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CAPTURES 16 JANUARY 2012

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ISSUE 60

Cambodia takes over ASEAN chair Cambodia, ASEAN

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Cambodia is building momentum in carrying the ASEAN agenda forward as it begins its chairmanship by hosting ASEAN foreign ministers and conducting trade, business, and diplomatic exchanges with Thailand.

challenges for the new chair

Pushing forward the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) agenda Coordinating the drafting of an ASEAN Charter for Human Rights

Though negative sentiments remain, Cambodia and Thailand have significantly reduced their tension levels following the Preah Vihear dispute, paving the way for closer cooperation in trade and economic matters Cambodia has the potential to leverage its increased ASEAN responsibilities into commitment to economic and social development; civil society groups are concerned about Cambodia’s lack of civil liberties and the judiciary’s lack of independence

Monitoring developments in Myanmar Reducing tensions in the South China Sea Managing the border conflict with Thailand Working with Vietnam to select a new ASEAN Secretary General

Bangkok Post (9 January 2012)

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ASEAN calls for end to Myanmar sanctions as reforms continue Myanmar, ASEAN

ASEAN urged the US and the EU to lift their sanctions in Myanmar, citing Myanmar’s commendable reforms, the latest of which was the government’s decision to halt the construction of a coal-fired power plant in response to civil society campaigns.

The power plant was slated to generate electricity for industrial production in the Dawei special economic zone – civil groups were concerned about its environmental impact and the impact on the 33,000 villagers in the vicinity Italian-Thai Development (ITD), the contractor responsible for developing Dawei, believes that the project can

continue by changing the source of fuel and after negotiations The government is considering building a smaller power plant instead FT, Agence France Presse, Businessweek (12 January 2012)


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China completes vital railway link to ASEAN

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Governor of Bank

of Thailand

China, ASEAN After six years of work involving nearly 1,000 construction workers, China has completed a 10km railway tunnel on the eastern section of the Pan-Asia international railway project that could eventually link Singapore to Scotland.

The tunnel is listed as a first-level high-risk tunnel due to local seismic activities, faults, caves, and other complex geological conditions The tunnel forms part of the 141km Yuxi-Mengzi Railway, which costs US$703million

proposes strategy to enhance labour mobility

China Daily (11 January 2012)

ASEAN

The Pan-Asian Railway Plan

Dr Prasarn Trairatvorakul urges ASEAN countries and nationals to put more emphasis on developing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) through greater labour mobility. He believes that the free flow of skilled labour is key to generate a single ASEAN market and production base, as regionally experienced managers will be able to optimise economies of scale by looking at regional rather than local opportunities and inputs to production The governor calls for a reduction in obstacles to labour mobility, arguing that “brain drain” is usually mitigated by remittances and a “reverse brain drain” that brings expertise and wealth back To develop a strong integration mindset, Dr Trairatvorakul urges for human capital development to create a new generation of educated workforce that leverages on local comparative advantages to regional and global competencies He asserts that government policy coordination is vital to support labour mobility and develop the necessary education infrastructure to generate

The Objective

regional citizens

China aims to facilitate the free flow of trade and promote deeper economic integration between the East and the West with the Pan-Asian Railway.

Bangkok Post (12 January 2012)

The Plan The plan aims to link 17 countries through 3 major routes: Kunming in Southern China with Singapore via South East Asia Urumchi in Northwest China with Germany via Central Asia Heilongjiang in Northeast China with Eastern Europe via Russia

ASEAN’s Contributions Once a link between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is completed, ASEAN will have completed its contribution to the Pan-Asian Railway Plan. United Nations, Asian Development Bank

DISCLAIMER: The news articles contained in this report are extracted and republished from various credible news sources. As such, CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) does not make any guarantee, representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, reliability or fairness of any such information and opinion contained in this report. Should any information be doubtful, readers are advised to make their own independent evaluation of such information.


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ASEAN Furniture Industries Council promote Intra-ASEAN Outlook What is the ASEAN Furniture Industry Council?

