Posts filed under ‘Asia’

President Obama signs bill, clearing way for smoother business travel to Asia-Pacific nations

President Barack Obama signed a bill Saturday making it easier for U.S. business travelers to access Asia-Pacific nations more freely and quickly.

Obama signed the measure just before taking the stage to address the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in his native Hawaii, referring it to it as an “APEC business gold card.”

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Washington Post, Nov 12, 2011

November 15, 2011 at 10:00 am

Myths About China and India’s Africa Race

The two Asian giants are focusing on Africa as never before, write columnists Anil K. Gupta and Haiyan Wang, leading to many misconceptions about the role Chinese and Indian companies are playing there.

More countries in Africa are joining the global economy. Over the last decade, the continent’s GDP expanded at an average annual rate of 5.1 percent, low compared with emerging giants like China and India but still well above the global growth rate of 2.9 percent. During this period, Africa also became far more globally integrated and saw its merchandise trade grow at an annual rate of 12.9 percent, vs. a global growth rate of 8.9 percent.

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by Anil K. Gupta and Haiyan Wang via Bloomberg Businessweek

September 27, 2011 at 8:25 am

Behind Firm’s Default: Vietnam’s Growth Mania

HANOI—State-owned shipbuilder Vinashin’s default on a $600 million loan late last week is just the latest crisis challenging Communist-run Vietnam’s ability to get its economy under control after years of pell-mell growth and spiraling inflation.

The company, officially named Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group, failed to make a $60 million initial repayment on the syndicated loan to international lenders, saying it will make only interest payments, says a person familiar with the matter. The company has agreed to meet with creditors in mid-January to discuss repaying the loan, although some lenders privately have said they are uncertain whether Vinashin has sufficient resources to do so.

In defaulting on the debt, Vinashin has added to a catalog of problems afflicting Vietnam, once one of the world’s hottest emerging markets.

Over the past decade, the country’s economy has expanded from crater-pocked rice paddies to erect gleaming new factories and towering skyscrapers, prompting development economists to extol the country as a model for other frontier markets. On the narrow streets of Hanoi, Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars now compete for space with rickshaws and motor-scooters.

In the past few weeks, the cost of Vietnam’s poorly policed transformation has become alarmingly clear, offering food for thought for investors seeking rising returns elsewhere on the frontier-markets map. Economists say the country’s worsening problems, and the impact they could have on its dwindling currency, might also worry textile and agricultural producers in countries like Thailand and Indonesia which compete with Vietnam in those sectors. Read More

SOURCE: J. HOOKWAY And A. TUDOR, Wall Street Journal, December 25, 2010

February 7, 2011 at 7:00 am

APEC Interactive Tariff Database Launch

The business community moves forward with initiative to make trade information in the Asia-Pacific region more widely available

Washington, D.C., January 27, 2011 – The National Center for APEC (NCAPEC) and the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) are pleased to announce the official launch of the pilot phase of the APEC Interactive Tariff Database. The APEC Tariff Database provides business in the APEC region with a tool to make cost-saving sourcing decisions based on up-to-date tariff information.

“This database will save Levi Strauss & Co. time and money by organizing information from many of our key trading partners in an easily searchable manner. Access to accurate and up-to-date information allows us to remain competitive in the global business economy,” noted Laurie Goldman, senior manager of worldwide government affairs and public policy with Levi Strauss & Co.

In 2009 APEC economies agreed to make their customs and tariff information more transparent and available to the public. Members of the business community expressed interest in taking that important progress one step further by creating a robust trade database that would be fully searchable based on Harmonized System classification numbers.

This long-term initiative supported by NCAPEC and USCIB, aims to draw attention to the lack of publicly available information on tariffs and preferential rules of origin which have made it difficult for companies to take full advantage of the many free trade agreements negotiated in the APEC region.

“The APEC economies account for 58 percent of all U.S. exports, while our direct investment in the region totals some $820 billion,” said USCIB Executive Vice President Ronnie Goldberg. “As we seek to increase our competitiveness, create good-paying jobs at home and achieve President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years, companies will need access to new sources of information and market intelligence. This database is an important step in that direction.” Read More

Source: USCIB, News Release, January 27

February 1, 2011 at 7:00 am

Banking on the Renminbi

Global financial institutions have their eyes on a rich pie. At the end of November 2010, the total amount of renminbi deposits in Hong Kong reached Rmb279.6 billion (US$42.15 billion), according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). That represents an increase of 29 per cent from October, and up 246 per cent, year-on-year. HKMA Chief Executive Norman Chan said Hong Kong’s renminbi market would continue to expand through 2011, in terms of the depth and breadth of the market and product development. He expects Hong Kong’s first-quarter quota for trade settlement to be about Rmb4 billion.

