APR News

Russia and Malaysia intensify investment cooperation

Bilateral meeting between Minister of Economic Development of Russia Alexey Ulyukaev and Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia Mustapa Mohamed was held on the sidelines of Russia – ASEAN Ministers of Economics` consultations in Kuala Lumpur on August 25, 2015.
Discussion at the meeting focused on the trade, economic and investment cooperation between the two countries. Alexey Ulyukaev stressed that “Malaysia is one of the most attractive trade partners for Russia within ASEAN”. According to the Minister, the recent years witnessed stability and positive growth of the bilateral trade and economic relations. Trade turnover increased by 22.8 per cent in 2014.
Nevertheless the participants of the meeting emphasized that untapped capacity of investment cooperation existed. In November 2014, the Russian side proposed to establish a bilateral high-level ministerial working group on priority investment projects aimed at supporting “potential partners in their cooperation and implementation of investment projects” in order to boost investment dialogue.
Alexey Ulyukaev emphasized that the Russian business mission to Malaysia held earlier demonstrated an increasing interest of business representatives of both countries to intensify trade and economic cooperation.
The Russian side proposed to elaborate and approve a middle term Russian – Malaysian Trade, Economic and Investment Roadmap (3-5 years) outlining priority cooperation areas, investment projects and their implementation schedules, state measures to support investment cooperation between the two countries.
Alexey Ulyukaev also noted a readiness to sign the intergovernmental Agreement on establishing Russian – Malaysian Commission on trade, economic, science and technology cooperation.
Press-release at the official web-site of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation (in Russian)


Health Industry Ethics, SMEs Boosted with Code Increase

Health industry groups are on track to double the number of ethics codes among them in APEC member economies, an ambitious multi-year target advanced by public-private collaboration to clamp down on unethical practices that jeopardize patient safety and the capacity of small businesses to drive growth within the sector.
Thirty-two biopharmaceutical and medical device associations spanning ten APEC economies announced in Manila that they have adopted or achieved formal progress towards their first code of ethics, expanding the number of firms in these sectors covered by a code to 19,000 across the region. Over 13,000 of them are small and medium enterprises or SMEs.
With the increase, it is projected that by the end of 2015 the total number of ethics codes in APEC economies will have doubled over the last three years—a goal set by APEC officials, in coordination with the private sector and civil society. The codes are based on APEC Principles formulated in a multi-stakeholder process and centered on business independence, integrity and transparency.
A new guide to implementing ethical collaboration in the biopharmaceutical and medical device sectors was rounded out at the forum by officials and senior principals from more than 150 industry, professional and patient organizations in APEC economies.
“The entire health ecosystem benefits when high standard codes of ethics are implemented,” concluded Nancy Travis, Vice President for International Governance and Compliance at the Advanced Medical Technology Association.
Small and Medium Enterprise Ministers from APEC economies will review progress and decide the next step when they meet in Iloilo, the Philippines on September 25, 2015.
Press-release at the official APEC web-site


Japanese Business Sector to Cooperate with ASEAN in its Post-2015 Development

The Japanese business sector expressed its willingness to cooperate in assisting ASEAN with its post-2015 development. The private sector representatives also voiced confidence on the growth prospects of the ASEAN economy. These were conveyed during the 8th Dialogue between the Federation of Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in ASEAN (FJCCIA) and H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, held on August 21, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur at the side-lines of the 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.
During the Dialogue, the Japanese private sector communicated their strong interest in several initiatives of ASEAN. They were especially keen on several on-going ASEAN trade facilitation measures on customs and rules of origin. In particular, they welcomed the projects on the ASEAN Single Window and Self-Certification, which when completed will provide exporters and businesses more timely clearance of goods and reduce their costs of doing business.
The FJCCIA representatives were also interested in issues pertaining to standards and requested for information to be made more easily accessible, especially on products that are subject to mandatory certification, the issuance process of certificates of conformance and the test laboratories availability. The mobility of labour, financial sector liberalisation and taxation issues also represented issues of importance to businesses.
The FJCCIA presented their views on the post-2015 scenario for ASEAN, particular in respect of seeking to secure skilled industrial human resources in ASEAN, the development of rules and regulations which enable cross-border transportation and initiatives that encourage industry-wide conformity of standards and specifications. In particular, they expressed willingness to cooperate in developing vocational training programmes in ASEAN and to engage in a ten-year plan with ASEAN for human resource development.
The Japanese private sector has a strong and important presence in ASEAN. Japanese FDI in the last five years have reached up to USD 80 billion. The number of Japanese companies in ASEAN who are members of FJCCIA has increased by almost 20% since 2012 to 6,500.
Press-release at the official ASEAN web-site


Executive Order on Measures to Implement the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Cooperation in Natural Gas Supplies from Russia to China via the ‘Eastern Route’ was signe

