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ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
Kaesong goods to be included in ASEAN
FTA. Bilaterals, 30 April 2006.
The free trade agreement (FTA) between ASEAN
and the Republic of Korea will recognize
products made in the Kaesong Industrial
Complex, an inter-Korean project, as products
of the Republic of Korea. This is in contrast
to the sensitive nature of Kaesong in concurrent
negotiations for an FTA with the United
States of America which has objected to
Kaesong-originated products being included
in its FTA. Kaesong is an industrial park
situated in the Democratic Republic of Korea
near its border with the Republic of Korea.
Accessed on 3 May < http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=4599
Treasury dismisses bilateral free trade
deals in Asia. ABC, 14 May
Australia’s Treasury has dismissed
the Australian Government’s quest
for bilateral free trade deals in Asia,
saying that there were no clear benefits.
It argued that the proliferation of discriminatory
agreements in Asia and the Pacific would
be complicated and costly. Overlapping
rules of origin could stifle region-wide
production, slow the integration of China
with East Asia and divert attention and
political effort from the rules-based
Accessed in 15 May < http://www.abc.net.au/correspondents/content/2006/s1637717.htm
DEVELOPING-8 COUNTRIES (D-8)
D-8 States sign deal to cut import
tariffs and trade barriers. The
Daily Star, 14 May 2006.
The D-8 members, namely Bangladesh, Egypt,
Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia,
Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, have signed
a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) to
cut import tariffs and remove non-tariff
and para-tariff barriers to boost trade
among the member countries. The meeting
also signed a multilateral agreement on
administrative assistance in custom procedures.
Accessed on 15 May < http://www.thedailystar.net/2006/05/14/d60514050157.htm
EU to review trade ties with China.
CRI, 5 May 2006.
The European Commissioner for Trade announced
that he would launch a review of trade
ties with China this year, saying Europe
needed a new strategy to handle the EU’s
‘biggest’ trade policy challenge
in the years ahead. He stated that the
only way to answer new competitors as
China or India was for the EU to push
ahead with more market reforms to become
Accessed on 8 May <
India and Pakistan want common intellectual
property right for basmati rice. Economic
Times, 3 May 2006.
India and Pakistan agreed to jointly file
a case to claim Intellectual Property
Rights (IPR) over basmati rice world-wide.
India has formed a Joint Study Group for
consultations with Pakistan on the joint
registration of basmati as a geographical
indication, following detailed discussions
between the commerce secretaries of both
countries in March.
Accessed on 3 May < http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1513391.cms
Japan and Viet Nam agree to start official
FTA talks. Yahoo News, 28
Japan and Viet Nam have agreed to launch
formal negotiations aimed at sealing a
bilateral FTA later this year. The two
countries reached the accord during a
three-day FTA study session in Tokyo to
explore the feasibility of such a pact.
The timing of starting the formal negotiations
and details on areas to be covered by
the accord have yet to be fixed.
Accessed on 3 May < http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060428/kyodo/d8h8uqd00.html
Parliament ratifies protocol to agreement
on free trade with Azerbaijan. Gazeta,
2 May 2006.
The Parliament of Kazakhstan has approved
the law on ratification of the protocol
on changes and amendments in the agreement
on free trade between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
The protocol, which was signed on 24 May
2005, provides cancellation of exemptions
of certain commodity articles from the
free trade regime between the two states.
Accessed on 3 May < http://eng.gazeta.kz/art.asp?aid=74800
India-Myanmar to expand the bilateral
trade. IRIS, 12 May 2006.
India and Myanmar have agreed to expand
and diversify bilateral trade, with the
target of raising the two-way trade to
US$ 1 billion by 2006. In 2004-2005, India
ranked as the second most important market
for Myanmar exports and the seventh most
important source of Myanmar’s imports.
Currently, ongoing cooperation include
the areas of agriculture, telecommunications
and oil/gas sectors, as well as increasing
business to business interactions in the
Accessed on 15 May
< http://www.myiris.com/newsCentre/newsPopup.php? >
Pakistan and Uzbekistan sign pacts, MoUs
to boost trade. Yahoo News,
4 May 2006.
Pakistan and Uzbekistan signed agreements
and memorandums of understanding (MoUs)
to promote cooperation and interaction in
various fields to further enhance bilateral
relations, strengthen trade and economic
ties and fighting international terrorism.
Both countries also signed a joint statement,
expressing the common resolve to reinforce
Accessed at 4 May
Pakistan to make easier visas for
Bangladeshi businesspeople. All
Headline News, 17 May 2006.
