DESPERATE to conclude its Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations as it watches China driving a conclusion to its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with ASEAN and six other Asian countries, Washington finally seems willing to renew Presidential authority for fast-tracking of international trade agreements . . .
SINGAPORE’s 2015 Budget shows prudence and far-sightedness as the island state sets parameters for its next 50 years . . .
THERE is a new level of sophistication in audit and review of transfer pricing documentation with tax authorities in Asia challenging multinational corporations in the courts . . .
TAIWAN is offering generous tax breaks for both investors and foreign workers in its new Free Trade Pilot Zones, which will nurture a range of existing and emerging industries in five sectors. The Zones are geographically positioned to link with nearby Science Parks or Industrial Parks to boost exports through a new business model . . .
DIGITISATION is rewriting the rules of how banks compete, according to McKinsey. “Incumbents who fail to grasp this risk damaging franchises built over generations,” says a new report . . .
NEW competitors are using disruptive technology to attract customers by rendering banks and their networks irrelevant, says Brett King, founder of the mobile banking application, Moven. Fintech, he says, has created a paradigm shift – “it is not about whether banks have the best possible products, best network or the best rates – it is about delivering services in real time”. He warns that Asia is not investing enough in fintech: Hong Kong, for example, has invested less than US$100 million out of US$100 billion already committed worldwide . . .
ENERGY efficiency savings in 11 member International Energy Agency countries in 2011 were greater than the combined crude oil consumption of the EU and Asia (excluding China). The IEA says investment worldwide in 2012 in energy efficiency is estimated at up to US$360 billion . . .
CHINA has stolen a march on other potential customers by locking in a Free Trade Agreement with Australia, with food security uppermost in
Chinese leaders’ minds, says leading Australian academic, Kerry Brown . . .
EDUCATORS in Asia needs to shape what is taught in the classroom to suit the context of today’s environment, says Indian industrialist and co-founder of Infosys, Narayana Murthy . . .
CHINA is undergoing a fundamental change to its economy while it attempts to grapple with longer-term fiscal challenges and potential political tensions.
It is in transition to a services-oriented and consumption-led economy, which will be reflected in a gradual change in China’s imports from the world.
And its growing and costly list of problems — including pollution, environmental degradation and ageing — will lead to creation of new service industries, such as environmental and healthcare services. For China’s trading partners, all these changes pose both challenges and opportunities.
ATI spoke to two professors of economics on the margin of a discussion panel organised by China Daily during the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, seeking their perspective on China’s economy of today and tomorrow.
Both agreed that the days of double-digit, furious growth in China are unlikely to be repeated. What is now quaintly known as the “new normal” will be the norm.
In other words, the world needs to get used to China growing at a lower pace — as China itself also realises that it can grow at less than eight per cent without causing social instability . . .
TAIWAN’s Sunflower Student Movement has thrown into sharp relief the divisions in Taiwanese society over relations with China, reflecting fears that the ruling KMT has been moving too rapidly in its rapprochement with Beijing. A Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement already signed off by China remains stalled in the Legislative Yuan, with further Cross-Strait negotiations apparently in limbo as a Presidential election, likely on current trends to be won by the Opposition DPP, looms in 2016. Meanwhile, China is finalising a free trade deal with South Korea, Taiwan’s head-to-head competitor in the China market on 77 per cent of all Taiwanese export products, putting new pressure on the economy . . .
TWO HUNDRED Australian SMEs will showcase in Shanghai, starting from February, as Australia’s combined Business Chambers move to properly position Australian products and services in global markets. Success in Shanghai could see a similar move into India. “This is a very strategic project for us – we have done a lot of exciting things, but we have never gone offshore on this scale, says Stephen Cartwright, CEO of the NSW Business Chamber . . .
2015 will be an important landmark year for ASEAN, with two key regional integration agreements due to become reality. Ostensibly, they will make the environment for doing business in Asia much more stream lined — and less costly. But while ASEAN’s FTAs may be harmonised, ambitions for an ASEAN Economic Community are proving harder to realise . . .
RESULTS of November’s local government elections in Taiwan point to resurgence of the Opposition Democratic Progressive Party, positioning it for a win in the 2016 Presidential polls. Joseph Wu, Secretary-General of the DPP, spells out his party’s China policy, which would see a lessening of Taiwan’s trade dependence on China, and, politically, a continuation of the status quo . . .
A GLOBAL Information Technology Agreement (ITA) is being blocked by demands from Taiwan and South Korea that additional products be added to an exemption list. But there has been a breakthrough in the bid for a worldwide Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) following talks between the US and India, who have agreed on WTO provisions for food security – an issue that has troubled India . . .
CHINA’s anti-corruption campaign has slashed spending in sectors of its domestic economy, but it is impacting on global business, too, including travel, casino takings and the luxury goods sector.