Experts to China: cooperate or South China Sea fisheries may collapse

More than half the fishing vessels in the world operate in the South China Sea, where sovereign rights have been an object of fierce contention among bordering countries.
Scientists have been warning that the sea is fast becoming the site of an environmental disaster, the impending collapse of one of the world’s most productive fisheries. Read more

Government pushes for reforms to improve business environment; Resolution 19/2015

HA NOI (VNS) — The Prime Minister will focus on improving the business environment and strengthening the economy’s ability to compete in 2015 and 2016.

Key areas of a Government resolution released yesterday include pushing for reforms to reduce time-consuming and wasteful administrative procedures, enhancing governmental offices’ transparency and accountability, and adopting regulations that are in accordance with international rules. Read more

Vietnam taking prudent steps toward ASEAN Economic Community

bo truong 1“Vietnam has always focused on protecting items related to agriculture,” MoIT Minister Vu Huy Hoang said. “As a result, if we take prudent steps, we should not be afraid of the AEC.”

Minister Hoang also said Vietnam has always had a clear roadmap, especially in terms of sensitive goods of which domestic production capability is limited, so that the country will have a certain period for the local production sector to improve its capacities and increase market share later. Read more

Preparing for integration: ASEAN Economic Community 2015

The Economist LogoSouth-east Asia is increasingly viewed as a priority by international business. The ten member states of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have over 600 million people and by 2018 we think their economies will be growing as fast as China’s and will be as big as Germany’s. That’s globally significant. Read more

ASEAN Food & Beverage Alliance comments on proposed excise tax on carbonated soft drinks

ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance 1Carbonated non-alcoholic beverages are fundamentally different to normally taxable products. These differences make carbonated non-alcoholic beverages inappropriate products for selective excise duties. Tiếng Việt 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

Fulbright U.S.-ASEAN Visiting Scholar Initiative – Recruitment Announcement

U.S. - ASEAN 35 YearsThe U.S. Department of State pleased to announce the FY 2014 competition for the Fulbright U.S.-ASEAN Visiting Scholar Initiative, regionally competed awards for Visiting Scholars that will support research in fields related to ASEAN issues. Read more

Joint Statement

White House - Sang - Obama, Jul 25, 2013

U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership to provide an overarching framework for advancing the relationship., and to contribute to peace, stability, cooperation, and prosperity in each country, in the region, and in the world. Commitment to conclude a comprehensive, high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as soon as possible this year.  A 21st-century TPP agreement will advance regional economic integration, further development objectives, and lead to the creation of jobs in the United States, Vietnam, and all TPP countries, while taking into account the diversity of the participants’ levels of development in the context of a comprehensive and balanced package. Comprehensive Partnership will create mechanisms for cooperation in areas including political and diplomatic relations, trade and economic ties, science and technology, education and training, environment and health, war legacy issues, defense and security, protection and promotion of human rights, and culture, sports, and tourism.

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AMEICC: ASEAN Economic Ministers – Japan METI Economic and Industrial Cooperation Committee

Important “ASEAN Connectivity” projects include the ADB and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) $11 billion+ as of 2009  and the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) – Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) Economic and Industrial Cooperation Committee, which is abbreviated as AMEICC about $30 billion 2011-2015. Read more

A Maritime Balkans of the 21st Century? by Kevin Rudd, Australian PM 2007-2010

Kevin Rudd, Australian PM, 2007-2010Territorial claims in the “South China Sea” are … complex.

According to U.S. agencies, Chinese officials have claimed that the sea contains proven oil reserves as high as 213 billion barrels (10 times U.S. reserves, though American scientists are more skeptical) and 25 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves (roughly the total proven reserves of Qatar).

The South China Sea also accounts for some 10 percent of the world’s annual fisheries catch. The region is already the scene of deeply disputed exploratory activities for deep-sea energy resources. Fisheries are also already the subject of multiple physical confrontations between vessels. Furthermore, unlike the Senkaku/Diaoyu, many islands in the South China Sea are already occupied, garrisoned, and home to naval bases. Read more