India-Singapore CECA to take India Another Step Closer to ASEAN: Indian PM
Economic Integration Drives Growth in Asia
Australia Ready to Sign Regional Amity Treaty
Singapore's MAS Panel Urges Bigger,More Liquid Asian Markets
India Approves Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with Singapore
China, ROK Willing to Advance FTA Process
New Asia is Confident of Its Role in World Stage: Badawi
Singapore Believes Intra-Asian Economic Integration will Gather Speed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India-Singapore CECA to take India Another Step Closer to ASEAN: Indian PM

Press and Information Bureau of India
June 29, 2005

The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) being signed today by the Prime Ministers of India and Singapore in New Delhi will take India another step closer to a CECA with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has asked the Trade and Economic Relations Committee (TERC) to come forward with proposals to enable forward movement on negotiations for an India-ASEAN CECA. Noting the fact that over the past decade successive Governments have reiterated their commitment to bring India’s tariffs in line with ASEAN rates, the Prime Minister said that while this would benefit all of India’s trade partners, it is necessary to place trade and investment liberalization with respect to India’s neighbours and ASEAN countries on a “faster track”.

Dr. Singh told TERC, “we must enlarge our economic interaction and integration with SAARC, BIMSTEC and ASEAN, and find creative solutions to overcome existing hurdles. We must become a partner in the economic progress of our neighbours.”

The Prime Minister also asked the Ministries of Finance, Commerce and External Affairs to strengthen research and policy making capabilities in the area of external trade and economic relations both within Government and outside. TERC was also asked to produce an annual review of India’s external economic relations. The Investment Commission and the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Commission have been asked to take into account the concerns of domestic industry and come forward with ideas to facilitate the transition to a more open economy, more closely engaged with all the neighbours in South and South-East Asia.

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Economic Integration Drives Growth in Asia

Luo Man
China Daily
June 28, 2005

Asian countries may have to put aside their differences and work on a louder, more united voice as they grow in economic and political power.

"The western voice is much louder... The Asian voice is much lower... and I think this is not fair. I think we have to change this situation. Asian media plays an important role to provide accurate reports and also a positive attitude," said Long Yongtu, secretary-general of the Boao Forum for Asia last Friday during China Daily's CEO Roundtable

Click here to read further: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-06/28/content_455179.htm

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Australia Ready to Sign Regional Amity Treaty

Xinhua Online
June 27, 2005

Australia is ready to sign the Southeast Asia's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation to gain a seat atthe East Asia summit in December, according to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Monday.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio quoted Downer as saying that Canberra will sign the treaty as long as it does not harm other alliances, including the one with the United States. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has made Australia's signing of the non-aggression treaty as a precondition to attend the East Asia summit.

"We see the East Asia summit as the birth of a growing East Asian community, so it makes good sense for the region, for Australia, to be involved," he said.

Click here to read further: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-06/27/content_3143881.htm

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Singapore's MAS Panel Urges Bigger,More Liquid Asian Markets

Yahoo Finance
June 21, 2005

The panel, which comprises international bankers such as the chairman of German banking giant Deutsche Bank and the head of India's Tata Group, said in a statement that developing a bigger capital market is a key challenge for the region.

"The IAP noted that the continued growth of Asia would require deeper and more liquid capital markets. This was where the challenges were greatest and where Singapore's small domestic market required it to look outward," the panel said.

It "encouraged Singapore to help grow the ASEAN capital markets and continue to play a leading role in the integration of Asian financial markets."

Click here to read further: http://sg.biz.yahoo.com/050620/15/3t26u.html (Please note that this link may expire.)

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India Approves Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with Singapore

June 20, 2005

Indian government has approved the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Singapore. Briefing newsmen after the meeting of Cabinet Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry said that “CECA would be a milestone in further cementing India’s traditional ties with Singapore... This is India's first CECA with any country. It is also for the first time that India is entering into a Bilateral Economic Integration Agreement in Services”.

The Agreement is an integrated package comprising trade in Goods and Services, an agreement on Investments, mutual recognition agreements in conformity assessment of standards in goods, mutual recognition agreement in Services, cooperation agreements in customs, science and technology, education, e-commerce, intellectual property and media.

In trade in goods, India's offer is categorised in four lists -- the early harvest programme where the customs duty would be eliminated immediately on the entry into force of CECA (506 lines); the phased elimination (2202 lines) and phased reduction (2407 lines) where the tariffs would be eliminated/reduced in a phased manner up to the year 2009 and the negative list (6551 lines) where no concessions have been offered. Trade in goods will include exchange of tariff concessions under the 8-digit ITC Harmonised System (HS) Code covering 11666 lines.

