Photo Credit: AP
Economy, Investment and Trade
New Malaysian government will review agreements with China
(2 May 2018) Chinese investments are trending in Indonesia as the country has received large investments from firms based in (17 May 2018) Newly minted Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has stated his intention to review Chinese investments in Malaysia but also said he would respect all agreements with the country. On 17 May 2018, Tun Mahathir made it clear that his administration will study all the contracts signed in 2016 that are costly as the government might sustain debts that the country may not be able to settle. One project that is under scrutiny for the US$13.84 billion East Coast Rail Link project. The rail project was one of the US$36 billion worth of deals signed by former Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during his bilateral visit to Beijing in 2016. The Chinese embassy in Malaysia issued a statement stating that its ambassador Bai Tian hopes to meet Dr Mahathir to further promote cooperation between both nations as soon as possible. In his statement, Bai Tian said China fully respects the will of the people and is looking forward to working closely with the newly-elected government. He added that China is willing to make concerted efforts to bring its relationship with Malaysia to new heights.
China and Indonesia vow to protect free trade
(8 May 2018) Indonesia and China will protect rule-based multilateral trading structure and free trade to boost economic recovery, investment assistance and trade liberalization. Premier Li Keqiang in a meeting with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo on 7 May 2018 said both nations will also collaborate for regional stability and peace in the South China Sea, while Indonesia is required to play a key role in China’s relations with ASEAN. Li said trade between China and ASEAN surpassed US$500 billion and more than 50 million people travelled between China and ASEAN nations. China hopes to see breakthroughs in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations and wants to work with ASEAN to build innovation and encourage innovation-driven development. During the meeting between both leaders, both nations sealed a number of Memorandum of Understandings (MoU), which includes dam projects in Sulawesi and South Kalimantan.
15th China Asean Expo to promote the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and business opportunities
(26 April 2018) The 15th China ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) will be held from 12 to 15 September 2018 in Nanning, China, with the theme focusing on building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and forging a China-ASEAN Community of innovation, which includes Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam as the key destinations. The event aims to promote the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and business opportunities for local companies to enter the China market. Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) said 179 companies including six government agencies from Malaysia joined the initiative in 2017, generating sales worth US$103.15 million (RM405 million). China’s statistics stated the bilateral trade between China and ASEAN in 2017 stood at US$95.61 billion (RM375.4 billion), an increase of 10.5 percent from year 2016.
Laos and China will expand bilateral trade value
(13 May 2018) Laos and China will use proactive measures to further develop bilateral trade volume between both nations. China wants to expand the demand of import from Laos and provide Laos support and convenience to be part of the first Chinese International Import Expo, which will be held from 5 November to 10 November 2018 in Shanghai. In the ninth meeting of the China-Laos economic and trade cooperation committee on 11 May 2017 in Vientiane, both nations came to a consensus to improve large infrastructure project collaborations in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework, coordinate smooth construction of China-Laos railway construction and further develop China-Laos economic corridor construction. China’s is Laos’ biggest investor as the country provided US$800 million worth of foreign development assistance for projects in Laos. Some of the large cooperation projects are the Mohan-Boten Economic Zone, Saysettha Comprehensive Development Zone, Vientiane-Vangvieng Expressway, Contemporary Agricultural Cooperation Demonstration Park and potash mines.