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Posts Tagged ‘US-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement’

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,

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…

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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

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…

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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.

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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,

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…

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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

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…

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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.

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