Asia’s Singapore Knocks United States out of Top Spot in Economic Competitiveness

Islamabad, Oct, 14: Emerging Asia’s Singapore knocks United States, the world's largest economy, out of the top spot in the World Economic Forum's annual competitiveness report for 2019. The Asian city state scored top marks for its infrastructure, health, labor market and financial system, according WEF report. With a score of 84.8 out of 100, Singapore is the country closest to the frontier of competitiveness.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Facebook that the ranking was encouraging as it reflected how strong economic fundamentals here continue to distinguish Singapore from its competitors.

“Nevertheless, as a small and open economy, we cannot afford to take things for granted,” he added.

Other Asian giants Hong Kong stood at 3rd position despite domestic turmoil while Japan clinched the 6th position in the index.

Singapore Tops as worlds most competitive economy SRM 2019 B

Hong Kong, the financial hub of Asia, received high marks for its macroeconomic stability, health, financial system and product market - the most of any economy.

"Hong Kong's biggest weakness is undoubtedly its limited capability to innovate," the report said, adding that the region also lags behind Singapore in worker protection

The report stated also that Asia-Pacific is the most competitive region in the world, followed closely by Europe and North America.

Other G20 economies in the top 10 include the United States (2nd), Japan (6th), Germany (7th) and the United Kingdom (9th) while Argentina (83rd, down two places) is the lowest ranked among G20 countries

Though the United States has  lost out to Singapore but it remains an innovation powerhouse, ranking 1st on the business dynamism pillar, 2nd on innovation capability, and 1st for finding skilled employees.

The reported stated Nordic countries are among the world’s most technologically advanced, innovative and dynamic while also providing better living conditions and social protection.

Denmark, Uruguay and Zimbabwe have increased their shares of renewable sources of energy significantly more than other countries at their respective levels of competitiveness.

The Global Competitiveness Report series was launched in 1979 to provide an annual assessment of the drivers of productivity and long-term economic growth.

By : Dr.Muhammad Arif

Boao Forum for Asia 2019 to be Held in Boao Town from March 26 to Promote Asian Cooperation

BEIJING, Jan. 17: The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2019 will be held in Boao, a coastal town in China's southern island province of Hainan, from March 26 to 29 to promote Asian Cooperation. The theme of conference 2019 will be "Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development," announced BFA Secretary General Li Baodong on Wednesday.

The opening plenum will take place on March 28.

According to Li, the theme and topics of this year's event cover a wide range of issues of common interest among stakeholders. The program was finalized after several rounds of discussion among BFA's initial countries, board members, advisers, partners and think tanks.

Around this theme, the annual conference will feature approximately 50 official sessions, including the opening plenum, themed sessions, CEO dialogues and roundtable meetings. They are formatted under five topical modules -- Open World Economy; Multilateralism, Regional Cooperation and Global Governance; Innovation-Driven Development; High-Quality Development; and Critical Issues.

Speaking at the press conference, Li said that globalization and free trade are inevitable trends of economic development and that multilateralism, dialogue and cooperation are the shared aspiration of most countries. He stated that openness and innovation are natural choices to sustain economic progress and globalization. As a widely watched event, this year's conference will provide an open, inclusive dialogue platform for stakeholders and send a clear message to build consensus regarding global governance, he said.

Li added that the BFA annual conferences, hosted in China, have been attended by state leaders every year. Currently, the BFA secretariat is maintaining communication with state leaders and has received positive feedback regarding their presence at the 2019 Annual Conference. Additionally, a number of other Asian and European leaders have stated their intention to participate.

Dubbed as the 'Asian Davos', the BFA has been held since 2001in the town of Boao town of Hainan Province, China's largest special economic zone, was an experimental area to deepen Mainland’s connection with international community. The forum attracts leaders from government, business and academic institutions throughout Asia and beyond, who come together to share their thoughts on the most pressing issues in the region and the world at large.

Aiming to become an ecology-based province, Hainan has told the world that its current and future development focus has been on ecological industry, a field valued highly by Asian and international communities and meeting the world economic development trend.

Kazakhstan Railways Temir Zholy, Japan’s Nippon Express Sign Deal for Rail Cargo along Eurasian Continent through Kazakhstan

Astana, Aug.30:  Kazakhstan national railway company Temir Zholy has signed an agreement with Japanese logistics company Nippon Express to strengthen cooperation for the movement of containers through Kazakhstan as a way of reaching the countries of Eurasia, local media reported. The agreement in this came during a meeting of Vice President for Development of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (Kazakh Railways), Arman Sultanov with the chairman of the board of the international transport and logistics company Nippon Express, Sugiyama Tatsuo.

