terephthalic
acid and flat steel roll with width of
3,000 mm and more.
Accessed on 4 April < http://www.interfax.com/3/144490/news.aspx
Export duties to be abolished.
RBC News, 10 April 2006.
The Ministry of Economy intends to abolish
export duties on all goods except raw
materials in 2007. A decision is expected
to take shape by the end of 2006. More
amendments are underway to the Russian
Federation’s customs legislation
in connection with the countries’
accession to the WTO.
Accessed on 11 April < http://www.rbcnews.com/free/20060410183928.shtml
Just five per cent for ASEAN car import
tariffs by 2010. Viet Nam News
Agency, 7 April 2006.
The Ministry of Finance has finalized
a tariff roadmap towards an ASEAN Free
Trade Area, which calls for a huge cut
of duties on brand-new car imports from
member countries to five per cent by 2010
from 90 per cent currently. The process
will begin in 2008 for cars with under
nine seats, with tariff level proposed
to drop to 20 per cent. Tariffs will continue
to fall to 10 per cent by 2009 and five
per cent by 2010. For cars with more than
nine seats each, the process will begin
one year earlier, in 2007, with the rate
to drop initially to 20 per cent. The
rates will reduce to 10 per cent by 2008
and five per cent by 2009.
Accessed on 11 April
Top priority customs cards granted
to most worthy businesses. Thanh
Nien News, 10 April 2006.
Viet Nam plans to offer special preferential
customs treatment to large volume importer/exporters
with a clean track record. The General
Customs Department will issue “super-green”
customs cards to companies that earn at
least US$ 100 million from the previous
year’s export turnover, or pay taxes
of US$ 9,2 million and file 1,500 import-export
customs declarations. The super-green
card holders will enjoy quick customs
clearance, exemption from pot checks and
other preferential treatment at nationwide
border gates and ports. While easing procedures
for law abiding businesses, they can also
qualify for a grace period in paying taxes.
The card remains valid for 12 months.
Currently, the country’s customs
branches have applied “green”
customs cards to enterprises who have
not been convicted of smuggling, trade
fraud, tax evasion or payment delays of
more than 90 days.
Accessed on 12 April < http://www.thanhniennews.com/business/?catid=2&newsid=14346
Customs to project cooperation with
United States. Nhan Dan,
11 April 2006.
The Customs General Department is preparing
a pilot project on customs clearance in
cooperation with its United States counterpart
to submit to the Prime Minister for approval.
The project aims to build a computerized
risk management system which will help
Vietnamese customs officers to make risk
analyses based on electronic customs declarations
sent before goods arrivals. Two pilot
systems for airport and sea port customs
activities will be set up to receive and
process electronic customs declarations,
focusing firstly on express cargo. In
addition, the Customs General Department
will select businesses for participation
in the project and provide guarantees
as of 2007 to chosen businesses' imported
Accessed on 17 April < http://www.nhandan.com.vn/english/business/110406/business_custom.htm
C. NON-TARIFF MEASURES
China introduces new media curbs.
BBC, 7 April 2006.
China has introduced new restrictions on
foreign magazines seeking to publish Chinese
editions. China's media is controlled by
the Government, with press, broadcast and
internet media subject to restrictions.
Foreign magazines seeking to break into
the Chinese market must find a local partner
with whom to form a joint venture. The rule
puts a moratorium on new joint ventures
in place; approvals will be limited to science
and technology publications. In recent years
several titles have launched Chinese editions,
targeting China's huge consumer market.
But Chinese officials have worried about
the impact of western popular culture on
China's rapidly changing society.
Accessed on 12 April < http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4888930.stm
China maintains antidumping measures
against steel products from Japan and
the Republic of Korea. ChinaView,
8 April 2006.
China announced on 8 April that it will
maintain anti-dumping measures against
stainless, hot-rolled steel sheets imported
from Japan and the Republic of Korea for
another five years. The Ministry of Commerce
will re-examine in the coming year whether
the anti-dumping measures against steel
products will be extended or cancelled.
