Photo Credit: AFP
Economy, Investment and Trade
Malaysian palm oil exporters encouraged to take advantage of the US-China Trade Dispute
(4 July 2018) Malaysia’s Primary Industries Minister said the country’s palm oil exporters would benefit from the United States and China trade dispute as there will be more opportunities to offer Malaysian palm oil products to the Chinese market. On 6 July 2018, China imposed a 25 percent tariff on 545 US products including soybean in retaliation to the higher duty imposed by the U.S government. As the third biggest buyer of Malaysian palm oil and palm oil-related products, China imported 1.92 million tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia in 2017. Agri-commodity-based products worth US$4.72 billion (RM19.1 billion) have been exported to China in 2017, increasing by 27 percent from US$3.71 billion in 2016.
Myanmar will request China to downscale Rakhine project
(4 July 2018) Myanmar will look to downsize the scale of a Chinese backed special economic zone project in Rakhine. The country’s planning and finance minister Soe Win said the project should be as small as possible by cutting unnecessary expenses. The minister said the more significant the plan, the bigger the responsibility to pay back and he hopes China will be reasonable during the negotiations. The economic zone is Located in Kyaukpu and the estimated cost for the project is at US$10 billion. Myanmar’s external debt at the end of 2017 was US$9.6 billion, of which the country owes China 40 percent.
China examining new possibility in the Philippines petroleum contracting round
(3 July 2018) China International Mining Petroleum Company Limited (CIMP) will explore a new opportunity in the Philippines petroleum contracting round after the success of its commercial oil extraction at the Alegria onfield oil shore in Cebu. However, the Chinese firm is currently looking at improving its petroleum service contract 70 in Central Luzon, which is under another associate firm Polyard Petroleum Philippines. CIMP will keep track of the policy developments on the removal of investment incentives that will influence the upstream oil and coal industry segments. The petroleum industry in the Philippines has appealed to the Department of Finance to eliminate the upstream petroleum sector from the coverage of tax structure modifications under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.
China reduces tariff rates on five Asia Pacific member countries
(2 July 2018) China will reduce tariff rates on a range of imported goods coming from India, South Korea, Bangladesh, Laos and Sri Lanka, said the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council. A total of 8,549 commodities such as soybeans, precision instruments, chemicals, agricultural products, clothing, steel, and aluminium products were being removed or reduced tariff rates since 1 July 2018. Such a move was made to strengthen the trade relations between China and the other five Asia Pacific member countries, including Laos under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA). Recently, all member countries of Asia Pacific have decided to lower tariffs by an average of a third on at least 10,000 items.
China will further support Myanmar on the Rakhine issue
(29 June 2018) China will further assist Myanmar and Bangladesh on the Rakhine issue by upgrading living conditions and resettlement of displaced people in the state. The support from China includes emergency material aid and construction of required facilities. Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to improve the situation in Rakhine through discussion of a three-phase solution. The solution consists of an on-site ceasefire, repatriation, and development.