Economy, Investment and Trade
Guangdong investors to build a digital park in Thailand’s EEC
(12 June 2019) Chinese investors from Guangdong province are actively seeking business opportunities as well as local partners to establish a new digital park facility in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), according to Guangdong Development and Reform Commission head Ge Changwei. Their hope, he shared, was that the digital park would eventually serve as an ASEAN innovation and technology hub that works in partnership with China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA). According to Ge, the GBA’s economic value stands at around US$2 trillion and its trading value totalled US$24 billion in 2018 (a 7% rise). Thai deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak, for his part, said that the government looks forward to deeper cooperation between Thailand and Guangdong under the GBA. According to Guangdong governor Li Xi, Guangdong businesses currently have 113 investment projects in Thailand worth US$573 million, while Thailand has 750 projects in Guangdong worth US$650 million.
Malaysia sees increase in interest from Chinese investors since ECRL revival
(14 June 2019) The reinstatement of the Belt and Road Initiative-related East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) has resulted in a resurge of interest from Chinese investors, according to an announcement made during the 4th joint cooperation council (JCC) meeting on the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) and the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) held in Kuala Lumpur on June 14, where leaders from both sides reviewed the development progress made in the twin parks as well as the Kuantan Port and Qinzhou Port. Speaking as the meeting co-chair, Malaysian international trade and industry deputy minister Ong Kian Ming said that Malaysia has seen an uptick in interest from Chinese investors since the revival of the Chinese-backed ECRL and Bandar Malaysia projects, and that Malaysia looks forward to having China as its top investor for the fourth consecutive year this year. The MCKIP currently has investment pledges worth over US$4.3 billion, while the CMQIP has received investments worth US$9.26 billion.
Five MoUs inked at Malaysia-China manufacturing meeting
(14 June 2019) The Malaysia-China Manufacturing Roundtable Meeting held on June 13 in Malaysia’s Sabah state concluded with the signing of five memoranda of understanding (MoU) cementing cooperation between key industry players from both countries. Among the MoUs inked was an agreement to collaborate on the development of industry policies and business cooperation in areas such as robotics and the internet-of-things, as well as an agreement between Malaysian standards board SIRIM and China’s Huawei to cooperate in fields related to Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing. Malaysian trade and industry minister Darell Leiking, who was present at the ceremony with Chinese industry and information technology minister Miao Wei and the Chinese consul-general to Kota Kinabalu Ling Caide, touted the event as another milestone for trade relations between the two countries, especially in the advancement of new technologies.
Chinese companies to build 400MW power plants in Cambodia
(12 June 2019) Cambodian state-owned electricity company Electricite Du Cambodge (EDC) inked an agreement with Chinese firms CGGC-UN Power and China National Heavy Machinery Corporation (CHMC) on June 12 to build a 400-megawatt (MW) power project. According to the companies, the facility will be fuelled by heavy fuel oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG), and be based in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district. The facility, which will comprise two plants powered by generators from Finnish and German companies, is slated for completion within ten months. According to EDC head Keo Ratanak, the project will cost US$380 million, financed largely by a US$300 million loan from the government. The goal, he said, is to ensure that the country has a stable energy supply so as not to face the same energy crisis again as it did this year.
Vietnam farm exports face barriers when exporting to China
(12 June 2019) Vietnamese agricultural exports to China have been facing increasingly stringent controls at the border which has led to lower demand, the Vietnamese agricultural department said. According to the department, the latest product facing stricter controls was its exports of cassava, which saw a 17.6% dip in export volume year-on-year in the first five months of 2019. The stricter controls imposed were related to the labelling and packaging of products, as well as import procedures at border gates. The development around cassava exports follows similar measures imposed by the Chinese side on Vietnamese sticky rice since the start of 2018, where exports now face a 50% import duty (an increase from 5%). According to Vietnamese authorities, the country has exported 2.83 million tonnes or US$1.21 billion of rice in the first five months of the year, representing a 4% decline in volume and 20.7% decline in year-on-year value.