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ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION
APEC ministers call for Doha Round resuscitation.
Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest,
7 June 2006.
Pacific Rim trade ministers tried to give
a boost to the Doha Round negotiations during
a meeting on 1-2 June in Ho Chi Minh City.
The representatives from the 21 members
of APEC, representing 47 per cent of world
trade, reaffirmed their commitment to the
multilateral trade talks. For industrial
goods, the ministers endorsed a ‘Swiss’
tariff-reduction formula with “two
ambitious coefficients applying to developed
and developing members delivering real and
meaningful market access improvements”.
Under this approach, the coefficients would
set the ceiling level for members’
industrial tariffs, slashing high tariffs
more steeply. With regard to farm trade,
they pointed to the offers of subsidy cuts
on the table. They called for more work
on agricultural market access in particular,
with specific attention to the ‘special
safeguard mechanism’ and ‘special
products’ for developing countries.
In addition, they discussed ways to achieve
the bloc’s goal to liberalize trade
and investment flows among members by 2020;
improve the transparency and quality of
regional trade deals; promote trade facilitation;
address intellectual property piracy; and
avoid avian flu-related crises.
Accessed on 13 June < http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/06-06-07/inbrief.htm
China-United States of America industrial
park project starts in Henan. China
Economic Net, 4 June 2006.
A China-United States cooperative industrial
park project named “California industrial
city” has started construction in
Zhengdong District of Zhengzhou, the capital
of central Henan Province. The project
will be built in three phases to accommodate
industries such as aerospace, pharmacy,
new materials, building materials, automobiles
and electronics. The overall investment
in the project will be higher than US$
2 billion, with the infrastructure to
be finished within three years. Foreign
companies and some joint-venture companies
will be introduced to the industrial park.
Accessed on 5 June < http://en.ce.cn/Business/Macro-economic/200606/04/t20060604_7210598.shtml
China and India to reopen border trade.
China.org.cn, 19 June 2006.
After 44 years of closure China and India
agreed to reopen border trade through
the Nathu La Pass from 6 July 2006. The
Nathu La Pass is 4,545 meters above sea
level and belongs to the ancient Silk
Route. It’s 460 kilometers from
Lhasa and 550 kilometers from the Indian
coastal city of Calcutta. Historically
the pass had been an important trade passage
between the two countries. Trade through
the pass accounted for 80 per cent of
the total border trade volume between
China and India in the early 1900s. However,
trading through the pass was suspended
in 1962 after border conflicts. The reopening
of border trade is expected to help end
economic isolation in this area; play
a key role in boosting the market economy
and also boost the transportation, construction
and service industries, paving the way
for a major trade route connecting China
and South Asia to be reestablished.
Accessed on 21 June <
China and South Africa sign textile
trade deal. Channel News Asia,
22 June 2006.
South Africa and China signed a key pact
to cushion the impact of Chinese textile
imports as the Prime Minister of China
began the highest level Chinese visit
to South Africa in 50 years. China expressed
willingness to cap textile exports to
South Africa to ensure the stability in
the textile market in South Africa. The
countries also signed a pact on peaceful
nuclear cooperation as well as a number
of other agreements including deepening
bilateral trade and buttressing strategic
Accessed on 22 June
HONG KONG, CHINA
Hong Kong, China and Yunnan sign memorandums
of understanding on logistics and tourism.
People’s Daily Online, 5 June 2006.
Hong Kong, China and the Yunnan Province
of China signed a total of 13 Memorandums
of Understanding (MoUs) to provide impetus
to mutual cooperation in the areas logistics
and tourism. A total of seven MoUs on
logistics were signed between the various
Hong Kong, China logistics key players
and their counterparts in Yunnan. The
MoUs mainly focus on the cooperation and
future development of manpower training,
information exchange, and application
of e-logistics. Another five MoU on tourism
were signed between the Yunnan Provincial
Tourism Administration and various Hong
Kong, China tourism organizations including
the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Travel
Industry Council of Hong Kong. Areas of
cooperation include development and joint
promotion of multi-destination itineraries
and tourism information exchange, trade
liaison, enhancing the quality of tourism
service and travel experience, and manpower
training. A Hong Kong, China-based airline
also signed a Letter of Intent with the
Lijiang Municipal Government stating that
the two parties would join hands to seek
regulatory approval and make necessary
preparation to launch direct services
by the airline between Hong Kong, China
and Yunnan spot of Lijiang.
Accessed on 7 June < http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200606/05/eng20060605_271064.html
Processing area in special economic
zones to be cut to 35 per cent. Economic
Times, 7 June 2006.
India has decided to reduce the minimum
‘processing area’ requirement
of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to 35
per cent as compared to 50 per cent earlier.
According to the Government’s definition,
‘processing area’ indicates
manufacturing facilities which actually
produce the goods meant for export from
SEZs. In service sector SEZs, ‘processing
area’ describes facilities from
where services are exported. The remaining
65 per cent of the space within SEZs is
intended to be used for building supporting
infrastructure facilities like housing,
restaurants, entertainment zones, schools,
hospitals and other facilities required
for those employed in SEZs.