Accessed on 11 April < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-04/08/content_4401008.htm
China to support local shoe companies
in EU tariff challenge. Forbes,
19 April 2006.
The Chinese Government will support domestic
shoe firms if they decide to mount a legal
challenge to EU tariffs on imports of
Chinese leather shoes. The Deputy Minister
of Commerce stated that if Chinese companies
took the EU to court for anti-dumping
duties, the Chinese Government would support
them. But he added that any court action
would be a 'move by enterprises' and not
initiated by the Government. The EU imposed
provisional tariffs on Chinese leather
shoes from 7 April 2006. The rate is set
to increase to nearly 20 per cent from
the current 4.8 per cent over the next
six months. More than 150 Chinese firms
joined forces this month and raised three
million yuan renminbi to contest the EU's
Accessed on 20 April < http://www.forbes.com/work/feeds/afx/2006/04/19/afx2679423.html
CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE
IN ENDANGERED SPECIES (CITES)
Hold the caviar: UN-backed body bans
export of most endangered sturgeon.
UN News Service, 17 April 2006.
Only the Islamic Republic of Iran will
be allowed to export caviar from wild
Caspian Sea sturgeon this year after the
five nations sharing the basin failed
to provide information needed to ensure
the fish’s survival to the United
Nations-backed body that oversees a global
treaty governing trade in endangered species.
The Islamic Republic of Iran will be able
to export up to 44,370 kilogrammes of
caviar from the Persian sturgeon under
the 2006 quotas announced by the Geneva-based
Secretariat of the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES). The other Caspian Sea
countries are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,
the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan.
Accessed on 18 April < http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=18156&Cr=caviar&Cr1=
EU imposes Asian shoe penalties.
BBC, 7 April 2006.
The EU has begun imposing duties of up
to 20 per cent on imports of shoes from
China and Viet Nam. The European Commission
says leather shoe manufacturers in the
Far East are receiving unfair Government
subsidies and State intervention. China
denies the accusation, saying the EU does
not want to open up its markets to competition.
The tariffs will initially be relatively
low, but will be ramped up steadily over
the next five months. In the case of China,
they could rise to nearly 20 per cent.
The move has wholehearted support from
countries such as Italy and Portugal,
who are anxious to protect their shoe
manufacturers. But other member states,
such as the United Kingdom, oppose them
because they are likely to push up prices
for consumers, and could mean lower sales
Accessed on 11 April < http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4886008.stm
Cement export ban comes into force.
The Daily Times, 7 April 2006.
Pakistan banned the export of cement for
stabilizing its prices in the country.
The moratorium on export of cement will
apply from 6 April and continue until
Accessed on 11 April
Russian Federation lifts import ban
on Norwegian salmon. Norway Post,
16 April 2006.
The Russian Food Inspectorate has lifted
the import ban on fresh Norwegian salmon
from two Norwegian producers. The import
ban has been lifted after specialists
from the Russian Federation have inspected
processing plants in Norway. The Inspectorate
also expects that the import ban will
be lifted for salmon from other Norwegian
aqua farms within a short time. The Russian
Federation introduced the ban on Norwegian
Fresh salmon in January 2006, stating
they had found too high a level of heavy
metals in the fish.
Accessed on 17 April < http://www.norwaypost.no/cgi-bin/norwaypost/imaker?id=23567
SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL
SAARC commerce ministers focus on non-
and para-tariff barriers to trade.
The Financial Express, 21 April
Non- and para-tariff barriers appear to
be the major stumbling blocks to reaping
immediate benefits out of the South Asia
Free Trade Area (SAFTA) that becomes operational
on 1 July 2006. The first meeting of the
Ministerial Council of the South Asia
Free Trade Area (SMC) resulted in devising
a tariff-cut roadmap, subject to approval
by their respective countries, in which
members agreed that it would not yield
the desired results without removing the
non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and para-tariff
Accessed on 21 April
EU to compensate Thailand on quota
after political expansion. MCOT
News, 30 March 2006.
The EU has agreed to compensate Thailand
for market opportunities lost as a result
of the EU enlargement on 1 May 2004 when
ten more countries joined the EU. Under
a new agreement the EU will allow Thailand
to export tuna-based products tax-free
up to a total amount of 1,816 tonnes.
Beyond that, Thai tuna exports will be
subject to 24 per cent import tariffs.
For processed fish products made from
sardines, the EU has agreed to allocate
1,410 tonnes of tax-free imports for Thailand,
while export outside that quota will be
subject to 25 per cent import tariffs.
For rice, the EU is planning to allocate
an overall tax-free import quota of 25,216
tonnes, of which Thailand will get a share
of 1,200 tonnes.
