Prospects for steady gains in global economic growth throughout 2013 are fading amid signs that the recession in the euro zone is worse than expected and that China's recovery has stumbled. Although the US economy is performing quite well in the face of fiscal tightening, a synchronised global upturn is now looking less likely in the next six months. In the light of recent data, The Economist Intelligence Unit this month has lowered its forecast for global economic growth in 2013-14.
As an Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit meeting later this month approaches, territorial tensions over the South China Sea are rising again. Vietnam is taking a more proactive approach in terms of cementing its strengthening alliances with both the US and Japan, at the same time as other ASEAN countries are also becoming more assertive.
An agreement struck with one of China’s largest dairy companies will help New Zealand sell its agricultural know-how to China.
There are still a few places available to join the New Zealand trade mission to Indonesia in May.
New Zealand government agencies have been signalling for some time the opportunity for our country to forge closer business ties with Indonesia.
Amid many candidates gearing up their campaigns for the 2014 Presidential Election, Minister of Trade Gita Wirjawan says he is ready to compete in the race.
“I am ready [to be a presidential candidate] if I was to be considered and allowed. But we will see, it is still long way to go,” Gita said in Jakarta on Saturday.
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO, the president of Indonesia, was in Singapore on Monday for the regular Singapore-Indonesia “leaders’ retreat”, a chance for a more relaxed exchange of views between the premiers of the biggest South-East Asian country and one of the smallest.
An important new report from Human Rights Watch on the violence last year in western Myanmar's Rakhine state has particular resonance for this blog. Two days last October in Mrauk-u in Rakhine marked for me a low point in a long career in journalism. After some time reporting in Sittwe on the aftermath of the terrible violence in June between the Buddhist, ethnic-Rakhine majority and the Muslim Rohingya minority, we had taken the five-hour boat trip upriver to the ancient capital of what used to be known as Arakan.
Ms Yingluck took a short break from hectic rounds of official functions on Sunday to visit a sheep and dairy farm in Karata, about 40 kilometres south of New Zealand's business capital.
The aim of the trip was to see a demonstration of farm techniques to boost milk production and cattle raising.
Discussions with New Zealand companies in recent weeks has highlighted the value in breaking down how the New Zealand Embassy can support business. This blog is an attempt to set out simply and clearly what the team here can do to help.
The key agencies so far as New Zealand companies are concerned are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) and Trade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). We work closely together and are co-located in the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta.
I recently spent a fortnight in New Zealand. This was not only a good opportunity to enjoy the brilliant late summer weather in Wellington, Dunedin and Auckland, but also a chance to connect with a wide range of businesses with interests in Indonesia.
With all the pomp and ceremony befitting god-king of Angkor, Norodom Sihanouk was laid to rest by his subjects on February 4th. So Cambodians said farewell to a deposed monarch who had overshadowed their country’s political life for almost 70 years.
Up and down a 4km stretch of highway on the northern outskirts of Phnom Penh, about 3,000 of Cambodia’s Cham minority have built a life. Their distinctive Muslim culture thrives in conditions of close-knit community, a stark contrast to the shattering days the country endured through the rule of the Khmer Rouge and the civil war that followed. For a generation the Cham were isolated and, at times, slaughtered.
Listening to a procession of manufacturers say their piece to the parliamentary inquiry into manufacturing this week, two things were clear.
One is that the high dollar is causing real and lasting damage to their sector.
The other is that the idea that an overvalued exchange rate is the fault of the monetary policy framework has hardened into dogma.
SkyCity Entertainment Group is looking at moving into the thriving Asian market, opening a giant venue in the Philippines in what could be a $200 million venture set to take planned capital expenditure to almost $1 billion.
The report said most key decisions made during her time in office were made by the former prime minister, who lives in self-imposed exile abroad.
Asked to comment, Ms Yingluck insisted she is the prime minister and that policy decisions are made by the cabinet under her leadership.
Millions of people across the globe have cut the tethers to their offices, working remotely from home, airport lounges or just about anywhere they can get an Internet connection. But the political party governing Thailand has taken telecommuting into an altogether different realm.
Politicians and exporters might be at loggerheads over the high NZ dollar, but by one indicator the Kiwi is right where it should be.
The Economist has released its annual Big Mac Index - a fun but supposedly revealing measure of whether currencies are under or overvalued.
The prime minister is right: it would be great to make New Zealand a magnet for investment.
There’s nothing better: Foreigners buying up New Zealand businesses, freeing up Kiwis’ money for more productive uses, and still getting to benefit from the companies.
Even the most ardent supporters of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) concede that last year was a pretty disastrous one for the ten-country grouping. Replacing the region’s usual mild-mannered consensus was an unprecedented eruption of rowing and bickering, all on very public and humiliating display at its summit meetings.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare chief executive Mike Daniell says manufacturers should view the strong New Zealand dollar as the "new normal" rather than a challenge that will eventually go away.
The government of Laos had been exuding a bluff, self-congratulatory air towards the end of 2012—having won admission to the WTO in October and then playing host to the Asia-Europe summit in November—until suddenly a foul wind blew through, mid-December. The country’s most distinguished leader of an NGO was grabbed at a police checkpoint in the capital, Vientiane, and has not been seen since.
One of the most laudable achievements of Myanmar’s ongoing process of democratic reform has been the ceasefire agreements the new government has signed with all of the major ethnic insurgent groups—all but one, that is: the Kachin, under the banner of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), fight on. Unfortunately, that single conflict has become big and ugly enough to cast a lengthening shadow over the rest of Myanmar’s progress.
2012 has etched itself into the history books. During the last twelve months Southeast Asia regularly made global headlines largely due to competing territorial claims between China and various neighboring states.
Certainly, the result was not what China hoped for.
Beijing's actions in the South China Sea and claims over the Spratly and Parcel Islands elevated the status of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the global diplomatic stage.
The best news to come out of the Philippines in 2012—perhaps even better than the economic headlines—was probably the “framework agreement” between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the main Muslim separatist group fighting in the southern region of Mindanao. Signed on October 15th, the peace deal, it is hoped, will put an end to decades of armed struggle by the Muslim minority against the government in Manila. The has conflict claimed the lives of about 120,000 people and displaced a further 2m more.
So rare is industrial action in Singapore that the government and press seem to be hazy about the vocabulary. When 171 bus drivers employed by SMRT, a government-owned firm, refused to go to work on November 26th and staged a sit-in at their dormitory, the Straits Times, a pro-government daily, termed it an “action”, “protest”, “episode” and “wage dispute”. Only later was the “s” word dragged out of the dictionary. After dozens of drivers stayed away from work for a second day, the front-page headline on November 28th was: “Govt moves against illegal strike.”
For all the cheerful news out of Myanmar in the past year-and-a-half, it remains a country mired in poverty and prey to appalling ethnic violence. This week Valerie Amos, the United Nations’ most senior humanitarian official, has been in the country, reminding the world that it is home to two dreadful crises.
At Phnom Penh International Airport onlookers bidding a farewell to world leaders were impressed by the sight of their convoy of Boeing 747s jostling for space along the tarmac, as they lined-up to leave the Cambodian capital after this year’s ASEAN and East Asian Summits.
American venture capitalist Dave McClure had some advice for entrepreneurs pitching their businesses at an event in Auckland on Tuesday night - talk about your customers, if you have any.
"If you have traction lead with traction," said the founder of Silicon Valley-based business accelerator and seed fund 500 Startups.
"If you're telling me a long story I'm probably going to be a little less interested."
Export education is a major government priority.
It already earns about $2.5 billion a year in foreign exchange, making it comparable with New Zealand’s combined fish and wine exports.
The government’s goal is to double that to $5 billion within 15 years, which would take the industry roughly to where meat is today.