Executive Order on Measures to Implement the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Cooperation in Natural Gas Supplies from Russia to China via the ‘Eastern Route’ was signed by the President of Russia on August 10, 2015.
According to the document, a comprehensive programme of state support for construction of gas transport infrastructure facilities, including the Power of Siberia mainline gas pipeline, used for natural gas production at fields in Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and Irkutsk Region and its transportation and processing will be approved.
Full text at the official web-site of the President of the Russian Federation


ASEAN GDP Grows by 4.6%

The latest data from ASEAN Statistics revealed that ASEAN economies remained resilient in 2014 amidst uncertainty in the global economic environment. The real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 4.6 percent to reach US$ 2.57 trillion. The sustained growth in GDP led to an increase in the GDP per capita from US$ 3,908 in 2013 to US$ 4,130 in 2014. The services sector continued to be the biggest contributor to growth at 50.1 percent of the region’s total GDP in 2014.
In the case of ASEAN6 (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand), all countries except Malaysia have experienced a slowdown in their growth, leading to a decrease in the averaged GDP growth from 5.1 percent in 2013 to 4.3 percent in 2014. In contrast, the real GDP growth of CLMV countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam) advanced by 6.6 percent in 2014, higher by 0.4 percentage point compared to the 2013 level.
In terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) on the one hand, ASEAN’s GDP reached PPP$ 6.64 trillion in 2014, constituting 6.1 percent of World GDP in PPP. On the other hand, ASEAN’s GDP per capita stood at PPP$ 10,677 which is equivalent to approximately two-thirds of the World GDP per capita of PPP$ 15,189.
As one of the fastest growing regions in the world, the share of ASEAN GDP in the world has increased from 3.18% in 2013 to 3.33% in 2014. The size of the ASEAN GDP in 2014 stood at approximately 15% of the US economy, compared to only 7% in 2004.
A summary table of these indicators is available here. More detailed figures of ASEAN trade are available here and FDI are available here.
Press-release at the official ASEAN web-site


Annual ministerial meeting Russia – ASEAN was held on August 5, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Annual ministerial meeting Russia – ASEAN was held on August 5, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The main topic of the discussion was a forthcoming 20th Anniversary of ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership in 2016. The participants agreed to organize an anniversary summit in Russia and to elaborate a conceptual document with strategic vision of Russia-ASEAN long-term relationships. The participants emphasized a need to advance the process of finalizing the Comprehensive Programme of Actions (CPA) to Promote Cooperation between ASEAN and the Russian Federation for 2016-2020 to be adopted by the leaders. The ministers approved declaring 2016 as Russia - ASEAN Cross-Year of Culture.
On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with the business representatives. Sergey Lavrov emphasized that Russia considers Viet Nam – Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Free Trade Agreement "as a pilot project for further trade liberalization with all ASEAN”. Russian Minister mentioned a regular full-scale business missions to South – East Asia aimed at further deepening business relations between the countries. Russia – ASEAN Business summit to be held in November 2015 in relation to the ASEAN high level events in Kuala Lumpur is also aimed at boosting business cooperation.
Press-release at the official web-site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the meeting with business representatives


APEC Moves to Bridge Asia-Pacific Infrastructure Funding Gap

Investment promotion officials from the APEC members have introduced a groundbreaking tool to help meet the Asia-Pacific’s increasing need for infrastructure funding and build greater capacity for growth among the region’s economies.


For the first time, investors can now refer to a single all-in-one guide for executing projects in APEC economies funded and operated in collaboration with the public sector—known as public-private partnerships or PPPs. The guide describes each of their PPP frameworks and process requirements, making it easier to set up joint infrastructure projects ranging from new highways, ports and airports, to improvements to power grids and telecommunications services.


Focus areas include legal and regulatory structures; project structure and development; project support, financing and management; related policies; and ready-to-offer projects.

Guidebook on PPP Frameworks in the APEC Region

Press-release at the official APEC web-site


East Russia Economic Forum will introduce new mechanisms for the development of East Russia

The official website of East Russia Economic Forum has published a rough draft of the event’s working program.

Three thematic tracks will be presented in the program: New Economic Policy in East RussiaThe Strength of East Russia, and The Future of the Asia-Pacific Region.

The main theme for discussion with investors will be new investment opportunities in East Russia. “Our expectations are primarily tied to making sure that the mechanisms and instruments of conducting business we have created are presented in a new way, and advanced with the goal of their subsequent practical implementation,” emphasized Russian Minister for Development of the Far East Alexander Galushka.


APEC Business Travel Card to be Extended to Five Years from 1 September

The validity of the APEC Business Travel Card will be extended from three to five years starting from September 1, 2015.

The APEC Business Travel Card will offer businesspeople five-year, short-stay, multiple-entry to participating APEC member economies and priority lane access at key immigration checkpoints in member economy airports. Applications lodged on or before 31 August 2015 are to be granted an APEC Business Travel Card valid for three years. Applications lodged on or after 1 September 2015 are to be granted a card valid for five years.