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Source:: Net Resources International – Mining Technology

    

ASEAN Secretariat Visits Philippines for Structured Learning

MANILA – ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), led by Mr. Ung Sreng Kong, Director of Corporate Affairs, made a structured learning visit (SLV) to WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines last week to learn about international standards and best practices in business process integration and automation system. These officials are members of ASEC Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Working Group who will be involved in the assessment and development of ASEC Business Process Integration and Automation Programme.

The team visited WHO WPRO and was welcomed by Mr. Ahmad Partow, Acting Director of Finance and Administration. They studied WHO’s state-of-the-art Business Integration System, covering Human Resources, Finance, Procurement, Travels, Project Management and Administrative Services. The team learned how WHO made improvement on their business processes and integrate them into one platform.

The team also visited the International Rice Research Institute and was welcomed by Ms. Corinta Guerta, Director for External Relations and the “One Corporate System (OCS)” Project Team—led by Mr. Marco van den Berg. The OCS has been launched successfully over one year and the best practices and lessons learned from IRRI’s OCS team in developing and launching this OCS could prove useful for ASEC.

“We have learned enormously from these two organisations on how to introduce and manage organization cultural changes. These included impact of active involvement of stakeholders at the outset, top management support, and committed project team. The good practices and pitfalls we have learned from WHO and IRRI are very valuable to our ERP Working Group members who will work closely with the Consultant towards the design and establishment of ASEC Integrated Business Process and Automation System in the near future,” said Director Kong.

Both WHO WPRO and IRRI expressed their strong support to ASEC Capacity Development Programme and looked forward to have closer cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat. This SLV is a part of ARISE-funded ASEC Capacity Development Programme.

Source: Tuesday, 02 September 2014. Posted in ASEAN Secretariat News

ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand Sign Protocol to Improve Trade Pact

NAY PYI TAW  - On 26 August, ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) joined the Ministers from Australia and New Zealand in signing the First Protocol to Amend the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA).

The Protocol will allow for amendments of the AANZFTA to address some business concerns, including the information requirements for origin verification. A key revision of which will be the removal of the requirement to reflect the free-on-board (FOB) value in the Certificate of Origin in cases where the regional value content criteria is not used. The Protocol also incorporates consolidated product specific rules, which will further enhance the transparency, clarity and relevance of AANZFTA, and ensure the Agreement better delivers for business.

The Protocol will also facilitate trade by ensuring timely update of the Product Specific Rules and the Schedules of Tariff Commitments using the most recent version of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.

The Protocol is expected to enter into force on 31 March 2015, after Australia, New Zealand and at least four ASEAN Member States complete their domestic procedures for the ratification of the Protocol.

ASEAN and Australia’s combined two-way merchandise trade has more than doubled over the past decade to US$68 billion in 2013, making ASEAN Australia’s second largest trading partner. The economic relationship between ASEAN and New Zealand has also grown with total two-way merchandise trade of US$9.8 billion in 2013, a 6.1% increase year-on-year. The signing of the Protocol to amend AANZFTA is expected to further boost trade relations among the Parties.

The Protocol can be downloaded here.

Source: Monday, 01 September 2014. Posted in, ASEAN Secretariat News

ASEAN Signs Protocol to Improve Investment Regimes

NAY PYI TAW,  – ASEAN Economic Ministers signed the Protocol to Amend the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) last week in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

The main objective of the Protocol is to provide a mechanism to better facilitate ASEAN Member States (AMS) in modifying or amending their investment reservations in the Schedule of ACIA.  The Protocol lays out a step-by-step process—with prescribed timelines—for the modification and amendment to investment reservations by AMS and its approval, which would contribute to greater certainty and transparency of ACIA implementation.

The Protocol shall form an integral part of the ACIA and shall enter into force after all AMS have completed their internal procedures for the entry into force of this protocol.

Upon entry into force of the Protocol, ASEAN Member States will be able to amend their respective reservation lists in an expedient manner hence better comply with their commitments under the ACIA; contributing to a key element of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) agenda of free flow of investment.

The Protocol can be downloaded here.

Source Monday, 01 September 2014. Posted in, ASEAN Secretariat News

China-ASEAN Expo to Commence Next Month

JAKARTA – The China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) Secretariat, has announced that the 11th CAEXPO will be held on September 16-19 in Nanning, Guangxi, China. As this year marks the first year of the Diamond Decade of the China-ASEAN cooperation, there will be new things on this year’s CAEXPO according to the Secretariat.

The 11th CAEXPO will feature a new theme: “Building the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century.” This theme will be highlighted through the opening plenary, exhibitions, cooperation projects and sideline conferences and forums. In addition, the expo will highlight efforts to forge its own complete value chain to provide more value-added services.

Throughout the fair period, there will be exhibitions on products of China and the 10 ASEAN countries. The fair will significantly improve its support services in information consulting, financial innovation, transport and logistics, legal cooperation, customs clearance, and others.

There will also be new opportunities as the 11th CAEXPO will extend its services to the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) cooperation from the “10+1” cooperation.