Accessed on 7 June < http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1625242.cms
MEKONG RIVER BASIN
Development of trade in Mekong gets
boost. Viet Nam News, 17
The Ministry of Science and Technology,
the Norwegian Agency for Development and
the United Nations Industrial Development
Organization (UNIDO) signed an agreement
on 16 June to implement the second phase
of a project to assist countries in the
lower Mekong River basin to comply with
international quality standards and build
trade capacity. The project targets Cambodia,
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
and Viet Nam and follows a first phase
successfully undertaken during 2003-2005.
Phase I of the project, entitled Market
Access and Trade Facilitation Support
for Mekong Countries through Strengthening
Institutional and National Capacities
related to Standards, Metrology, Testing
and Quality (SMTQ), assessed the SMTQ
infrastructure in the three countries.
The objectives of Phase II will concentrate
on developing and strengthening physical
conformity infrastructure; further training
to ensure the capacity of export industries
in the region to comply with standards;
and build the international credibility
of the region’s conformity assessment
Accessed on 20 June < http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=03BUS170606
China alters conditions for duty-free
access. E-Kantipur, 13 June
China has announced it would provide duty-free
market access facility to Nepal through
a grouping of seven least developed countries
(LDCs) and not on a bilateral basis as
agreed earlier on. Also, China has fixed
higher value addition criteria for the
facility. Nepal had initially forwarded
1502 products to the Chinese Government
for the facility. However, China forwarded
Nepal a list of 278 product lines, saying
that it will allow preferential entry
for goods included in the list only. Afghanistan,
Maldives, Samoa, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu
and Yemen are the other countries to which
China has forwarded the same list. The
list mainly consists of mechanical items
and fishery products and other technological
Accessed on 20 June < http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=76496
Pakistan for free trade agreement with
15 June 2006.
Pakistan has suggested talks on a preferential
trade agreement (PTA) with Afghanistan
to lead to free trade agreement (FTA)
between the two countries. In a meeting
of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Economic
Commission, Pakistan called for initiation
of a study to analyze the market conditions
and trade regimes in the two countries
to suggest the possibility of a PTA/FTA
between the two countries. The meeting
announced that the two sides agreed to
work for enhancing bilateral trade for
the benefit of the people of the two countries.
Accessed on 22 June < http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=5091
Philippines and Chinese Customs to
restrict piracy. All Headline
News, 20 June 2006.
The Philippines and China have signed
a primary agreement to curb illegal imports.
Imports from China account for almost
85 per cent of the pirated goods supplied
in the Philippines. The move comes as
China starts to take serious action on
dealing with the illegal exports problem
due to its membership in the World Trade
Organization (WTO). China expressed inclination
to install anti-piracy networks.
Accessed on 21 June < http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7003964181
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Republic of Korea and United States
begin free trade talks. The Dong-A
Ilbo, 6 June 2006.
The Republic of Korea and the United States
have officially embarked on the first
round of FTA negotiations in Washington
D.C. on 5 June 2006. The Republic of Korea
considers five issues to be the hot potatoes
of negotiations, namely recognizing Kaesong
Industrial Complex products as that of
Republic of Korean origin; excluding extremely
sensitive agricultural products such as
rice from negotiations; opening service
sector such as financial and legal services;
demands to improve Korean laws and systems
related to automobile taxes and drugs;
and the United States’ measures
to protect its own domestic textile market.
Both countries plan to organize issues
that can reach a possible compromise during
the first round of negotiations into a
single draft, while issues in which the
positions of both sides are too incompatible
will be created into a combined agreement
that carries both sides’ demands,
which will be used as material for the
second round of negotiations.
Accessed on 8 June
Singapore and Peru conclude second
round of negotiations for FTA. Channel
News Asia, 19 June 2006.
Singapore and Peru have concluded their
second round of negotiations for a FTA.
A joint statement from the two countries
said negotiations on sanitary and phytosanitary
measures and competition policy were completed
successfully. Significant progress has
also been achieved on the other issues,
including trade in goods, rules of origin,
customs procedures, trade remedies, investment,
technical barriers to trade, institutional
provisions and dispute settlement. The
next round is expected to take place in
August or September in Singapore. Negotiations
for the agreement are targeted to be completed
within this year.
Accessed on 21 June
United States of America signs trade
agreement with Viet Nam. Forbes,
31 May 2006.
The United States and Viet Nam have signed
a trade agreement, removing a major hurdle
to Viet Nam’s bid to join the WTO
in 2006. The United States was the last
of 28 countries to sign a trade agreement
with Viet Nam. Under this agreement, the
benefits of which will apply to all WTO
members once Viet Nam joins, Viet Nam
must eliminate industrial subsidies and
cut tariffs and other trade barriers on
a range of goods and services. Import
duties will be scrapped on information
technology (IT) goods and aircraft and
reduced on auto parts, and service providers
including banks, insurers and telecom
firms will get greater access to the country.
Viet Nam must also reduce tariffs to 15
per cent or less for 94 per cent of American
industrial products and three quarters
of agricultural export goods.
Accessed on 1 June < http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2006/05/31/afx2782754.html
New decree recognizes e-transactions.
Viet Nam News, 20 June 2006.
The Prime Minister has issued a decree
on e-commerce, the first out of an expected
five decrees that will guide implementation
of the Law on Electronic Transactions.