The meeting was held in Kazakhstan’s capital city Astana on August 15, 2017.

The two sides discussed the organization of container rail transport between the countries of the Eurasian continent through the territory of Kazakhstan.

According to the Vice-President of Kazakhstan Railways, a full range of services for the transport  of container trains is provided on the territory of Kazakhstan in the shortest possible time.

Vice president Arman Sultanov in his remarks said: “We can produce transshipment, processing and handling of goods on the dry port of the SEZ Khorgos – Eastern Gates, which significantly reduces the time of border operations and increase the speed of container trains.”

Experts assay the rail cooperation agreement will help to increase the overland flow of container traffic between the Japan / South Korea region and Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Europe.

China has made heavy investment throughout Eurasia under the Belt And Road Initiative to boost connectivity in the Eurasian continent.

European Union Approves a 100 million Euro Support Package for Afghanistan to Advance Development

Kabul, Aug.22:The European Union has approved a 100 million euro package to support Afghanistan in carrying out reforms, reported 1TVNews. More particularly, the assistance is expected is to improve Afghanistan development policies, maintain macroeconomic stability, advance sound public financial management and strengthen state budget transparency. The funding is part of a contract signed between Afghanistan and EU during the Brussels conference last year.

The decision comes following a “positive” assessment on progress in reform in the mentioned areas over the last 12 months, EU said in a statement.

“The approval of this allocation means that Afghanistan has been making significant progress in crucial areas such as public policy, macroeconomic, financial management and budget transparency and oversight,” said Eklil Hakimi, Afghanistan’s minister of finance.

“We welcome conditionality-based mechanism, such as the State-Building Contract, they give the Government of Afghanistan flexibility and fiscal space to respond quickly to our countries evolving development priorities and reaffirm our mutual commitments to see a prosperous, stable and self-reliant Afghanistan.”

Franz-Micahel Melbin, the EU’s envoy to Afghanistan, said that the contract makes a direct contribution to the national budget and provides Afghanistan with substantial financial resources and flexibility to allocate these where they are most needed.

“The purpose is to improve services to the population, boost economic growth and reduce poverty, at a time when Afghanistan continues to face major security, economic and political challenges,” he said.

Indian Ocean Conference 2017 Begins in Colombo, Sri Lanka to Promote, Peace, Progress, Prosperity in Indian Ocean Region

Colombo, Aug 31:  A two-day Indian Ocean Conference 2017 began on Thursday in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, to promote peace, progress, prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region, a strategic source for Maritime trade route which handles 40% of the world's offshore oil production.  High-level delegates, officials, experts and government representatives including India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Sri Lankan prime minister and president are among key speakers at the conference being held to promote peace, progress and prosperity in the Indian Ocean, the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions.

The IOC 2017 began at Temple Trees, the official residence of the Sri Lankan PM,  and is being jointly hosted by the India Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank, in collaboration with RSIS, Singapore, and NIFS, Colombo — both research and study centers, the foundation said in a statement.

According to officials of event, speakers from 25 countries and delegates from around 35 countries are expected to attend the event.

"We will be very pleased to have the presence of the Indian foreign minister," Sri Lankan foreign Minister Thilak Marapona said. 

"The conference will be all about what is going to happen in the Indian Ocean region in the future. We want to develop the Indian Ocean into an area where peace will prevail and all countries will benefit," the minister said.

Sri Lanka is expected to discuss strategies of combating drug smuggling in the two-day conference, Mr Marapona said.

According to the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry officials, Indian Foreign Secretary, S Jaishankar is also expected to attend the conference.

Peace, progress and prosperity will be theme at the event, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake said.

"For Sri Lanka drugs is one of the main concerns. Sri Lanka is a transit point for drug dealing," Mr Ratnayake said. "We hope to carry forward this dialogue," he said. Mr Ratnayake also said Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who is the director of the India Foundation, is also expected to attend the conference.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will deliver the valedictory address.

There will be ministerial representation from Bangladesh, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Vietnam and the conference will also be attended by senior officials from the USA, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Germany, Kenya, South Korea and Afghanistan among others, according IOC2017 officails.