Myanmar's government has reported that 82 people have died in the past week’s ethnic violence in the western state of Rakhine, and 2,800 houses been razed by fire. Both figures are almost certainly underestimates. The whole length of the state, a narrow coastal strip whose northern end borders Bangladesh, has seen mounting tension and often fighting between the majority Rakhine population, who are mostly Buddhist, and the Rohingya minority, who are mostly Muslim and are seen by many Rakhines and other Burmese as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
About 30 years ago Foster’s, an Australian lager, struggled to find a foothold in China. Penfolds Grange, a premium Australian wine, is now “carrying the flag” there, according to Julia Gillard, Australia’s prime minister. Ms Gillard cited this sea change in China’s drinking tastes on October 28th, when she launched a long-awaited white paper on how Australia must adapt its economy to survive in the “Asian century”. Overseen by Ken Henry, a former Treasury head, the paper lists 25 objectives Australia should meet by 2025.
Perhaps the best thing that came out of the United States presidential poll is that the world's most powerful nation did not land in the hands of a novice at a time when Asia needs a seasoned hand at America's wheel.
Too much is at stake for things to have been handed to a man who vowed to declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, or made so many position adjustments that few knew what the real Mitt Romney stood for.
The emerging economies of East Asia will rely on the growing spending power of their own people more than exporting to rich nations over the next year, with a slowdown in growth across the Asia-Pacific region, the World Bank says.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will travel to Malaysia and Indonesia this week for bilateral talks, and to attend the Bali bombing 10th anniversary commemorations.
In Jakarta, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa will host Mr McCully for the 5th annual Indonesia-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC).
"Building on the momentum created by the Prime Minister's visit to Jakarta in April, we will discuss developments in agriculture cooperation, the environment, labour, and geothermal energy," Mr McCully says.
For a Communist leadership that prides itself on bringing political and economic stability to its 90m subjects, the past few weeks in Vietnam must have seemed like a nightmare. There have been more bank runs, executives on the lam, arrests and credit panics than the country has seen in years. So febrile is the atmosphere that on September 7th the deputy-governor of the central bank had hurriedly to deny rumours that the government had just asked the IMF for a bail-out.
It’s a pleasure to be here at this forum and I’d like to acknowledge the organisers – the ASEAN-New Zealand Combined Business Council and Export New Zealand.
As you know, I took a trade delegation to Indonesia earlier this year.
Some of you were on that trip, and I hope you found it valuable.
I had the pleasure of having Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan as my host Minister, meaning we got to spend a lot of time together.
The gradual implosion of an autocracy can throw up tricky problems for economists. In the case of Myanmar, one of the puzzles is to work out just how poor people really are, in a country that was walled away for more than half a century.
Myanmar stopped publishing national-accounts data in 1998. And so the level and geographical distribution of the economic activity in a territory roughly the size of France is clouded in mystery.
Vietnamese justice can be swift as well as ferocious, as three bloggers discovered almost as soon as they came before the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City, charged with having made propaganda against the state. Their case has upset Western governments and infuriated human-rights groups.
Trade Minister Tim Groser welcomes the announcement of the appointment of Tim Anderson as Trade Commissioner to Indonesia.
“This appointment will assist in taking New Zealand’s relationship with Indonesia to the next level. With 240 million people, Indonesia has the world’s fourth largest population and is the largest economy in the region, accounting for over one third of ASEAN’s GDP. It is expected to be one of the world’s top 10 economies by 2030,” Mr Groser says.
The 44th economic ministerial meeting of ASEAN has concluded in Cambodia. Economic ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries and six parters agreed to declare by the end of this year the start of negotiation among the 16 nations on a free trade agreement covering wide areas of the Asia-Pacific region, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP.
At a press conference at the end of the week-long meetings, the secretary-general of ASEAN said that compared to the previous Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, this RCEP is more realistic and feasible.
Members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) along with six partners have agreed to commence first-round talks next year on a regional free-trade partnership, which will form the world’s largest economic bloc by 2015.
The new partnership, dubbed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) or “ASEAN+6” trade pact, will create a 16-country integrated market in the Asia-Pacific region with a population of over 3 billion and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$17.23 trillion.
If the military junta that ruled Myanmar long and thuggishly until last year had a saving grace, it was its incompetence. It is hard to be both totalitarian and administratively cack-handed. The junta’s former members still dominate the notionally civilian government to which it gave way. They have taken their habits with them.
The sultans of the ancient Javanese city of Yogyakarta have a knack for political survival. In 1945, at the start of the war for Indonesia’s independence against Dutch colonialists, Sukarno rewarded Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX for fighting on the side of the new republic by appointing him governor for life. He was good to his word. Decades later pro-democracy protesters overthrew Sukarno’s successor, Suharto, in 1998, and ushered in a period of far-reaching constitutional change. Legislators introduced elections for provincial governors—almost everywhere. Somehow, even then, Yogyakarta’s sultans clung on to power.
Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard, who delivers his final monetary policy statement next week, has been confirmed as the next leader of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation's Secretariat.
Dr Bollard was introduced to APEC ministers on Thursday and will kick off his three-year term from the start of next year, the regional body says.
On the rare days when the power is not cut here, patrons at the local internet café read the good news coming from the lowlands. After decades of isolation, a wide-ranging push towards reform by Myanmar’s new government has thawed its relations with the West at dizzying speed. Major American and European companies are lining up to invest. The main opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is travelling freely around the world as a newly elected member of parliament; she is due in America next week. And more and more foreign tourists are pouring in to what travel publications rave is now one of the best places on earth to visit.
The business community is an ardent supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement being negotiated among 11 Pacific Rim countries. It will make business easier for our exporters and since international business accounts for over two thirds of New Zealand's economic activity, freer trade should make us all wealthier.
But there is a lot of work to be done in removing trade barriers. Canada for instance has tariffs on dairy products ranging between 200 and 300 percent.
Less than a year ago it was forbidden to print an image of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the then-banned National League for Democracy party, in any publication in Myanmar. Now, however, portraits of that particular democratically elected MP festoon papers, magazines and T-shirts all over the country—and on August 20th the government officially ended all pre-publication censorship of the media. Thus Myanmar’s quick-stepping reform programme passed another milestone.
Singaporean entrepreneur Michael Kum has signed an unconditional deal to buy the five-star, 165-room Hilton Auckland.
Dean Humphries, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels executive vice-president, said he brokered the deal, the largest sale of a New Zealand hotel this year.
In yet another symbol of Myanmar’s reform and reintegration into the world, August 1st saw the opening of a World Bank office in its main city, Yangon. The Bank has not lent to Myanmar since 1987, the year before the military junta bloodily suppressed a popular uprising, and led the country into even greater international isolation.
As the global economy slows, many emerging markets are feeling the pinch as demand for their exports weakens. In some cases—notably in China—domestic policy is also contributing to the economic slowdown. The broader question is whether these are mainly cyclical developments or the prelude to a structural adjustment in which emerging markets will no longer sustain the spectacular growth rates of recent years. The answer is probably a bit of both.
China's maritime-border disputes with neighbouring states, long simmering, have intensified in recent months. The country has clashed diplomatically with the Philippines and Vietnam over the South China Sea, and with Japan over the status of the Senkaku islands (known as the Diaoyu islands in China) in the East China Sea. One reason behind the up-tick in tensions has been poor bureaucratic co-ordination and the conflicting goals of a number of government agencies in China. Outright militarisation of the various disputes appears to be some way off. Yet the failure to make diplomatic progress has become a worrying trend, and armed clashes cannot be ruled out.
Singaporeans are noted for working long hours. I was told this repeatedly, but shrugged it off before accepting a job at a local advertising agency. It is something you don’t understand until you experience it for yourself. The talk of 12-hour days is not an exaggeration. I quickly learnt a consequence of working long hours is big mistakes. A month into my job I worked with a designer on a billboard until 6am.
Hillary Clinton, America’s secretary of state, was for the most part shown a very warm welcome in Vietnam last month. Not everything she had to say however brought smiles to the faces of her hosts. In Hanoi for just a day, she reiterated her concern about the human-rights record in general and about “restrictions on free expression online in particular”.
Auckland-based animation specialist Huhu Studios is demonstrating how connections forged in Singapore can become a springboard for activity in other parts of Asia.
Huhu partners with companies such as Big Idea Entertainment, Scholastic, EMI and Fox and produces popular animated programmes such as Veggie Tales, Buzz & Puppy, and Turbo Dogs.