The decree builds on the law’s legal
framework to protect the rights of parties
to e-commerce transactions. It recognizes
that electronic documents can also be
treated as an original copy if they satisfy
two conditions, namely completeness and
accessibility. The decree permits the
use of electronic documents in commercial
transactions within and outside of Viet
Nam. It does not, however, recognize the
use of e-documents as bills of exchange,
money orders, bills of lading, shipping
bills, warehouse receipts or any other
negotiable instruments that entitle bearers
to receive goods, services or money. It
also bans any modification, removal, or
exposure of electronic documents for illegal
purposes and states that people who deliberately
use e-documents unlawfully are subject
to fines or criminal liability. It furthermore
recognizes the legal validity of electronic
signatures, stating that the electronic
signature is considered valid if the signature
is verified and the information in the
document is approved by the signatory.
The decree annuls contrary stipulations
in previous laws on commercial transactions.
Accessed on 21 June < http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=05ECO200606
B. CUSTOMS REGULATIONS AND CHARGES
Customs chaos caused by testing flaws:
report. ABC, 9 June 2006.
A report on the Customs Department’s
computerized cargo handling has found that
the chaos at terminals around the country
towards the end of 2005 was caused by inadequate
testing of the new $A 200 million computer
system. In the weeks before Christmas, thousands
of containers were delayed on the wharves
after the failed introduction of the new
system. The critical report, which was conducted
by an independent management and technology
consultancy firm, blames software problems,
inadequate testing and training, with no
formal quality control. It says the “big
bang” implementation provided no realistic
fallback when problems arose, and no way
of ensuring the total import supply chain
worked correctly before it was introduced.
Furthermore, the analysis has found that
the new IT system has until now not delivered
quantifiable improvement in Customs’
performance to date in the key areas of
trade facilitation and improved border protection.
Customs responded by announcing to set up
a new management structure to oversee future
development of the integrated cargo system.
Accessed on 13 June < http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1659774.htm
AZM 200 000 computer equipment handed
over to Customs authorities in Azerbaijan.
Today.Az, 8 June 2006.
The State Customs Committee (SCC) of Azerbaijan
hosted a ceremony of handover of computer
equipment for the Committee within the
framework of the joint project of the
European Commission (EC) and United Nations
Development Program (UNDP) for “Modernization
of Customs Services in Azerbaijan”.
Aimed at modernization of the customs
services in the country, the project envisages
the upgrading of customs legislation in
conformity with modern international standards,
in particular the EU Customs Code, and
support in improvement and implementation
of the SCC strategy on the development
of information technologies.
Accessed on 8 June < http://www.today.az/news/business/27033.html
Chittagong Customs to be split to expedite
clearance. The Financial Express,
3 June 2006.
The Chittagong Customs commissionerate
will be split into two wings from the
early next fiscal year, aiming to make
customs clearance procedures effective
and easier at the country’s main
export-import zone. Nearly 80 per cent
of the country’s total imports and
more than 90 per cent of total export
shipments take place through the port.
With the proposed change, one wing will
exclusively deal with import-related customs
duties while the other one will look after
matters relating to customs duties on
shipments of export goods and other operational
activities. The establishment of two separate
commissionerates has been initiated in
line with the ongoing reforms of the tax-administration,
for which the multilateral donors including
the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
have been pressing the Government.
Accessed on 5 June
China to cut tariff on cars and auto
parts from 1 July. People’s
Daily Online, 17 June 2006.
The Ministry of Finance announced that
China would further cut import taxes on
some cars and auto parts as of 1 July
2006. The Customs Tariff Commission of
the State Council has decided to lower
the tariffs on cars sports utility vehicles
or cross-country vehicles and mini-buses
from 28 per cent to 25 per cent.
Meanwhile, the import taxes on auto parts,
such as auto bodies, underpans, medium
and low emission gasoline engines, will
be reduced to 10 per cent from a range
between 13.8 per cent and 16.4 per cent.
The move was made to comply with the country’s
commitments on tariff reduction upon its
entry into the World Trade Organization
Accessed on 21 June < http://english.people.com.cn/200606/15/eng20060615_274345.html
DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC
Democratic Republic of Korea and Republic
of Korea decide to discuss new customs
procedures. People’s Daily
online, 19 June 2006.
The Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea and the Republic of Korea decided
to hold talks on simplifying customs procedures
for the joint industrial complex in the
Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea’s border city of Kaesong.
The two sides will also talk about issues
including a new ID system for workers
at the joint complex. About 6,500 workers
of the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea are working in Republic of Korean
companies in Kaesong and more than 350,000
Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea laborers are expected to be employed
by 2012 when the complex is fully installed.
Accessed on 21 June < http://english.people.com.cn/200606/19/eng20060619_275287.html
United States donates technical equipment
to Georgian Customs and border guards.
The Georgian Times, 6 June 2006.
The United States and Georgia announced
the donation of over US$ 250,000 in technical
assistance. The Equipment being donated
includes 50 personal computers, 20 laptop
computers, monitors, scanners, printers,
fax machines, passport control stamps
and other technical equipment. The computers
and technical equipment will provide the
Border Guard and Customs with the required
hardware to run new, state-of-the-art
software to assess and document customs
fees and register and process passports
at ports of entry. The technical equipment
will also make it possible for the Border
Guard to run Personnel Identification
and Reporting System (PIRS) software that
allows to scan traveler passports into
a computer system so that authorities
have an accurate and up-to-date record
of people moving across Georgia’s
borders. The stamps are tools for passport
control; each stamp has unique identifiers
that will link it to a single passport
control officer. This is both an anti-corruption
measure and a safeguard against border
control officers being falsely accused.