Accessed on 3 April < http://etna.mcot.net/query.php?nid=7802
Fewer products require import/export
license. Viet Nam Economy,
18 April 2006.
The Ministry of Trade has released a circular
stipulating regulations regarding import
and export activities. As of 1 May 2006,
only eight categories of products will
require licenses from the Ministry of
Trade for import or export. Regarding
exports, apparel exported to the United
States will be exported in accordance
with the quota volume to be allocated
to garment producers. Apparel products
exported to other markets will see no
limitation and will be exported as demanded.
Regarding imports, the ministry will retain
strict control over the import of substances
that may badly affect the ozone layer,
certain two-wheel or three-wheel motorbikes
as well as guns and ammunition. The ministry
will also grant licenses for the import
of four categories of products, including
salt, uncut tobacco, poultry, eggs, and
sugar. The imported volume of these products
will be announced annually by the ministry.
Accessed on 24 April
D. INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY-RELATED INFORMATION
ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION
APEC symposium on emerging infectious
diseases enhances cooperation. APEC,
6 April 2006.
APEC Member Economies have agreed to a range
of measures to enhance the region's surveillance
and response capacity for dealing with emerging
infectious diseases. In a statement that
was issued by a symposium on emerging infectious
diseases, Members also agreed to enhance
bio-safety standards at commercial farms
and markets; improve veterinary capacity
to detect and report infectious disease
outbreaks; and to strengthen animal health
capacity to respond to outbreaks. In agreeing
to the range of measures the delegates also
made plans to undertake an assessment of
the economic and social impacts of emerging
infectious diseases in the region
Accessed on 17 April
China to buy Australian uranium.
BBC, 3 April 2006.
Australia and China have signed an agreement
allowing China to import Australian uranium
for power stations. Australia, which has
40 per cent of the world's known uranium
deposits, sells uranium only to members
of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The two countries had previously failed
to agree a deal amid concerns China would
use the uranium in its nuclear weapons
programme. Under the agreement, Australia
will export 20,000 metric tons of uranium
to China each year, beginning in 2010.
Accessed on 4 April < http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4871000.stm
Indonesia has two major projects to
improve ICT infrastructure. Digital
Opportunity, 19 April 2006.
To enable more Indonesians to have access
to the information and communications
technology (ICT) service, the Government
is currently carrying out two major projects
in the country, namely the universal service
obligations (USO) programme and the national
fiber optic backbone project (NFOB). Under
the USO programme scheduled for implementation
from 2003 to 2010, the Government hopes
to provide telephone access for all villages
in Indonesia. Of all 66,778 villages across
Indonesia, 43,022 have no telephone access.
The NFOB project is scheduled to complete
a preliminary study in 2006, a roadmap
design and master plan in 2006-2007, and
installation of the fiber optical ring
from 2008 to 2020.
Accessed on 20 April < http://www.digitalopportunity.org/article/view/131220/1/1138
Myanmar to establish IT city to promote
IT development. People’s
Daily online, 1 April 2006. Myanmar
has started implementation of a project
of establishing an information technology
(IT)-related city in order to promote
IT development in the country. The projected,
called "Cyber City”, will be
built at a location of 32 kilometers southeast
of Mandalay and will be much larger than
the already existing Myanmar Info-Tech
in Yangon and the Yadanarpon Cyber Corporation
(YCC) in Mandalay which have been set
up in 2002 and 2003 to provide ICT services
in the country. On completion of the cyber
city, YCC will move there for continuing
Accessed on 4 April < http://english.people.com.cn/200604/01/eng20060401_255221.html
Myanmar and Thailand sign US$ 6 billion
hydropower agreement. Yahoo News,
4 April 2006.
Myanmar and Thailand signed an agreement
for a US$ 6 billion hydropower project
on the Salween River in eastern Myanmar.
The 7,110-megawatt hydropower plant will
export most of the generated power to
Thailand. It is expected to take 15 years
to complete the project. Upon completion,
the Ta Sang plant will be the largest
hydropower station in Myanmar, which constantly
faces power shortages. Myanmar is planning
to build a series of hydropower stations
on the Salween River, with investment
from neighbors Thailand and China.
Accessed on 11 April < http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060404/kyodo/d8gp8e808.html
European Investment Bank loan for new
cement plant in Pakistan. European
Investment Bank, 3 April 2006.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is
providing a 35 million euro loan to a
Pakistani cement manufacturer for the
construction of a new cement plant in
the district of Chakwal in central Pakistan.
