ASEAN Update: U.S.-ASEAN Shangri-La Dialogue Affirms Defense Commitment

ASEAN Update | July 14
Authors: Matt Solomon, Ben Black
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

July 31: The annual ASEAN Secretariat Business Mission will take place on Monday, July 31 in Jakarta. Meetings are confirmed with Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh; Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Economic Community, Lim Hong Hin; Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Socio Cultural Community, Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee; and an array of other ASEAN and U.S. officials. Click here to register. Registration deadline is July 17. Please contact Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org with any questions.

September 6: Please save the date for the Council’s one-day Small and Medium Business (SMB) workshop as a sideline event to the 2017 ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) in Manila. The workshop aims to empower SMBs with the business strategies and latest affordable business tools and technologies in digital economy era. Please contact Vinsensius Kangen at vkangen@usasean.org for more details and inquiries.

September 7-9: Please save the date for the Council' s Business Mission to the 2017 ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) in Manila. More details are forthcoming.

September 15: Building upon three other successful workshops in Vietnam since April 2017, the Council and its partners in Vietnam are organizing an SMBs symposium entitled “Elevating Vietnamese SMBs to the Fourth Industrial Revolution World” which will be held in Ho Chi Minh City on September 15th, 2017. Around 300 owners and senior executives from SMBs in Vietnam are expected to join in this event. For more details and sponsorship opportunity, please contact Vinsensius Kangen at vkangen@usasean.org.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

U.S.-ASEAN Shangri-La Dialogue Affirms Defense Commitment

In Singapore on June 2, over fifty countries gathered for the 16th Asia Security Summit, where U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis gave a speech meant to reassure allies of America’s continued commitment to Asia under the Trump administration. Secretary Mattis’ speech pointed to general continuity with Obama administration policies such as U.S. policy anchored in the rules-based international order, and expanding regional U.S. military capabilities. Despite these consistencies, Secretary Mattis also signaled more straightforward opposition to China’s expansion in the South China Sea, and that the administration will focus more on perceived threats from North Korea and China than the previous administration. The speech also announced support for Senator John McCain’s proposed $1.5 billion of annual military aid to allies in the region from 2018 to 2022 to complement the Obama administration’s Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative. Secretary Mattis’ full remarks can be found here.

The Asia Security Summit followed the introduction legislation by the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee to provide $2.1 billion to support these policies and encourage increased U.S. presence in the South China Sea. Despite reassurances, and a successful visit by Vice President Pence to ASEAN earlier this year, lingering questions remain about the Trump Administration’s posture towards the region. The Government of Singapore announced that when it assumes the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2018, one of its top priorities will be to help ASEAN strengthen security cooperation arrangements to further promote peace and security.

Notes from the ASEAN Committee Quarterly Call

On July 11 the ASEAN Committee held a Quarterly Call to discuss plans for the remainder of 2017. The call opened with a briefing from Ambassador Daniel Shields, the newly-appointed Chargé d'affaires ad interim at the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. Ambassador Shields highlighted activities of the US-ASEAN Connect initiative and opportunities for private sector engagement. He also discussed the TPP-11 process, the South China Sea, and YSEALI. The rest of the call covered upcoming events such as the ASEAN Secretariat Business Mission on July 31, the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs, the AEM White Paper, and the US-ASEAN Internship Program. Notes from the call are available here.

Philippines and Indonesia Move Forward on Bank Integration

The Central Bank Governors of Indonesia and the Philippines have signed a letter of intent to comply with the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework (ABIF), which will allow qualified ASEAN banks to operate freely across ASEAN member states. The ASEAN-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) are to adopt the ABIF by 2018, and all ten member states are required to by 2020, according to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Agreement. Progress has also been made between the Central Banks of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand in implementing the standards for Qualified ASEAN Bank (QAB's). In its current form, the ABIF excludes foreign banks, which the Council has urged the region to reconsider as foreign firms would introduce best practices, and varied services and products. The Council’s has recommended that ASEAN revise the criteria for a QAB so that foreign banks with a substantial presence in ASEAN could be considered as a Qualified ASEAN Bank as well. Ultimately, the hope is that the ABIF will make it easier for foreign and ASEAN banks to operate throughout ASEAN to promote greater regional financial integration. This letter of intent shows continued progress towards this essential part of the formation of the AEC.

ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Deal Expected by End of 2017

Following American withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and amid negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Hong Kong has announced that three years of negotiations will result in a free trade agreement with ASEAN by the end of the year. Financial Services and Treasury Secretary K.C. Chan made the announcement at a gala dinner for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong under Chinese rule, saying that Hong Kong “will continue to establish closer ties with ASEAN on all fronts.” After mainland China, ASEAN is Hong Kong’s second-largest trading partner.

Singapore Announces Defense Initiatives for ASEAN Chairmanship

Following the announcement that Singapore will focus on e-commerce and trade faclitation goals as ASEAN chair in 2018 (more information here), Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen unveiled a series of regional defense initiatives at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue on June 2. These initiatives include a new ASEAN-China maritime exercise and the expansion of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) to include ASEAN states, the U.S., China, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Russia. Singapore has also expressed support for widening CUES to non-naval vessels and underwater vessels. Minister Ng also said Singapore will seek to replicate the 2015 U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding on the Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air-to-Air Encounters for ASEAN member states. These initiatives, while not entirely new, show the focus of Singapore’s leaders as they prepare to lead ASEAN in 2018.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

The Council will be participating in the ASEAN Economics Ministers (AEM) in September 2017. One of the highlights of this annual engagement is a sectoral white paper of key action items in support of ASEAN integration to the AEM. A draft of the Council's annual AEM Whitepaper, which has been circulated to the Senior Economic Officials, is available here. The paper will be continually updated in advance of the AEM. Please send any additional input to Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Regional Affairs

Philippines to host 2nd Technical Expert Workshop and ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) Committee meet
PH drug war can be a 'model' for other ASEAN countries – Barbers
No discussions of human rights at Asean meeting on drug menace
Labor mobility in Asean: Free or unfree?
Regional meet on Business and Human Rights in ASEAN opens in Bangkok
Security and stability crucial for Asean trade to flourish: Ng Eng Hen
Businesses backed for push into ASEAN region
ASEAN-India Partnership at 25
China, ASEAN see closer economic, trade ties
The Future of Asia 2017: ASEAN adjusting to a less-participatory US
China, ASEAN nations reach consensus on legal cooperation

Regional Trade Initiatives
PH bats for conclusion of 2 major ASEAN FTA deals
Asean-HK free trade deal 'by this year'
RCEP with ASEAN countries offers immense possibilities: Sushma Swaraj
The Future of Asia 2017: Japan should invite China to join TPP, Singapore's Goh says

Customs
ASEAN Economic Integration Brief June 2017
WCO holds workshop on rules of origin for ASEAN member-countries

Defense & Security
What Did the ASEAN Trilateral Terror Meeting Achieve?
Asean meetings in Cebu City end with zero incidents
ASEAN, Australia reaffirm commitment to strengthen strategic partnership
China vows cooperation with ASEAN to promote peace in South China Sea
Japan Ministry of Defence conducts Japan-Asean Ship Rider Cooperation Programme
Malaysian Defence Minister says Asean may launch joint air patrols to tackle terror threat
The Future of Asia 2017: ASEAN aims for 'legally binding' South China Sea rules
Singapore Unveils New ASEAN Defense Initiatives Ahead of Chairmanship
China and Asean looking at holding joint maritime exercise next year, senior official says
US Hosts Counter-Islamic State Meet Amid ASEAN Terror Fears
What Mattis’ Shangri-La Dialogue Speech Revealed About Trump’s Asia Policy
Shangri-La dialogue: US, ASEAN agree on regional security issues
Mattis praises China on North Korea, blasts South China Sea activity

Economics
ASEAN exports and consumption are up, but for how long?
ASEAN PMI falls to 50.0 in June
Japanese loans help Asean’s development: JICA President
Asean markets up, Philippines hits near 10 month top

Energy
AIIB to Step up Support for Renewable Energy, Sustainable Infrastructure Development
Why hybrid power systems can't penetrate Southeast Asia yet
ASEAN+3 Forum Tackles Energy Security
Asean+3 agree to ensure energy security at 14th ESF
Ocean Energy - Orkney marine energy consultancies form Asian partnership to provide operational marine management services
Here comes the sun: investors increasingly hot on solar projects in S.E. Asia
ASEAN rolling out next wave of ‘low emissions’ power technologies

Financial Services
ADB Driving Supply Chain Finance For Asean SMEs
ASEAN pushing for direct yen trading
ASEAN Banking Integration Framework sets the tone for ASEAN economic growth
PH, Indonesia start talks for entry of qualified Asean banks
S&P affirms ratings on Asean’s Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility

Food & Agriculture
Big push planned for organic products
SIMA ASEAN Thailand 2017 to promote agriculture industry
Slash rice tariffs to cut poverty in Asean–OECD
A growing proposition
UN’s FAO promotes advancements of innovative agro-aquaculture systems to enhance Asian-Pacific growth
Potential agreement set to expand regional rice seed-sharing in Southeast Asia
Reform on the menu
ASEAN Buyers Connect with US Red Meat Industry

Health & Life Sciences
Dental professionals’ move in Asean difficult
Marine Environmental Protection And Cooperation: An ASEAN-China Framework?
Maritime minister urges ASEAN countries to help reduce marine waste

ICT
Expo will let retailers harness power of technology
Benefits abound if SMEs in Asean tap technology
Training essential for country’s technological shift, panel told
Digital Economy Seen Presenting New Opportunity for US-ASEAN Engagement
Internet of Things to drive digital transformation in Asean
PH hosts ASEAN electronics Dialogue
Digital economy a priority for Singapore when it takes ASEAN chair in 2018
Mobile data traffic in ASEAN, Oceania to grow 11-fold by 2022
Internet access, speeds lag Asean

Infrastructure
China, ASEAN to enhance infrastructure cooperation
Bali to house ASEAN-China innovation center
Building the future in Asean and South Asia
China’s Asean fund flows keep surging
AirAsia mulls Asean holding company

Manufacturing
Asean's fight to keep manufacturing edge
PHL, Vietnam rising as Asean’s new car hubs
Southeast Asia's new-car sales rise 5% in May
Local EV Manufacturers Group Stages First ASEAN Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Summit

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 

Regional Affairs

Philippines to host 2nd Technical Expert Workshop and ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) Committee meet Philippine Information Agency 13th Jul 2017
PASIG CITY, July 10 – The Philippines will host the Second Technical Expert Workshop and ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) Committee Meeting on July 12-13 and the Conference on Mobility in ASEAN: Referencing and Recognition of Qualifications on July 14 at the New World Manila Bay Hotel in Manila.

PH drug war can be a 'model' for other ASEAN countries – Barbers Rappler 13th Jul 2017
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' bloody war against drugs can serve as a model for other member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said Surigao del Norte 2nd District Representative Robert Ace Barbers.

No discussions of human rights at Asean meeting on drug menace Inquirer 6th Jul 2017
Parliamentarians of the Asean member states did not tackle the alleged human rights violations in the campaign against the drug menace. Surigao Del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, who chairs the 13th meeting of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (Aipa) Fact Finding Committee (Aifocom) to Combat the Drug Menace, said the lawmakers in the Asean region shared lessons that they could learn from each other.

Labor mobility in Asean: Free or unfree? BusinessMirror 21st Jun 2017
Economic community-hood is the primary  goal of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). The idea is to transform the economies of the 10 Asean countries into one Asean Economic Community (AEC). The expected outcomes: the AEC as a single market of over 600 million people and the AEC as one production base that can compete with those of the  European Union, China, Japan and the United States.

Regional meet on Business and Human Rights in ASEAN opens in Bangkok ReliefWeb 5th Jun 2017
Representatives from the public, private and people sectors, from ASEAN member states gathered in Bangkok on Thursday in a workshop that will examine the region’s efforts in ensuring its international human rights commitments are reconciled with prevalent business practices.

Security and stability crucial for Asean trade to flourish: Ng Eng Hen The Straits Times 4th Jun 2017
SINGAPORE - Security and stability is crucial for trade to flourish, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Sunday (June 4).

Businesses backed for push into ASEAN region The Australian 3rd Jun 2017
A “chamber of chambers” across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region has been created for Australian businesses to access information and assistance in overcoming hurdles to investm­ent.

ASEAN-India Partnership at 25 The Diplomat 13th Jul 2017
At the ninth edition of Delhi Dialogue, held in New Delhi on July 4 to 5, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reiterated India’s benign role in the Asia-Pacific. She mentioned that India’s influence on Southeast Asia did not occur through “conquest or colonization.” Swaraj was taking part in the Track 1.5 meeting involving India and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as both sides celebrate the 25th anniversary of their dialogue partnership this year.