The stamps will be used to mark each traveler’s
passport upon entering or exiting the
country and provide an accurate system
for tracking passport and visa documentation
in Georgia by showing when, where and
by whom passports have been stamped.
Accessed on 8 June < http://www.geotimes.ge/index.php?newsid=105
Indonesia slaps extra import duties
on United Arab Emirates wheat flour.
Gulf News, 21 June 2006.
Indonesia has slapped additional import
duties of 14.85 per cent on wheat flour
from the United Arab Emirates. The Ministry
of Finance imposed the extra duty to penalize
United Arab Emirates exporters for dumping
their products in Indonesia. The extra
14.85 per cent should be paid in addition
to the existing 5 per cent duties imposed
on all wheat flour imports. The duties
are effective from 19 June and will be
in place for five years, but may be reviewed
after one year.
Accessed on 21 June < http://www.gulfnews.com/business/Commodities/10048344.html
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Islamic Republic of Iran signs customs
agreements with 31 states. Iran
Mania, 1 June 2006.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has signed
a customs cooperation agreement with both
Ethiopia and Malaysia bringing the number
of countries it has signed customs agreements
with to 31. Out of the signed documents,
19 have been ratified by the Iranian Parliament
and the rest are being assessed by various
parliamentary commissions. The ratified
customs agreements have been signed with
Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium,
Bulgaria, Cuba, Greece, India, Italy,
Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Russian
Federation, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan
and Ukraine. Talks are currently underway
with China, Hungary, Iraq, Kuwait, Nigeria,
Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Accessed on 1 June
Customs to install X-ray machines in
seaports. Inquirer, 2 June
The Bureau of Customs said it would install
x-ray machines in major seaports to stem
smuggling. For that cause, Customs has
signed a bilateral agreement with China
for the purchase of x-ray machines worth
P 40 million. With the scanning machines
in place, the Government’s anti-smuggling
effort will be stepped up and inspection
of incoming cargo will be hastened. With
the current manual system of inspection,
customs personnel normally spends at least
half a day to inspect a container van.
With the machine, it will take only about
three minutes to complete the inspection.
Accessed on 2 June
Russian Government sets record US$
200 per tonne oil export tariff. MosNews,
1 June 2006.
The Russian Federation has introduced
a new, record high oil export duty for
Russian crude oil. The duty is set at
US$ 199.8 per tonne, as opposed to the
previous duty of US$ 186.4 per ton of
crude and bituminous crude petroleum products.
The export duty on light petroleum products
will amount to US$ 146.9 per tonne, and
that on dark petroleum products to US$
79.2 per tonne. Export tariffs for Russian
oil are determined once every two months
as a result of bimonthly monitoring of
world oil prices. The export tariff in
effect on 1 June is based on March-April
Accessed on 2 June < http://www.mosnews.com/money/2006/06/01/recordoilduty.shtml
New customs procedure applied to facilitate
import-export. Viet Nam Economy,
2 June 2006.
The General Department of Customs began
to apply new customs procedure to the
import and export of goods as of 1 June
2006 to shorten the time required for
carrying out customs procedures. The new
procedures define clear responsibilities
and authority of each customs officer
and stipulate compulsory principles and
requirements for implementation. They
also specify each step to be taken by
the businesses with the aim of creating
favorable conditions for import and export
Accessed on 5 June
Customs form gets upgrade. VietNamNet,
7 June 2006.
A redesigned customs form brings Viet
Nam into accordance with international
standards. Customs officers will use both
old and new forms until the new forms
Accessed on 6 June < http://english.vietnamnet.vn/social/2006/06/578666/
Customs inspections localized.
Viet Nam News, 9 June 2006.
The Ministry of Finance has decided to
set up local post-customs clearance inspection
offices. The move comes to more strictly
scrutinize imports at the local level,
particularly used car imports. With higher
authority, the new offices will be able
to trace frauds even after the cars have
been cleared through customs. Generally,
after goods have cleared customs, the
offices will inspect the accuracy of submitted
documents, helping stem trade fraud and
customs violations, and resolving enterprise
complaints about customs procedures. The
offices will maintain their own accounts
with the State Treasury and assume the
functions presently fulfilled by post-clearance
Accessed on 13 June < http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=02ECO090606
C. NON-TARIFF MEASURES
10-year banana export ban to New Zealand
ends. The Age, 15 June 2006.
New Zealand has ended a decade-old ban
on importing Australian bananas. The move
restores Australia’s sole export
market for the fruit, but it will be six
months before growers can take advantage
of the move as they recover from devastating
Cyclone Larry. New Zealand has imposed
the ban in 1995 due to an outbreak of
papaya fruit fly. The outbreak was eradicated
in 1999, but New Zealand maintained the
ban because it was believed green bananas
acted as a host for the flies. However,
recent research shows that this is not
case which led New Zealand to approve
a resumption of imports.
Accessed on 21 June
< http://www.theage.com.au/news/Business/10year-banana-export-ban-to-NZ-ends >
Cambodia extends tax holiday for garment
sector. The Daily Star, 19
Cambodia will extend a tax holiday for
its garment sector until late next year
to protect it from Vietnamese competitors
and the expiry of United States and EU
safeguards in 2007. The tax break aims
to protect 300,000 jobs in the Cambodian
garment industry, which accounts for 80
per cent of the impoverished country’s
export earnings. Most workers are poor
women from rural areas. The Cambodian
textile industry was thought doomed after
January 2005 when an international quota
system ended that had given Cambodia special
access to the United States market in
return for improved labour conditions.
