Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘India’

13th January 2012

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that new attention is apparently being directed toward the positive aspects of backpacking in Southeast Asia. In order to shed further light upon these developments it is necessary to quote directly from an article posted on the official website of the Sydney Morning Herald:

Every now and then on the Laos hippy trail you spy a traveller wearing a T-shirt that reads “Been There Don Det”. Most people think it is yet another pun based on the ‘hilarities’ of the language barrier (see “Same Same But Different”) but actually it’s an inside joke for those who had ventured far enough south to visit a small island hidden in the mist of the Mekong River. South of the capital Vientiane, the Mekong breaks its banks creating an anarchic sprawl of islands called Si Phan Don, which translates to “4000 Islands”.

The administration of the web log recommends that these readers click on the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this truly insightful article in further detail.

On a related note, it also came to this blogger’s attention that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) appear to have signed a memorandum of understanding with India in an effort to boost tourism in the Southern Asia region. For further elucidation it is necessary to quote directly from The Jakarta Post via the Asia News Network:

Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and India have agreed to promote cooperation in tourism to help boost travel between the subcontinent and the Southeast Asian region. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on tourism cooperation was signed by Aseantourism ministers and their counterpart during Asean Tourism Forum in Manado, North Sulawesi, on Thursday…

Again, the administration of this blog recommends that readers click on the hyperlinks noted above to gain full insight into this developing story.

Tourism seems to have been a traditional source of revenue in the for both the Kingdom of Thailand and the Greater ASEAN region. Hopefully the signing of the memorandum noted above will provide economic benefits for both the ASEAN region as well as the Indian Sub-Continent. That stated, with the increasing velocity of economic expansion in Asia as a whole there is strong evidence to suggest that tourism may prove to be simply a gateway to further economic integration between all of the global economies. How these trends will play out in the future remains to be seen. However, the benefits of tourism could arguably be a true “win-win” situation for both the tourist as well as the host nation. ASEAN itself is a prime example of how tourism and increasing levels of tourists can lead to more robust levels of economic activity as a whole.

For further information regarding legal issues in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

For more general insights regarding visa issues in Thailand please see: Thai Visa.

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25th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there has apparently been some analysis of a recent American report on China’s military. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of China Daily, ChinaDaily.com.cn:

WASHINGTON - The US Department of Defense on Wednesday unveiled its annual report on China’s military, recognizing and welcoming China’s contribution to international safety and security… The report, titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, recognized that China has made “modest, but incremental, improvements in the transparency of its military and security affairs,” while alleging “uncertainty about how China will use its growing capabilities.” China has repeatedly stated the defensive nature of the country’s national defense policy, issuing a white paper on national defense in March to enhance its military’s transparency and boost the world’s trust in its commitment to peaceful development. The Pentagon report also noted China’s investment in modern military hardware and technology, including in its naval forces, as the country started its sea trials on a refitted aircraft carrier…

This blogger encourages readers to click on the appropriate hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

As China becomes an increasingly important component of the geopolitical landscape it stands to reason that there will be analysis of that nation’s defense and security apparatus. Meanwhile, there is speculation that China will continue to expand economically along with other nations such as those which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). In fact, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Foreign Minister of Singapore was noted for comments regarding the future prospects of ASEAN amidst concerns about the global economy. In order to provide further clarification on these developments it is necessary for this blogger to quote directly from the Channel News Asia website ChannelNewsAsia.com:

SINGAPORE: Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam said he believes ASEAN can overcome the challenge of another global economic crisis. But Mr Shanmugam stressed it’s all the more important ASEAN remains focused on realising the common goal of an ASEAN Community by 2015. Mr Shanmugam was speaking at a reception to celebrate ASEAN Day. In commemoration of the group’s 44th birthday, embassies and consulates in all ASEAN member states will now fly the ASEAN flag permanently alongside their national flags…

The administration of this blog asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to read this this insightful article.

There are some who are of the opinion that the economic integration of the jurisdictions which comprise ASEAN will result in significant economic benefits for not only the ASEAN countries, but China, India, the so-called BRICS countries, the USA, and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. Moreover, with recent discussion of a possibly unified ASEAN visa system there is strong evidence to suggest that further positive economic and trade developments may arise in the relatively near future.

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

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23rd August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice has apparently filed a memorandum noting un-Constitutional discrimination imposed pursuant to the provisions of section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). In order to provide further insight this blogger is compelled to quote directly from the official website of Instinct Magazine, InstinctMagazine.com:

President Obama’s Department of Justice filed a memo in support of Edie Windsor’s case against the “Defense of Marriage Act” on Friday, marking the second time the Administration has officially stated its opposition to the discriminatory law.

