Page 1

T A

19 MARCH 2012

E

CAPTURES

B

CARI

4 8

10 2

1

9 5

ISSUE 68

02 01

7

6

3

US, Chinese delegations

vow to hike

Thailand faces challenges in

investment IN

the labour market

THAILAND

Thailand The AEC and reforms in Myanmar are expected to put pressure on Thailand’s labour markets. Academics are concerned that Thai workers will not be able to compete with their Singaporean, Malaysian and Philippine counterparts after the mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) come into force In unskilled labour, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan (Secretary-General, ASEAN Secretariat)

Thailand warned that economic reforms in Myanmar could result in the departure of the migrant force from Thailand Migrant workers make up 5% of the Thailand’s workforce, with 3 million coming from Myanmar AsiaOne, Democratic Voice of Burma (12 March 2012)

Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)

What: MRAs are sector-specific agreements that aim to eliminate technical trade barriers in a given sector. MRAs in ASEAN have typically occurred in service industries. Currently, there are MRAs in engineering, nursing, architectural, surveying qualifications, accountancy, dental practitioners, and tourism professionals.

Why: ASEAN members agreed on using MRAs as a platform to advance the harmonization of standards and regulation. The underlying objective of the MRAs is to facilitate the free movement of skilled labour across ASEAN. When: The Bali Concord II (2003) called for the completion of MRAs in professional services by 2008. ASEAN

Thailand received reassurance from Chinese and US investors on continued investments but was urged to accelerate infrastructure spending and relax business regulations. China Investment Corp, China’s sovereign wealth fund expressed interest to invest in Thailand’s infrastructure and agriculture The US-ASEAN Business Council urged the Thai government to accelerate infrastructure spending to prevent a repeat of the 2011 floods US businesses in the US-ASEAN Business Council include Caterpillar, Visa, MasterCard, Philip Morris, AT&T, Ford Motor, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Google, Procter & Gamble, and HP US businesses are calling for a relaxation of ownership rules, such as the limitation of 49% foreign ownership and a restructuring of excise taxes to encourage investment The Nation, Thailand (13 March 2012)


19 0 3 ‘12

03

04

Malaysia to set first minimum wage

The new law is in line with Najib Razak’s (Prime Minister, Malaysia) new economic plan to advance Malaysia’s status to a developed country by 2020

BOT:

INFLATION RATE mANAGEABLE

Malaysia For the first time in history, Malaysia’s cabinet will approve a national minimum wage of between 800 to 900 Malaysian ringgit per month.

2 3 0 3 ‘12

The new wage policy faced strong opposition from employers, and critics say that it would make Malaysian industries uncompetitive and deter foreign investors Analysts suggest that the prime minister is gearing up for elections and trying to garner votes from the urban poor AsiaOne (12 March 2012)

ASEAN MINIMUM WAGE LAWS

ASEAN, Thailand Growth in regional consumer demand and higher oil prices are creating inflationary pressures in ASEAN. Trade and public deficits in oil - importing countries such as Thailand make it difficult for the government to absorb increasing energy costs; subsidising consumer fuel will also deplete government spending in other welfare areas When speaking at the International Institute of Finance CEO Summit, Dr. Prasarn Trairatvorakul (Central Bank Governor, Bank of Thailand) said that inflation remained at manageable levels, and indicated that monetary policy would continue to aid flood recovery and would not tighten Washington Post, The Nation (15 March 2012)

05

Indonesia bans foreign

CEOs from fully local firms Indonesia Indonesia has effected a decree on 29 February 2012 which bans foreign chief executives from running wholly owned local companies. The new law elicited outcry from business associations and foreign investors in Indonesia Indonesia justified the law by emphasising the executive role of a chief executive over human resources Indonesia’s labour office emphasised that the law has a limited scope and is working with companies to ensure it is properly understood Sofyan Wanandi (Chairman, Indonesian Employers Association) believes the move has protectionist and nationalist motives and will drive skilled workers away from Indonesia The Star, Malaysia (12 March 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.