Instead, business has picked up, helped
by continued United States and European
Union safeguards set to expire at the
end of 2007.
Accessed on 21 June < http://www.thedailystar.net/2006/06/19/d60619050987.htm
India: Government to withdraw cash
export subsidy. Fibre2Fashion,
31 May 2006.
India plans to withdraw the cash subsidy
incentive offered to some export-oriented
products like textile and leather for
the financial year 2006-2007, as direct
cash subsidies to exports contradict WTO
rules. The incentives will be made up
through other forms of compensations such
as freight charges, utility services,
transportation, packaging facilities and
Accessed on 1 June
Japan lifts import ban on most French
poultry. Cattle Network,
19 June 2006.
Japan lifted its ban on French poultry
imports on 19 June, including meat and
internal organs, which had been in place
since late February due to bird flu. With
the termination of the embargo, poultry
products, including foie gras, can be
brought into Japan from France, a major
producer of geese and duck livers. Japan
decided to terminate the embargo as necessary
procedures, including disinfection of
plants where avian flu has occurred, were
completed and as the farm ministry confirmed
no new cases of the disease at the plants
for 90 days afterward. But the import
ban on poultry from the Landes region
will remain in place as an avian flu vaccine
banned in Japan was used there.
Accessed on 21 June < http://www.cattlenetwork.com/content.asp?contentid=45724
Japan agrees to lift ban on United
States beef. Yahoo News,
21 June 2006.
Japan lifts 20-year ban on Indian mango
imports. Business Standard,
23 June 2006.
On 21 June Japan agreed to lift its ban
on beef imports originating from the United
States, pending planned inspections of
United States meat processing plants.
The breakthrough resolves a thorny, long-running
trade dispute between the two countries
and gives United States ranchers access
to what was once their most lucrative
export market. American beef shipments
to Japan were halted in January after
Japanese officials found a veal shipment
that contained backbone, which Asian countries
consider at risk for mad cow disease.
The cuts are eaten in the United States
and other countries, but Japan’s
rules are stricter.
Accessed on 21 June
Japan has formally lifted the ban on import
of Indian mangoes in Japan on 23 June 2006
on the basis of a request by the Indian
side, after confirming that there is no
risk of infiltration of diseases and pests
through previous scientific and technical
examinations; and also getting acceptance
through procedures like public hearing,
public comments. The mango varieties that
will now be imported by Japan are Alphonso,
Banganapalli, Kesar, Langra, Chausa and
Malika which are grown in pre-identified
areas of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra,
Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Japan had
imposed a ban on the import of Indian mangoes
in 1986 because of suspected pest infestation
by fruit flies.
Accessed on 26 June
China blocks timber imports from Myanmar.
US-ASEAN Business Council, 30
China has clamped down on illegal logging
in northern Myanmar by closing its border
to the timber trade and ordering Chinese
workers to leave the country. This unprecedented
move follows a decade of extensive logging
by Chinese logging companies in Myanmar’s
northern forests. In 2005, China imported
more than 1.5 million cubic metres of
timber worth an estimated US$ 350 million.
Almost all of these imports were illegal.
Accessed on 22 June < http://www.us-asean.org/headlines.asp
New Zealand opens market to Vanuatu
papaya. Scoop, 8 June 2006.
Vanuatu growers of papaya can now export
their produce to New Zealand under recently
agreed import health standards. New Zealand
stated it was committed to developing
two-way trade in the Pacific region and
that the country hoped growers in Vanuatu
would take advantage of the new export
opportunities. Over the past 12 months,
a number of citrus fruits, as well as
eggplant, cucumber and chillies have been
approved by the Ministry of Agriculture
and Forestry for importation into New
Zealand under agreed health standards.
Accessed on 13 June < http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0606/S00115.htm
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Papua New Guinea: trade barriers removed.
Pacific Magazine, 9 June 2006.
Papua New Guinea will eliminate all export
subsidies within the next seven years
as part of its commitment as a member
of APEC. Export subsidies are usually
payments made by Governments to encourage
the export of specific products and subsequently
lower the producers’ associated
costs, mainly in the agriculture sector.
The Government has not indicated which
export subsidies would be eliminated.
Accessed on 13 June < http://www.pacificislands.cc/pina/pinadefault2.php?urlpinaid=22530
Thailand seeks negotiation with Malaysia
on non-tariff barrier cut for vehicle
exports. Bernama, 20 June
Thailand seeks Malaysian Government cooperation
in relaxing non-tariff barriers (NTB)
on automobiles produced in Thailand in
order to permit Thailand to export more
cars to Malaysia. Although the two countries
earlier agreed to lower automotive taxes
to 5 per cent from 20 per cent, Thailand
argues that it is still at disadvantage
because of the stiff import regulations
imposed by Malaysia and import quotas
which permit Thailand to export only 50,000
cars annually, despite a healthy market
demand in Malaysia of about 100,000 cars
Accessed on 21 June < http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news.php?id=204138
Viet Nam shrimp exporters miss deadline
on anti-dumping survey. Business
Collaboration Service, 6 June 2006.