China, ASEAN see closer economic, trade ties Xinhua 10th Jul 2017
BEIJING, July 10 (Xinhua) -- The economic and trade ties between China and ASEAN continued to make new achievements mainly due to political trust and the annual China-ASEAN Expo, an official said Monday.

The Future of Asia 2017: ASEAN adjusting to a less-participatory US Nikkei Asian Review 13th Jun 2017
TOKYO -- The 23rd International Conference on the Future of Asia, organized by Nikkei Inc., held here earlier this week, focused on Asia's new landscape, one in which the U.S.'s presence is weakening.

China, ASEAN nations reach consensus on legal cooperation China News 13th Jun 2017
China, ASEAN and other South Asian nations should enhance legal cooperation to ensure regional peace and stability, Chief Justice Zhou Qiang said Thursday.

Regional Trade Initiatives
PH bats for conclusion of 2 major ASEAN FTA deals Manila Bulletin Business 11th Jul 2017
The Philippines, which chairs ASEAN this year, is looking at the conclusion of two major free trade deals – ASEAN-Hong Kong and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – in Manila this year. Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said this in a speech at the Hong Kong East Asia Summit where he discussed current integration efforts in ASEAN and how these would eventually translate to regional complementation.

Asean-HK free trade deal 'by this year' The Straits Times 9th Jun 2017
The free trade agreement between Hong Kong and Asean is on track to be inked this year. "After around three years of negotiations, we would love to conclude and sign the free trade agreement with Asean within this year," said Hong Kong's secretary for financial services and the treasury K. C. Chan yesterday.

RCEP with ASEAN countries offers immense possibilities: Sushma Swaraj The Economic Times 5th Jul 2017
NEW DELHI: India today said the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with ASEAN countries will offer immense possibilities, accounting for about 40 per cent of world trade.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swarajsaid the next round of RCEP meeting will be held in Hyderabad later this month.

The Future of Asia 2017: Japan should invite China to join TPP, Singapore's Goh says Nikkei Asian Review 5th Jun 2017
It is up to Japan and China to drive free trade and economic integration in Asia, and they have to do it "in tandem, not as rivals," Goh Chok Tong, Singapore's former prime minister, said on Monday. On the Trans-Pacific Partnership, specifically, Goh called on Japan to take the lead and open the door for China to eventually join the pact. 

Customs

ASEAN Economic Integration Brief June 2017 ASEAN 30th Jun 2017
As ASEAN celebrates its 50th anniversary and the second year of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the ASEAN Secretariat launches this inaugural issue of the ASEAN Economic Integration Brief (AEIB). The AEIB aims to provide the public with periodic updates on the progress of the ASEAN economic integration as well as and global and regional developments relevant to ASEAN.

WCO holds workshop on rules of origin for ASEAN member-countries Asia Customs & Trade 14th Jun 2017
The World Customs Organization (WCO) recently conducted a workshop on rules of origin for ASEAN member-countries in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop, carried out in cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat and the Thai Customs Department, was designed to support ASEAN member Customs administrations increase their institutional capacity to carry out origin work, specifically assisting them to update the Product Specific Rules (PSRs) to the latest edition of the Harmonized System using the WCO Guide for the Technical Update of Preferential Rules of Origin.

Defense & Security

What Did the ASEAN Trilateral Terror Meeting Achieve? The Diplomat 13th Jul 2017
Last week, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines held a trilateral security meeting in Manila to discuss terrorism and extremism in the region. The engagement was the latest sign of emerging cooperation between the countries amid rising fears about Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

Asean meetings in Cebu City end with zero incidents SunStar 9th Jul 2017
THE week-long Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) meetings in Cebu City is now concluded with zero incidents.

ASEAN, Australia reaffirm commitment to strengthen strategic partnership Antara News 21st Jun 2017
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia have reaffirmed their strong determination to further strengthen strategic partnership.

China vows cooperation with ASEAN to promote peace in South China Sea Xinhua 21st Jun 2017
BEIJING, June 21 (Xinhua) -- China Wednesday vowed joint efforts with ASEAN countries to ensure the success of the China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in August and promote peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Japan Ministry of Defence conducts Japan-Asean Ship Rider Cooperation Programme Borneo Bulletin Online 20th Jun 2017
THE Japan Ministry of Defence is conducting its first Japan-Asean Ship Rider Cooperation Programme on board the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force Ship IZUMO until June 23 in international waters surrounding the Republic of Singapore (aboard the JS IZUMO).