Amid cheers and the odd tear, a band of 13 women—a dowdy lot of impoverished middle-aged mothers, homemakers, and a grandmother—were set free by a Cambodian appeals court on June 27th. The court’s decision was welcomed by human-rights groups as well as by local land-rights activists, who believe the national government has taken advantage of these women as part of a programme of evicting the poor to make way for lucrative commercial developments.
The Myanmar government's newly conciliatory stance towards its opponents, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has led to the suspension of Western economic sanctions. The opposition National League for Democracy won 43 out of 45 parliamentary by-elections held on April 1st, but the military and its allies still have an overwhelming majority in the legislature.
As much as their official media tend to extol grand friendship between a pair of great nations, Vietnam and China have a long and tumultuous history as neighbours. More recent friendly manoeuvres between Vietnam and America are understood to comprise a kind of diplomatic bulwark against a certain unmentioned giant to the north. Vietnam’s relationship with China is complicated on a number of fronts, not least of which is trade.
The government is considering exempting imports of horticulture produce from Australia, Canada and the US from the obligation to enter the Indonesian market through specific ports as demanded by a new regulation set for implementation on June 19
It is immediately obvious to any visitor to Myanmar that the South-East Asian country has fallen a long way behind the rest of the region, let alone much of the rest of the world. Yangon, the former capital, offers mostly crumbling colonial-era masonry rather than the air-conditioned malls to which other Asians have become accustomed. Indeed, the sad contrast in fortunes between Yangon and, say, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, is one of the main reasons why the generals who mismanaged the country for decades have been obliged to change tack.
Ministers and senior government officials from the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries met today to discuss ways of expanding economic corridors to better facilitate the movement of people and products around the subregion.
“There is now a need to fine tune economic corridor development, which is seen as a means of integrating centers of production and demand, and contributing to inclusive growth at both country and subregional level,” said Stephen Groff, ADB’s Vice President for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
The trade of the GMS countries expanded rapidly during the 2000s. Combined exports of the GMS countries increased at an average annual pace of 10.9% and combined imports grew at an average annual pace of 11.4% during 2000-2009.1 Total exports and imports of Cambodia and Lao PDR expanded even faster. Cambodian exports increased at 13.5% annually during 2000-2009 while imports grew by 12.3% annually over the same period. Lao PDR’s export and imports expanded at an average annual growth rate of 16.0% and 17.6% respectively during 2000-2009. Despite the rapid expansion in trade, the share of Cambodia and Lao PDR in the total trade of GMS5 remains small. Thailand accounted for 68.8% of the total exports of GMS5 countries (to the world) in 2009, followed by Viet Nam at 25.6%. Cambodia and Lao PDR, on the other hand, accounted for only 2.2% and 0.6% of the total GMS5 exports to the world, respectively. The rest came from Myanmar.
The global economy remains in precarious shape. Europe’s debt crisis rages on, and although the euro appears to have survived its most recent test in the form of the Greek election on June 17th, austerity and financial-market uncertainty are depressing economic activity in Europe and, by extension, in much of the rest of the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit continues to expect global GDP growth to slow in 2012, and while our forecasts for the G3 economies—the US, euro zone and China—are essentially unchanged this month, we have cut our projections for Brazil and India.
The Crafar farms sale has provoked strong reactions and opposing viewpoints from within New Zealand and from overseas. On one hand there is concern about whether consistent criteria are being applied by the Government over the sale of farmland, and whether the criteria are transparent enough. On the other, there has been a backlash from people – of many political persuasions and circumstances – who fear becoming “tenants in their own land”.
China, India and Singapore posted the biggest increases in millionaires last year as the Asia-Pacific region countered a decline in wealth in western Europe and the United States, according to Boston Consulting Group.
Millionaire households in China rose 16 per cent to 1.43 million while those in Singapore climbed 14 per cent to 188,000 and India saw a 21 per cent increase to 162,000, the Boston-based firm said in a report.
Side by side, the two leaders offered a picture of demure enthusiasm. “Should I go first?” whispered the Indian prime minister leaning towards the slender woman, striking in her mauve longyi, to his right. Given a nod, he told a small gathering of journalists, crammed into a hotel room in Yangon, Myanmar’s main city, on May 29th, of his admiration and respect for her “life and struggle, her determination…which have inspired millions of people all over the world”. Getting Manmohan Singh ever to speak with passion is near impossible, but he offered something close to real warmth, lauding family and historic ties, praising her “noble endeavour” and urging the lady to visit Delhi to give a prestigious speech.
This month a major film distributor from Indonesia visited the Odeon cinemas in High Street Kensington to watch the “The Dictator”, a bawdy comedy involving Arab tyrants, beheadings and muscular female bodyguards. “I’m looking forward to this,” he said. But I was puzzled. He usually watched movies in Indonesia, preferably in one of his own theaters, where tickets cost 50,000 rupiahs—around £3.50, or $5.50, compared with Kensington’s £11.25 (160,000 rupiahs). Considering he was in London for only three days, it seemed an odd priority. “Well, you see,” he said, “the film has been banned in Indonesia.” Oh? I said. “Yes, they’re getting a bit nosy these days.” Later, during a particularly bawdy scene, he pointed out that “even if they allowed the film to pass, this entire scene would have been cut.” He wanted to see the film in its unadulterated form.
Adoring throngs of expatriated Burmese nationals (and NGO staffers) lined kilometres of the airport road to welcome Aung San Suu Kyi to the border town of Mae Sot. On the last day of Miss Suu Kyi’s landmark visit to Thailand, her first trip abroad in 24 years, she was escorted by tight security provided by Thailand’s army and police. From the tarmac her convoy was whisked past the cheering supporters to Mae La, the area’s largest refugee camp. More than 45,000 shelter here, most of them ethnic Karen who have fled war and repression in neighbouring Myanmar.
The prime minister has no shortage of critics hoping for his demise. Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York-based NGO, recently compared Hun Sen with the series of notorious autocrats recently ousted from power in the Arab world. Ben Ali, Mubarak, Qaddafi: men who ruled by threat and force.
Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast has been in New Zealand this week pressing Canada's case to join the Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, and the sooner the better.
But while the addition of that G7 economy would undoubtedly add heft to the TPP grouping - as would the other two applicants, Japan and Mexico - Canada's bid faces two obstacles.
A horse named Joe is a lead actor in the story of how one of this country's most successful family firms got its start.
"Joe would rub his backside on the family Essex," says Sir William Gallagher, chairman and chief executive of Gallagher Group, the Hamilton-based business that his father Bill started more than 70 years ago.
If the Government had courage it would appoint a taskforce to take a lengthy look at New Zealand's foreign investment regime.
A taskforce could investigate the current state of play and come up with recommendations on whether New Zealand needs to specify exactly what its national interest criteria should be - which industries are strategic, how it should treat investment by sovereign wealth funds.
One of the more comfortable (and often quickest) ways to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is by luxury bus. The plush seats are reminiscent of business class when flying with the added bonus of WIFI. The bus I covert the most, however, is the massage bus. Visualise the coin-operated massage chairs you see in airports ready to sooth weary travellers and put 40 of them on a bus with passengers enjoying their mechanically operated movements for the duration of the journey. The bus encapsulates something not well known about Asian countries - health and wellbeing are priorities that many consumers are prepared to spend over the odds for.
The Trans Pacific Partnership has been variously described as a devil's pact allowing nasty corporations to sue or a panacea for those seeking to boost the country's trade and investment. Wherever the truth lies we should take notice of free trade agreements. David Williams reports.
In a spartan meeting room at a Zurich YMCA in 1998, the New Zealand wine industry hit a crossroads.
Six years earlier, the industry decided its future lay overseas and it was time to get serious about international trade and market access.
Myanmar, once known as Burma, has democracy standing on its doorstep.
For decades under Myanmar’s former military regime, Aung San Suu Kyi led the fight for democracy as head of the National League for Democracy (NLD). A Nobel peace laureate, she retained her popular appeal over two decades while she was either imprisoned or under house arrest. Now free, on April 1, 2012 she won a landslide victory in Myanmar’s parliamentary by-elections. Drawing cheering crowds, her supporters call her “Amay Suu,” or “Mother Suu.” Hopes are high she will nurture this formerly troubled nation into a new era of democracy and personal freedom.