In a move to increase bilateral trade
with Bangladesh, Pakistan announced that
it would ease visa procedures for Bangladeshi
businesspeople. Pakistan and Bangladesh
are currently looking into a free trade
Accessed on 18 May < http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7003612011
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Republic of Korea to resume stalled
free trade agreement talks with Japan.
Asia Times, 6 May 2006.
The Republic of Korea announced that the
country would seek to resume its stalled
negotiations for a FTA with Japan after
wrapping up a pact with the United States.
The two countries began FTA talks in December
2003, but the negotiations have been stalled
since November 2004 when they failed to
reach an agreement on the opening of Japan’s
Accessed on 8 May < http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/HE06Dg03.html
Thailand rejects free trade agreement
with the Republic of Korea. The
Nation, 9 May 2006.
Thailand is the only ASEAN member not
planning to sign the FTA with the Republic
of Korea. Thai export goods will therefore
be subject to normal Korean import tariffs
instead of the lower rates stipulated
in the agreement. All other ASEAN countries
will sign the agreement which is scheduled
to be implemented on 1 July 2006. Thailand
refuses to sign because rice is on the
exclusion list. Rice is Thailand’s
most important crop and Thailand is the
world’s biggest exporter of rice.
Accessed on 15 May
Prime Minister approves Nghi Son economic
zone. Viet Nam Net, 19 May
The Prime Minister signed the decision
to establish and issue regulations on
the operation of the The Nghi Son economic
zone in the central province of Thanh
Hoa. The regulations stipulate boundaries,
development targets, and rights and obligations
of investors. They also clearly outline
state management of the zone and applicable
organization, operation and investment
incentives. Investment projects in the
economic zone are exempt from import tax
for five years from start of operations.
Accessed on 22 May < http://english.vietnamnet.vn/biz/2006/05/572360
WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO)
No time to spare in WTO Doha Round.
Trade Observatory, 1 May 2006.
The Director-General of the WTO has appealed
to trading nations to do their utmost
to break a logjam in talks on liberalizing
global commerce. Negotiations have been
held up by persistent disputes, as developing
countries demand greater access to wealthy
markets for farm produce and rich nations
in turn press for freer trade in industrial
goods and services. On 30 April 2006,
WTO Governments missed their target for
an agreement on the mathematical formulas
for reducing customs duties and other
trade hurdles. Hanging over negotiators’
heads is the expected July 2007 expiry
of the White House’s special authority
to make trade agreements. Thereafter,
other WTO members fear, a re-empowered
United States Congress could hamper future
talks. The Doha Round has stumbled repeatedly
since it was launched in 2001 with the
goal of using trade to improve the economic
lot of poor countries.
Accessed on 3 May < http://www.tradeobservatory.org/headlines.cfm?refid=80719
WTO: United States-Viet Nam negotiation
completed. Vietnam Net Bridge,
14 May 2006.
The eleven-year long negotiations between
the United States and Viet Nam on the
accession of Viet Nam to the WTO have
been completed on 13 May 2006. Among the
most important features is that Viet Nam
will have the status of ‘non-market
economy’ for the next 12 years which
means that the United States can apply
import quotas to Vietnamese textile and
garment at any time, if a sign of subsidy
Accessed on 16 May < http://english.vietnamnet.vn/news/2006/05/570439/
B. CUSTOMS REGULATIONS AND CHARGES
New scheme to control smuggling of
chemicals used to produce heroin.
IRIN, 8 May 2006.
To stem the import of key chemicals used
in the production of heroin to Afghanistan,
the Government and the United Nations Office
on Drug and Crime (UNODC) have initiated
a joint project to counter smuggling of
these chemicals. A precursor control unit
(PCU) will be established within the counter
narcotics police of Afghanistan (CNPA) and
training on precursor control will be provided
to border officials and those policing drugs.
The PCU will analyze seized chemicals used
in heroin production and determine their
country of origin. The PCU also aims to
identify the illegal smuggling routes taken
by the chemicals with a view to targeting
and dismantling international trafficking
Accessed on 17 May
< http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=53214&SelectRegion >
India and Bangladesh Customs to synchronize
weekends. Kerala Times, 5 May
In order to synchronize the working and
movement of land transport to boost bilateral
trade, India and Bangladesh have decided
that Friday would be the common weekend
when their land customs stations would close.
Synchronization of timing of border trade
through the land ports is a basic need to
boost bilateral trade as the Bangladeshi
land ports are kept closed on Friday and
India’s on Sunday.