Thailand, ASEAN

An ASEAN trade organisation promoting the interests of firms in the furniture industry Members comprise of Indonesia’s ASMINDO, the Malaysian Furniture Industry Council, the Myanmar Timber Merchants Association, the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines, the Singapore Furniture Industries Council, the Thai Furniture Industry Club, and Vietnam’s Handicraft and Wood Industry Association The council publishes industry association price indices for potential buyers and performs business matching activities between members and interested parties Thailand provides the current chairman, secretary general and secretariat for 2011/12

Dhanakorn Kasetruwan (ViceChairman, ASEAN Furniture Industries Council) iterated the importance of intra-ASEAN trade with the coming of the ASEAN Economic Community, as Vietnam becomes the biggest ASEAN exporter of timber and wood products. The ASEAN Furniture Industries Council believes Vietnam will increase its export sales from US$3.9 billion in 2011 with stable and competitive pricing policies Thailand, with its reputation for quality, can leverage on its ability to import labour from around ASEAN and shift exports from Europe and the US to ASEAN Bangkok Post, Viet Nam News (10 January 2012)

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Row looms over half-hearted FTA Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand

Indonesia vowed to protect local industries from competition from Australia and New Zealand, following its implementation of the ASEANAustralia-New Zealand FTA on 10 January 2011. Indonesia will use non-tariff measures,

including codex standards, halal labelling, and sanitary standards, to protect its agricultural industry; it has also been subject to strict sanitary standards from Australia and New Zealand, preventing its mangoes and mangosteens from entering their countries

Indonesian footwear makers are benefitting from the FTA, which allows them to better compete against their Chinese counterparts The Jakarta Post (11 January 2012)

DISCLAIMER: The news articles contained in this report are extracted and republished from various credible news sources. As such, CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) does not make any guarantee, representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, reliability or fairness of any such information and opinion contained in this report. Should any information be doubtful, readers are advised to make their own independent evaluation of such information.


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ASEAN Rights Declaration Moves Closer to Debate

ASEAN The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has opened a meeting on formalising the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 8 January 2012 that will see ASEAN adopting a draft human rights charter by 2012.

AICHR will hold another round of

including the ASEAN Chair Cambodia, underscores the slow progress of the declaration Voice of America, Jakarta Post, Radio Free Asia (10 January 2012)

to allow public access to the declaration drafts

ASEA N f o r e i g n m i n i s t e r s a n d US b u s i n e s s l e a d e r s t o v i s i t Myanmar Myanmar, ASEAN, US

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ASEAN, India

Human rights breaches within ASEAN,

declaration and has called for the AICHR

Maung Lwin (Foreign Minister, Myanmar) suggests that the ASEAN delegation visit after the by-elections in April

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ASEA N Tourism Forum BringS Tourism Development Areas into Focus

before the declaration is finalised

with the secrecy surrounding the

ASEAN foreign ministers plan to visit Myanmar as a group after noting that many foreign governments have sent high level officials to the country – a delegation of American business leaders including Bill Gates also plans to visit Myanmar in February.

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meetings, to allow NGO participation,

Amnesty International is concerned

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The American delegation plans to meet president Thein Sein and business leaders even as US sanctions against Myanmar remain Many business executives are already on the ground, seeking opportunities in one of the last frontier markets in Asia of around 48 million people Reuters, Mainichi Daily News (13 January 2012)

Tourism ministers at the 31st ASEAN Tourism Forum from 8-15 January 2012 in Indonesia discussed measures to improve ASEAN tourism including the ASEAN visa, attracting Indian tourists, and promoting ASEAN as a single destination. Mari Elka Pangestu (Tourism Minister, Indonesia) believes the ASEAN visa will be implemented in 2012, with input from ASEAN tourism ministers to be considered at the next forum in April or May 2012 A briefing by a representative of the US-based Royal Caribbean Cruises highlighted ASEAN’s potential in cruise tourism if it improves connectivity and provides cruise ships with ports of call ASEAN tourism ministers also signed a memorandum of understanding on tourism cooperation with the Indian tourism minister on 12 January to boost Indian tourist arrivals The forum was attended by ASEAN dialogue partner representatives from China, India, Russia, Japan, and South Korea Jakarta Post, Antara, Borneo Post (10 January 2012)

Vietnam, Laos target US$1b trade turnover Vietnam, Laos

Vietnam and Laos target US$1 billion in bilateral trade by 2012 and US$2 billion by 2015, following the 34th session of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee in Vientiane on 7-11 January 2012. Amongst the activities agreed upon at the meeting were multilateral cooperation programmes within ASEAN, the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, the East-West Economic Corridor, implementation of the Vietnam-

Laos border trade master plan, and coordinating a tripartite road transport agreement with Cambodia Vietnam is the second largest investor in Laos, hosting investments from Vietnamese companies worth US$3.5 billion Viet Nam News (9 January 2012)

DISCLAIMER: The news articles contained in this report are extracted and republished from various credible news sources. As such, CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) does not make any guarantee, representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, reliability or fairness of any such information and opinion contained in this report. Should any information be doubtful, readers are advised to make their own independent evaluation of such information.


CARI Captures Issue 60 (16 Jan 2012)