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Economy, Investment and Trade
Thailand to introduce regional infrastructure fund with CLMV nations in 2019 to reduce reliance on China
(4 June 2018) Thailand will create a regional infrastructure fund with nations such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, to support infrastructure and development projects and reduce dependence on China. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the country will present the idea to the leaders of the four countries in Thailand on 16 June 2018 at the eighth summit of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). The fund will be operational from 2019 onwards and Thailand will kickstart the fund by contributing a considerable amount of fund in the range of millions of US dollars. Funds will also be raised through capital markets. As part of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has increased its presence in the region through infrastructure investment, although Japan and Western countries have in the past been major investors. A multinational framework between China and the five nations promised more than US$1.5 billion in concessional loans but it comes with a cost as some countries namely Laos has to exchange infrastructure investment for land concession and development rights.
Construction of Chinese-backed high-speed rail project between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima will commence in 2019
(3 June 2018) The Thai-Chinese high-speed rail project between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima, which is located in Northeastern Thailand will commence in 2019 with bidding process for the project to be held later in 2018. Thailand’s Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith chaired the 24th meeting of the Joint Committee on Thailand-China Cooperation on Rail Project with Deputy Head of China’s National Development and Reform Commission Ning Jizhe and he said that the first phase of the project will begin in March 2019. The rail is 253 km long and will be divided into 14 sections. Two sections from the 14 are deemed as minor sections in the province, including a 3.5 km-long segment, which is being constructed between Klang Dong and Pang Asok stations. The remaining 12 segments, will see six segments open to tenders in September 2018, and the winning bidder will start construction in March 2019 while another six will see biddings in November 2018, followed by the construction in April 2019.
Singapore and Nanjing strengthens cooperation in clean technology, logistics and innovation
(31 May 2018) Seven Singapore-based companies together with an educational establishment signed agreements with Chinese city of Nanjing to cooperate in areas such as clean technology, logistics and innovation. Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) involving projects worth US$230.25 million were signed during the sixth Singapore-Nanjing Special Projects Cooperation Panel (SNCP) meeting. The agreements included Singapore-Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island (SNEHTI) and setting up of innovation centres as well as research labs. One of the agreements is also to establish an innovation centre that can assist water companies to commercialise its solutions for the Chinese market. Singapore is currently the fourth largest foreign investor in Nanjing with investments worth US$4.02 billion comprising 390 projects in the city.
China’s BYD and Bataan government sign agreement to build monorail transit system
(30 May 2018) Electric vehicle maker BYD from China has signed an agreement with the local government of Bataan province in Philippines to construct a monorail transit system. BYD said the system will be built in Balanga city, which is the capital of Bataan, as soon as a viability study is completed. The first stage of the monorail which circles Balanga is 7 km. The monorail system aims to reduce traffic congestion, improve transportation state in the city and promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly public transport system in the city. The monorail in Balanga city is the second monorail project by BYD in the Philippines. The first project is a 20 km monorail system in Iloilo city, Panay Island.
Anhui to continue fostering closer trade ties with ASEAN
(30 May 2018) The Chief Information Director of Anhui Zheng Mingwu said since the Belt and Road Initiative is being strongly implemented by China, relationship between Anhui and ASEAN has become stronger and mutually benefited both parties. According to the figures provided by the Chinese province, bilateral trade between Anhui province and ASEAN was worth US$2.05 billion in the first four months of 2018. Trade between ASEAN and Anhui was at US$5.95 million in 2017, a significant increase of 18 percent from 2016. About 91 Anhui businesses are operating in the Southeast Asian region and these entities have invested a total of US$390 million. Foreign direct investment (FDI) from ASEAN countries last year was at US$720 million, an increase of 7.5 percent from 2016.