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ASEAN Harmonization in the Food Sector

ASEAN and the agro-food industry38% of ASEAN’s 620 million population, or 235 million, is involved in the agriculture and food sector. This is the largest employment sector for ASEAN. As the majority of ASEAN countries rely heavily on the sector for growth, trade, investment and employment, free flow of agriculture and food products within ASEAN becomes a necessity. There is enormous potential for intra-ASEAN trade  if ASEAN is able to achieve harmonization of standards and is able to eliminate the most significant technical barriers in the sector. Read more

Driving ASEAN Economic Integration and Trade through MRAs on Food Standards

Pushpanathan SundramThe 2015 deadline is quickly approaching for a single ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Why is economic integration important in ASEAN for the private and public sectors? What role can the food industry play to support the 2015 integration?

Mr. Pushpanathan: Economic integration in ASEAN will help unlock the region’s significant economic growth potential. As a one of the drivers of the global economy, the ASEAN region already has a combined GDP of US$2.2 trillion. This figure is expected to double by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), trade forecast to grow at around 6% across the region. The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will encourage the intra- and extra-regional free flow of goods and services, by reducing costs and complexities associated with importing and exporting around the region.

The region’s agro-food industry plays an important role in this growth in trade. Growing at around 36.6% in 2011, it is the fastest growing sector in the region. In many countries in the region, the industry contributes significantly to the GDP, reaching 50 per cent in Myanmar and 33.4 per cent in Cambodia for example.

However, the industry also faces non-tariff barriers and technical constraints that is impeding the growth of trade within ASEAN. These barriers in the food sector stem from the inadequate harmonization in areas such as product registration and labeling standards; highlighting the importance of economic integration and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) on food standards across the region. Read more

Weekly Update Aug 27: Networking Night, Coastal Clean Up, Palooza Party

Highlights

Th, Aug 30 U.S.-ASEAN Business Summit • Digital Economy
Mo, Sep 3 Vietnam’s National Foundation Day (observed)
Th, Sep 6 Dr. Le Dang Doanh: Revitalizing the Vietnamese Miracle
Th, Sep 6 Food Industry Summit, Jakarta, Indonesia
Sa, Sep 8 AmCham Scholarship Information Session
Sa, Sep 15 2012 International Coastal Cleanup Day
In Vietnam, Growing Fears of an Economic Meltdown: NY Times
A dear price to pay: ACB and HCMC stock market
FDI into Vietnam continues to plunge in first seven months – down 67%
Viet Nam may run out of funds for pensions
Minimum Wage Adjustment Proposed for 2013
Why I’m leaving China … for India, Vietnam, and ASEAN
“South China Sea” • U.S. Department of State Press Release
Tu, Nov 6, U.S. General Elections Day • U.S. Voter Registration Web Sites

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Weekly Update Jul 23: CEO Roundtable

Highlights

Tu, Aug 7 Morning Briefing: Vietnam CEO Roundtable Talk (Invitation Only)
Tu, Aug 7 Legal & VBF Liaison Committee
Mo, Sep 3 Vietnam’s National Foundation Day (observed)
Sa, Sep 8 AmCham Scholarship Information Session
Welcome to new AmCham companies • Jan ~ Jun 2012
FDI into Vietnam continues to fall: down 27.3% in first half of 2012
ASEAN and GMS Reap Rewards As Clinton Counters China
Industrial Parks See Falling Investment in first half of 2012; FDI down 59% compared with 2011
Tu, Nov 6, U.S. General Elections Day • U.S. Voter Registration Web Sites

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Weekly Update Jun 18: Real Estate Networking, Palooza, Independence Day Picnic

Highlights

Independence Day Picnic Door Prizes • Airline tickets to USA, Resort Stays, More!
Th, Jun 21 Networking Night: Ready-built factories & warehouses: status and trends
We, Jun 27 AmCham Palooza Party at Purple Jade, Intercontinental Asiana Saigon
Presentation: eCustoms at Intel Products Vietnam
Welcome to new AmCham companies • Jan ~ Jun 2012
Vietnam Outlook: World Bank East Asia & Pacific Update, May 2012
Vietnam Economic Indicators: World Bank East Asia & Pacific Update, May 2012
The unlearned lesson: Vinashin, VinaLines, and other SOEs’ inefficiencies
Sep – Dec AmCham Scholarship 2012
Tu, Nov 6, U.S. General Elections Day • U.S. Voter Registration Web Sites

