Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘APEC’

1st October 2012

It would appear that the Chinese Special Autonomous Region of Hong Kong may be poised to play a larger role with respect to trade between Greater China and the countries which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To quote directly from an article by Mary Swire posted on the website Tax-News.com:

During a recent speech, the Director-General of Trade and Industry, Kenneth Mak, has explained why, last November, Hong Kong made a formal request to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA). He noted that ASEAN is Hong Kong’s close neighbour and a very important trading partner. “The ACFTA is an evolving platform for progressive liberalization of trade and investment between ASEAN countries and China, with the ultimate objective of fostering closer economic integration and sustainable economic growth in the East Asian region,” he said…As an important platform for trade and investment between ASEAN and China, Hong Kong’s entry into the ACFTA should also strengthen its intermediary role, with more than 3,700 multinational companies having set up their regional headquarters or regional offices in Hong Kong, and, being a global financial hub and the pre-eminent offshore renminbi centre, Mak believes that Hong Kong can provide high-quality financial and management services between ASEAN, China and the rest of the world.

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

Clearly, Hong Kong’s participation in a China-ASEAN free trade area could result in financial, industrial, and business benefits for all of the jurisdictions concerned as the streamlining of trade between these locales could lead to an increase in economic activity not only in ASEAN and China, but in Hong Kong as well.

Meanwhile, the issue of energy security would appear to be at the forefront of the agenda for the members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote from the official website of the Manila Bulletin, MB.com.ph:

MANILA, Philippines — With the Philippines taking the center stage in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit by 2015, Energy Secretary Rene D. Almendras has indicated that his department will be actively involved in the fortification of policies for the APEC-wide energy security plan… In the proposed strengthening of the APEC energy security plan, the energy leaders in the region will have to re-assess the impact of the global financial uncertainties which have been primarily plaguing the Eurozone countries. They will similarly address concerns relating to political developments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as those issues relating to carbon emissions from fossil fuel consumption…

Readers are again asked to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in full.

Energy is a concern in virtually every nation around the globe. Some nations in the Asia-Pacific region have extensive energy resources to draw on while others have virtually no energy resources. Therefore, analysis of the issue of energy security differs depending upon the country. Clearly, as the ASEAN and Asia-Pacific regions evolve there will be new challenges to overcome. Hopefully through careful planning and effective policy making both ASEAN and APEC can create and maintain economic opportunities for those living and working within their members’ jurisdictions.

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10th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the American Armed Forces has apparently traveled to China for talks with leaders in that nation. In order to provide some insight into these developments it is best to quote directly from the official Voice of America website, VOANews.com:

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, began a four-day visit to China Sunday for talks with top leaders and high-ranking military officials…Mullen said he will discuss stalled nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, the Taiwan issue, U.S.-China relations, territorial disputes in the South China Sea and other matters. The admiral is in China at the invitation of Army Chief of the General Staff Chen Bingde…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

It would appear as though American personnel and Chinese officials are undertaking efforts to discuss sensitive and significant issues which pertain to China, the United States, and possibly the Greater Asia-Pacific region. The ramifications of such discussions could have an impact not only upon US and Chinese policy, but also upon the policies adopted by the member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, which includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam), the so-called BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), or APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) members. Hopefully the meetings noted above will result in benefits for all concerned.

In matters pertaining to ASEAN it would appear as though that organization will be holding discussions with the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) in order to share ideas regarding a framework for cooperation. To provide detailed information to the reader it is best to quote directly from the Oman Daily Observer website OmanObserver.om:

SALALAH — The Sultanate will host today deliberations of the first meeting of the working team of economic and trade co-operation between the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and Asean states at the level of experts and specialists. The two-day meeting, which will be held here, will discuss a framework agreement for the economic, commercial and investment co-operation, steps to start free trade negotiations between the two sides after the completion of studies and means of exploring investment opportunities on each other’s sides in the fields of construction, services and infrastructure…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read about this situation further.

Anytime trade negotiations commence it should be noted that well-drafted trade agreements can have a dramatic and positive impact upon the economies in the jurisdictions which engage in such frameworks. That stated, a well drafted free trade agreement takes time to craft and often comes about only after a relatively protracted period of negotiation. Therefore, those interested in seeing positive developments which further sustainable trade are likely to wait while an acceptable agreement is forged. In a previous posting on this blog it was noted that an American Senator recently proposed a US-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in order to facilitate further trade between the United States of America and the collection of nations which compose the membership of ASEAN. Hopefully all of these proposals culminate in beneficial trade circumstances in the future.

