TrendLines

June 9, 2017

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump has issued a  “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order with a particular focus on as steel, iron, aluminum and cement.
The Administration has given all Federal Government agencies that have procurement programmes until September to report to Secretary of Commerce, Ross Wilbur, on how they will implement the Order.
However, “existing rights or obligations under international agreements” will not be affected by the latest Order, which was issued on April 18.
President Trump told workers at Snap-On Tools in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that “everyone in my Administration will be expected to enforce every last Buy American provision on behalf of the American worker, and we are going to investigate every single trade deal that undermines these provisions”.
The President also said that “for the first time ever, we are going to crack down on foreign bidders that used dumped steel and other subsidised goods to take contracts from American manufacturers”.
Trump’s latest Executive Order reinforces his previous Orders addressing infrastructure, trade enforcement, and trade deficits.




June 9, 2017

AUSTRALIAN providers of professional services – in finance, legal, accounting, civil engineering, construction and consultancy —can offer enormous experience and knowledge in the early steps required to secure major infrastructure projects associated with China’s One Belt, One Road initiative . . .

Charles Ng, Acting Director-General of InvestHK, believes Australia’s understanding of building infrastructure projects in developing countries, not to mention pioneering projects in isolated parts of Australia, is a resource that should not be under-estimated.
“You have expertise in creating the investment proposition for cross-border infrastructure,” he says, “as well as the ability to create the platforms that will drive and protect these platforms.
Hong Kong is positioning to play a key role as a financing hub for OBOR projects, in part through an Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office (IFFO).
This has been set up by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which acts as Hong Kong’s central bank.
Ng says InvestHK is working closely with the IFFO to attract parties able to offer expertise in developing sound financial and legal frameworks for private sector infrastructure projects, frameworks that give comfort to investors that they can anticipate realistic financial returns over long pay-back periods.
Hong Kong, he says, also has the ability to build bridges to leverage funding for OBOR through the Hong Kong-Shanghai Connect and Hong Kong-Shenzhen Connect of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
IFFO’s mission is to facilitate infrastructure investments and their financing by working with a cluster of key stakeholders.
“We are talking infrastructure — energy and power stations, seaports, airports, roads, railways, bridges — and as countries start developing these kinds of things they will need lawyers, accountants, different kinds of professional service providers, to help them put it all together,” Ng told ATI Magazine.




June 9, 2017

WITH the United States and North Korea continuing to face off over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, pledges by South Korea’s incoming President,  Moon Jae-in, to bring about reconciliation by embracing a new Sunshine Policy and kick-starting the abandoned Kaesong Industrial Complex are being viewed askance – in fact, they seem already to have been disregarded by Kim Jong-Un.
North Korea has a single-minded determination to acquire ICBM capability, including the ability to strike the United States on home soil.
China’s words and actions in the imbroglio suggest frustration, while 12 current U.S. military scenarios generally assume a loss of half a million people within a day in the event of a North Korean attack on Seoul.
As the U.S. activates its THAAD missile system, neighbouring countries — including Japan, Taiwan, Russia and even the Philippines — watch with a mix of fear and trepidation . . .

The election of left-of-centre Moon Jae-in to the Korean Presidency on May 9 would elsewhere augur hopes of reconciliation — or at least a modus vivendi along the lines of détente and realpolitik.
Not on the Korean Peninsula, however.
Despite the professed intention of the new President to return to the Sunshine Policy that shone (or sunburned, depending on one’s view) across the Peninsula during the halcyon days of South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun (1998-2008), North Korea remains defiant.
It maintains an unwavering determination, despite a number of launch failures, to acquire an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking the United States at home.




June 9, 2017

THE Jakarta election is a precursor to how race and religion may play a role in Indonesia’s upcoming 2019 Presidential campaign . . .