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Weekly Update Apr 16: Protect Brand Value, Palooza

Highlights

HCM City & S. Key Economic Region Infrastructure: Ports, Industrial Parks (update)
Welcome to new AmCham companies • Jan ~ Apr 2012
Member Survey 2012
AmCham Vietnam Direct Selling Committee – About Us
Tu, Apr 17 Legal Committee Meeting
We, Apr 25 Business Lunch: World IP Day – Protecting Your Brand Value in Vietnam
We, Apr 25 AmCham Palooza Party
ADB: Asian Development Outlook – Vietnam Outlook 2012
World Bank: “Vietnam Urbanization Review”
FDI Rivals Turn Up the Heat on Vietnam
Bangla Desh: the Next Apparel Sourcing Hot Spot? (McKinsey)
Advance Notice: Sep – Dec AmCham Scholarship 2012
Tu, Nov 6, U.S. General Elections Day • U.S. Voter Registration Web Sites

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Hong Kong’s changing role in the apparel industry

Feb 10, 2012. Hong Kong’s role in the global garment industry over the last 20 years has shifted away from a manufacturer to a servicing and sourcing centre. It will take on even more diverse roles in the future, as more production shifts to ASEAN.

In 2008 China’s labour costs began to rise rapidly. In 2010, the minimum wage in 30 provinces rose by 22.8%, while China’s 12th and current five-year plan (2011-15) has earmarked workers’ wages increasing at 15% per year over the period, effectively doubling within five years. The appreciation of the yuan, which has risen 26% against the dollar since 2005, is another factor behind the rising cost of doing business in China.

China’s share of world clothing exports is being gnawed at by its neighbours and the decline is likely to be more rapid in the near future. In the first eight months of 2011, the US imported 1.4% more clothing by volume, but saw a decline of 3.2% from China while most ASEAN countries rose.

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Thai floods may shift Japan investment to Indonesia, Vietnam

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg). Japanese companies, Thailand’s biggest foreign investors, may spend more to build factories in neighbors including Indonesia and Vietnam after the worst flooding in 70 years disrupted global production.

“Executives recognize the concentration risk after the floods,” said Takahiro Sekido, chief Japan economist at Credit Agricole CIB in Tokyo. “The recent trend of accelerating investment into Thailand will cool despite the fact that Thailand was such an ideal destination.”

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has proposed spending 130 billion baht ($ 4.2 billion) on reconstruction and steps to prevent future floods. She seeks to reassure investors that Thailand remains a safe place for business, as companies including Pioneer Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. scrapped profit forecasts after the floods shut factories.

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ASEAN Economic Integration Scorecard

We’re helping the U.S. Chamber of Commerce prepare the second annual ASEAN economic integration scorecard, grading how ASEAN countries are doing meeting their declared goals for regional economic integration.

Please click this link to access the scorecard.

The findings will be presented to the ASEAN economic ministers when they meet on August 13 for the 2011 ASEAN Trade Facilitation forum in Manado, Indonesia.

The ASEAN Secretariat believes it would be very helpful for economic ministers to receive feedback from companies on areas in which they are doing well and areas in which they are falling behind.

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Vietnam wants ASEAN as forum for discussion on maritime borders

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – As it prepares to survey the Spratly Islands for oil and gas, China continues to chase Vietnamese fishing boats. In a few days, the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) will meet for its annual summit on security. The territorial disputes between China and other nations over the islands in the East Sea (South China Sea) will be on its agenda.

Fishermen from the Vietnamese province of Quang Ngai reported on Saturday that a Chinese naval ship, bearing the number 44861, “threatened a Vietnamese fishing boat, numbered QNG- 98868TS, with machine guns. About ten Chinese sailors boarded the vessel and beat Vietnamese fishermen and seized about a tonne of fish”.

In China, media have reported the arrival of Ocean 981, a deepwater drilling platform. It is 650 metres long, 136 metres high, and has a load of 30,000 tonnes. It can drill at depths of 1,500-3,000 metres, and ha operational costs of about a US$ 1 million a day.

By engaging in such a survey, China is staking its claim to the area. Experts believe the East Sea (South China Sea) has an estimated equivalent of around 35-50 billion tonnes in oil and gas, second only to the Persian Gulf.

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