The Bersih rallies have quickly established themselves as something of a ritual in Malaysia’s political calendar. The script goes something like this: thousands of protesters declare that they are going to march through Kuala Lumpur to demand electoral reform; a twitchy government and protest leaders spend days haggling over a suitable venue; the protest goes ahead in defiance of police demands; violence ensues, hundreds are arrested; government issues some apologies; everyone goes home. The only significant variant is the political impact. Last year it was huge—this year it will probably be very little.
ANZ National Bank chairman Sir Dryden Spring will retire next month.
Sir Dryden has been involved with the bank since 1994 and was chairman for six.
He was a director of the National Bank of New Zealand from 1994, which amalgamated with ANZ National Bank in 2004 and is now the country's biggest lender.
It’s a great pleasure to be here in Indonesia and it’s a great pleasure to be addressing this distinguished gathering of Indonesian and New Zealand business.
This is my first visit to Indonesia as Prime Minister. But like the rest of the world I have been watching your country with admiration.
Your progress in the 21st Century has been extraordinary.
Prime Minister John Key today announced a suite of new agreements between Indonesia and New Zealand, which will complement and strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Trade Minister Tim Groser and his Indonesian Ministerial counterparts today signed four agreements covering cooperation in agriculture, environment, labour and geothermal energy.
For nearly six years, Chadri Sittiaree has been an ardent supporter of Thailand’s former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who remains a fugitive at home. Around Thailand, where rallies by Mr Thaksin’s “red shirt” admirers take place weekly, Mr Chadri has become a fixture—selling mugs adorned with the faces of Mr Thaksin and his younger sister, the current prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, to offset his own travel costs.
The Christchurch earthquakes were a factor that kept Prime Minister John Key from visiting Indonesia last year and quakes off the coast of Southeast Asia's dominant nation this week came close to preventing him from making it there this year.
Mercifully, the people of Western Indonesia were spared a repeat of 2004's catastrophic tsunami and next week Mr Key makes his first formal call on the leaders of the fast-developing nation.
Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, plans to invest in a new blending and packing plant in Indonesia as it seeks to tap growing Asian demand for high-protein food products.
The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 exposed the Indonesian army for what it was: outdated, ill-equipped and demoralised. As numerous foreign forces, led by America and Australia, flooded into Indonesia’s ravaged Aceh province to deliver aid and conduct search-and-rescue missions, the local troops were reduced to spectators.
The second-term coalition government of the president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is not popular, and corruption scandals and infighting are dogging his administration. Nevertheless, its survival is not threatened, and a strong economy will dampen public ire. China will partly displace Western trade partners, but the government will remain true to the country’s non-aligned tradition as it wields increasing influence abroad. Rising domestic consumption will support the economy.
According to a recent poll, Indonesians are the merriest people on earth: a mighty 51% of respondents on the sprawling archipelago told the Ipsos research firm that they are “very happy”. It is a fairly safe bet, though, that the president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was not one of them, nor were members of his ruling Democratic Party. Looking at their own plummeting poll ratings and rising political difficulties, they must feel almost as miserable as Hungarians and Russians, the gloomiest of the gloomy, according to Ipsos (see article for more on this poll).
Istandbul (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has given cautious support to a by-election in Myanmar that has given pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi a seat in the lower house of parliament.
"The United States congratulates the people who participated, many for the first time, in the campaign and election process," Clinton said on Sunday following a meeting on the Syrian conflict in Istanbul.
Jubilant supporters of pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi sang and danced outside the headquarters of her opposition National League for Democracy here on Sunday night, as the party claimed a stunning near clean sweep of the parliamentary by-elections held earlier in the day.
Yangon, Myanmar — The party of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi declared that she had won a seat in Myanmar’s Parliament on Sunday, an unofficial result that may herald a new era for the country as it moves toward democracy after decades of oppressive military rule.
For those who think of Singapore as an antiseptic place of high-rise buildings, bustling streets, glitzy shopping malls and immaculately tidy parks, Bukit Brown comes as a bit of a shock. An expanse of wooded green space in the heart of the island, it is full of Chinese graves. Over 100,000 of them, by some estimates, many wildly overgrown with tropical greenery.
New Zealand bio-fuel company LanzaTech has been recognised as a world-leader in energy innovation. The company is one of ten from around the world to be selected as a 2012 Bloomberg New Energy Pioneer.
Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech's chief executive said the company was "honoured to be given the prestigious award, which recognises LanzaTech's technology as a game changer for the energy future."
AirAsia X will suspend Christchurch services from the end of May, the airline announced tonight.
The Malaysian-based airline confirmed it would cut 11-hour flights between Kuala Lumpur and Christchurch as part of a change in its strategy to get out of longer-haul flights, having already canned flights to London and Paris.
The Christchurch services had been running four times a week since April 2011.
Zespri International, the legislated fruit marketing monopoly, is pinning its hopes on a new strain of gold kiwifruit to see off the vine bacteria that invaded local orchards in 2010.
The company has launched a recovery plan that will grant growers of the Hort16A varietal, which has been devastated by the Pseudomonas syringae pv actinadiae bacteria, licences for the Gold3 strand.
A move by broker UBS, on behalf of Wilmar International, to bid A$117.3 million for up to 10% of Goodman Fielder at 60 cents a share could be the first step towards a takeover offer worth $1 billion or more, according to media reports.
The Wilmar offer, which represents a 16.5% premium on Goodman’s last traded share price of 51.5 cents, pushed several of Goodman’s major shareholders to sell.
Prime Minister John Key easily batted away a story revealing he had received more than 100 letters or emails opposing the Government's decision to approve the sale of the 16 Crafar dairy farms to Shanghai Pengxin.
"What the Sunday Star-Times breathlessly printed was a couple of emails that had been sent to my office - I think they said there had been 100 in total.
CLEARLY the Japanese government does not think it has too much on its plate trying to secure support at home and abroad for its plan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the America-led free-trade zone. According to Motohisa Furukawa, minister for national policy, Japan’s decision to prepare the ground for TPP entry has stoked China’s interest in a trilateral free-trade agreement with Japan and South Korea. In the past, he observed
Russia today squeezes New Zealand closer to being a pivotal pawn in Moscow’s foreign policy strategy for the Asia-Pacific region.
Today’s “consultations plan” signed with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov formalises bilateral cooperation for another two years, a positive step towards improved relations and trade development between both countries.
Malaysia has the potential to be the hub of a new Economic Growth Triangle, encompassing China, South-East Asia, India and the Middle East.
The China-Asean-India-Middle East partnership would create huge business and investment opportunities, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Europe's crippling debt crisis dominated the world's foremost gathering of business and political leaders, but for the first time the growing inequality between the planet's haves and have-nots became an issue, thanks largely to the Arab Spring uprisings, the Occupy movement, and other protests around the globe.
The European Union is rewarding Burma's moves toward political reform by easing some sanctions against the regime.
The EU foreign ministers agreed on Monday on a "first step", ending the visa ban on the president and top government officials.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he hoped EU foreign ministers would be able to agree at a meeting on Monday to an easing of sanctions on Myanmar in response to reforms by the government, including the release of political prisoners.
Lacklustre economic expansion from emerging markets in Q4 as manufacturing weakness negates services activity
Shares in Malaysian-based ISP MyKris have risen in their first 24 hours of trading.
Two trades, for a total of 25,000 shares have gone through at 28c a share, up from the company's Tuesday debut price of 25c a share.
The High Court here yesterday acquitted and discharged Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, after a trial which lasted almost two years.
Judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah cited the lack of evidence corroborating Saiful’s testimony and the possibility that the DNA samples were compromised as the reasons for acquitting and discharging Anwar.
A Malaysian court has acquitted the country's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, of sodomy charges in a shock ruling that could fast-forward the former deputy prime minister's political comeback ahead of an expected election this year.
AFTER more than two years of sordid revelations in the media, legal wrangling and political point-scoring, on January 9th the High Court in Malaysia’s capital finally handed down a verdict in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case: not guilty.
Singaporeans are being invited to buy units in three Auckland apartment blocks which desperate Blue Chip victims are trying to escape from via a Supreme Court ruling, due out any day.