THE defeat of Basuki Tjajaja Purnama (Ahok) as Governor of Jakarta could have wider implications for Indonesia — beyond the politics of the capital itself.
Victory went to former Education Minister, Anies Baswedan, and his running mate, businessman Sandiaga Uno, on their pro-Islamic platform.
Ahok’s loss could affect the sometimes tenuous hold of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on the country’s Presidency, because it will embolden his opponents in coming months.
More immediately, ethnic Chinese in Indonesia are alarmed by the anti-Chinese sentiment whipped up during the campaign by pro-Islamic politicians.
Ahok’s defeat reveals a deep fissure in Indonesian politics, according to Charlotte Setijad, Visiting Fellow in the Indonesia Studies Programme at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.
Writing in the latest issue of Perspective, published by ISEAS, Setijadi says it cannot be denied that the political and societal commotion surrounding the Jakarta election has revealed the deep rifts that exist in society, as well as the shifting ground of Islamist politics in Indonesia.
“These have important implications for national politics and the 2019 Presidential election,” she wrote (before the result of the election was known).
“Not having Ahok as an ally at the leadership of the capital city would weaken the President’s hold on power. This is particularly true in the context of the struggle for dominance between elite players Jokowi-Megawati, Prabowo Subianto and SBY.




May 12, 2017

CHINA HAS a track record of making rapid change. Within a decade or two, the world’s most populous country has become its biggest market for passenger cars, its biggest e-commerce market, its biggest exporter -- and its biggest source of carbon emissions.

So it should come as no surprise that China has now assumed a leadership position in green-investment.

China is ploughing billions into clean energy, promoting the use of electric vehicles, investing in low-emissions infrastructure for its fast-growing cities, and widening the options for green financing.

Efforts to decarbonise and green China’s economy permeate the very fabric of its economic endeavours: while they aim to tackle pollution and climate change, they also dovetail with Beijing’s goal of taking the economy up the value chain, boosting home-grown high-tech industries and the high-end jobs that come with them, and paving the way for more sustainable, balanced and ecologically-aware economic expansion.




April 20, 2017

THE Trump Administration will be taking a hard line in the negotiation and monitoring of agreements with both its trading partners and the World Trade Organisation . . . 




March 29, 2017

Vietnam Airlines has launched direct flights from Sydney to Hanoi, with direct connections to Europe, along with its new Premium Economy class . . . 




March 29, 2017

IN what is known as the China-Australia Year of Tourism, plans are in hand to bring 1.4 million Chinese tourists to Australia, with 750,000 Australians to visit China . . . 




March 24, 2017

BY 2035, says Brett King, robots will outnumber humans. And today’s robot is different. Rather than being programmed, it operates on artificial intelligence.




March 24, 2017

BEIJING — In what is seen as a “first” in China, the Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court has handed down a decision recognising and enforcing a civil judgment made by the Singapore High Court, based on the principle of reciprocity.




March 9, 2017

On the issue of trade with China, President Trump will need to be careful – and so will the Chinese stewardship, says Charles Dallara . . .

TRADE is one big area that could cause great damage to both the U.S. and global economies if not well-managed by the new U.S. Adminisration, says Charles Dallara.
Pointing to what has already transpired, such as the axing of the U.S.-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Dallara believes Trump may yet revise some of his earlier ideas on trade agreements.
“President Trump needs to be especially careful,” he warns.




March 9, 2017

The move by a new U.S. President to rewrite the punitive Dodd Frank legislation is needed, says former IIF Managing Director, Charles Dallara. Compliance costs for financial institutions are, in many cases, “virtually unmanageable” . . .




February 21, 2017

BREAKING the ice. U.S. President Donald Trump describes his first phone call with China’s President Xi as a “very, very good conversation”, and that they are in the process of ‘getting along very well” . . . 




February 9, 2017

HONG KONG – Hong Kong and Shenzhen are to jointly develop a 97-acre site at Lok Ma Chau, on the Hong Kong-China border, into an innovation and technology park focussing on robotics, biopharmaceuticals, smart cities and fintech.




January 30, 2017

THE Chinese Government implemented new restrictions on outbound investments and further tightened capital outflow from China at the end of 2016 and seems likely to formalise these . . 




January 30, 2017

POLITICAL risks in emerging countries are higher than ever, driven by social discontent and heightened security concerns, says credit insurer Coface, in as assessment of the outlook for 2017 . . .




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