A special plenary will have speeches from Krishna Bahadur Mahara, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Nepal, Tofail Ahmed, minister for commerce of Bangladesh, Tilak Marapana, minister of foreign affairs, Sri Lanka and Iwao Horii, parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs, Japan.

The conference will also see two plenary sessions on peace and one each on progress and prosperity.

More than 80 percent of the world’s seaborne trade in oil transits through Indian Ocean which provides major sea routes connecting the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia with Europe and the Americas. It carries a particularly heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oil fields of the Persian Gulf and Indonesia. Large reserves of hydrocarbons are being tapped in the offshore areas of Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, and Western Australia.

Experts says beach sands rich in heavy minerals, and offshore placer deposits are actively exploited by bordering countries, particularly India, Pakistan, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Chinese companies have made investments in several Indian Ocean ports, including Gwadar, Hambantota, Colombo and Sonadia.

By Muhammad Arif, Source: Web Desk

Turkey to Deepen Trade Ties with Asian Countries Including Vietnam: PM

Hanoi, Aug. 24: Turkey will deepen its trade ties with Asian countries including Vietnam, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Aug. 24, during his speech at the Vietnam-Turkey Business Forum in Hanoi. “Our country will maintain its strategy to increase its trade and economic effectiveness in the Far East, mainly in the Asian market,” the Turkish premier stated, according to state media report.

Yıldırım noted that the ratification process of the agreement on reciprocal promotion and protection of investments, as well as prevention of double taxation, signed in 2014 with Vietnam, was finalized.

“Turkish investors contribute to Vietnam’s economy by investing over $700 million,” he underlined.

The premier said works for signing a free trade agreement between the two countries have accelerated.    

“Cooperating with a country that has high strategic importance like Vietnam and taking this cooperation further are among our priorities,” he added.

Yıldırım noted that Turkey and Vietnam are countries which have a total of $683 billion in trade volume and over $1 trillion in national income with their total population reaching 173 million in 2016.

The trade volume between Turkey and Vietnam stands below $2 billion and it is not in proportion to the potential of the two countries’ population, he stated.

“We aim to increase bilateral trade to at least $4 billion by 2020 in the first stage,” Yıldırım said.  
The prime minister noted Turkey’s exports to Vietnam advanced by 16 percent in the first half of 2017, while Vietnam’s exports to Turkey increased by 33 percent in the same period.

“Although trade balance is not in favor of Turkey, it will be achieved by increasing and diversifying trade,” he added.

While ramping up efforts to help mediate between Myanmar's government and rebel groups, China needs and will most likely be willing to step up investment in the country to promote local economic development, which is a cornerstone of social stability and could thus offer support to Myanmar's peace process.

Economic and political issues are always two sides of the same coin. Myanmar urgently needs to maintain steady and relatively rapid economic growth, ensuring that each interest group can get more benefit from social stability, which will create a good atmosphere for the parties in the conflict to make concessions.

Chinese Investment in Myanmar

As a key strategic location connecting China and India, Myanmar is reportedly ramping up efforts to make itself a new offshore trading hub in Asia. The move reflects Myanmar's desire to integrate itself into the Asian industrial chain in a bid to rely more on foreign businesses to revitalize the economy, especially at a time when inbound investment into the country is slowing.

As Myanmar's largest trade partner and largest source of investment, China is crucial for Myanmar's external-policy strategy. India is going all out to make the visit by Myanmar's military chief a resounding success following tensions on the border between India and China, but there is no reason for China to feel any anxiety. Myanmar is unlikely to do a stupid thing like supporting India's stand on the tensions in the border area, as that would risk cutting its economic ties with China. There is tremendous potential for further economic and trade cooperation between China and Myanmar. Along with the development and promotion of the Belt and Road initiative, China has been stepping up investment into Myanmar's infrastructure sector. China should continue efforts to improve infrastructure in Myanmar to promote regional economic integration and open up new trade routes toward South Asia.

Chinese Investment in Myanmar

In addition to Myanmar, China should keep a close eye on economic cooperation with some South Asian countries like Bangladesh to promote economic integration. This could promote the formation of a string of active economic development zones surrounding India, which would not be a bad thing if it could place pressure on New Delhi to deepen its economic cooperation with neighboring countries. Hopefully India could make a greater contribution to improving infrastructure in Myanmar under the framework of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. This would help to connect the markets in India, China and Southeast Asia, the world's three most active economic regions.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/11

More Articles ...

Page 1 of 2