Indonesia's participation in the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) presents opportunities for local importers and exporters, HSBC says.
The bank said Indonesia, which will become part of the FTA today, is set to become one of New Zealand's 10 fastest-growing trade corridors.
Blink and you might have missed it, but from this month New Zealand businesses will have greater and easier access to the fourth largest country in the world - and it's practically on our doorstep.
Indonesia completed the domestic procedures required to enter the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) in November - the last Asean member state to formally agree to implement the agreement. The FTA will come into force on Tuesday.
Here I’d first like to acknowledge Sid Myer, Group Chairman of Asialink and the Asia Society – and of course a leader in philanthropy in Australia – along with Jenny McGregor, Asialink and the Asia Society’s Group CEO.
Richard Woolcott, Founding Director, Asia Society AustralAsia Centre, one of this country’s most eminent diplomats.
As expected, the media and other observers eagerly watched for statements from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN Regional Forum foreign ministers on developments in the South China Sea. They waited in particular to gauge the belligerence with which the US Secretary of State would assert her interest in those developments and the vehemence with which the Chinese foreign minister would press China’s claims in the area.
The U.S. Department of Commerce launched a report on its National Export Strategy on June 28, 2011 that included Vietnam among a list of key focus markets.
According to the report for U.S. Congress, the key markets of Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all have large populations, high growth, favorable business environments, and many potential opportunities
Indonesia’s recent entry into the ranks of middle-income economies and its ratification of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) means it is becoming a more attractive place to do business for New Zealand companies.
Thailand’s economy continues along the path of success, as the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) reports that the first quarter of 2011 shows GDP growth of 3%, following a seasonally adjusted growth of 2% in the fourth quarter of 2010.
According to figures released by the General Statistics Office (GSO) on June 24, Vietnam’s CPI in June increased 1.09 percent compared to May, 13.29 percent compared to December 2010, and 20.82 percent against June 2010
Vietnamese central bank governor Nguyen Van Giau expressed confidence on Monday in government steps to curb soaring inflation, days after raising key policy rates for the second time in a month in the face of stubbornly high prices.
Giau declined to say how much he expected inflation, which hit a 28-month high in April, to dent gross domestic product growth. The government is targeting 7-7.5 percent growth, but many economists say that range may be unattainable.
China will support ASEAN as a driving force in a regional architecture with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao reiterating that the world’s second-largest economy was not a threat to anyone.
In a speech here Saturday, Wen said cooperation among countries in East Asia could grow well only if ASEAN was the dominant player, a statement seemingly aimed at fending off the idea of using the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a nucleus of wider Asia-Pacific cooperation.
Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he plans to dissolve the House of Representatives by Friday and call what he described as a landmark election for the Southeast Asian country, which has been plagued by deep and sometimes deadly political divisions.
The Vietnamese government’s monetary policy seems to have been stuck in a dilemma. While raising interest rates and restricting lending amounts seem to be the common ways to exacerbate the high inflation rate, the reduction in loan issuance is directly hurting the business operation and development of the country’s small and medium sized enterprises
Vietnam’s government aims to boost the nation’s shipping volume by more than 400 percent over the next 10 years by investing heavily in its ports.
The emergent Southeast Asian economy is channeling billions of dollars into building ports for container ships in a move to draw export-oriented industry from China.
On 11 January 2011 Vietnam’s governing Communist Party (CPV) convened its five-yearly congress: a gathering of the country’s political elite to renew leadership and affirm legitimacy in the one-party state.
China has announced plans to build a high-speed railway linking the southern Chinese Guangxi Zhaung autonomous region with Singapore via Vietnam, according to China Daily.
China's imports from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) rose 44.8 percent to $154.56 billion in 2010, said the General Administration of Customs on Thursday.
Minimum wages at both local and foreign firms in Vietnam have increased by VND100,000 and VND370,000 per month, respectively.
Depending on region, with urban areas having a higher minimum wage, local companies are required to pay a monthly minimum of VND830,000 to VND1,350,000 per month, while foreign companies must pay VND1.1 million to VND1.55 million a month
Vietnam’s State Securities Commission is looking to increase the minimum capital requirement for companies wanting to list on the nations bourses
Vietnam Electricity has said it plans to generate 112.6 billion kilowatt-hours of power this year, up 16 percent from 2010, and it will buy electricity from China to ease its shortage.
All too frequently Vietnam’s capital is plagued by power blackouts. Hotel lifts get stuck, and even the espresso machines in Hanoi’s Parisian-style cafés splutter to a halt. Many thought this fast-developing country had left such symptoms behind.
Singapore Airlines is to continue its daily service to Christchurch through the winter, rather than reducing to five flights a week from the end of March as it did previously.
Presenting an opportunity for investors, Vietnam’s banking industry seeks to apply more advanced information technology and security infrastructure in the near future, the government said on Thursday
A lot has been said about the importance of Asia to tourism in New Zealand today and into the next decade. I’ve noticed, as a sector, we’re good at talking about it, but, how much is being done to ensure we get a share of this growing market?
For the past decade, Americans dialing customer service have stood a strong chance of being connected to someone in India. Now they're more likely to end up phoning the Philippines. Although the country got a slow start in outsourcing, strong government support, a plentiful supply of English-speaking college grads, and an effort by call center operators to diversify have helped the Philippines overtake India in call center revenues. "It's not that we are trying to take business away from India," says Oscar Sañez, chief executive officer of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines, an industry group. "We're just looking for our own place in the sun."
Plans have been laid to create 11 new industrial zones and high tech parks in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi over the next five years in a bid to attract further domestic and foreign investment, Nguyen Xuan Chinh, head of the Hanoi Industrial and Export Processing Zone Management Board, said on Thursday
Indonesia is appealing for foreign investors in palm oil and cocoa processing sectors due to its abundant raw materials, associations say.
Head of the quality control division of the Indonesian Cacao Board, Misnawi, said Friday that Indonesia, the world’s third largest cacao producer, offered wide opportunities for foreign investors to invest in the cacao processing sector in the country.
Heavy traffic congestion, regular flooding, clean- water shortages and unaffordable land have prompted discourse on relocating the capital city.
In an effort to make Vietnam a low carbon economy by 2020, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment announced on Monday that it will be introducing new measures that will further develop renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and biomass power
Having lived in Indonesia since 1977, James Castle has more than three decades of experience working in Southeast Asia. He is the founder of CastleAsia, a business consultancy specialising in market-entry strategies, economic and political analysis and public policy advocacy.
New Zealand importers including The Warehouse face supply disruption out of China as authorities there enforce rolling factory shutdowns to save power.Manufacturing for New Zealand companies in Vietnam has also been hit, with one importer predicting worse problems and the prospect of rising prices next year.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Yokohama, Japan is expected to adopt a new growth strategy aimed at accelerating regional economic integration. Issues to be discussed would probably include trade and investment; and efforts to promote sustainable, inclusive and balanced development, and expedite structural reforms that will unleash entrepreneurship and innovation as well as address structural imbalances, much like the recent G20 agenda.
Trade and investment are crucial elements in the global recovery, which is a necessary condition for resuming our own growth. However, in spite of its benefits, trade is often an extremely contentious political issue, both domestically and between governments. The British historian Thomas Macaulay had this paradox in mind when he said that “Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular.” That was back in 1824, yet it still rings true today.
China has led an Asian backlash against measures by the United States to kick start economic recovery, which have stoked concerns that a flood of loose money could destabilize regional economies. The U.S. Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would pump $600 billion into the economy through debt purchases -effectively printing money-to boost employment and growth.
Indonesia saw foreign direct investment jump 32 percent to Rp 111.1 trillion ($12.4 billion), excluding oil and gas, and banking, in the first nine months of the year, with the property sector attracting the most investment.
Indonesia's efforts to improve its business climate and attract more investment may seem to be in top gear, but neighboring countries are sprinting past, a World Bank-endorsed study shows.
The Maori word Ohau, the brand name under which Peter Healy markets his wine throughout Asia, sounds like "everything is excellent" when heard by Mandarin speakers.But while Healy and Ohau Gravels are making inroads into the enormous Chinese market, he is finding things are generally much better south of the border in Vietnam.