Accessed on 8 May < http://www.newkerala.com/news2.php?action=fullnews&id=54077
More import duty concessions to Singapore
under FTA. The Hindu Business
Line, 1 May 2006.
The Ministry of Finance has increased
the import duty concessions on nearly
4,500 items as part of the efforts to
meet the tariff elimination or reduction
commitments undertaken in the comprehensive
economic cooperation agreement (CECA)
with Singapore. Under the FTA on goods,
which is part of the CECA, import tariffs
on items in the phased elimination list
are to be eliminated in five stages. The
percentage reduction is expressed as a
margin of preference over the most favoured
nation (MFN) applied rates. The Government
has now increased the margin of preference
under both the phased elimination as well
as phased reduction lists.
Accessed on 3 May
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Iranian Government abolishes duties
on steel imports. Steelmills of
the world, 1 May 2006.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has reduced
import duties for finished steel products
to zero, from the existing five to eleven
per cent, depending on the product type.
Accessed on 2 May
Ten per cent regulatory duty imposed
on wheat import. The Daily Times,
3 May 2006.
Pakistan has imposed a 10 per cent regulatory
duty on import of wheat. The move comes
in the midst of harvesting season as an
attempt to force the private sector to
buy local commodity at least at the support
price of PRs 415 per 40 kg and enable
the farmers to get a reasonable price.
The Government has taken this decision
to enable farming to remain a profitable
profession for the sake of the country’s
future food security.
Accessed on 3 May
64 countries to get non-tax transit
trade facility. The Daily Times,
5 May 2006.
Pakistan will allow temporary admission
of tradable goods and means of transport
without payment of taxes, duties and import
restriction among a chain of 64 countries.
Container trucks of signatory of states
of the ATA Carnet will be allowed to pass
through Pakistan without restriction.
The enforcement of ATA Carnet and TIR
Carnet will also allow Pakistan to meet
the most important condition of the Trade
Agreement of the Economic Cooperation
Organization (ECOTA). The ATA Carnet is
a convention allowing free movement of
goods across frontiers and their temporary
admission into customs territory with
relief from taxes and duties. The TIR
Convention is a UN-sponsored convention
which provides transit facility with total
conditional relief from import duties
and taxes to goods and vehicles carried
by road without application of import
restrictions. About 64 contracting states
have signed this agreement. All ECO countries,
except Pakistan, have signed the TIR convention.
Accessed on 8 May
Customs designate new check area for
cargoes. Sun Star, 8 May
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is designating
a new examination area for all cargoes
in the Port of Davao in line with the
city’s priority on security and
anti-drugs advocacy and the Bureau’s
effort to increase collection and prevent
smuggling. The designation of a new examination
area aims to promote trade facilitation;
facilitate customs clearance of legitimate
imported goods; enhance BOC’s capability
to detect shipments attendant with fraud;
ensure the collection of lawful government
revenues as well as proper compliance
with all other laws and regulations administered
and enforced by the BOC; and effectively
monitor empty containers. Aside from the
new examination area, Customs is set to
install a new x-ray machine at the port.
Accessed on 9 May
President orders reduction of import
tariffs on oil. Sun Star,
16 May 2006.
The President has ordered the lowering
of import duties on crude and refined
petroleum products from the present three
per cent to two per cent, one per cent,
and zero per cent as world oil prices
hit certain trigger levels. The tariffs
shall be automatically restored as international
prices drop, based on the same trigger
prices. She also issued an order which
extends for another five years the zero
and one per cent tariff on imports of
certain capital equipment, spare parts,
and accessories of registered new and
expanding enterprises in order to reduce
the cost of business start up operations.
The zero per cent duty shall be granted
to expanding enterprises and businesses
that are newly registered with the Board
of Investment (BOI) upon the BOI’s
issuance of a certificate of authority.
Accessed on 16 May
Import tariff cut to zero per cent
to boost natural gas vehicle equipment.
Manager, 4 May 2006.