Windsor, who was subjected to unjust federal taxes after her partner of 44-years passed away in 2007, filed a lawuit challenging DOMA. Last week, the DOJ added its weight of support to her claims.

Written in the memo:

Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates. Section 3 treats same-sex couples who are legally married under their states’ laws differently than similarly situated opposite-sex couples, denying them the status, recognition, and significant federal benefits otherwise available to married persons. Under well-established factors set forth by the Supreme Court to guide the determination whether heightened scrutiny applies to a classification that singles out a particular group, discrimination based on sexual orientation merits heightened scrutiny. Under this standard of review, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.

But the DOJ states in the brief:

-DOMA is discriminatory

-Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic

-Anti-gay discrimination on religious grounds is unconstitutional

-LGBTs make good parents

-DOMA is harmful to children…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to learn more from this interesting article.

As DOMA is currently interpreted and enforced by the American government same sex married couples cannot obtain immigration and visa benefits such as a K-1 visa, a CR-1 visa, or an IR-1 visa. This current state of affairs may contravene notions of Full Faith and Credit as enshrined in the United States Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause. However, as there has yet to be a final resolution in the US Courts on the matter and as the United States Congress has yet to pass legislation such as the Respect for Marriage Act or the Uniting American Families Act the ultimate fate of same sex bi-national couples in America remains to be seen.

In news related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN which includes the following jurisdictions: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that there are those noting the possibility of further ASEAN economic progress in the coming months and years. In order to provide further information on these issues it is necessary to quote directly from the website of the Bangkok Post, BangkokPost.com:

CIMB Thai Bank is developing an infrastructure base to cope with greater business opportunities offered by the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, said chief finance executive Narongchai Wongthanavimok. Its major shareholder, CIMB Group, expects the AEC will increase deals in the region. The group has a strong network across Asean that can support CIMBT’s expansion in the region. The bank developed a core banking system and improved its financial support to cope with international transactions, he said. The Malaysia-based CIMB Group has the largest branch network in Asean with 1,105 subsidiaries across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. It also has plans for branches in Cambodia, India and Sri Lanka. The financial group is helmed by people from the region and it reaches 81% of the Asean population, representing 89% of the region’s gross domestic product…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to view this insightful article in detail.

One could infer from the information above that the increasing economic integration of ASEAN and the emergence of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) may result in further economic benefits for the jurisdictions which comprise the organization and region. As noted above, the ramifications of these developments could have implications for economies such as those of India and Sri Lanka since the increasing business and trade occurring in Southeast Asia could “spillover” into those nations. Meanwhile, discussion pertaining to an ASEAN visa have yet to result in the creation of a tangible unified ASEAN travel document. How all of the developments noted above will evolve over time and the ultimate fate of ASEAN’s economy remains to be seen, but there is clearly a trend of increasing optimism regarding the future of Southeast Asia’s economy.

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

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15th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a senior American diplomat was recently noted for discussing matters pertaining to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific region. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the DAWN website, DAWN.com:

Kurt Campbell, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, added in an interview with The Australian newspaper that there was more to US-Asia diplomacy than Washington’s relationship with Beijing. “One of the most important challenges for US foreign policy is to effect a transition from the immediate and vexing challenges of the Middle East to the long-term and deeply consequential issues in Asia,” Campbell said. He made clear this did not mean Washington would neglect its responsibilities in the Middle East, but was rather a desire to deepen relations with the Asian region. And while efforts were being made to enhance Washington’s dialogue with China, it was more than just relations with Beijing that were important. “I think what you see is an across-the-board effort (by the US) to articulate India as playing a greater role in Asia,” said Campbell, a key aide to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton…

This blogger asks readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to read this interesting article in detail.

It was interesting for this blogger to note that there appears to be something of a shift in attitude toward the ASEAN region as Asia in general is viewed as playing an increasingly important role in the global economy. As the Asia-Pacific and ASEAN regions continue to show signs of future growth it stands to reason that countries such as China and India, or any of the so-called BRICS countries for that matter, will become economically more connected to the geographic area. Meanwhile, hopefully American policies in the region will be such that further Asian-American trade and business is generated.