For information related to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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26th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) may have witnessed what would appear to have been an inadvertent breach of the American border by a convoy of Mexican troops. In order to provide further insight into these developments it may be prudent to quote directly from the official website of the NBC affiliate KGNS-TV at Pro8News.com:

A convoy of three military trucks loaded with Mexican soldiers crosses the border at Bridge Number Two clearly violating  international law. It happens as Customs and Border Protection inspectors try to figure out what to do. A CBP spokesperson says they got on the phone with Mexican authorities after being alerted that the military trucks were heading their direction loaded down with soldiers and weapons. Mexican leaders say the soldiers, who had just been deployed to Nuevo Laredo, didn’t know the area, got lost and then made their way through Bridge Two. It’s important to note that CBP did not tell us about the potentially serious situation. It came from another law enforcement agency…

This blogger strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this informative article as well as the video coverage of this event.

Readers may be taken somewhat aback upon learning of some of these events as it is not everyday that Americans see such developments. That stated, this blogger would feel somewhat remiss if he failed to bring up a  similar incident which occurred in Spain a little over 9 years ago, if only to provide some perspective. To quote directly from a 2002 article posted on the official website of CNN, CNN.com:

British troops temporarily invaded Spain when a landing exercise on Gibraltar went wrong. About 20 Royal Marines landed in bad weather on a Spanish beach, thinking they were on British territory. They hastily retreated after locals told them of their error… Spain’s foreign ministry played down the incident as a harmless error that would not undermine negotiations aimed at resolving the Gibraltar issue…

Those interested in the full details of the aforementioned event are encouraged to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to ascertain the whole story.

Clearly, even in an international context, accidents can happen. Inadvertent mistakes can occur. Hopefully these events will be a lesson to America’s public servants about the need to anticipate unexpected events. This blogger must state that in all of his rather limited dealings with USCBP personnel they have comported themselves in a very professional manner. To be candid, USCBP has one of the more difficult jobs in all of the pantheon of American civil service as their responsibilities place USCBP officers in situations where they encounter the most unexpected events (as can be seen from the aforementioned quotation). It is likely hoped that these circumstances will provide insight to future officers. On a side note: unless there has been some very recent change of which this blogger is unaware, the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) currently chairs the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Sub-committee on Customs Procedures. This post was handed off from the Japan Customs and Tariff Bureau in September of last year.

In somewhat related news it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Foreign Minister of Singapore has noted his belief that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) may have a role in dealing with tensions arising in the South China Sea. To quote directly from the website of Channel News Asia, ChannelNewsAsia.com:

INDONESIA: Singapore said ASEAN can play a role managing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The resource rich waters are being claimed – in part or all – by a number of ASEAN countries, as well as China and Taiwan. Tensions recently escalated between the Philippines and China over overlapping claims. Singapore’s Foreign Minister K Shanmugam said all parties must learn to resolve these occasional incidences, without increasing tension…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the appropriate hyperlinks above to read this story in detail.

Clearly, the nations which compose ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) are going to be increasingly important in any international dialogue pertaining to the South China Sea. The news noted above comes amidst developing news regarding talks between the United States and China. It would appear as though one of the main objectives of these talks is the maintenance of freedom of navigation at sea. However, maintaining such freedom can often require timely discussions especially in geographic areas with a history of tension. To quote further from ChannelNewsAsia.com:

HONOLULU, Hawaii : The United States and China were holding first-of-a-kind talks Saturday on rising tensions in the South China Sea, with Beijing angry over Washington’s support of Southeast Asian countries. Senior officials of the Pacific powers were meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, days after the United States rallied behind the Philippines and Vietnam which have been alarmed at what they see as Beijing’s growing assertiveness at sea. Kurt Campbell, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said ahead of the talks that he would make clear to China the “strong principles” of the United States in defence of freedom of navigation…[sic]

This blogger encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more.

Disputes occurring on the high seas can sometimes have implications for virtually every country around the world. As Southeast Asian nations continue to thrive and expand both in a domestic economic context as well as in an international economic context it stands to reason that their growth may be concerning to other jurisdictions in Asia. Meanwhile, the increasing prominence of the so-called BRICS countries in an international context has raised discussion regarding the geopolitical complexion of the future global economy. Hopefully, discussions pertaining to all of these matters will yield tangible benefits for the people who could be most impacted by events occurring in this region.

For information about conducting business in the United States of America please see: US Company Registration.

