The European Union’s generalized scheme of preferences (GSP) will be withdrawn from over 6,200 Thai products on 1 January, 2015. The scheme provides developing country exporters with reduced or nil duties on exports to the EU until they are deemed competitive enough to no longer need such support.
The Indonesia rupiah has stabilized after hitting its lowest point since the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. The currency had fallen to a low of 12,930 rupiah/US dollar on Tuesday morning but later strengthened to close at 12,680. The rupiah made further gains on Wednesday by growing 0.2 percent to 12,658, according to local exchange rates published by Bloomberg. The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), the main price barometer of the local stock exchange, also rose 0.2 percent, partially reversing a 1.9 percent fall on Tuesday.
The Philippines is currently accepting applications from companies to participate in its Inclusive Business (IB) program. The program is intended to help reduce poverty across the nation by encouraging businesses to set up their operations in areas that have been identified as economically disadvantaged. In return for basing their operations in these areas, businesses will be granted a range of financial and other incentives. The program will initially focus on the areas of Marivetes (Bataan), Cavite, Mactan (Cebu), and Baguio.
Japan, China, and South Korea have all shown interest over the last month in bidding for the proposed Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail link. The project was originally announced in September 2010 and if completed will connect Singapore and Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur. Official agreement between the two countries was made in February 2013 to complete the project with the target date of 2020.
The level of Thailand’s imports and exports has expanded for the first time since April 2013. In year-on-year (YoY) comparisons, both imports and exports have increased. In the Ministry of Finance’s most recent report, June YoY comparisons show the total value of exports is up by 3.9 percent with improvements in both intra-ASEAN and European trade. After signs of slowing this past year, producer and consumer confidence also now appear to be improving.
In its recent report on achieving sustained economic growth in Southeast Asia, the global management consulting firm, McKinsey, highlighted key areas for improvement in ASEAN, particularly the need to improve labor productivity, which still remains low.
On November 12th, the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held its opening ceremony in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. The Summit is ASEAN’s highest policy-making body. This gathering is of particular importance since there is now less than one year to go before the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) predicts that Vietnam will become the largest ASEAN supplier to the United States by the end of 2014 – with a net export value of around US$29.4 billion. This would be a historical achievement for a nation surrounded by supply giants. In fact, Vietnam is likely to become the wealthiest Southeast Asian country in terms of trade. Additional statistics indicate that bilateral trade with the United States will surge to US$57 billion by 2020, cementing Vietnam’s prominence as a valuable hub for foreign investment and trade.
There are a number of important ASEAN regional meetings taking place in November, including the Meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN and the 25th ASEAN summit, which will also be attended by high level representatives of China, Japan, Korea, India, the United States, and Australia.
In its new report, entitled “Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency”, the World Bank has found that Malaysia ranks first out of the emerging economies in East Asia and ranks fourth out of all the countries in Asia.