Amid the pressure from rising oil prices,
Thailand has decided to reduce the import
tariff on natural gas vehicle (NGV) equipment
from 10 per cent to zero per cent. The
Government hopes that the new incentive
will promote the use of natural gas for
vehicles as a preferred alternative energy
source. Thailand is a producer of natural
gas, which is about 60 per cent cheaper
than gasoline, for use in NGVs. The tariff
reduction will apply to both new and second-hand
Accessed on 5 May
WORLD CUSTOMS ORGANIZATION (WCO)
WCO launches education series in globalization
and interoperability. WCO,
9 May 2006.
As part of the WCO’s commitment
to facilitate global trade operations,
it has decided to launch an education
series in globalization and interoperability
(ESGI). The goal of ESGI is to enhance
the ability of Customs to understand business
process facilitation, while business will
be encouraged to view Customs as a facilitator
with a necessary enforcement role rather
than a mere regulator. The programme will
offer recurring educational sessions that
deal with most core business processes
Accessed on 26 May
C. NON-TARIFF MEASURES
Export Promotion Bureau seeks ministry
intervention: several non-tariff barriers
hinder export to India. The New
Nation, 21 May 2006.
The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has identified
five non-tariff barriers (NTBs) as impediment
to export of foodstuffs to India and urged
the Ministry of Commerce to remove those
to pave the way to increase export volume.
An investigation identified the compulsory
adulteration certificate; the adulteration
test from an Indian laboratory for each
and every shipment of goods as well as charging
cost; photographs of fruits on packaging
of goods; and creation of impediments by
Indian customs officials in different land
ports. NTBs make trade with India costly
as the consignments of different kinds of
goods have to lie in Indian warehouses for
a long time, for which, additionally, traders
have to pay warehouse charges.
Accessed on 22 May < http://nation.ittefaq.com/artman/publish/article_28024.shtml
Anti-dumping duties imposed on imported
food additives. People’s
Daily Online, 13 May 2006.
China has imposed anti-dumping duties
on nucleotide-type food additives imported
from Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The duties ranging from 25 to 119 per
cent will last five years. Nucleotide-type
food additives are mainly used to improve
the flavor of dressings such as soy sauce
and monosodium glutamate.
Accessed on 24 May <
INTERNATIONAL TEA COMMITTEE (ITC)
World tea industry seeks standard fixation.
New Kerala, 12 May 2006.
All major tea producing countries, including
China, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka,
have sought fixation of uniform maximum
residue limited (MRL) standards by the
Codex Alimentarius Commission, a body
jointly set up by the United Nations Food
and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and
the World Health Organization (WHO). This
demand was raised at the annual meeting
of International Tea Committee (ITC) stating
that MRL was emerging as a major non-tariff
barrier for tea exports, particularly
by the developed countries.
Accessed on 15 May < http://www.newkerala.com/news2.php?action=fullnews&id=58206
British poultry import ban implemented.
The Daily Yomiuri Online, 1 May
A temporary import ban on British poultry
has been imposed by the Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries due to bird flu
cases reported in the United Kingdom.
The ban is primarily aimed at the import
of chicks. Japan has already suspended
imports of poultry from France, Germany
and the Netherlands due to cases of avian
influenza in Europe. Imports of poultry
from the four countries accounted for
about 80 per cent of poultry imports last
year. The ministry will consider supporting
poultry farmers with low-interest loans
and other measures in the event of a long-term
Accessed on 2 May < http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20060501TDY02003.htm
Japan partly lifts import ban on British
poultry. Reuters Alert Net,
24 May 2006.
Japan has decided to resume poultry imports
from The United Kingdom, with the exception
of Norfolk, where a less-virulent strain
of the bird flu virus was found last month.
The Ministry of Agriculture stated that
it expected to be able to lift the ban
on poultry from Norfolk in early August
if no further outbreaks were reported
Accessed on 25 May < http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/T97481.htm
Japan approves United States safeguard
steps for beef export. Cattle
Network, 19 May 2006.
Japan has approved a survey of safety
checks being taken by the United States
meat-packing industry, opening the door
to talks about re-opening the Japanese
market to beef imports from the United
States. Japan signaled it was willing
to lift the ban on imports if food safety
could be assured. Before starting talks
however, Japan wants to review the survey
results of the compliance checks carried
out at the 35 meat-packing plants that
have applied for export permission to
export to Japan.
Accessed on 22 May < http://www.cattlenetwork.com/content.asp?contentid=38326
SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL
SAARC members differ over non-tariff
barrier. China View, 19 May
Differences have surfaced among members
of the South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation (SAARC) over the issue of
NTBs as safeguard measures. The differences
surfaced during a meeting of the South
Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) sub-group
on NTB, which is aimed to work out measures
and guidelines to do away with the existing
NTBs in SAARC. To resolve the differences,
the sub-group asked each member State
to identify NTBs and para-tariff barriers
that have been hindering its trade with
other SAFTA contracting states. They have
also been asked to forward national positions
on ways to address those barriers. The
meeting failed after larger importing
countries tried to defend NTBs as their
legitimate safeguard measures. The sub-group
will convene again in July, hoping to
finalize SAFTA guidelines on NTBs.