For information about legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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12th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Prime Minister of Singapore has been discussing some of the issues associated with the development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and that organization’s relationship with other international organizations.  To provide further insight upon these developments it may be best to quote directly from the official website of Channel News Asia, ChannelNewsAsia.com:

JAKARTA: ASEAN’s ties with various regional and international groupings are an organic architecture which is gradually developing, says Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He was speaking at a plenary session at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Sunday. Mr Lee said ASEAN’s ties with groupings like the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Plus Three (which involves China, Japan and South Korea) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have helped to strengthen ties with one another. He said while there’s temptation to make things neater, it’s wiser to accept the “untidiness” of these arrangements and let the structures evolve…

The administration of this blog encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more on this issue.

An interesting aspect of ASEAN’s evolution involves the fact that ASEAN is quintessentially Asian in that it is somewhat amorphous. The jurisdictions which comprise ASEAN operate both independently, but maintain something of a common purpose and overarching goals. How ASEAN will evolve in the future remains to be seen, but for now it would appear as though “organic” evolution will continue. It should be noted that the United States of America recently was noted for apparently undertaking cooperative efforts to engage ASEAN, along with China. How such developments will play out in the future is anyone’s guess.

On something of a related note, a Chinese rating house was recently noted for an analysis of the U.S. financial situation. To quote directly from Yahoo News Canada at Yahoo.com:

A Chinese ratings house has accused the United States of defaulting on its massive debt, state media said Friday, a day after Beijing urged Washington to put its fiscal house in order. “In our opinion, the United States has already been defaulting,” Guan Jianzhong, president of Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., the only Chinese agency that gives sovereign ratings, was quoted by the Global Times saying. Washington had already defaulted on its loans by allowing the dollar to weaken against other currencies — eroding the wealth of creditors including China, Guan said…

This blogger encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to find out further details. Hopefully, the United States can determine a course of action to deal with such issues that is beneficial for all concerned. Those interested in such matters are encouraged to conduct their own research to come to informed conclusions.

For related information please see: Thailand Company Registration.

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26th March 2011

Those who have been following this blog with any regularity will likely have noticed that the administration has been attempting to follow the developments unfolding throughout the world as a consequence of the recent nuclear crisis in Japan. One way of monitoring the global response to radiation contamination is through following developing regulatory policies regarding the importation of Japanese products by countries outside of Japan.  In a recent posting on this blog the administration noted the fact that the authorities in many member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had imposed restrictions upon imported Japanese foodstuffs. The same could also be said for some member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.  To quote directly from the website FocusTaiwan.tw:

Taipei, March 25 (CNA) Taiwan suspended imports of food products Friday from five Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, where a nuclear power plant was damaged by a powerful earthquake and subsequent tsunami March 11.

Minister of Health Chiu Wen-ta said all safety inspections of food entering the country from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba — which have all reported widespread radioactive contamination — had been suspended, effectively barring all entry of food from those areas.

The administration of this blog highly recommends that readers click upon the two hyperlinks directly above this citation to read the entire article. As evidence continues to show an increasingly distressing situation in Japan it was also noted that Mainland Chinese officials have implemented new policies regarding food imports from Japan. To quote directly from the website DailyTimes.com.pk:

BEIJING: China banned imports of some Japanese food products on Friday amid fears of radiation contamination, hours after announcing that two Japanese travellers who had flown into an eastern city were found to have radiation levels well above safety limits.[sic]

China joins a growing list of countries that have stopped imports of some foodstuffs from Japan. The ban covers dairy, aquatic and vegetable products as well as fruit from the five Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Chiba, China’s quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said in a statement…

Readers are highly encouraged to click on the hyperlinks above to read this enlightening piece in full. Clearly Chinese officials are joining their counterparts around the world in a trend of placing increasingly stringent restrictions on Japanese imports. More importantly, it would seem that authorities in China have also reported that two Japanese travelers showed signs of alarming levels of radiation upon arrival from Tokyo.  To quote further from the aforementioned piece:

Separately, the quality watchdog said that two Japanese travellers who flew into China’s eastern city of Wuxi from Tokyo on Wednesday had radiation levels that “seriously exceeded the limit”. [sic]

Clearly, as evidenced by the quotations above, the Chinese authorities are apprised of what appears to be an increasingly serious situation in Japan and are taking appropriate measures.

As the ramifications of this tragedy come into clearer focus concerns mount as to the long term consequences of the Japanese crisis. Meanwhile, concerned people around the world continue to watch as the Japanese people struggle to overcome what could prove to be the most daunting crisis ever to befall a modern nation-state.

For related information please see: business in China or business in Taiwan.

