China-ASEAN Monitor: Myanmar approves joint venture for China’s strategic port project
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Myanmar approves joint venture for China’s strategic port project
(10 August 2020) Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), approved the registration of Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone Deep Seaport Co. Ltd, a joint venture between Chinese consortium CITIC Myanmar Port Investment Limited and the Myanmar government-backed Kyauk Phyu Special Economic Zone Management Committee on 6 August. The China-backed project ran into delays shortly before Myanmar’s 2015 general election after critics raised concerns that the deal could land Myanmar in a “debt trap” with China. The initial agreement called for a project worth US$9-10 billion and gave the Chinese developer an 85% stake. The current National League for Democracy (NLD) government successfully renegotiated the share ratio with China, along with an agreement that the project would be based on demand.
Trade volume between ASEAN and China’s Shaanxi rises to US$2.8 billion in first six months of 2020
(10 August 2020) Trade volume between ASEAN and China’s northwest Shaanxi province reached US$2.8 billion (19.3 billion yuan) in the first half of 2020, recording a 66.3% year-on-year increase, according to data from the Shaanxi provincial Department of Commerce. The department said that ASEAN countries have become vital markets for the province’s companies in terms of project contracting and foreign investment. The province has also become a foreign investment destination, with 266 ASEAN firms having been set up in the provincial capital Xi’an with total investment of nearly US$5.76 billion.
Thailand and China to work towards US$140 billion trade goal
(10 August 2020) Thailand and China are working towards increasing their bilateral trade value to US$140 billion in 2021. The goal was discussed during a teleconversation between Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of Thailand’s Department of Trade Negotiations and Peng Gang, director-general of the Department of Asian Affairs of China’s Ministry of Commerce. Other matters discussed included the connection between Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor project and China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Greater Bay Area project, and implementation of the Sino-Thai memorandum of understanding on trade in farm products, particularly the government-to-government agreement to import 1 million tonnes of Thai rice. According to Auromon, both countries will promote bilateral trade through online and offline channels despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
China’s Sinovac begins late-stage human trial for potential COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia
(11 August 2020) China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd has launched a late-stage human trial on 11 August involving as many as 1,620 patients in Indonesia for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that it is developing with Indonesian state-owned peer Bio Farma. The vaccine candidate, known as CoronaVac (previously PiCoVacc), is among a few potential vaccines that have entered late-stage trials for a large-scale study to gather proof of efficacy for regulatory approval. The vaccine candidate is already undergoing a late-stage trial in Brazil for as many as 9,000 people. The late-stage human trial in Indonesia comes as the country grapples with spiking infection numbers, with over 127,000 cases recorded as of 11 August. The trial has so far recruited 1,215 people and will last for a duration of six months. Sinovac expects to also test the vaccine candidate in Bangladesh.
Potential longan shipments from Cambodia to China by 2022
(6 August 2020) Cambodia hopes to be able to ship Pailin longan to China by the end of 2021 or in early 2022, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries senior official Ngin Chhay. On 9 June, Cambodia and China officially agreed to export 500,000 tonnes of fresh mangoes a year, which Cambodia expects to pave the way to boost its agricultural crop exports to the Chinese market. However, the quota is out of Cambodia’s reach at the moment due to its limited capacity to sterilise, process and package the fruit in an export-ready manner. Chhay expects the first mango shipment to go out in early 2021, after which they hope to get clearance to export Pailin longan to China by the end of 2021 or early 2022.