Accessed on 22 May < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-05/19/content_4571279.htm
United States revises anti-dumping
duties on Viet Nam catfish. Thanh
Nien News, 5 May 2006.
The United States has amended the anti-dumping
duties on catfish imports from Viet Nam.
The Department of Commerce ruled that
the penal tax on one tra and basa catfish
exporter would be cut sharply to 6.81
per cent from an earlier 36.84 per cent;
while it increased the tax to 80.88 per
cent from 45.81 per cent for another exporter.
The other two of the four Vietnamese companies
that had agreed to cooperate when the
United States originally undertook the
anti-dumping action against catfish imports
in 2002, were slapped with tariffs of
47.05 per cent and 53.68 per cent respectively.
Seven smaller exporters pay taxes ranging
from 45.55 to 63.88 per cent; all the
other rates remained unchanged.
Accessed on 15 May < http://www.thanhniennews.com/business/?catid=2&newsid=15154
WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
Secretariat reports further declines
in both new anti-dumping investigations
and new final anti-dumping measures.
WTO, 8 May 2006.
The WTO reported a decline of the number
of initiations of new anti-dumping investigations
and the number of new measures applied
for the period of July to December 2005;
with 2005 marking the fourth consecutive
year of declines in new initiations, and
the second in new measures. Among Members
reporting new initiations, China reported
the highest number, namely 13 initiations.
China also was the most frequent subject
of the new investigations, with 33 initiations
directed at its exports during July-December
2005, up from 24 during the corresponding
period of 2004. Concerning application
of new final anti-dumping measures, the
European Community reported the largest
number (19) for the second half of 2005,
a near-quintupling of the number of 2004.
Products exported from China remained
the most frequent subject of new measures,
accounting for 22 of the new measures
reported for the second half of 2005.
Accessed on 15 May < http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres06_e/pr441_e.htm
European Union and NAMA-11 call for
new mechanism to deal with non-tariff
barriers. Bridges Weekly Trade
News, 17 May 2006.
Both the EU and the NAMA-11 group of developing
countries which includes Argentina, Brazil,
Egypt, India, Indonesia, Namibia, the
Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia and
Venezuela have called for the establishment
of a new mechanism to rapidly mediate
bilateral conflicts over NTBs. According
to the procedure outlined by the NAMA-11
group, a member facing an NTB would describe
how its trade was being affected in the
relevant WTO committee and ask for the
matter to be referred to the 'NTB Resolution
Mechanism. The country imposing the measure
in question would be obliged to cooperate
with the process. A mutually-approved
facilitator would then examine the case;
consult with members, affected industries,
and other specialists; and provide non-binding
recommendations on possible solutions
within 60 days. Unlike participation in
the process, implementing the recommendations
would be optional. The EU outlined a similar
60-day non-binding facilitation process.
Accessed on 24 May < http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/06-05-17/story6.htm
D. INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY-RELATED INFORMATION
Green energy gets a boost in Armenia.
EBRD, 23 May 2006.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD) will lend up to US$ 7
million to an Armenian universal credit
organization for investments in small mini-hydro
power generation projects and other competitive
renewable energy projects. The EBRD funds
will be combined with US$ 5 million from
the World Bank and a US$ 3 million equity
investment from the Armenian side. The US$
15 million total will be used to capitalize
a programme to provide long-term debt financing
to developers of renewable energy projects,
primarily mini-hydro generation, but potentially
wind and biomass as well. The project will
also benefit from US$ 3 million in grant
funding from the Global Environment Facility
for technical assistance.
Accessed on 25 May < http://www.ebrd.com/new/pressrel/2006/63may23.htm
China works on policies to encourage
2 May 2006.
China said it was working on fiscal policies
to encourage production of biological
energy as substitutes for oil. In the
meantime, the Ministry if Finance is considering
a plan to provide subsidies to a few selected
companies specializing in bio-energy production
as demonstration projects before the cost
and risk sharing mechanism was created.