Preparations for the 11th CAEXPO are in full swing. The Cities of Charm of China and the 10 ASEAN Member States have all confirmed. Trade visitors from U.S., Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Korea, India, Australia, Hungary, Switzerland, South America, Middle East and other countries/regions are expected to attend the event. The 11th CAEXPO anticipates more trade visitors from beyond the China-ASEAN region than the previous sessions. Singapore, the Country of Honor of the 11th CAEXPO, will arrange a host of theme programs during the fair period. 

Source: Thursday, 28 August 2014. Posted in,  ASEAN Secretariat News

ASEAN Statistics Releases Latest Economic Updates

JAKARTA – The latest ASEAN statistics showed that in 2013, the region recorded real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 5.1%, with international merchandise trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), posting an increase of 1.4% and 7.1%, respectively.

In terms of nominal GDP, ASEAN GDP increased from US$2.3 trillion in 2012 to US$2.4 trillion in 2013, with the per capita GDP reaching US$3,837 in 2013 from US$3,761 in 2012. Indonesia was the biggest economy in ASEAN, with US$863 billion, followed by Thailand at US$388 billion and Malaysia with US$312 billion. In terms of per capita GDP, Singapore topped the rest of the ASEAN Member States, with US$55,183 followed by Brunei Darussalam with US$39,677. Both countries also registered lower inflation rates at 1.5% and 0.2%, respectively. Details on ASEAN macroeconomics indicators are available here.

In 2013 ASEAN international merchandise trade amounted to US$2.5 trillion, with total export receipts of US$1.3 trillion and import payments of US$1.2 trillion. Trade among ASEAN Member States represented 24.2% of the region’s total trade. China, the biggest trade partner, cornered 12% of exports and 16% of imports. Other leading trade partners include European Union, Japan, and USA. Electrical machinery and equipment were the top export earner at US$277 billion while mineral fuels, mineral oils and product of their distillation were the highest imported commodity products at US$274 billion. Details on ASEAN international merchandise trade are available here.

Inward flows of FDI in ASEAN rose from US$114 billion in 2012 to US$122 billion in 2013. Intra-ASEAN investments grew steadily in recent years although share to total ASEAN FDI inflows remained at around 17 percent.  During the period 2011-2013, ASEAN received the highest FDI from European Union and Japan, accounting for almost 40 percent of the total ASEAN FDI inflows. In 2013, European Union’s FDI represented 22% of total ASEAN FDI inflows, followed by Japan (18.7%) and ASEAN. Details on ASEAN FDI inflows are available here.

Summary table of these selected key indicators are available here

Source Thursday, 28 August 2014. Posted in, ASEAN Secretariat News

Business and Government Unite to Support SMEs in Myanmar

Myanmar’s economic and political reforms have led to rapid reconnection to the global and regional economies, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need training and expertise to take advantage of the opportunities that are being created. Hence, more than 250 entrepreneurs gathered in Yangon yesterday for Business Alliance training to discuss how SMEs can operate their businesses within the global supply chain.

The participants were provided with briefings on marketing, international exporting, legal aspects of cross-border trade, and how to use technology to expand their reach and build their businesses. They also had the opportunity to engage one-on-one with company representatives to ask questions and build relationships.  

“The Myanmar government is committed to improving the business and legal environments for SMEs, including publishing the SME bill, setting up a dedicated center for SME development.  The government welcomes international collaboration to help Myanmar SME better integrated into regional and international markets,” said H.E. U Maung Myint, Union Minister of Industry.  

The workshop included sessions from Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G), United Parcel Service of North America, Inc. (UPS), Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), and Baker & McKenzie, as well as support and participation from the Union of Myanmar Federated Chambers of Commerce International (UMFCCI), Myanmar Women’s Entrepreneurs Association, Myanmar Industries Association (MIA), and Myanmar’s Ministry of Industry.

“Small and medium-sized enterprise is the cornerstone of economic reform. The U.S. Government is committed to this partnership to promote job creation, regional economic integration, and to empower youth and women,” said Virginia Murray, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy.

P&G Vice President for ASEAN and Chair of USABC ASEAN Committee, Sam Kim, said, “P&G is very proud to have led the development of the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs and we are delighted that the program is now being launched in Myanmar through this workshop. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the growth engine of an economy and by helping to develop them we create the foundation of equitable economic development and sustained prosperity for everyone. Along with the USAID and USABC member companies, we are proud to have put together a platform providing a robust program of skills training and capability transfers for over 200 enterprises. We hope that the learning from this workshop will help Myanmar SMEs accelerate their growth in the country, as well as compete across the region.”

PM statement following murder of American journalist Steven Sotloff

Statement from the Prime Minister following the release of a video allegedly showing the brutal murder of US journalist Steven Sotloff.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

If verified, this is a despicable and barbaric murder. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr Sotloff’s family and friends tonight as they deal with this appalling and tragic situation.

As I have said consistently over the last few weeks, ISIL terrorists speak for no religion. They threaten Syrians, Iraqis, Americans and British people alike and make no distinction between Muslims, Christians or any other faith.

We have already been working hard to keep British people safe and we will continue to do all we can to protect our country and our people from these barbaric terrorists. Tomorrow morning I will chair a COBR meeting to review these latest developments.

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