Prime Minister John Key has arrived in Vietnam to attend the East Asia Summit.He was greeted on arrival in Ho Chi Minh city by Vietnamese officials and New Zealand Ambassador Heather Riddell.Mr Key was then whisked through the city streets in a motorcade.There had been some minor drama onboard Mr Key's Air Force 757 when a weather radar failed.The device helps pilots detect and avoid turbulence. It was feared the plane might have to return to Darwin - where it had made a brief stop to change crew - or land in Brunei.
On his way to a meeting of regional leaders at the East Asia Summit Prime Minister John Key will pause in Vietnam's largest city to pitch the trade opportunities associated with the 2011 rugby World Cup.The Prime Minister departs for the summit in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi today but on the way he will stop off in Ho Chi Minh City, the commercial hub of the country and home to many New Zealand businesses.
It's business time. Prime Minister John Key will spend tonight wining and dining with world leaders but for this morning his focus is on commerce - more specifically New Zealand businesses operating in Vietnam and the opportunities the Southeast Asian nation provides for exporters.Mr Key arrived in Vietnam last night and travels to Hanoi this afternoon for the East Asia Summit. While there he will hold formal meeting with many of his counterparts and informal 'pull-asides' with many more.
Vietnam’s first wind power turbine production factory, a US$61 million dollar project, was inaugurated at the Nomura Industrial Zone in the port city of Haiphong on October 15.Invested in by General Electric, the factory is the first step of a larger initiative to address growing global demand for clean energy sources
Despite a 19.1 percent rise in exports this year, Vietnam’s government on Wednesday projected that the country’s trade deficit will grow to US$13.5 billion this year, putting pressure on the authorities to once again devalue the dong.Vietnam’s dong has already seen three devaluations over the last year, with the last one coming on August 17, but the country’s large trade and budget deficits, in addition to low foreign exchange reserves, make it vulnerable to another devaluation.
Stock exchange operator NZX will have to carefully assess the opportunities and threats of the proposed takeover of the Australian Securities Exchange by the Singapore exchange, NZX managing director Mark Weldon says."It's very easy to jump to dramatic conclusions whenever there is a major corporate transaction of any kind," Weldon told NZPA.
IN RECENT weeks the world economy has been on a war footing, at least rhetorically. Ever since Brazil’s finance minister, Guido Mantega, declared on September 27th that an “international currency war” had broken out, the global economic debate has been recast in battlefield terms, not just by excitable headline-writers, but by officials themselves. Gone is the fuzzy rhetoric about co-operation to boost global growth. A more combative tone has taken hold (see article). Countries blame each other for distorting global demand, with weapons that range from quantitative easing (printing money to buy bonds) to currency intervention and capital controls.
PKE sold by Fonterra subsidiary RD1 is imported from a single responsible source, Wilmar International. Wilmar International http://www.wilmar-international.com/sustainability/index.htm practices a “no burn” policy, respects designated conservation areas, employs wildlife protection experts and is a leading member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Wilmar is on target to complete certification audits for all their plantation operations by 2014. Final certification is dependent on the RSPO approval process.
Thailand’s economy expanded more than estimated last quarter as surging exports countered the impact of political turmoil, supporting gains in the nation’s currency and stocks
The Asian Development Bank raised its forecast for the region’s economic growth this year, crediting a rapid recovery in exports even as it warned the risk of another recession in advanced countries had not completely receded.
Developing Asia's robust recovery from the global crisis is gaining further momentum, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says in its annual flagship economic publication Asian Development Outlook 2010 Update, released today.
The first meeting of a working group to prepare a free-trade agreement between Viet Nam and Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan was held here yesterday.The agreement is expected to bring benefits to an area covering 20 million square kilometres, with a population of 253 million people and a GDP of US$1,505 billion.
The Internet poses a challenge for authoritarian regimes around the world. But Vietnam's leaders think they have figured out a new way to tame it—by launching their own, Communist-friendly answer to popular social-networking sites like Facebook.
Vietnam is working towards improving its trade process with a single window customs pilot project backed by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.“This pilot project will help to increase revenue, enforce trade compliance regulations and reduce the cost of cargo movement into Vietnam, an increasingly important partner for the United States in Southeast Asia,” U.S. Ambassador Michael W. Michalak said when the US$718,600 grant was signed on September 15
Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises are the fourth most optimistic in the region that the Asia-Pacific economy will continue to grow, according to an annual report conducted by the market research firm TNS.
Singapore Airlines, the world's second-largest carrier by market capitalisation, said it will equip long-range wide-body planes with internet and phone-message access to meet growing demand from business travellers.
Malaysia does not see China as indulging in power projection but it does want to engage with major powers to achieve a balance in the region, according to Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.Najib said as a former defense minister, he believes China is not really indulging in power projection. “Its military buildup does not indicate it is moving in that direction,” the prime minister told a group of Council on Foreign Relations members on Tuesday.
Southeast Asian and US leaders issued a joint statement aimed to bring their relations to a new height during talks at the second ASEAN-US Leaders' Summit on Saturday.
They also welcomed a rebound of trade between the two sides, said the statement, citing a 28-per cent increase in two-way ASEAN – US trade in goods in the first six months of this year.
Thailand’s exports rose for the 10th consecutive month in August as the baht’s appreciation to a 13-year high failed to curb demand for the country’s automobile parts and electronics.Shipments increased 23.9 percent last month from a year earlier to $16.5 billion, Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said in Nonthaburi province on the outskirts of Bangkok today. The median estimate of 12 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 23.5 percent gain.
United Nations-backed war-crimes court formally indicted four former Khmer Rouge leaders on September 16th. Their trial, set to begin next year, will be the second of its kind. In July Comrade Duch, the commandant of an infamous prison, was handed a 35-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity, reduced to 19 years against time served and a period of illegal detention. Next in the dock are the Khmers Rouges’ chief ideologue, Nuon Chea, their former head of state, Khieu Samphan, and Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, both ministers in their government. The four stand charged, like Duch, with war crimes and crimes against humanity—and also with genocide. The court’s new charge should prove most contentious yet.
The Korea-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in 2007 has significantly increased trade between the two sides, a Korean foreign ministry official said.Speaking at the Korea-ASEAN FTA Forum in HCM City on Thursday, Lee Yun Young, deputy director general for FTA Policy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said trade expanded by over 23 per cent in 2008, the first year after the treaty came into force.
For much of April and May, Bangkok’s Rajprasong shopping district was taken over by a raucous protest movement that was eventually quashed by the army. On Sunday, four months after that episode ended in bloodshed, the “red shirts” were back. Several thousand showed up to chant anti-government slogans, release red balloons, tie ribbons on lampposts and call for justice and democracy. If you squinted, and ignored the charred shopping centre torched during the clashes, it was a vision of the April demonstrations. But Sunday’s influx of protesters did not linger. By evening, the crowd had drifted away, having made their point: the red shirts are back.
China is facing increasing competition from other Southeast Asian nations as regional growth both expands and creates alternative investment markets.While global growth overall decreased by 2.1 percent last year and global trade dropped off by 11.6 percent, countries in Asia fared far better, with only Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand showing negative growth, and these by relatively small margins. That has turned around completely for 2010, with none of the ASEAN members still showing a recessionary position. In all cases across Asia, GDP growth has been robust, and along with it, signs that China especially is also facing increased competition from ASEAN neighbors in chasing lucrative foreign investment
Global investors have named Vietnam as one of the most attractive investment destinations beyond the BRIC markets, according to a report released by the U.K. Trade and Investment and Economist Intelligence Unit (UKTI).
Vietnam is considered the most attractive investment destination in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations by American companies, according to survey results announced by the American Chamber of Commerce last month.
The country’s flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, has announced it will slash fares on domestic flights by 50 percent from September 15 to October 30.The heavily discounted rates will include routes coming from the capital, Hanoi and the financial center, Ho Chi Minh City. The discounted prices will range from VND400,000 to VND860,000 per flight following the routes below.
Starting today, Vietnamese international airports will scrap entry and exit procedures for passengers, including Vietnamese expatriates and foreigners, to ease congestion and clearance delays.