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14th March 2011

For those who are unaware, the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) is responsible for monitoring the ports of entry to the United States of America. For some, it may be possible to receive a sort of pre-approval for expedited admission at the various ports of entry in and around the United States.  To quote directly from the homepage of the website GlobalEntry.gov:

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.

As noted in the citation above, it may be possible for those who are in the program to enter the United States using an automated kiosk rather than the standard method of entering the USA through a classic immigration checkpoint. In order to better understand this it may be best to quote directly from the “About” page of the website GlobalEntry.gov:

At airports, program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable U.S. passport or permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.

Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and interview before enrollment.

While Global Entry’s goal is to speed travelers through the process, members may be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in appropriate enforcement action and revocation of the traveler’s membership privileges.

The Customs and Border Protection Service has a broad mandate to monitor the ports of entry to the United States as well as enforcing relevant customs law. Meanwhile, USCBP recently held the chair of a subcommittee of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization, which is dedicated to economic coordination of the various Asia-Pacific countries. Currently, the United States of America chairs APEC since the chair was turned over to the United States from the Japanese in November of 2010.

Those reading this posting should not confuse the global entry program with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) nor the visa waiver program (VWP, which itself should not be confused with the I-601 waiver or the I-212 waiver) as these are different programs and may not be relevant to those seeking information regarding ESTA and the VWP.

For related information please see: USCIS.

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20th September 2010

The United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) is tasked with maintaining the security of America’s ports and overseeing the execution of customs regulations. In previous posts on this blog, it has been noted that there is a great deal of economic opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region. Some Americans are unfamiliar with a body known colloquially as APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation). This body has become an increasingly important platform for discussion of various subjects pertaining to inter-jurisdictional matters arising in the Asia-Pacific region. To quote the APEC website directly:

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region .

APEC is the only inter governmental grouping in the world operating on the basis of non-binding commitments, open dialogue and equal respect for the views of all participants. Unlike the WTO or other multilateral trade bodies, APEC has no treaty obligations required of its participants. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

This consensus driven initiative has proven effective in facilitating international trade, cooperation, and dialogue. In a recent press release it was announced that the USCBP will likely be taking on a more hand-on role within the APEC framework. To quote the press release as distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today that it will host the Subcommittee on Customs Procedures as part of the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings that will be chaired by the United States. The Sub-committee on Customs Procedures coordinates CBP’s efforts in customs, immigration and counter-terrorism with partner agencies throughout APEC member countries. The yearlong chairmanship will be handed over to CBP from the Japan Customs and Tariff Bureau today.

“CBP is proud to be hosting the distinguished members of the Sub-committee on Customs procedures for the 2011 APEC meetings,” said Commissioner Alan Bersin. “It is of vital importance to the security of our global economy for the members to coordinate and share
customs best practices.”

The subcommittee is a working level group within APEC. It brings Customs administrations of APEC Member Economies together to simplify and harmonize customs procedures and to ensure trade moves efficiently and safely across the Asia-Pacific region. APEC is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. The APEC region is home to more than 2.7 billion
people and represents approximately 60 percent of the world GDP and 44 percent of world trade.

Japan officially turns over the Chair of APEC to President Barack Obama at the November 13-14, 2010 Leader’s Meeting in Yokohama, Japan.

This is a very interesting development from an economic perspective as it would appear that the United States is taking a keener interest in Asia-Pacific affairs. This may be due to the recent downturn in the US economy as well as the rise of The Peoples’ Republic of China as a major player in global economic relations. Whatever the reason for this increasing interest in the region, this author welcomes further streamlining of Customs procedures in an effort to stimulate new transnational trade and facilitate preexisting trading relationships in an effort to increase the volume trade between the United States and the members of APEC.

Hopefully, through voluntary cooperation trade can be increased and the security of the USA and the other APEC member nations will be increased. To further quote the aforementioned press release distributed by AILA:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Hopefully, this new multilateral initiative will be beneficial for all concerned as US officials and Customs authorities from other participating nations can pool some resources in an effort to combat international crime and facilitate the execution of relevant immigration laws.

Many Americans and foreign nationals are under the mistaken impression that Customs and Border Protection simply “rubber stamps” entrants to the United states who are either from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program or have a US Tourist Visa. Nothing could be further from the truth as even those entering the USA with a valid visa could be turned away or placed in Expedited removal proceedings depending upon their travel history. Those interested in traveling to the USA from a country abroad may find the assistance of an American attorney beneficial as such an individual may be able to provide insight into the Immigration process and streamline the processing of visa applications and petitions.

For related information please see: US Visa China.

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