Photo Credit: Tokyo Times
Economy, Investment and Trade
China and Japan to anchor growth in ASEAN+3 region
4 May 2017 – According to an inaugural flagship report produced by the Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (Amro) growth in China and Japan will anchor growth in the Asean+3 region. Growth is expected to be around 5.2 per cent in 2017 and fall slightly to 5.1 per cent in 2018. However, there are downside risks to growth arising from US trade protectionism. The report states that in light of trade uncertainty, economic growth in ASEAN will be based on domestic demand and suggests that fiscal and monetary policy will play a role in addressing the downside risks.
Source: Business Times (4 May 2017)
Finance ministers of ASEAN meet for the first time in four years
6 May 2017 – Finance ministers of ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea met on the sidelines of the 50th anniversary of the Asian Development Bank. They agreed to enhance each others resilience to financial shocks and to promote trade and investments. During this meeting Japan proposed to form “a new type of bilateral swap agreements” of up to US$40 billion in order to be prepared to address short-term liquidity problems. It was noted that as economic ties between ASEAN and Japan strengthen amid ASEAN financial integration it is important to promote the use of local currencies in cross-border transactions in the region.
Source: Business World (06 May 2017)
Failed deal draws scrutiny on Chinese deals in Malaysia
7 May 2017 – TRX City, developers of Bandar Malaysia a new township in downtown Kuala Lumpur, cancelled a RM7.41 billion (US$1.7 billion) deal to sell 60 percent of Bandar Malaysia to a Malaysia-China joint venture. This occured on the same day that Prime Minister Najib Razak was slated to make a landmark visit to the site. This deal was to be the flagship Malaysia-China partnership, having been brokered at the government-to-government level. It is unclear why the deal fell through however it is believed that the Chinese side had been asking for preferential treatment for other infrastructure projects.
Source: The Straits Times (07 May 2017
US Secretary of State and ASEAN foreign ministers discuss SCS and DPRK
5 May 2017 – The issues of South China Sea (SCS) and North Korea were discussed during the US Secretary of State’s first ministerial meeting with all ASEAN members. The US top diplomat and ASEAN foreign ministers reiterated the need for a peaceful resolution to China’s continued island-building and militarisation activities in the SCS. Rex Tillerson also called upon ASEAN foreign ministers to cut funding streams for North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and to fully implement U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang.
Source: ASB-CBN News (11 May 2017)