Indonesia is confident it can increase annual bilateral trade with China by 66 percent to US$50 billion over the next three to five years from current levels of roughly US$20 billion according to Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu.
Indonesia has been identified as one of the top markets for global investors, according to new research published by UK Trade & Investment.The ‘Great Expectations: Doing business in emerging markets’ report offers new insights from international investors about which markets they see as being the global growth engines of the future
Might president and chief executive officer Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman said the study to determine the direction of the sector will be presented to Prime Minister and National Innovation Council chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
ASIAN economies are likely to give way to a series of disappointing industrial production and export data in the next nine to 12 months, says a regional economist.
Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, paid a courtesy call on the Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China Yang Jiechi in Beijing to discuss ASEAN-China's dialogue partnership and other issues of mutual interest
A draft law to protect migrant workers and better regulate the labour recruitment industry has been finalised, a Labour Ministry official announced yesterday.
The Aquino administration plans to construct a mass rail system that will link to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA 3). Rafael Rodriguez, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) administrator, said. The rail link project entails construction of a 6.2-kilometer spur line from the Baclaran station of the existing LRT Line 1.
Vietnam is the second largest beer market in the Southeast Asian region with 1.6 billion liters consumed last year after Cambodia
The country’s largest container seaport, Tan Cang-Cai Mep, will open its second phase later this year; allowing it to receive ships with a loading capacity of up to 110,000 tons.
In Wellington you discuss the weather and in Auckland the property market - Malaysians bond over food.
The decree will also waive tax on imported raw materials or appliances for specific investment sectors or those not made in the country five years after production date
AS A policeman ineffectually sledgehammered the windows of a hijacked bus, in a desperate effort to reach 15 hostages trapped inside, it became sickeningly clear that a rescue operation had gone dreadfully wrong. More than an hour later the police got in by opening the emergency exit, and found proof of their bungling: eight of the 15 hostages, all Hong Kong tourists, had been shot dead, as had the hostage-taker, a former policeman.
Kiwifruit battler Turners & Growers is to appeal last week’s High Court ruling in favour of export giant Zespri.Last week the High Court in Auckland declined a first cause of action and struck out two others taken by T&G.T&G chairman Tony Gibbs said the company had reviewed the judgment over the weekend and would lodge its appeal as soon as possible.
Vietnamese exporters may face tougher restrictions this year as countries employ trade remedies to address anti-dumping and countervailing issues on items produced by importing countries according to trade experts.
JULY 19, 2010, must become a pivotal date in our history. We must mark it as the moment we finally realised we had to radically change the way we do business.If we don't, we will continue to limp along happy with the crumbs our current businesses throw off.
Chinese companies should look for more cooperation opportunities with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to realize the full advantages of the free trade agreement between the two, government officials said on Monday
The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Friday lauded China for the significant role it has played in reviving global trade growth and said the nation has more than fulfilled its commitment to the organization.The WTO said in its annual report released on Friday that it expects global trade to grow by 10 percent this year.
Increasing New Zealand's trade with Vietnam and maximising the value of aid to the southeast Asian nation were the priorities of Prime Minister John Key's just-completed trip here. Mr Key also hopes that by improving the economic relationship and building on 35 years of diplomatic relations, New Zealand can help Vietnam overcome its appalling human rights record.
SINGAPORE - Singapore expects its economy to soar 15 per cent this year after surging manufacturing fuelled a record expansion in the second quarter.
Jul. 14 – The General Department of Customs will offer its e-customs services to 12 more offices as a way of encouraging companies to use the service.This will bring the total number of offices with the e-customs service around the country to 36. Eventually authorities aim to offer the service in 70 percent of their offices as part of Project 30 to simplify administrative procedures and improve investment process for both foreign and local businesses.
HANOI, Jul. 9 – The 43rd ASEAN Ministerial Meetings will take place in Hanoi from July 19-23 and are set to examine ways in which the ASEAN charter can be better implemented and the new administrative apparatus used to better forge links between members
Cementing New Zealand's relationship with Vietnam through trade, aid and our bid for a spot on the United Nations' Security Council has been the aim of Prime Minister John Key's trip to the southeast Asian nation.
Wilmar International is to pay A$1.75 billion ($2.14 billion) to buy the sugar assets of Australian conglomerate CSR, including its stake in the New Zealand Sugar Company - owner of the Chelsea brand and Birkenhead refinery.
New Zealand's next Ambassador to Egypt will be career diplomat David Strachan, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said today.
The Asian workforce in New Zealand is growing at a rate where it will make up 15 per cent of the country's total workforce by 2026, new research shows.
“Building these bridges and these connections with Asia is absolutely vital” - Case Study Te Puke High School
The list of projects includes the country’s third oil refinery, the Long Son oil refinery in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. The US$7 billion project is now looking for new investors after Venezuela’s state oil firm PDVSA stepped out the project.
THE inauguration of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino as the Philippines’ new president on June 30th looked less like a ceremony of state than the climax of a revolution.
Cuddly pandas, deadly torpedoes and Chinese food safety will be among the talking points when Prime Minister John Key travels to Asia next week.
An informative newsletter from Export New Zealand.
Vietnam will waive visa fees for foreign visitors to the country from August to September as part of the “Impressive Vietnam Grand Sale 2010” campaign.
An all-out massacre in the capital has been avoided, but Thailand is not beyond the risk of civil war
AUT journalism graduate Claire Rorke remembers her experience at the Jakarta Globe in September 2009. She was an on an Asia New Zealand Foundation-supported internship there for four weeks.
The Aquino family has a second shot at running South-East Asia’s laggard
Foreign contractors are subject to withholding tax on payments for work done in the country based on contracts signed between them and Vietnamese partners.
WITH its three high-rise towers topped by a sweeping open-air SkyPark, the Marina Bay Sands casino, which opened on April 27th, is a striking addition to the Singapore skyline. It also symbolises an interesting, and potentially risky, new phase in the city-state’s highly successful government-led industrial policy.
Vietnam signed trade deals with China’s east province of Jiangsu during the China-Vietnam Economic Cooperation Forum held in Nanjing on April 27.
When I took up the appointment in 2007 I wasn’t given any specific objectives, other than maintaining the good relations that have marked our 50 years presence in Wellington, and improving Indonesia’s profile.
After a riot on April 10th which left 23 Thais dead, a tense stand-off has ensued on the streets of Bangkok, paralysed for the past several weeks by red-shirted anti-government protesters.
Thai anti-government protesters have built formidable barricades of tyres and sharpened bamboo canes in Bangkok as tensions build in the capital.
The Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES) has vowed to crack down on red shirt demonstrators if they attempt to occupy Silom Road or other Bangkok thoroughfares
Singapore has reported a rise in exports of more than a quarter as shipments of electronic goods to the rest of Asia jumped sharply.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment has released the latest draft of regulations on pilot Public Private Partnerships (PPP) projects for infrastructure development.
New Zealand’s ASEAN business community will likely see more networking events following positive feedback from delegates at the first forum held in Auckland recently.
The second round of Track II discussions between the Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam (DAV) and a New Zealand team convened by the Asia New Zealand Foundation took place in Wellington on 22 and 23 March 2010.
One of Vietnam's major advantages is its large, skilled and inexpensive labor force that makes it an attractive destination for foreign investors.
From the moment Abhisit Vejjajiva was elected Prime Minister of Thailand by a special vote of Parliament in 2008, the British-born, Eton-educated politician has been fighting off one crisis after another.
Companies operating in Vietnam should be aware that the Vietnamese government has delayed the schedule for quarterly payments of corporate income tax for 2010.
Former prime minister and palace insider Anand Panyarachun epitomizes the ammataya, or aristocratic elite, that Thailand's red shirt-wearing United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) protest group claims to be up against in a "class war" for democracy.
Fletcher Building CEO Jonathan Ling outlined his thoughts on doing business in Asia at the latest Action Asia Business Leaders seminar at KPMG’s Auckland office on 18 March.
Following customs procedures when importing or exporting goods in Vietnam is one of the vital aspects of doing business in a country where manufacturing costs are leveraged to its favor.