Malaysian Defence Minister says Asean may launch joint air patrols to tackle terror threat The Straits Times 13th Jun 2017
A joint air patrol between Asean countries is on the cards due to the increasing terror threat in the region, Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said on Tuesday (June 13).

The Future of Asia 2017: ASEAN aims for 'legally binding' South China Sea rules Nikkei Asian Review 6th Jun 2017
TOKYO -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations will aim for a legally binding code of conduct on the South China Sea territorial dispute when it negotiates with Beijing, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh told the Nikkei Asian Review on Monday.

Singapore Unveils New ASEAN Defense Initiatives Ahead of Chairmanship The Diplomat 5th Jun 2017
SINGAPORE – As we move into the sixth month of 2017, many are already looking ahead to 2018 and what we might expect when the annually-rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gets turned over from the Philippines to Singapore (See: “Duterte’s ASEAN South China Sea Blow”).

China and Asean looking at holding joint maritime exercise next year, senior official says The Straits Times 3rd Jun 2017
SINGAPORE - China and Asean are exploring the possibility of holding a joint maritime exercise next year, Senior Colonel Zhou Bo of the People's Liberation Army said on Saturday (June 3).

US Hosts Counter-Islamic State Meet Amid ASEAN Terror Fears The Diplomat 11th Jul 2017
This week, the United States hosts the latest in a series of meetings of the Global Coalition Against ISIS in Washington, D.C amid lingering uncertainty in the campaign against the militant group. Despite the expected progress in the military campaign against ISIS strongholds in the Middle East, anxieties remain both in Washington and in Southeast Asia over what those gains mean in the context of the broader campaign as well as the effects this could have on other regions of the world. Since the formation of the Coalition back in November 2014, the group has grown to comprise 72 members and a series of working groups covering what officials define as the full range of aspects of the campaign from stabilization all the way to counter-messaging.

What Mattis’ Shangri-La Dialogue Speech Revealed About Trump’s Asia Policy The Diplomat 6th Jun 2017
Most of the commentary following U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis’ speech at the 2017 Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) has predictably focused on the rather superficial and flawed test of whether he sufficiently reassured the region on President Donald Trump’s Asia policy. That aside, and more substantively, the first major Asia defense policy speech in the Trump era did give us some more meaningful indications of where the administration may be headed in the near future.

Shangri-La dialogue: US, ASEAN agree on regional security issues vietnamplus.vn 4th Jun 2017
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had a meeting with representatives from ASEAN countries on June 4 in Singapore, on the sidelines of the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue. According to Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Duc Hai, Director of the National Defence Strategy Institute and head of the Vietnamese delegation to the dialogue, ASEAN valued the role of the US in the region. The discussion saw member countries of the bloc talking about their respective domestic challenges and suggesting measures to strengthen cooperation with the US for regional peace and security. ASEAN nations expected the US to increase its commitments to the bloc, particularly in the implementation of cooperation mechanism within the framework of the ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting Plus (ADMM+).

Mattis praises China on North Korea, blasts South China Sea activity South China Morning Post 3rd Jun 2017
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said Saturday that North Korea posed a global threat and praised China’s efforts to influence Pyongyang, while also criticising Beijing over its continued “militarisation” of the South China Sea. The comments by Mattis, during the annual Shangri-La Dialogue forum, show how US President Donald Trump’s administration is looking to balance working with China to restrain North Korea’s advancing missile and nuclear programmes while dealing with Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea. Trump has actively courted support from China’s President Xi Jinping to restrain North Korea, raising concern among Asian allies that Washington might allow China a more free rein elsewhere in the region. Mattis said the danger from North Korea was “clear and present” and that Pyongyang had increased its pace of pursuing nuclear weapons.

Economics

ASEAN exports and consumption are up, but for how long? Nikkei Asian Review 1st Jun 2017
Such signs of increased consumption are becoming more common in Southeast Asia. After remaining sluggish for years, the region's economies are finally heating up. Of the six major economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia saw gross domestic product for January through March grow at a faster pace than their full-year figures for 2016.

ASEAN PMI falls to 50.0 in June Nikkei Asian Review 13th Jul 2017
TOKYO -- The Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, fell to 50.0 in June from 50.5 in May.