Bio-energy mainly refers to ethanol made
from grain and stems of plants and methane,
which are environmentally friendly and
Accessed on 3 May < http://china.org.cn/english/2006/May/167421.htm
Forestation project to safeguard Northeast
China coastline. CRI, 8 May
Northeast China’s Liaoning Province
has launched a 6.27 billion yuan renminbi
forestation project to make its 2,292-kilometre
coastline greener. The local authority
will plant 140,000 hectares of trees and
restore 60,000 hectares of wetlands along
its coastline in the next five years.
Coastal areas possess the most economically
developed areas, but are vulnerable to
typhoons, tsunami and rainstorms. The
best defence against natural disasters
is nature itself; research indicates that
a network of coastal defense, especially
a belt of mangroves, is capable of absorbing
30 to 40 per cent of the total force of
a tsunami or typhoon and its ensuing waves
before they wash over inhabited areas
onshore. The shelter project will include
the establishment of primary coastal forest,
mangroves, farmland and littoral wetlands.
Accessed on 11 May < http://email@example.com
Germany and China strike deal to work
together on Chinese trains. Channel
News Asia, 22 May 2006.
Germany and China have agreed to work
together on the building of 500 Chinese
trains. The two countries signed a MoU
to allow technical cooperation for the
trains. China plans to invest around US$
250 billion in upgrading its passenger
rail system by 2015. Nine new passenger
express rail lines are among the investment
projects that aim to get passenger trains
running at speeds up to 300 kilometres
Accessed on 23 May
India IT sector tightens security.
Financial Times, 7 May 2006.
India’s information technology (IT)
sector will set up a self-regulatory body
to tighten security after incidents of
data theft last year shook confidence
in the industry. The call-centre industry
came under heavy scrutiny last April after
three employees of a Bangalore-based outsourcing
firm, were arrested for allegedly stealing
US$ 350,000 from bank account holders
in New York. Two months later, an IT employee
in Delhi was reported to have sold confidential
information on 1,000 banking customers.
Nasscom, India’s software employers’
association, will set up the independent
regulatory body with initial funding of
US$ 300,000, after which membership dues
will cover operating costs. Already, some
1,050 companies representing 98 per cent
of the IT industry have agreed to become
members of the new independent body.
Accessed on 8 May < http://news.ft.com/cms/s/23680d2c-ddef-11da-af29-0000779e2340.html
Special zones to drive telecom growth.
The Telegraph, 24 May 2006.
The Ministry of Information Technology
said that India would set up special economic
zones in telecom to make India a manufacturing
hub. The Government will also set up an
export promotion council to impart the
necessary thrust to the export of telecom
Accessed on 26 May
Breath of fresh air as Jakarta prepares
to offer cleaner fuels. The Jakarta
Post, 15 May 2006.
Indonesia is scheduled to officially launch
the use of biodiesel fuel and compressed
natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to
the continuously skyrocketing prices of
fossil fuel. Jakarta is the country’s
first city to implement a bylaw on air
pollution which requires all public transportation
to use CNG. Jakarta was selected as a
pilot project for the use of biodiesel
and CNG to meet the targets of the Government’s
national blue sky program. In the first
stage, the state-owned oil and gas company
will supply 24,000 liters of biodiesel
per day at a price of Rp 4,500 per liter.
The price of subsidized diesel fuel is
Rp 4,300 per liter.
Accessed on 16 May
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Republic of Korea speeds up wi-fi on
the go. BBC, 2 May 2006.
The Republic of Korea is testing “Wibro”
(WIreless BROadband), a new system that
promises to provide high-speed internet
access, even in vehicles moving at more
than 80km/h. Currently, some 3,000 subscribers
are testing the system which is expected
to be launched commercially in June, with
a Wibro zone covering Seoul and then other
major cities. Wibro is the latest phase
in the Republic of Korea’s ambitious
plans to be a world technology leader.
It already leads when it comes to high-speed
internet access: four in five homes have
Accessed on 3 May < http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4964860.stm
Singapore to develop aerospace park
at Seletar. Channel News Asia,
10 May 2006.
Singapore will develop a new aerospace
park, expecting it to create 10,000 new
jobs and to contribute S$ 3.3 billion
annually in added value. Soaring growth
potential and strong demand for aviation-related
services are just some reasons for the
development of the new aerospace park.
Singapore currently accounts for a quarter
of the market share for maintenance, repairs
and overhaul services in the Asia-Pacific
region which is expected to double its
fleet of aircraft by 2015.