Only 54 of a total 84 Vietnamese shrimp
exporters to date have replied to the
United States Department of Commerce’s
(DOC) tariff survey, prompting the department
to extend the deadline. The DOC originally
sent a questionnaire to enterprises with
a deadline of 28 April, but later decided
to extend the deadline to 5 May due to
limited response to the key survey. In
late 2003, an anti-dumping petition was
filed by United States shrimpers and processors,
causing shrimp from Brazil, China, Ecuador,
India, Thailand and Viet Nam to be hit
with tariffs of up to 113 per cent by
February 2005. However 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
Accessed on 13 June < http://www.bvom.com/news/english/news/index.asp?.sequence=43837&.this=54
D. INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY-RELATED INFORMATION
Cambodia bans 3G phones. CNN,
26 May 2006.
The Prime Minister of Cambodia has banned
third generation (3G) mobile phones due
to fear of the technology being abused for
pornography. He stated that Cambodia could
wait ten more years until the morality in
society had improved. Cambodia’s first
3G mobile network opened earlier this year.
Accessed on 2 June < http://edition.cnn.com/2006/TECH/ptech/05/26/cambodia.phones.reut/index.html
China to accelerate restructuring of
textile industry. China View,
20 June 2006.
The National Development and Reform Commission
(NDRC) and nine other central government
departments have issued a joint circular
calling for the accelerated restructuring
of the country’s textile industry.
The restructuring is designed to improve
the innovative capacity of the industry,
which currently only spends 0.3 per cent
of its sales income on research and development
and imports most of its sophisticated
equipment. Insufficient supply of cotton,
chemical fibers and other raw materials
have become a major bottleneck for China’s
textile industry. The circular calls for
the use of linen, bamboo and other alternative
materials as well as recycled fibers.
The circular also calls on China’s
more developed coastal regions to focus
on brand building, marketing, research
and development and other high value-adding
businesses while allowing the labor-intensive
businesses to move to the relatively backward
central and western parts.
Accessed on 21 June < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-06/20/content_4722925.htm
China to phase out organic pollutants
in ten years. CRI English,
21 June 2006.
China has drafted a plan to phase out
the world’s most toxic chemicals
as required by the Stockholm Convention
on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
According to the plan, China will stop
the production and use of chlordane, mirex
and DDT used in anti-dirt paint by 2010,
and safely dispose of electric appliances
containing POPs by 2015. A preliminary
calculation indicates that China will
have to spend at least 34 billion yuan
renminbi until 2010, not including the
funds needed to treat the places contaminated
by POPs. Funding to control POPs will
come from the central government, local
governments and domestic companies as
well as international organizations and
Accessed on 22 June < http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiji among countries to miss out on
technology. Fiji Times, 13
FIJI has been classed among the world’s
scientifically lagging countries whose
people will miss out on the benefits of
technology if its leaders fail to improve
its technological capacity. The reason
for Fiji’s lagging behind lie in
the unstable political system, resource
shortages and class disparities. The study
argues that if countries with these characteristics
have the will to make changes they can
improve the lives of their citizens, citing
examples such as cheap solar energy for
remote or portable applications, ways
to purify water that won’t require
major infrastructure as well as rural
Accessed on 13 June < http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=43172
Government plans apex body to streamline
research in steel sector. Economic
Times, 20 June 2006.
In a bid to meet the growing technical
and human resource requirements of the
industry, the steel ministry is planning
to bring all existing steel research and
training institutes under an umbrella
organization which will have representation
from each segment of the industry. Its
main functions will be collection and
analysis of data, training of secondary
small scale units, creation of requisite
human resource base, revitalization of
existing research and development centres
and promotion of steel consumption. It
will also develop appropriate technology
for cost effective production of quality
Accessed on 21 June < http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1661482.cms
ITU and infoDev launch new module of
online ICT regulation toolkit. ITU,
12 June 2006.
The International Telecommunication Union
and infoDev, a multi-donor programme focusing
on information and communication technologies
(ICT) for development, launched the second
module of their collaborative online ICT
Regulation Toolkit. The ICT legal and
institutional framework of a country determines
how rapidly markets grow and how many
users have access to ICT. An enabling
environment is key to reaching the goal
of connecting all the world’s villages
to ICT by 2015, as agreed by world leaders
at the World Summit on the Information
Society. The Legal and Institutional Framework
Module of the joint ITU-infoDev ICT Regulation
Toolkit addresses all of these issues
and more. It includes in-depth analysis
of the key issues, and real examples of
how best practices have been put into
action in over 50 countries in both the
developed and developing world. It also
contains a portfolio of over 500 references
to laws, regulations, regulatory consultations,
proceedings, decisions, licenses and case
Accessed on 13 June < http://www.itu.int/newsroom/press_releases/2006/10.html
LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC
Sweden gets contract to expand GSM
network in central Lao People’s
Democratic Republic. MarketWatch,
20 June 2006.
A Swedish telephone company has received
an order from Lao Telecom (LTC), the largest
telecommunications service provider in
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
to expand the Laotian GSM network in four
provinces in the central region of the
country. The contract includes core and
radio network equipment and covers a comprehensive
range of telecommunications services including
network deployment and radio network optimization.