Japanese loans help Asean’s development: JICA President Borneo Bulletin Online 8th Jul 2017
ASSISTING foreign countries in development is not easy and Japan’s assistance is more towards loans than grants which is different from Europe and America’s assistance, said Shinichi Kitaoka, the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Asean markets up, Philippines hits near 10 month top  The Star Online 5th Jun 2017
SINGAPORE: Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday tracking gains in U.S. equities that closed at record levels on Friday despite a tepid jobs report and shrugging off a third militant attack in Britain in less than three months.

Energy

AIIB to Step up Support for Renewable Energy, Sustainable Infrastructure Development SDG Knowledge Hub 21st Jun 2017
18 June 2017: The second meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) addressed several issues relevant to SDG implementation. Launched in 2016, AIIB is a multilateral development bank (MDB) with a focus on financing infrastructure needs across Asia.

Why hybrid power systems can't penetrate Southeast Asia yet Asian Power 7th Jul 2017
Cost and land availability remain as major blocks. When energy storage provider Qinous announced that it will develop hybrid microgrids in Indonesia, industry experts had mixed reactions. For its proponents, hybrid power systems are the dream of the future, integrating traditional power sources with renewable power sources, but experts warn that it can turn into a technical nightmare.

ASEAN+3 Forum Tackles Energy Security Philippine Information Agency 13th Jun 2017
ASEAN Member-States together with China, Japan and Korea shared best practices to ensure energy security in the region during the 14th Energy Security Forum hosted by the Philippine Department of Energy on 25 May 2017 at the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City. Photo shows Senior Energy Officials of the ASEAN+3 together with DOE Undersecretary Jesus Cristino P. Posadas (center) and DOE-Energy Policy and Planning Bureau Asst. Director Carmencita Bariso (6th from left).

Asean+3 agree to ensure energy security at 14th ESF The Manila Times 10th Jun 2017
Senior energy officials from member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) +3, which include China, Japan and Korea, concluded the 14th Energy Security Forum (ESF) with a consensus to share of relevant energy developments to ensure energy security in the region.

Ocean Energy - Orkney marine energy consultancies form Asian partnership to provide operational marine management services Renewable Energy Magazine 8th Jun 2017
Orkney marine energy consultancies, Orcades Marine Management Consultants Ltd (OMMC), and Aquatera have formed a new partnership to provide marine operations planning, management and verification services in Asia. The new company, Orcades Marine Asia Pte Ltd, will combine the global expertise acquired by Orcades Marine Management Consultants (OMMC) and Aquatera with the knowledge of the South East Asian market provided by Singapore-based OceanPixel. Its primary focus will be to provide operational management of marine renewable energy installations, including tidal, wave, floating solar and offshore wind. The firm will also engage in research and development projects aimed at developing innovative and cost-efficient deployment solutions for the Asian marine renewables sector.

Here comes the sun: investors increasingly hot on solar projects in S.E. Asia Reuters 8th Jun 2017
Investors are increasingly excited about the prospects for much faster growth in the solar power industry in Southeast Asia, which has until now been a backwater for renewable energy. They say that the region is in a perfect position to benefit from rapidly declining prices in solar panels. It has strong economic growth, relatively high costs of electricity and a shortage from traditional sources, undeveloped infrastructure in more remote areas, plenty of sunshine, and backing for more renewable energy from many of Southeast Asia’s governments.

ASEAN rolling out next wave of ‘low emissions’ power technologies Manila Bulletin Business 26th Jun 2017
Member-countries of the Southeast Asian region are now giving sharp focus on more massive deployment of high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) technologies, especially for nations that can still not totally get out from the clutches of coal-fired electricity generation on aims of economic advancements.

Financial Services

ADB Driving Supply Chain Finance For Asean SMEs AEC News Today 6th Jun 2017
A new video by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) explains how Supply Chain Finance can boost small and medium size enterprise (SME) growth throughout the region.

ASEAN pushing for direct yen trading Nikkei Asian Review 13th Jul 2017
TOKYO -- Japanese authorities have long dreamed of the yen becoming a global currency. Now the yen may be on the cusp of at least becoming an Asian currency.

ASEAN Banking Integration Framework sets the tone for ASEAN economic growth ASEAN Today 7th Jun 2017
The Philippine central bank and Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority will sign an agreement aimed at opening up the banking industry under the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework “ABIF”.

