Economy & Trade

Economic Growth Puts Vietnam on Track to Become Largest ASEAN Supplier to the U.S.

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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.

ASEAN Regional Meetings 2014

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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.

Malaysia Sees Improvement in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings

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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.

EU-Singapore Finalize Free Trade Agreement

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The European Union (EU) and Singapore have finalized their negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA). Singapore expects that exporters of electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and processed food products will especially benefit from the completion of the FTA.

Trade Ministers Report Progress on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

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Trade Ministers and Heads of Delegation for the nations involved in the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have reported significant progress in the talks over market access and trade and investment rules. The recent talks took place in Canberra, Australia on October 25-27.

ASEAN Update: Understanding the Geopolitics of the South China Sea Dispute

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In recent years, the South China Sea has become a key area of concern for the ASEAN organization. In the face of an increasingly expansionary China, ASEAN has often seemed slow to react and unsure of what strategy it should pursue. While there are options in place, such as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), there has been little unity in the actions of the ten member nations.

Hong Kong-ASEAN FTA Could be Implemented by 2016

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According to Hong Kong government officials, a free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should be ready for implementation in 2016. The first round of the trade talks was completed in July of this year.

Singapore-Turkey FTA Talks Progressing Despite Service Sector Concerns

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Although some disagreements regarding services are yet to be hammered out, negotiations for Singapore-Turkey trade talks are “making good progress” said Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong.

Outlook on ASEAN Investment 2015

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Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines are surging ahead of their regional neighbors, with FDI increases of 17, 19 and 20.4 percent, respectively, in 2013, according to Bank of America Merill Lynch. Meanwhile, Singapore continues to receive the lion’s share of total FDI in the region, which last year grew five percent to a net value of nearly US$64 billion. The city-state’s attraction for foreign investors derives not only from its often overlooked manufacturing base, but also as a channel for routing FDI into other locations in ASEAN.

BPO in the Philippines Could Jumpstart Economic Growth

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The month of August saw an all-time high for employment in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector in the Philippines, hitting over one million employees. The growth in employment is being primarily driven by the expansion plans of a number of companies, such as Accenture and Convergys. Over the past decade, the Philippines BPO industry has seen tremendous growth – revenues and employment have expanded tenfold since 2004. The industry sees an average per year growth rate of 20 percent.

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