Accessed on 15 May
Viet Nam to import more electricity
from China. China View, 8
Viet Nam plans to buy additional 200 MW
of electricity from China to supply its
northern Thai Nguyen province between
2007 and 2010. The Ministry of Industry
forecasts Viet Nam’s electricity
demand to grow 15-16 per cent per year
until 2010. Viet Nam, which currently
has total electricity production capacity
of 11 GW, mostly generated by coal-fired
and hydroelectric plants, plans to begin
purchasing power from Lao People’s
Democratic Republic in 2008. It also plans
to complete its first nuclear power plant
by 2020 as alternative means of meeting
its growing power demand.
Accessed on 15 May <
670 trillion dong to be poured into
industrial development in six regions.
Viet Nam News Agency, 6 May 2006.
The Prime Minister has approved an industrial
development plan through 2010, which forecasts
demand for investment capital ranging
from 640 to 670 trillion D. Under the
plan for developing Vietnamese industries
according to national geography through
2010 and beyond to 2020, the Government
has set the directions and targets for
industrial development in six regions.
Foreign capital sources will play an important
role in implementing the plan, which is
expected to mobilize 5-6 per cent of the
needed funds from official development
aid (ODA) and 27 per cent from foreign
direct investment capital. The rest will
be mobilized from the State’s funds.
Accessed on 15 May < http://www.vnagency.com.vn/NewsA.asp?
E. INVESTMENT-RELATED INFORMATION
Securities and Exchange Commission moves
to introduce fund diversion rules. The
Daily Star, 11 May 2006.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
has initiated a move to introduce fund diversion
rules for listed companies in a bid to limit
their authority to extend interest-free
loan to their non-listed sister concerns.
A draft of the new rules states that no
company would be able to provide interest-free
loan for their sister concerns or its executives.
An agreement would also have to be signed
between the two parties, mentioning time
frame and other terms and conditions. In
recent times, many listed companies gave
interest-free loans to their executives
and their non-listed sister concerns for
unlimited periods and without binding them
to abide by any terms and conditions. The
SEC will also set a possible six-month time
frame for the companies, which provide such
loans, to recover those.
Accessed on 15 May < http://www.thedailystar.net/2006/05/11/d60511050167.htm
China’s state pension fund permitted
to invest overseas. China Economic
Net, 30 April 2006.
China has allowed the State Security Fund
Council to begin to invest overseas as
of 1 May 2006. The move was made possible
after the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry
of Labor and Social Security and the People’s
Bank of China, the country’s central
bank, approved provisional regulations
governing the overseas investment of the
fund last month. Overseas investment will
help the fund to explore more investment
opportunities, diversify investment risks
and maintain and increase the value of
Accessed on 1 May < http://en.ce.cn/Markets/Equities/200604/30/t20060430_6864293.shtml
China’s new rules on initial
public offerings (IPOs) effective.
China View, 18 May 2006.
China's newly-revised regulations on initial
public offerings (IPO) came into effect
on 18 May 2006. The new rules contain
70 conditions under which companies can
issue an IPO and apply to be listed on
stock markets. The new rules also require
detailed information disclosure and prescribe
penalties for irregularities.
Accessed on 23 May < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-05/18/content_4567410.htm
Postal savings bank to be established.
China Economic Net, 25 May 2006.
China's State Council has given the nod
to a new Chinese bank which will be based
on the existing savings deposit business
at far-flung postal station. The new bank
will provide basic services to millions
of rural dwellers. China has more than
28,000 financial institutions in the banking
sector with total assets of nearly 40
trillion yuan renminbi.
Accessed on 26 May
EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK (EIB)
EIB, EBRD agree joint carbon credit
fund. EIB, 22 May 2006.
The EIB and EBRD agreed to establish a
new fund to generate carbon credits from
projects across the high energy intensity
countries of central and eastern Europe
and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The Multilateral Carbon Credit Fund (MCCF),
which is expected to be operational within
the coming months, will enable registered
public and private sector participants
to buy carbon credits from emission reduction
projects generated by both institutions.
Typical projects will include industrial
energy efficiency, fuel-switch, renewable
energy and landfill gas extraction and
Accessed on 26 May < http://eib.eu.int/news/press/press.asp?press=3109
Qatar and Indonesia sign agreement.
The Peninsula Qatar, 1 May 2006.
A meeting between Qatar and Indonesia
reviewed bilateral cooperation between
the countries and discussed how to best
boost them in various domains. The meeting
also signed an agreement on avoidance
of double taxation and prevention of evasion
of payment of income taxes.
Accessed on 3 May
< http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp? >
Firms to communicate with Securities
and Exchange Commission over Internet.