PH, Indonesia start talks for entry of qualified Asean banks Inquirer.net 6th Jun 2017
The central banks of the Philippines and Indonesia have started discussions to allow the entry of qualified Asean banks (QABs) in each other’s jurisdictions.

S&P affirms ratings on Asean’s Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility The Nation 23rd Jun 2017
S&P Global Ratings has affirmed its “AA” long-term and “A-1+” short-term issuer credit ratings on Asean’s Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility (CGIF). The outlook is “stable”.onesia and Vietnam.

Food & Agriculture

Big push planned for organic products The Nation 7th Jul 2017
The proposed federation will also strive to improve the quality and standards of Asean organic agricultural products and also be an instrument to bargain in the global market, Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said yesterday.

SIMA ASEAN Thailand 2017 to promote agriculture industry vietnamnews. 14th Jun 2017
BANGKOK — SIMA ASEAN Thailand 2017 has organised many local and international event preludes, gathering farmers and trade professionals to discuss the challenges and opportunities in agriculture.

Slash rice tariffs to cut poverty in Asean–OECD BusinessMirror 11th Jul 2017
The Philippines and other Asean countries would be able to cut poverty faster if they would cut tariffs on rice and eliminate trade barriers, according to the latest  study released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and  Development (OECD). In its recent study, titled “OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026”, the OECD said an Asean integrated rice market, where tariffs are scrapped and nontariff barriers are reduced, would ensure food security among developing countries in Southeast Asia. “The development of the Asean Economic Community [AEC] extends well beyond agriculture and aims to allow for the free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labor across the region, along with the free flow of capital,” the study read. “As such, it has the potential to significantly impact growth opportunities in the region, agricultural competiveness [within countries and for the region globally], along with important policy focuses, such as food security,” it added.

A growing proposition Asia Asset Management 11th Jul 2017
In an initiative that seems to have survived the narrow domestic focus of the Trump administration, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has just invited Southeast Asian agri-business innovators to submit expressions of interest (EOI) for potential partnerships with the agency. Perhaps this shows that even a populist know-nothing government recognises the importance of agribusiness investment and development.

UN’s FAO promotes advancements of innovative agro-aquaculture systems to enhance Asian-Pacific growth Far Eastern Agriculture 14th Jun 2017
The Asia-Pacific region is witnessing considerable advancements and innovative approaches that combine agriculture and aquaculture leading to improved livelihoods for smallholders, according to senior officials from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) While the practice of adding fish to flooded rice paddies was established hundreds of years ago in China, and is now recognised as one of the country’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, the approach is being practiced in many other countries around the region. In more recent years, other agro-aquaculture systems have followed, such as mixing shrimps into flooded paddies. The fish eat the pests in the water and in turn the fish excrement fertilises the plants. Now, FAO and member countries are studying and promoting new innovations in these traditional practices, taking into account varying socio-economic and environmental conditions. Different from traditional integrated fish farming, the innovative integration of agro-aquaculture is characterised by a number of different approaches. Introducing these methods helps to improve the income of small rice farmers where innovation in agro-aquaculture can easily double the economic return. These can significantly improve productivity from the crop system. For instance, good rice-fish farming practice can increase the rice yield by 20 per cent while producing tonnes of fish and other aquatic animals.

Potential agreement set to expand regional rice seed-sharing in Southeast Asia World Grain News 12th Jun 2017
Agriculture ministers and representatives from nine countries are seeking to create a multi-country seed policy agreement that drastically speeds up the distribution of modern rice varieties in South and Southeast Asia. The possible agreement was discussed during an International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) event. It brought together officials from Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam to discuss collaborative ways to improve the welfare of resource-poor farming families through innovative agricultural research.

Reform on the menu Bangkok Post 5th Jun 2017
Southeast Asia faces challenges of food security and nutrition as population growth and rising affluence increase food demand and competition for resources. Longer-term challenges include changes in consumption patterns, volatile food prices, climate change impact, conversion of agricultural land to industrial uses, and migration of labour from rural to urban areas. Food security, experts say, exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life. In Southeast Asia, the number of undernourished people has continued its steady decline by about 50% over the past decade, as inclusive overall growth has resulted in benefits being spread more of the poor and vulnerable. Productivity gains in the agricultural sector have driven up the availability of food and significantly improved food access of the rural poor.

ASEAN Buyers Connect with US Red Meat Industry The Pig Site 5th Jun 2017
US - To connect exporters and importers and create interest in alternative cuts of US beef and pork, USMEF hosted 11 leading meat buyers from the ASEAN region for an educational tour of packing plants in Colorado and Iowa.