In matters related to American immigration, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the American Bar Association has recently made resolutions regarding the unlicensed practice of law in an immigration context. In order to provide further details on these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Law Professor Blogs, LawProfessorBlogs.com:

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports measures to combat the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL) and immigration practitioner fraud.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association encourages federal, state, and local governments to adopt laws that:
(a) Create a private right of action for victims of UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud.
(b) Provide criminal penalties for engaging in UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud that would give federal and state authorities the right to investigate and prosecute those engaging in UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to make accommodations for victims of immigration practitioner fraud, including:
(a) Allowing the withdrawal without prejudice of submissions in cases in which a noncitizen can establish that his or her immigration filings were created or submitted by an individual engaged in UPIL or immigration fraud or alternatively, developing a means for submitting corrected filings which will supersede the documents previously filed.
(b) Allowing the U non-immigrant visa to be available for victims of immigration fraud who cooperate with federal, state, or local law enforcement, as well as state bars…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read these resolutions in detail.

Clearly the ABA is taking policy stances in an attempt to reverse the trend of unlicensed legal practitioners preying upon an unsuspecting public in immigration matters. As previously noted in the pages of this web log, those seeking advice and counsel regarding US visa matters are well advised to check the credentials of anyone claiming qualification to practice American immigration law as only a licensed American attorney is permitted to accept client fees in order to engage in the practice of American law. Hopefully, policies will be officially promulgated to address the problem of unscrupulous individuals and organizations defrauding the public.

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

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9th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that some media outlets are noting the comparatively positive aspects of the economies which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In order to provide further insight to the reader it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of The Wall Street Journal, WSJ.com:

JAKARTA—Investors and companies should look to Southeast Asia as they seek shelter from the world-wide markets meltdown, said the secretary general of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Surin Pitsuwan noted that Southeast Asia is growing, it is nestled between India and China and it dealt with its own scary debt problems over a decade ago, making it an attractive alternative amid the global volatility triggered by concerns about how the U.S. and Europe will deal with their debt, as well as whether the U.S. economy will slide into recession again. “If they are looking for a safer haven, this is it,” he told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. “The Chinese and the Japanese that are worried will want to look around for better prospects for their investments and this is one of the hopeful regions…”

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

Frequent readers may recall that the ASEAN region as a whole, and the component jurisdictions therein, have shown tremendous economic strength in recent months. Meanwhile, these jurisdictions are believed by some to have substantial economic potential in the future. There has been some discussion in recent weeks regarding the prospect of a possible ASEAN visa not unlike the Schengen system currently employed in Europe. Whether such a program will ultimately be implemented remains to be seen. In any case, there is certainly strong evidence to support the inference that the ASEAN jurisdictions will be increasingly important in a geopolitical and economic context moving forward.

In news pertaining to the continuing struggle for LGBT Equality in the United States, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States appears to be refusing recognition of same sex marriages, even those legalized and/or solemnized in an American State jurisdiction. To provide further information this blogger is compelled to quote directly from the official website of MSNBC at MSN.com:

For all those same-sex newlyweds in New York, Lawrence S. Jacobs has a message: Enjoy the Champagne and the honeymoon, but expect no gifts from the IRS. Jacobs, a lawyer in Washington, specializes in estate planning for same-sex couples — and in delivering the bad news that their unions aren’t legal in the eyes of the IRS, a policy that will cost them time and money during tax season.Same-sex couples in Washington, which last year legalized gay marriage, must fill out a federal return to make calculations required for their D.C. joint return. But then they must set that work aside and fill out separate federal returns because the IRS doesn’t regard their union as legal, Jacobs says. “You just spent decades getting your marriage recognized, and now the feds say, ‘No, you’re not,’” says Jacobs, who as a partner in a same-sex marriage has firsthand experience of the problem.

The administration of this web log strongly encourages interested readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to view this story in detail.

Frequent readers may recall that the issue of same sex marriage has been a “hot button” issue in recent months as Senate Judiciary hearings have recently been held to scrutinize the Constitutionality of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) in light of proposed replacement legislation in the form of the bill colloquially referred to as the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA). In an immigration context, the issue of federal recognition of same sex marriage is of substantial importance since agencies such as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and each and every US Embassy or US Consulate overseas is legally compelled to disregard a same sex marriage when adjudicating family visa matters pursuant to the provisions of DOMA. Therefore, bi-national same sex couples cannot obtain a travel document such as a K-1 visa, CR-1 visa, or IR-1 visa in the same manner as their different-sex counterparts. Meanwhile, there is some hope that this current legal discrimination will be overcome as some US Courts have ruled that DOMA’s non-recognition, at least at the federal level, of State licensed same sex marriage is Un-Constitutional. Concurrently, the United States Bankruptcy Courts have begun allowing joint bankruptcies for same sex married couples.