The Daily Times, 17 May 2006.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of
Pakistan (SECP) and National Institutional
Facilitation Technologies (NIFT), a joint
venture between a consortium of six major
banks and private sector responsible for
the establishment and management of automated
clearinghouse facilities in Pakistan, signed
an agreement to enable an e-services initiative
for the corporate sector in Pakistan; to
be completed by August 2006. Through e-services
all companies will be able to communicate
electronically over the Internet with the
SECP with complete confidentiality, authentication
and non-repudiation, using digital signatures
generated through digital certificates issued
by the NIFT.
Accessed on 19 May
Department of Finance wants annual
review of tax incentives. Inq7,
2 May 2006.
The Department of Finance is proposing
an annual review of the cost-effectiveness
of the tax exemptions and other financial
incentives given to investments in industries
listed in the BOI’s Investment Priorities
Plan (IPP). The proposal aims to give
the Government a firmer basis in selecting
industries that receive tax breaks. It
is based on a study which showed that
more than 80 per cent of the financial
incentives given to projects registered
with the BOI were redundant and the investors
would have made their investments even
without the incentives. The proposed cost-benefit
analysis would let the Government monitor
whether the incentives had helped boost
growth of the recipient industries and
whether the incentives were necessary
for their development.
Accessed on 3 May
EBRD expands Tajikistan micro-lending
by US$ 25 million. EBRD,
21 May 2006.
Less than three years after launching
the Tajikistan Micro and Small Enterprise
Finance Facility, EBRD will inject another
US$ 25 million into it. The loans enable
small entrepreneurs, more than half of
them women, to expand operations. Although
the maximum size of micro sub-loan to
date has been US$ 30,000, the largest
disbursed to date has been US$ 25,000
and the average has been US$ 2,687. Repayment
is unusually punctual, with only 0.15
per cent of loans outstanding by the end
Accessed on 25 May <
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Republic of Korea reiterates bid for
revision of tax treaties. Yahoo
News, 12 May 2006.
The Ministry of Finance is stepping up
efforts to revamp cross-border tax treaties
in order to tax the capital gains that
offshore investors earn through the disposal
of their majority stakes in local firms.
The ministry’s new policy targets
foreign majority shareholders who own
stakes of 25 per cent or more in a local
firm. Currently, more than two-thirds
of the Republic of Korea’s international
tax treaties allow only the country where
investors are based to levy taxes on them.
Accessed on 25 May
Viet Nam telecom industry to open to
all investors. Thanh Nien News,
11 May 2006.
The Minister for Telematics announced
that the ministry would encourage private
investment in the lucrative telecom sector.
He announced that the telecom sector,
currently a state monopoly, would open
the doors to foreign counterparts if it
became a member of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) this year. The telecom sector would
push up equitization of its mobile phone
service providers and foreign investors
were promoted to buy a certain share volume.
With a population of over 83 million and
just 14 per cent mobile phone penetration,
Viet Nam is viewed as a massive potential
market for investors.
Accessed on 15 May < http://www.thanhniennews.com/business/?catid=2&newsid=15352
F. DID YOU KNOW THAT...?
… OECD Countries strengthen
measures to deter bribery in export credits?
OECD countries have agreed to step up efforts
to avoid giving official support to export
contracts that are tainted by bribery. Government-backed
export credit agencies provide about US$
60 billion in loans and loan guarantees
annually to finance exports for projects
around the world.
Read the whole report from OECD:
Accessed on 26 May 2006
… Japan starts producing
toys for the elderly?
The fact that the country’s falling
population means that there are less children
to play with toys, led Japanese toy companies
to turn to adults as potential customers.
One of the latest toy lines is a doll
that is selling very well to adult women,
especially women over the age of 60.
Read the whole report from BBC:
Accessed on 1 May 2006
… Malaysia and Indonesia,
the world’s top two palm oil producers,
have forged an alliance to control prices?
The two countries account for 80 per
cent of the world's palm oil output, each
producing 15 million tonnes. Under the
pact, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed
to join forces and not allow crude palm
oil prices to be determined by non-producing
countries such as traders in Europe and
Read the whole report from the Business
Accessed on 26 May 2006
… the Russian Federation
has transferred Customs from the Ministry
of Economic Development and Trade to the
purview of the Prime Minister?
The President of the Russian Federation
undertook the largest anticorruption operation
since he came to power by transferring
Customs from the Ministry of Economic
Development and Trade to the purview of
the Prime Minister.
Read the whole report from Kommersant:
Accessed on 19 May 2006
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