In addition to mainly supplying the market
for infrastructure development of Pakistan’s
growing economy, the project will be significant
for the reconstruction efforts following
the October 2005 earthquake. The new plant
will improve supply in the domestic market
and allow the company to access the untapped
market of Northern Punjab and North West
Frontier Province, besides making it more
convenient to export to Afghanistan from
Accessed on 4 April < http://eib.eu.int/news/press/press.asp?press=3093 >
China and Turkmenistan sign agreement
on oil and gas cooperation. Itar-Tass
News Agency, 3 April 2006.
China and Turkmenistan have signed a framework
agreement on cooperation in the oil and
gas sector. Under the agreement, Turkmenistan
will annually supply 30 billion cubic
meters natural gas to China . The agreement
envisions the construction of a pipeline,
but the concrete date has not been specified
Accessed on 4 April < http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=5735187&PageNum=0
Viet Nam starts work on biggest aluminum
mine. Yahoo News, 7 April
Viet Nam has started work on a US$ 500
million mine for bauxite which is used
to make aluminum. The project is expected
to have an economic lifespan of around
100 years. By 2009 it is expected to produce
the first of 600,000 tons of aluminum
and will then increase to more than one
million tons per year.
Accessed on 11 April < http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060407/afp/060407061545business.html
Vietnam firm starts work on Laos power
plant. Than Hnien News, 5
A Vietnamese state-owned company began
work on a 260 MW hydroelectric plant in
the South of Lao People’s Democratic
Republic. Viet Nam and Lao People’s
Democratic Republic have begun cooperating
in the energy field following the Power
Cooperation Pact of 1998 to make use of
each others strengths and mutually supplement
their energy needs. Viet Nam, the top
investor in Lao People’s Democratic
Republic expects to import a total of
1,000 MW from that country between 2007
and 2010. Hydroelectricity is one of Lao
People’s Democratic Republic major
resources at an estimated potential of
Accessed on 11 April < http://www.thanhniennews.com/business/?catid=2&newsid=14195
E. INVESTMENT-RELATED INFORMATION
New bank safeguard. CCTV.com,
12 April 2006.
China will implement the new Basel Accord,
otherwise known as "Basel II",
for banks with greater global exposure between
2010 and 2012. The new rules, prescribe
how much capital banks should set aside
to protect themselves against sudden financial
risks like major corporate borrowers going
Accessed on 17 April < http://english.cctv.com/program/bizchina/20060412/100828.shtml
China relaxes foreign exchange control.
People’s Daily online,
14 April 2006.
In order to deepen China’s foreign
exchange management system, boost trade
facilitation, and promote balance of international
payments China's central bank announced
the relaxation of controls on foreign
exchange accounts, and the simplification
of approval procedures for foreign exchange
payments in the service trade and procedures
for individuals to buy foreign currencies.
The policy readjustments will be effective
as of 1 May 2006. Under the adjustments,
it will be easier for corporate and private
citizens to open foreign exchange accounts.
Each domestic resident may buy up to US$
20,000 worth of foreign exchange from
the State-owned banks each year, and they
may apply to the banks for additional
amount of foreign exchange with certificates
that prove their needs. The changes will
also allow qualified banks to pool capital
in yuan renminbi from domestic institutions
and individuals for overseas investment
in products with fixed returns under an
unspecified quota system. It will allow
fund management firms and other securities
institutions to invest in a combination
of stocks and other overseas securities
using foreign currencies gathered from
domestic institutions and private sources.
Accessed on 17 April < http://english.people.com.cn/200604/14/eng20060414_258258.html
Bureau on awareness campaign. The
Fiji Times, 17 April 2006.
The Fiji Islands Trade and Investment
Bureau (FTIB) has initiated a campaign
to raise awareness on FTIB's policies
and procedures, including new regulations
on the reserved and restricted lists for
investment. The campaign gives accountants,
lawyers, members of the private sector,
municipal councils, consultants and interested
stakeholders an opportunity to clarify
issues of interest to them regarding investment
procedures in Fiji.
Accessed on 18 April < http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=40426
California Public Employees’
Retirement System adds Indonesia to list
of permissible equity markets for investment.
Forbes, 18 April 2006.
The California Public Employees' Retirement
System (CalPERS) has added Indonesia to
its list of permissible emerging equity
markets, opening the way for the United
States’ largest public pension fund
to invest in the Jakarta Stock Exchange.
The decision followed a study of investment
factors such as political stability, transparency
and labor practices in 27 emerging markets.
Accessed on 21 April < http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2006/04/18/afx2679021.html
Financial Services Agency panel eyes
cut in legal limit for interest charged
by money lenders. MSN Mainichi
Daily News, 22 April 206.