“Singapore has offered all products made in India entry at zero duty into Singapore. It is expected that CECA would be helpful in developing supply chains from India, since Singapore is a known trading hub. The mutual recognition agreements in goods provided in CECA would increase India’s exports especially in areas like milk and milk products and poultry. The liberalisation of the services sector would improve efficiency in economy, while the mutual recognition of education degrees would provide new avenues to Indian professionals. Furthermore, a major gain would be that CECA will substantially increase investments in India with Singapore. Already, Singaporean investments in India increased by about 114% in 2004-05. Interest has already been generated in Singapore for making investments in India in infrastructure projects and in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs)”, Shri Kamal Nath said while elaborating on the gains from the Agreement.

Sufficient safeguards have been built in to the Agreement to prevent third country goods from coming in through Singapore. Stringent Rules of Origin comprising simultaneous application of change in tariff heading, value addition of 40% and some well defined insufficient operations have been prescribed under CECA to ensure that only the goods which are actually manufactured in Singapore and India benefit under this Agreement.

In Services, India and Singapore have taken commitments beyond their offer at the WTO. In particular, in Financial Services, a deeper integration with the Singapore financial services is expected to take place.

A crucial component in services is the provisions relating to movement of natural persons (Mode 4) which is a very important mode of supply of services for India. The Agreement accordingly contains a separate chapter which deals with the issue. “In Mode 4, mutual recognition agreements will be entered into within a period of 12 months in architecture, accountancy and medicines. Around 120 professions are being recognised from India for the purpose of obtaining visas”, Shri Kamal Nath said.

India and Singapore have committed to opening investments on a positive list basis with features in-built for protecting investments made by each other in either country.

The existing Agreement on Double Taxation Avoidance (DTAA) has been amended through a protocol which provides for, among other issues, sharing of information and improved tax treatment.

The Agreement is scheduled to be signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Singapore on 29th June, 2005 during the visit of the Singapore Prime Minister to India. CECA is expected to come into effect from 1st August, 2005.

(Source: Press and Information Bureau of India, Press Release, June 20, 2005)

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China, ROK Willing to Advance FTA Process

Xinhua Online
June 17, 2005

China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) Friday expressed their positive attitude towards speeding up research about establishing a free trade area (FTA) amid the fast-growth economic ties between the two countries.

"To quicken the study of setting up the FTA between the two countries is active and feasible," said Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai at China-ROK Economic Cooperation Forum held here Friday.

In 2004, China and the ROK reached a consensus to develop a non-governmental joint study of the feasibility of the FTA. The two countries officially lanuched the non-government FTA feasibility study on March 20 this year.

Minister Bo has frowned on Asia's current lax economic integration process, which has lagged behind the European Union and North America Free Trade Area and held down the whole Asian economy.

"With closer economic ties and about one trillion dollars trade within East Asia, the interdependence in the region has markedly increased," said Bo. "China will, in an active way, make joint efforts with the ROK to push forward the FTA process."

Click here to read further: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-06/17/content_3099815.htm

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New Asia is Confident of Its Role in World Stage: Badawi

Bernama (Malaysian National News Agency)
Siti Hawa Othman
June 14, 2005

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says a strong feeling of regeneration, renewal and progress was shaping the "New Asia", an Asia which is more confident of its leading role on the world stage.

Judging from the developments of the region, he said the nature of issues and concerns affecting business tomorrow would be substantially different from those faced today as Asia was changing into a region that was more dynamic and robust, more integrated and innovation-driven.

Business leaders, he said, would find the New Asia easier to relate to, easier to navigate and better equipped in terms of infrastructure, and also better connected within the region and outfitted with more and more home-grown talent.

He said this in his keynote address on "Prospering Together in the New Asia" at a dinner held in conjunction with the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC) 38th International General Meeting (IGM), here Monday.

Click here to read further: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_business.php?id=139271

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Singapore Believes Intra-Asian Economic Integration will Gather Speed

Channel News Asia
Dominique Loh
June 9, 2005

Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said East Asian countries have no choice but to construct a new landscape in which to compete. Speaking at the Asia Society Conference in Bangkok, Mr Goh outlined some directions to build East Asia.

The road to East Asia's regionalism is already well-paved, and there is already a growing web of Free Trade Agreements in the region, with more being concluded. Intra-Asian trade is also on the rise, with a 17 percent growth in the last 5 years.

Mr Goh believes this trend of economic integration will gather speed, but he said East Asia's growth is also set against the backdrop of a rising China, India's re-emergence and Japan's role as an economic powerhouse

Click here to read further: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/151884/1/.html

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