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Posts Tagged ‘ASEAN China Free Trade Area’

15th October 2013

At a recent summit held to discuss relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) the Prime Minister of Thailand stressed the importance of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership as a component necessary to bolster mutual prosperity in both China and the ASEAN region. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra noted that ASEAN approved of China’s efforts to improve the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area. Upgrading the free trade area would likely result in an increase in Sino-ASEAN trade.

Based upon information announced by the ASEAN Secretariat, in the year 2014 ASEAN appears poised to focus on quickly implementing targets for 2015. It also appears that ASEAN will be working towards unifying the community pillars of ASEAN, notably the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, as well as the ASEAN Political-Security Community. Post-2015, ASEAN may undertake initiatives to reinforce these efforts while also attempting to further engage other outside actors in the Asia Pacific and East Asia regions.

A recent joint statement from the visiting Chinese Premier and the Thai Prime Minister also noted that efforts are being made to improve relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Peoples’ Republic of China. The two leaders expressed their desire to see closer cooperation between their two nations in the form of investment in industry (with specific emphasis upon investment in the bio-plastics, green, and rubber industries).

Thailand and China renewed their commitment to promoting improved transportation infrastructure in the form of railway links between Thailand, Laos, and China. The two countries also discussed improved transportation channels in the form of roads, airports, and ports which could increase trade and tourism for both Thailand specifically and the region as a whole. The Chinese representatives reiterated their desire to assist in the building of a high speed railway system between Ban Phachi and Nong Khai, noting that payment for such endeavors may come, at least in part, in the form of agricultural goods.

The two countries also wish to strengthen cooperative efforts in the banking and financial spheres by promoting the use of the two nations’ currencies in matters involving Sino-Thai trade and investment. It also appears that the two countries are poised to discuss methods of improving RMB clearing services in matters pertaining to trade.

Most notably, at least for this blogger, was the announcement that China as well as Thailand are amenable to discussing, and possibly signing, a Memorandum of Understanding on exemption of visas. Apparently, a prospective Sino-Thai visa exemption scheme would allow holders of regular Thai and Chinese passports to enter each of these countries on a visa exemption stamp not unlike the current visa exemption stamps currently issued to travelers from many countries entering Thailand. The promulgation of a visa exemption scheme between China and Thailand could lead to increases in trade and tourism between the two nations.

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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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