When completed in October 2006, LTC's
network quality, performance and coverage
in the capital Vientiane, and the Vientiane,
Xaisomboun and Bolikhamxai provinces,
will be significantly enhanced. LTC's
network capacity will also be increased
to meet its fast growth of subscribers,
allowing it to support more than 70,000
subscribers. Currently, there are about
561,000 mobile subscribers in Lao People’s
Democratic Republic, equivalent to 9 per
cent of the population.
Accessed on 23 June
Myanmar to start OPEC-loaned oil crop
development project. People’s
Daily Online, 5 June 2006.
Myanmar will start an oil crop development
project with a loan assistance provided
by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC) to boost oil crop production.
The three-year project will cost about US$
14 million, of which US$ 12.3 million will
be loaned by the OPEC, while the rest borne
by the state-run Myanmar Agricultural Service.
The project, which also involves the Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will
help reduce Myanmar's reliance on imported
oil products. It will also cover construction
of oil extraction and processing plants
and upgrading of oil refineries in Yangon.
Meanwhile, the FAO will also provide aid
to Myanmar for its extended oil palm cultivation
under an agreement signed with Myanmar last
month. The agreement provides for improving
oil palm research, development and production
in the country.
Accessed on 13 June < http://english.people.com.cn/200606/05/eng20060605_271156.html
Pakistan to buy 100 MW electricity
from Islamic Republic of Iran. Gulf
Times, 14 June 2006.
Pakistan’s Water and Power Development
Authority (Wapda) has signed a MoU with
the Iranian power generation authority
for the import of 100 MW of electricity
from the Islamic Republic of Iran to electrify
the new port city Gwadar. Besides this
Wapda is also preparing a feasibility
report for importing electricity from
Accessed on 20 June
Pakistan and Kuwait to increase cooperation
in oil and gas sector. Daily Times,
21 June 2006.
Pakistan and Kuwait have agreed to expand
and strengthen the existing cooperation
in oil and gas sector to the mutual advantage
besides stepping up linkages and inter-dependencies
for all-round development of the petroleum
sector. Both sides agreed to step up exchange
of expert’s delegations to benefit
from each other’s experiences and
know-how in upstream and downstream oil
and gas sector to their mutual advantage.
Accessed on 22 June
UN announces launch of global alliance
for information technologies for development.
UN News Centre, 19 June 2006.
The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General
and Malaysia's Prime Minister on 19 June
launched the Global Alliance for Information
and Communication Technologies and Development
at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur. The Alliance
provides the platform and network of international
experiences in which partnerships can
be based, recognizing ICT as a vital tool
for development. The Alliance will seek
to stimulate dialogue on formulating policies
and exchanging experiences on ICT for
development. It will operate as a decentralized
network, complementing the work of existing
networks and institutions.
Accessed on 21 June
Agriculture sector plans to raise animal
husbandry proportion to 30 per cent.
Viet Nam News Agency, 5 June
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development has set a target of increasing
the proportion of animal husbandry in
agricultural production to 30 per cent
by 2010 and 35 per cent by 2015 under
its plan to develop animal husbandry in
the 2006-2015 period. The plan also says
that in the future, animal husbandry will
be developed on medium and large scales
so as to increase productivity and quality
and raise the industry’s competitiveness.
By 2010, the animal husbandry industry
is expected to annually produce 3.2 million
tonnes of pork; 210,000 tonnes of beef;
350,000 tonnes of dairy milk and 1.4 million
tonnes of poultry meat; meeting 30 per
cent of the domestic demand.
Accessed on 13 June
E. INVESTMENT-RELATED INFORMATION
China to raise required reserves of financial
institutions. China View, 16
The People's Bank of China, the nation's
central bank, announced on 16 June that
it will raise the required reserves of financial
institutions at the central bank by 0.5
percentage points starting on 5 July. This
means that the required reserves for State-run
commercial banks and share-holding commercial
banks will be increased from currently 7.5
per cent to 8 per cent. However, the bank
said on its website that the current required
reserves for rural credit cooperatives (including
rural cooperative banks) will remain unchanged.
The move aims to further restrain the fast
growth in lending this year and maintain
a stable financial environment for the sustained
and healthy development of the national
Accessed on 21 June < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-06/16/content_4708746.htm
People's Bank of China’ move
to further curb lending binge. China
View, 19 June 2006.
ORGANIZATION OF ECONOMIC COOPERATION
AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD)
The People's Bank of China on 19 June
ordered commercial banks to further cut
back on lending, following the announcement
of 16 June that requires them to keep
more reserves at the central bank. The
bank argued that it needed to tighten
up the banking system's liquidity management,
further curb the excessive growth of money
and credit, and continue to guide commercial
banks on controlling the size of medium-
and long-term loans.
Accessed on 21 June < http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-06/19/content_4716562.htm
Thirteen Investors from Japan and the
Republic of Korea to enter Indonesia.
BISNIS Indonesia, 19 June 2006.
The Ministry of Trade announced that at
least eight Japanese investors and five
investors from the Republic of Korea are
going to make investments in the manufacture,
automotive and shipyard sectors in order
to diversify business from their business
focus on China.
Accessed on 21 June
OECD offers guidance for multinationals
in “weak governance” zones.