A panel of Japan's Financial Services
Agency (FSA) proposed a reduction in the
upper limit for annual interest rates
to 20 per cent from the current 29.2 per
cent. Many Japanese consumer credit companies
lend money at annual interest rates close
to 29.2 per cent, the upper limit under
an investment law. In principle, however,
they are supposed to lend money with interest
at levels up to 15-20 per cent, as stipulated
by an interest limitation law. The panel
plans to continue its discussions and
compile a final report in June. An interim
review also proposed strengthening regulations
on money lenders.
April 22, 2006 < http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/business/news/20060422p2g00m0bu001000c.html
Securities and Exchange Commission
approves cut in Central Depository System
tariff structure. The Daily Times,
6 April 2006.
To encourage investors in the capital
market, the Securities and Exchange Commission
of Pakistan has approved substantial reduction
in the Central Depository System tariff
structure. According to the revised tariff
structure, the custody fee has been reduced
by 50 per cent and the transaction fee
by 16.67 per cent. Therefore, the revised
custody fee on shares is 0.015 per cent
per annum and on term finance certificates,
bonds and units is 0.0125 per cent per
annum. The transaction fee for investor
account service (IAS) has been reduced
to PRs 0.0040 and to PRS 0.0020 for other
Accessed on 11 April
Islamic banking task force terms of
reference discussed. The Business
Recorder, 11 April 2006.
The first meeting of the task force on
issuance of Islamic liquidity management
instruments on 10 April decided to set
the timelines for achieving the various
objectives and carrying out the activities
in a phased manner. The meeting set up
the terms of reference (ToRs) for the
task force which include structuring of
Islamic instruments for short term liquidity
management; undertaking comparative study
of such Islamic instruments issued by
other countries; and researching practices
of institutions offering Islamic financial
services (IFS) in meeting statutory liquidity
requirements by central banks. To achieve
the objectives of the task force, three
sub-groups were formed to work on product
design, treasury issues, and operation
and legal issues. It also decided that
the first phase would focus on structuring
short-term instruments to meet the liquidity
requirements of the banks and undertaking
the process of development and structuring
of these instruments at a rapid pace.
Accessed on 11 April
European Investment Bank expands support
for Turkish SMEs. EIB, 12
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is
expanding its support to small and medium
enterprises (SMEs) in Turkey by bringing
a Turkish bank under its global loan umbrella.
A 100 million euro global loan to the
bank will be used to finance Turkish SMEs
in the manufacturing and service sectors.
The potential for SME lending in Turkey
is large, with small businesses representing
more than 90 per cent of the total number
of enterprises in the country and more
active involvement of commercial banks
will improve credit access for small and
medium businesses as well as boost competition.
Accessed on 18 April < http://eib.eu.int/news/press/press.asp?press=3101
F. DID YOU KNOW THAT...?
… China sets environment protection
According to the 11th five-year plan
(2006-2010), energy consumption per unit
of GDP will be cut by 20 per cent, major
pollutants reduced by 10 per cent and
forest coverage rise to 20 per cent
Read the whole report from the China
Accessed on 20 April 2006
… India will build 13 new
India will spend US$ 200 million to set
up 13 new dry ports on its borders to
encourage trade among South Asian countries.
Eight dry ports will be on the India-Bangladesh
border, four on the India-Nepal border
and one on the India-Pakistan border.
Read the whole report from Asia Times:
Accessed on 24 April 2006
… travelers in Central
Asia suffer from border corruption?
High levels of corruption and tough bureaucratic
procedures are making normal border crossings
between Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan
very difficult for the countries' citizens
and corruption amongst border officials
of the three countries is fuelling local
discontent on all sides of the shared
Read the whole report from Reuters Alert
Accessed on 17 April 2006
… the United States holds
the “Spam Crown’, sharply
followed by China?
The United States accounts for about
23 per cent of all spam, with China coming
a close second at nearly 22 per cent.
The Republic of Korea, meanwhile, ranks
third with 10 per cent.
Read the whole report from the E-Commerce
Accessed on 24 April 2006.
… the World Bank approved
full debt cancellation for some of the
world’s poorest countries?
The World Bank announced on 21 April that
the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative
had been approved, clearing the way for
cancellation of International Development
Association (IDA) debt to some of the
world’s poorest countries. Starting
on 1 July 2006, IDA is expected to provide
more than US$ 37 billion in debt relief
over 40 years.
Read the whole report from the World
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