19 0 3 ‘12

06

MYANMAR MONITOR

Domestic Issues

07

2 3 0 3 ‘12

India-ASEAN relations intensify ASEAN, Thailand, Malaysia, India

A government audit reported evidence of corruption in six key ministries, which led to a discussion in parliament regarding the formation of an anti-corruption commission The Irrawaddy (13 March 2012)

A new labour law has come into effect in Myanmar, allowing the formation of labour unions and strikes The Washington Post (10 March 2012)

Aung San Suu Kyi’s campaign speech was broadcasted on state media for the first time. The government censored the speech by removing criticism of the former junta, but allowed her to call for respect of the rule of law and to criticise the present constitution. The new electoral law allots each political party time to broadcast their manifesto in the state media

The relationship between ASEAN and India deepened through cooperation in various arrangements including the Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), the Malaysia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (MICECA), and FTAs. Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir (Deputy Minister, International Trade and Industry, Malaysia) launched the Indian Chemical Exhibition 2012 Mukhriz remarked that MICECA is expected to increase trade between India

and Malaysia from US$12.5 billion in 2010 to US$15 billion in 2012 Speaking at a business seminar in Chennai, Chanchai Charanvatnakit (Royal Thai Consulate Consul General) said the India-ASEAN FTA will increase trade to US$14 billion in 2012, from US$8.2 billion in 2011, and that tourism will play a big role Negotiators at the second ASEAN-India Working Group on Agriculture and Forestry listed 14 areas of agriculture cooperation including farmer exchange and animal husbandry The Star, IBN Live, The Jakarta Post (15 March 2012)

The Washington Post (13 March 2012) CNN (14 March 2012)

ASEAN - India Trade

ASEAN Myanmar ratified the ASEAN Terror Pact, joining Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, and Brunei Bernama (8 March 2012)

Myanmar will open its fifth border trade point with Thailand in southern Tanintharyi region. Myanmar currently has a total of 12 border trade points, of which four link with China, four with Thailand, two with India and two with Bangladesh People’s Daily (13 March 2012)

Pham Binh Minh (Foreign Minister, Vietnam) paid an official visit to Myanmar last week Bernama (14 March 2012)

China State-run China Power Investment Corp is pushing Myanmar to resume the development of the US$ 3.6 billion hydroelectric dam that was suspended last year The Wall Street journal (10 March 2012)

The China-ASEAN Trade Expo in Nanning in September 2012 will focus on Myanmar The Irrawaddy (9 March 2012)

Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) signed the first onshore exploration contract involving a foreign oil company since the new government came to power The Washington Post (11 March 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.


19 0 3 ‘12

08

2 3 0 3 ‘12

ASEAN AND EU JOIN HANDS in science technology and innovation ASEAN, EU

ASEAN and the EU designated 2012 as the ‘ASEAN-EU Year of Science, Technology and Innovation’. The EU is replacing its current science cooperation framework with the ambitious Horizon 2020 The 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) will attract US$13 billion in grants in 147 ASEAN projects EU-ASEAN research programmes focus on renewable energy, marine resource protection, and IT development Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency is currently participating in seven projects under the FP7, making Thailand the most active ASEAN country in the programme The European Commission budgeted US$104.5 billion for its Horizon 2020 programme, due to replace the FP7 in 2014 The Nation, Thailand (13 March 2012)

09

Grassroots contribute to ASEAN community building

The ASEAN Secretariat and Cambodian government organised a national seminar on ASEAN awareness on 15 March 2012 which attracted 3,500 university students Universitas Pelita Harapan held a youth seminar entitled “Beyond Natural Resources and Cultural Cliché” as part of its week-long Communication Avenue 2012, a means for youth to voice popular issues to the government Bagas Hapsoro (Deputy SecretaryGeneral, ASEAN) encouraged the young

needS

Islamic Finance

ASEAN Organisations throughout ASEAN are contributing towards community building efforts through seminars, cultural exchanges, and youth programmes.

10

CAMBODIA

generation to share their inspirations, hopes and feedback towards building a forwardlooking ASEAN Community The Thai government is implementing multilingual programmes in schools and universities to encourage students to study ASEAN languages Thailand and Cambodia are also organising teacher exchanges to alleviate the shortage of teachers of Thai and Khmer languages in their countries Prasatvittaya School in Thailand is promoting the study of regional languages in light of the coming ASEAN Economic Community Bangkok Post, Philippines Information Agency Zamboanga Times, Philippines (15 March 2012)

Cambodia The introduction of Islamic finance in Cambodia may attract investment from Muslim investors from the Middle East and Asia who are searching for opportunities. The International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance noted that investors from the Middle East are interested in businesses that comply with Islamic law Introducing Islamic finance in a predominately Buddhist country could attract investors to the country and provide credit to the 2% Muslim minority in Cambodia According to the Cambodian Intelligent Investor Organisation, Islamic finance in Cambodia would serve Cambodian Muslims through microfinance institutions Phnom Penh (12 March 2012)

Editorial Team: Manissa van Geyzel, Han Fang Rong, Soley Ómarsdóttir, Chayut Setboonsarng, Ahmad Syahid Consultant Editor: Tunku ‘Abidin Muhriz Designer: Iqbal Hakim 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 68 (19 March 2012)  

Captures is CARI’s weekly news monitoring report, each time presenting the top 10 stories affecting ASEAN

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you