OECD, 12 June 2006.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development has issued a new Risk Awareness
Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak
Governance Zones. OECD argues that multinational
enterprises investing in countries characterized
by weak or non-existent Governance need
to take special care in handling a range
of risks and ethical dilemmas not usually
encountered in countries with stronger governance
arrangements. The Risk Awareness Tool was
developed as part of work by the OECD Investment
Committee, which groups all 30 OECD countries
and a number of non-OECD participants
Accessed on 21 June
Russian Federation and Italy to set
up bank to boost investment. RIA
Novosti, 20 June 2006.
The Russian Federation and Italy announced
that they would jointly set up a bank
to encourage reciprocal investment. Both
countries will each own a 50 per cent
stake in the prospective bank.
Accessed on 26 June < http://en.rian.ru/russia/20060620/49800110.html
Russian Union of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs and Association of Regional
Banks sign cooperation agreement.
Itar-Tass News Agency, 21 June
The Russian Union of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs (RUIE) and the Association
of Regional Banks of Russia (Association
“Russia”) signed an agreement
on cooperation. The parties plan to coordinate
and maintain joint activities aimed at
analysis and preparation of proposals
for the legal system, at development and
examination of regulatory legal acts and
at coordination of activity in the area
of efficient drafting and promoting of
joint recommendations to the agencies
of state power and government departments.
Furthermore, they plan to set up joint
ventures and to exchange information presenting
Accessed on 26 June < http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=10554546&PageNum=0
Rules on corporate governance for listed
companies. Daily News, 20
The Institute of Chartered Accountants
of Sri Lanka (ICASL) and the Securities
and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC)
in consultation with the Colombo Stock
Exchange have spearheaded a joint initiative
with a view to formulating standards on
corporate governance for mandatory compliance
by companies listed on the Colombo Stock
Exchange. These standards relate to the
minimum number of non-executive and independent
directors; the bases for determining 'independence';
disclosures required to be made by listed
companies in respect of its directorate;
the minimal requirements to be met by
listed companies in respect of the audit
committee and the remuneration committee.
It is envisaged that the mandatory rules
are to be introduced in the first quarter
Accessed on 22 June < http://www.dailynews.lk/2006/06/20/fin12.asp
Internet banking rises 107 per cent.
The Nation, 20 June 2006.
Internet banking in Thailand is becoming
increasingly popular among consumers,
with the value of transactions having
risen 107 per cent last year. The total
value of Internet banking transactions
last year was B 2.72 trillion. The number
of Net banking users jumped 18 per cent
to more than 1.78 million. The popularity
of online money orders has seen reductions
in other types of service transactions,
including a 17 per-cent drop in post-office
bills of exchange.
Accessed on 22 June < http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/06/20/business/business_30006838.php
First investment promotion fund founded.
Viet Nam Net Bridge. 20 June
A 30 billion dong Investment Promotion
Fund (IPF) is scheduled to begin calling
for domestic and foreign investment in
July 2006. The fund will be used to promote
the image of Viet Nam around the world,
primarily by designing national projects
that call for foreign investment into
Viet Nam. Capital for the fund originates
from state budget, but in future will
be raised through IPF initiated projects.
Also in July, the Investment Law and the
Enterprise Law takes effect and regulations
on combined management of foreign investment
projects will be implemented. Under the
new regulations, ministries, provincial
and municipal people’s committees
will manage foreign investment.
Accessed on 22 June < http://english.vietnamnet.vn/biz/2006/06/583033/
FDI firms permitted to import fixed
assets tax free. Viet Nam News,
23 June 2006.
Foreign-invested enterprises are to be
exempt from tariffs on goods they import
as fixed assets. The Ministry of Trade,
after consultations with the Ministry
of Finance, issued the policy to help
foreign-invested companies develop their
operations and to close a legal loophole.
The announcement comes as companies await
the promulgation of a Government decree
to guide the implementation of the new
Investment Law, which takes effect on
1 July 2006. Accessed on 26 June
F. DID YOU KNOW THAT...?
… An emerging middle class
drives Viet Nam’s consumer trends?
Vietnamese are spending far more than
ever before on entertainment, high-tech
consumer goods, and health and beauty
products. These trends, among others,
follow the major societal and economic
transformations that have taken place
in the last 10 years
Read the whole report from Viet Nam News
Accessed on 21 June
… Coal makes a comeback
in Europe as oil prices soar and reliability
of gas from the Russian Federation is
With oil prices soaring and worries about
the reliability of gas piped from the
Russian Federation, Europe depends heavily
on coal - a cheap, plentiful fuel, but
one that emits twice as much carbon dioxide
as natural gas. Coal- fired plants generated
half the power in Germany and United Kingdom
Britain during this year's chilly winter.
Read the whole report from the International
Accessed on 22 June
… Export and import companies
paid 404 million baht in bribes last year
for faster service at trade checkpoints
A survey collecting data from 500 export
and import enterprises showed that 30
per cent of the exporters and importers
surveyed admitted having been involved
in bribery during customs procedures and
admitted to paying an average of B 100,000
to B 200,000 in bribes to government agencies
to expedite their business.
Read the whole report from the Nation
Accessed on 21 June
… Pollution costs equal
to 10 per cent of China's GDP?
Environmental damage is costing China
roughly 10 per cent of the country's gross
domestic product. Since the late 1970s,
China's economy has developed rapidly.
In the process, many environmental problems
that have challenged developed countries
over their 100-years or so of industrialization
occurred in China all at the same time.
Read the whole report from China Economic
Accessed on 12 June
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by the United Nations.
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©2006 United Nations