It remains to be seen whether same sex couples will ever be accorded the same benefits as their different-sex counterparts in the eyes of American law, but the overall situation appears to be gradually improving.

For related information please see: Americans Resident Abroad.

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6th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that further support for the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) may be forthcoming from membership of the United States Senate. To quote directly from the official website of The Washington Independent, WashingtonIndependent.com:

Long a holdout in signing on to back the Respect for Marriage Act, Sen. Amy Klobuchar indicated this week she’ll sponsor the bill, which would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Klobuchar is the last Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to back the measure after Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin expressed his support in April. Fellow Democrat Al Franken was an original sponsor of the act…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

Frequent readers of this blog may recall that Representative Jerrold Nadler introduced a “Respect for Marriage Act” counterpart piece of legislation in the United States House of Representatives where there is some doubt as to the ultimate fate of the bill notwithstanding the fact that it supports fundamental notions connected to States’ Rights pursuant to the United States Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause. Meanwhile, there is also a compelling argument that support for the RFMA as a replacement for the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) is simultaneously supportive of notions related to Equal Protection and natural law. How all of these issues will ultimately be sorted out by US Courts and/or the American legislature remains to be seen, but following the debate generates a great deal of intriguing insight into the evolving nature of the United States Constitution.

Meanwhile, in news related to the jurisdictions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); it recently came to this blogger’s attention that some international media outlets have reported upon the Russian perspective of recent ASEAN meetings. In order to provide further particulars it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of The Voice of Russia, ruvr.ru:

The dialogue between Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is actively developing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following a ministerial meeting in Indonesia. Experts cannot fully agree with this, saying that the sides have yet to completely activate their potential for both bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

The administration of this blog asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn further from this insightful article.

Although this blog attempts to primarily focus upon issues pertaining to ASEAN from an American context the activities of any of the so-called BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in the ASEAN region is of compelling interest to those who follow geopolitics and economics with any degree of frequency. How negotiations regarding the future structure of ASEAN will play out is anyone’s guess. Concurrently, the confluence of economic forces at play in the ASEAN region could yield trade opportunities with the potential for future exponential growth in real terms. As a result, an understanding of the unique nature of ASEAN and her component jurisdictions (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) could provide real insight to those looking to conduct business in Southeast and Greater Asia.

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

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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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6th July 2011

Inflation can be concerning for countries around the globe. In that vein, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that officials in China have apparently decided to raise an important interest rate. For further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of USA Today, USAToday.com:

BEIJING — China raised a key interest rate Wednesday for a third time this year as it tries to cool surging inflation. The benchmark rate for one-year loans will be raised 0.25 percentage points to 6.56%, effective Thursday, the central bank announced. The rate paid on deposits will rise a similar margin to 3.5%. Inflation hit a 34-month high of 5.5% in May and is believed to have risen in June even as an overheated economy cools gradually under the pressure of investment curbs and other controls…

The administration of this blog asks readers to click upon the appropriate hyperlink noted above in order to read this insightful article in full.

In recent months it would seem as though China has had some difficulty controlling inflation. It would appear that the decision noted above has been made in an attempt to reign in rising inflation. In a previous posting on this blog it was noted that economic officials in the Southeast Asian nations of Laos and Cambodia have commented upon the likelihood that inflation would increase in those countries moving forward. Clearly, there exists an overall trend of inflation around the globe, but it remains to be seen whether governmental efforts will be successful in mitigating the ramifications of this economic force.

In related economic news, it appears that officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are poised to meet with business leaders from the nation of Japan. To shed light upon these unfolding events it may be prudent to quote directly from Yahoo News Singapore at Yahoo.com:

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 (Bernama) — The Federation of Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in ASEAN (FJCCIA) will hold its fourth annual dialogue with the Secretary-General of ASEAN Secretariat, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, here on Friday. During the dialogue, they will exchange views on tackling business issues associated with Asean”s on-going economic integration, said Takehide Teranishi…

This blogger encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read about this situation in detail.

In a previous posting on this blog it was noted that the ASEAN community had sent a goodwill mission to Japan in response to events which transpired as a result of the tragic Earthquake in March of this year. As Japan remains a substantial economic force in both an Asian and global context it remains an important trading center. Therefore, other countries such as the United States, those within the ASEAN region (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam), and even the so-called BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) seek to maintain strong trade relations with Japan. Hopefully economic benefits derived from the discussions noted above will accrue to the economies of all concerned.