According to a recent Goldman Sachs report, the amount of renminbi deposits in Hong Kong will reach Rmb3.5 trillion in the next five years, accounting for 31.6 per cent of the total deposits in the Hong Kong banking system.

Banks building teams to prepare for this growth include the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), which has brought in Clyde Choi to be Head of Emerging Markets, Foreign Exchange (FX) Trading, HSBC Asia Pacific, based in Hong Kong. Mr Choi has more than 10 years’ experience in cross-asset class trading across FX and Rates. He was previously co-Head of Asian Macro Interest Rate and FX Trading in UBS Singapore. Gordon French, Head of Global Markets Asia Pacific, HSBC, said Mr Choi brings a wealth of experience to the bank’s foreign currency trading team, both regionally and globally.” Read More

Source: Hong Kong Trader, January 5, 2011

January 5, 2011 at 8:07 am

In China, Google Fallout Damages Yahoo!

Long before Google (GOOG) had problems with China’s censors and hackers, Yahoo! (YHOO) was struggling to follow Beijing’s rules without alienating the company’s users in the rest of the world. Yahoo often didn’t succeed: In 2006, critics subjected it to scathing criticism: U.S. Representative Tom Lantos (D.-Calif.), a Holocaust survivor, compared the company’s executives to Nazis. A year later, at a Congressional hearing following disclosure that Yahoo had given the Chinese police information that helped jail a dissident who had used Yahoo e-mail, Lantos called Yahoo executives moral “pygmies” for cooperating with Beijing. Link

Source: B.  Einhorn

January 21, 2010 at 10:41 am

China becomes biggest exporter, edging out Germany

Already the biggest auto market and steel maker, China edged past Germany in 2009 to become the top exporter, yet another sign of its rapid rise and the spread of economic power from West to East.

Total 2009 exports were more than $1.2 trillion, China’s customs agency said Sunday. That was ahead of the 816 billion euros ($1.17 trillion) forecast for Germany by its foreign trade organization, BGA (by J. McDonald, Associated Press).

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January 11, 2010 at 8:55 am

China’s longs market continues to fluctuate

SteelOrbis – Over the past week China’s domestic long products market has retained its fluctuating trend,with a minor slide observed in market prices in most regions and a small climb in some individual markets.

Affected by poor market demand,longs prices in the eastern China market posted an overall declining trend in the past week,which was also caused by the decrease in the steel futures market in the first half of the week. Nevertheless,given the support of high cost levels,the market has not fallen sharply. By the end of December 10,rebar inventory in Shanghai reached 460,000 mt,neutral week on week; meanwhile,wire rod inventory in Shanghai stood at 98,000 mt,up by 5,000 mt week on week.

Driven by the Shanghai market as well as by the decrease in the steel futures market,long product prices in the south registered a minor decline on the whole during the first half of the week; subsequently,however,the market began to see a certain improvement following the recovery of the steel futures market. (Alibaba Group,6 Dec 2009 02:53:24 PST)

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December 17, 2009 at 8:00 am

Global Technology Companies Protest Chinese Procurement Law

Global technology, service and manufacturing companies are raising concerns to the Chinese government over new rules they fear could restrict or block foreign vendors from selling high-tech gear to China’s government agencies. More than two dozen major industry groups from North America, Europe and Asia — representing most of the world’s major technology companies — sent a letter Thursday to Chinese ministries saying they were “deeply troubled” by the Chinese requirement.

The new rule requires vendors to gain accreditation for their products before they can be included in a government procurement catalog of products containing “indigenous innovation.” Companies that aren’t listed in the catalog will theoretically be allowed to bid for government contracts. But those that are listed will apparently be given preference.

At stake are billions of dollars of Chinese government spending on personal computers and application devices, communication products, office equipment, software and energy-efficient products. (By LORETTA CHAO, The Wall Street Journal, DECEMBER 11, 2009)

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December 14, 2009 at 8:00 am

China’s Big Brands Tackle Web Sales

Li Ning, founded nearly 20 years ago by a former champion gymnast of the same name, opened its first Web site for selling direct to consumers last year. While still a small share of total sales, traffic on the site has grown so quickly that Li Ning has hired International Business Machines Corp. to help it build a new site, expected to launch in March, that will be able to handle more volume and will include a new features like wireless services.

China has the largest population of Internet users in the world, with 338 million at the end of June. But until fairly recently, they didn’t spend much buying things on the Web. That is starting to change.

Online transactions accounted for 1.2% of total retail sales in China last year, compared with more than 5% in the U.S., but they are growing much faster: the value of goods sold online is likely to grow 89% this year to $35.6 billion,estimates Credit Suisse. (By AARON BACK, The Wall Street Journal, NOVEMBER 30, 2009)

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December 3, 2009 at 8:00 am

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