Shoes, shirts, and sugar: why Singapore trade talks matter (TPP)

garment coverSINGAPORE — Your GAP shirts and Nike shoes might get cheaper, but the jobs of the 1,350 U.S. employees of Boston-based sneaker-maker New Balance could be in trouble. Detroit automakers might get to sell more cars and trucks into Japan, but the U.S. manufacturers of the fabric used in those vehicles could be out of work. These are among the dozens of tradeoffs in play as officials from the United States and 11 other countries descend on Singapore this weekend to negotiate what would be the largest trade deal in world history — potentially 1.5 times the size of NAFTA and worth as much as $124 billion in new U.S. exports by 2025.

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Japan and ASEAN, Always in Tandem: Towards a More Advantageous Win-Win Relationship through My “Three Arrows”

Shinzo Abe, PM of JapanDuring a visit to Southeast Asia, PM Abe delivered a speech on Japan-ASEAN relations in Singapore. Using an airplane to describe relations between Japan and the rapidly growing region, Abe said, “Japan and ASEAN are like twin engines on the right and left wings.” The prime minister also said his Abenomics economic measures would benefit ASEAN countries as both Japan’s imports from and exports to ASEAN members have doubled over the past decade. Abe is apparently determined to further bolster Japan-ASEAN ties. Both Malaysia and Singapore, which Abe visited this week, are participants in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. Japan will likely seek ways to partner with them when the TPP talks enter the final stage.

In a three-day trip he visited Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. He visited Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia in January, and Myanmar in May.

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National Steering Committee for Tourism proposals: loosened visa policy for tourists

Vietnam Timeless Charm (VNAT)the visa-free policy should be maintained for the seven major markets, including Japan, South Korea, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Besides, the visa-free stay for tourists should be 30 days instead of 15 days like now. Read more

The Big Benefits of Japan’s Joining the TPP Negotiations

Peter A. Petri, Brandeis UniveresityAs part of the “third arrow” of Prime Minister Abe’s revitalization strategy, the TPP should enhance Japanese competitiveness and build confidence among investors and consumers. It would not require much government spending and could help to cement Japan’s political ties with North America and Southeast Asia.

We have developed a comprehensive economic model to evaluate the impact of the TPP agreement for all key countries, and we expect Japan’s benefits to be around ¥10 trillion or 2 percent of GDP, three times as large as the Government estimates,  ¥3 trillion, or 0.66 percent of GDP.

The Government uses a traditional economic model to calculate benefits, one that has produced significant underestimates in the past. For example, in the case of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the United States, Canada and Mexico, actual increases turned out to be five times as large as those estimated with similar models. We use a newer model that accounts for new trade being generated. Read more

Vietnam maps out strategy to attract FDI in supporting industries: focus on Japanese SMEs

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MoIT) drafted strategy, with a focus on attracting investment from small- and medium-sized (SMEs) foreign companies, has been sent to provincial and ministerial bodies for comment and outlines Vietnam’s call for investment from key markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea and South East Asia.

To make Vietnam more attractive to foreign SMEs, the MoIT proposed the government adjust regulations on import and export taxes that would give supporting industry investors more incentives, but only if they built a supporting industry facilities and used local market input materials.

Particularly, the strategy demands reform of Decree 87/2010/ND-CP issued in 2010 detailing import and export duty regulations, with supporting industry firms to be eligible for five-year import duty exemption.

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