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

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30th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has implemented a new policy regarding the I-130 petition for visas such as the CR-1 visa and the IR-1 visa. To provide further insight it may be prudent to quote directly from the official website of the USCIS, USCIS.gov:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that effective Aug. 15, 2011, petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices will be able to file a Petition for an Alien Relative (Form I-130), with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility. This will increase the efficiency of the relative petition filing process and give USCIS more flexibility in managing its workload. Previous regulations permitted these petitioners, who comprise about 5 percent of all I-130 petitioners, to file with USCIS or the U.S. Department of State at their local U.S. embassy or consulate. Under the new regulation, published today in the Federal Register, petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices may file a Petition for an Alien Relative based on the addresses provided in the revised form instructions…

Clearly, this new policy could have significant ramifications for those seeking a United States visa on behalf of a foreign loved one. Concurrently, those familiar with the American visa process may note that this new policy effectively ends the Direct Consular Filing option for petitioners in certain Consular jurisdictions. In the past, it may have been possible for petitioners to file their visa petition directly with a US Embassy or US Consulate if the petitioner resided in the Consular District. These recent regulatory changes would appear to bring this era of Consular Processing to an end.

Meanwhile, in news related to Southeast Asia and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) community, it appears that Malaysia is poised to engage in a Free Trade Agreement with India. To provide further insight into these developments it may be best to quote directly from the website MoneyControl.com:

The free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Malaysia will come into force from July 1, giving Indian professionals like accountants, engineers and doctors access to the key South-East Asian nation. In addition, exports of items of considerable interest to India, like basmati rice, mangoes, eggs, trucks, motorcycles and cotton garments, will attract lower or no duty in Malaysia with the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), according to a statement of the Commerce Ministry issued today…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more on this developing story.

As nations in ASEAN, such as Malaysia, continue to become more integrated into broader markets it stands to reason that new trade arrangements will be forged. The ASEAN community (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) has been the topic of a great deal of recent discussion regarding future free trade agreements as many nations around the world try to make headway into this important and increasingly lucrative regional market.

For information related to legal services in ASEAN, please see: Legal.

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28th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a United States Senator introduced legislation designed to engage the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In order to provide further information regarding these developments it may be best to quote directly from the official website of The Nation, NationMultimedia.com:

United States Senator Richard G. Lugar, the Republican Leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced legislation encouraging United States officials to initiate Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the U.S. and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which presently accounts for the fourth largest export market of the United States. ”I am continuing my efforts to encourage the Obama Administration to announce a comprehensive and long-term strategy toward engaging ASEAN in FTA discussions,” Lugar said…

This blogger strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more on this story.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the ASEAN community is likely to become more economically important in an international context as time passes. Clearly, Senator Richard Lugar’s proposed legislation will have a significant impact upon the trade relations between the United States of America and the countries which make up ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). Assuming appropriate circumstances, it could be surmised that the United States and the ASEAN community could share a strong trade relationship notwithstanding the growing trade between the United States and countries of the so-called BRICS grouping which includes nations such as India and China. Hopefully the business relationship between the US and ASEAN continues to thrive as these issues are discussed among relevant legislators.

In other matters pertaining to the United States Senate, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that this legislative body was also the forum in which a new UAFA-inclusive piece of immigration legislation was introduced. To provide further insight into these events it may be prudent to quote directly from the website Care2.com:

U.S. Senators introduced Wednesday the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011 which includes the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), legislation allowing U.S. nationals to sponsor their foreign-born same-sex partners for citizenship. The bill, introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) alongside Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Kerry (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), has a UAFA-inclusive counterpart measure in the House as introduced by Representative Mike Honda (D-CA). LGBT groups including the Immigration Equality Action Fund praised the reintroduction of the legislation…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks note above to read more.

As the struggle for LGBT equality continues, legislation such as that noted above could have a significant positive impact upon the LGBT community. Importantly, the inclusion of language similar to the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), a stand alone piece of legislation originally introduced by Representative Jerrold Nadler in the House of Representatives, would permit same sex bi-national couples to petition for American family immigration benefits similar to those routinely granted to different sex bi-national couples. Currently, the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) preclude such benefits from same sex couples even if a couple has entered into a same sex marriage in one of the sovereign American States that legalize and/or solemnize such unions. Hopefully this proposed legislation can gain traction and thereby end the current discrimination imposed upon same sex couples.

For related information please see: US Company Registration or Legal.

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