FOR decades Thai politics suffered from a surfeit of pragmatism. Indeed, grimy compromises were dignified as “Thai solutions”. Parties tussled over the perks of office, without letting policies or principles get in the way.
Only one third of secondary school heads of department say they have included some Asia-specific topics in their teaching programmes over the past two years, says a new Asia New Zealand Foundation report.
Tim Groser is fond of this statistic: that the increase in exports to China last year was the same as that year's total exports to Korea. That analogy says much about east Asia's growing indispensability to our Polynesian and British outlier nation.
New Zealand's next Ambassador to Indonesia will be career diplomat David Taylor, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.
"Indonesia is an important partner for New Zealand, both bilaterally and as a leading democracy in South East Asia, and we need to continue to strengthen our growing, broad-based relationship," Mr McCully said.
Northern Thai Nguyen Province is being groomed to become a major metallurgy, mechanical manufacturing and precision engineering hub in the country.
As the government prepares to celebrate Hanoi’s 1,000 year anniversary in October, plans to slowly expand the capital city have already begun since 2008.
The results of the latest Perceptions of Asia survey are available now. Conducted by Colmar Brunton in August and September 2009.
Expansion into Asia is on the cards for international resin manufacturer Nuplex Industries, which reported record profits last week.
Authorities want to target US$180 million worth of new investment projects for 2010, an increase of 37.62 percent compared to the previous year.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance is now allowing foreign firms in the country to choose the currency unit they want to use for accounting purposes.
Mike Moore, a former Labour prime minister who has headed the World Trade Organisation, is to be New Zealand's next ambassador to the United States.
The Transportation Ministry is set to issue a ministerial decree that will declare five international airports in the country subject to the ASEAN open sky agreement.
The Chinese central bank surprised the markets last week by raising the interest rate slightly on its three-month bills from 1.3280% to 1.3684%. This is the first rate increase since August and signaled an effort by Beijing to reduce asset-price inflation after a record surge in credit.
An Islamic group seeking to offer New Zealand businesses a "globally recognised" halal certification is being criticised by the NZ Federation of Islamic Associations, which says the Southeast Asian organisation does not have the resources to do inspections here.
Asean is attempting to redefine the collaborative marketing of the region as a tourism destination with support from the United States.
Vietnam attracted US$21.48 billion in foreign direct investment in 2009, the Foreign Investment Department for Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment said on Sunday.
Vietnam will soon raise the ceiling on foreign ownership in local businesses from 30 percent to 49 percent, says deputy chairman of the State Securities Commission (SSC) Nguyen Doan Hung during a workshop sponsored by Euromoney and the Ministry of Finance.
Strategic advisory firm, Tholons has included Ho Chi Minh City in its annual report of Top 6 Established Global Outsourcing Cities for Software Testing for the second year in a row.
Thailand is a market of 66.4 million and was until recently one of New Zealand’s fastest growing export destinations. Two New Zealand companies, with the country firmly in their sights, passed on their insights to Mike Booker.
The first thing you will remember on your drive out of Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport might also be the last thing you see as you leave the city - the motorcycles.
With Vietnam dealing with the slowing effects of the global economic crisis, it is not all bad news as it maintains its post as one of the top destinations of foreign direct investment in the region according to the Asean Business Council.
Resins manufacturer Nuplex says its Asian businesses are showing strong earnings growth with increasing demand and lower costs a key factor.
China and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have pledged to improve agricultural cooperation to help improve economic development and to prevent a food crisis.
John Key says the signing of a free trade deal with Malaysia is another vital move towards a "step change" for the New Zealand economy.
SINGAPORE - Singapore's economy has surged for a second straight quarter in the July-to-September period as manufacturing leads the city-state out of recession.
Economists are revising their growth forecasts upwards for the coming year – and also bringing forward their predictions of when the Reserve Bank will begin lifting interest rates.
Malaysia's timber exports are expected to dip 13 per cent to RM20 billion this year from RM23 billion in 2008 due to the global economic slowdown.
Consumers are less optimistic about Indonesia’s economy as the government plans to raise the prices for electricity and the use of toll roads, a central bank survey reveals.
Rupiah rapid gains against the greenback, despite concerns over negative impacts on trade balance and debt payments, is acceptable while in line with fundamentals, the Finance Minister says.
With their recent free trade agreement already showing signs of success, India and Thailand are poised to further expand their FTA pact beyond goods to new areas of services and investments with focus on further consolidating their economic ties.
Auto sales in Vietnam surged 104 percent in September from a year earlier after a 31 percent increase in August, an industry report said on Wednesday.
The State Bank of Vietnam will probably increase its key rate by 400 basis points to 11 percent by the end of 2010, HSBC said in a report Tuesday.
Globalisation has produced more wealth in the past 60 years than the rest of history put together.
Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. A recession, even a depression, means de-globalisation and that will cost millions of people hope and opportunity.
Following an accelerated third quarter, the International Monetary Fund said its latest growth estimate for Vietnam may be revised upward.
The timing couldn't be better for the release of a telling report from the World Trade Organisation about the explosion of protectionist measures implemented by its members since the beginning of the global economic crisis a year ago.
The Ministry of Finance has issued a new circular announcing that those working at Vietnamese economic zones (EZs) are qualified for a 50 percent tax reduction of their annual income tax.
The European Union (EU) and Asean will set up a trade centre in Thailand to boost trade between the blocs.
INDONESIA’S police chief, General Bambang Hendarso Danuri, can probably be forgiven his air of triumphalism in confirming on Friday September 18th that officers had killed Noordin Mohammed Top, the most wanted terrorist in Indonesia, and perhaps in South-East Asia.
AUTUMN in Thailand is coup season. Three years ago the prime minister at the time, Thaksin Shinawatra, flew to New York for the United Nations General Assembly as rumours circulated in Bangkok of a plot against him.
Palm oil prices will rise as a shortage in the world's cheapest edible oil is harder to remedy than the current shortage of soyabeans, an analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland Asia Securities (Singapore) Pte Ltd (RBS) said.
The biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history lies at anchor east of Singapore. Never before photographed, it is bigger than the U.S. and British navies combined but has no crew, no cargo and no destination - and is why your Christmas stocking may be on the light side this year.
It will now be easier for Vietnamese businesses to import more goods from Japan when the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA) takes effect in October.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is inviting submissions on possible negotiations on services and government procurement under the Thailand - New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership Agreement.
The closing date for submissions is 30 September 2009.
COUNTRIES generally hit the headlines only when the news is bad. In Indonesia it has often been spectacularly bad. A decade ago there were fears that the country might disintegrate in a welter of violence, piracy and mass migration...
The visit of the Secretary-General of ASEAN to New Zealand from 6 to 11 September 2009 has laid the ground for enhanced dialogue relations with New Zealand.
Vietnamese companies are encouraged to invest in Laos to boost its socio-economic development, said President Nguyen Minh Triet during an investment promotion conference on Laos in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday...
Like a number of its Asian neighbours, the Philippines has begun to rebound from the economic downturn. In the three months to June, year-on-year real GDP growth recovered to 1.5% from 0.6% in the first quarter...
Ambassador James Kember, who concluded his posting to Viet Nam on 26 August, has been awarded Vietnam’s medal “For Peace and Friendship among Nations” in recognition of his contributions to the promotion of friendship and cooperation between....
Thailand plans to sell off large stakes in two small banks with the incentive that foreign investors could gain management control.
The government acquired the stakes in Siam City Bank and ACL Bank in the aftermath of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.
A potential ban on New Zealand $100 million in beef exports to Indonesia from October 1 has been postponed until next year.
Indonesian officials say there are "strong indications" a key wanted fugitive was behind Friday's deadly attacks on two hotels in Jakarta.
The Jakarta Post Indonesia’s healthy economic growth and market resilience will sustain the damaging impact of blasts that ripped through the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels on Friday, analysts said…
The Jakarta Post
Three separate explosions – two of them bombing and another possibly triggered by a short circuit – rocked and shocked the capital Friday morning, killing nine people …
Economist Intelligence Unity
Singapore's export-oriented economy, one of the most exposed to the global downturn, rebounded in spectacular fashion in the second quarter, according to a preliminary government estimate...