Health & Life Sciences

Dental professionals’ move in Asean difficult SunStar 4th Jul 2017
THE implementation of the seamless flow of dental professionals in the Asean region may take some time as members of the economic bloc are still apprehensive about accepting foreign dental professionals to practice in their respective countries.

Maritime minister urges ASEAN countries to help reduce marine waste Antara News 15th Jun 2017
Indonesian Maritime Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has sought cooperation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to help reduce plastic waste that pollutes the sea. Pandjaitan attended a luncheon with the representatives of ASEAN member countries at the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia in the United Nations, New York, on Monday (Jun 5).

ICT

Expo will let retailers harness power of technology The Nation 13th Jul 2017
The exhibition and conference for retailers to be held from September 14-16 will encompass ShopFIT, ShopTECH and the new InternetRetailing Expo Asean, devoted to e-commerce transactions. The conference will cover brick-and-mortar retail, digital-empowered retail sales and marketing, payment and security, and customer experience.

Benefits abound if SMEs in Asean tap technology TODAYonline 13th Jul 2017
The advent of technology, mechanisation, digital connectivity and digitalisation has benefited the business ecosystem among Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) members (SMEs urged to transform their businesses to ride on digital wave; June 20).

Training essential for country’s technological shift, panel told The Nation 23rd Jun 2017
While the inclusion of Digital Park Thailand under the Thailand 4.0 technology policy is positive, it was not enough on its own, some of the panellists told a seminar titled “EEC: The driving force for Thailand towards CLMV, leading Thailand to become a hub of Digital Asean”. The event, hosted by Nation TV, explored the potential of the proposed Eastern Economic Corridor and the increased trade that it will promote with countries in the subregion: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Digital Economy Seen Presenting New Opportunity for US-ASEAN Engagement VOA 20th Jun 2017
Countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will be a wellspring of opportunity for the United States because of growth in the region's digital economy and its young population, researchers say.

Internet of Things to drive digital transformation in Asean Digital News Asia 15th Jun 2017
The Asia IoT Business Platform series will be returning to Southeast Asia for the fourth consecutive year. The programmes, which are organised by Industry Platform Pte. Ltd, will take place in major cities across the region, including in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Jakarta, in July and August.

Digital economy a priority for Singapore when it takes ASEAN chair in 2018 Channel NewsAsia 19th Jun 2017
Singapore plans to drive e-commerce within the region when it chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year. This was highlighted as a priority on Monday (Jun 19) by Senior Minister of State of Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon at the inaugural Digitize ASEAN Conference organised by the Singapore Business Federation.Dr Koh said that the digital economy in ASEAN could grow to US$200 billion (S$277 billion) over the next 10 years, with e-commerce accounting for US$88 billion. "E-commerce is the new reality for businesses today," said Dr Koh. "Singapore will work with the rest of ASEAN to streamline regional trade rules governing e-commerce to promote greater digital connectivity and lower operating barriers to entry." He added: "This will enhance the regional trade architecture for e-commerce, realise freer movement of e-commerce goods across Southeast Asia and support the regional expansion of companies based in ASEAN." However, there are still some concerns among companies as to how far each country is willing to open up to greater regional trade rules governing e-commerce. Mr Morgan Wee, managing partner at global recruitment firm EMA Partners International, had questions about protectionism among individual countries. “From a collaboration standpoint among all the ASEAN nations, I think it's easy to think about it in a broad brush but when it comes down to table and discussing and getting all countries to agree is a huge hurdle," he said. "(There is) a lot of protectionism in terms of e-wallets, so a question in my mind is - how far can we push this?" 

PH hosts ASEAN electronics Dialogue Philippine Information Agency 21st Jun 2017
MAKATI CITY, June 21 -- The Philippines concluded its hosting of the ASEAN Dialogue with Asian Electronics Forum Partners Tuesday (20 June 2017) at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, bringing together key experts and movers from ASEAN Member States (AMS) in the electronics and semiconductor industry to share industry updates and initiatives in their respective electronics sectors, learn from each other, and foster greater collaboration in the region.  

Mobile data traffic in ASEAN, Oceania to grow 11-fold by 2022 ComputerWeekly 14th Jun 2017
Fuelled by growing adoption of 4G services and the internet of things (IoT) in Southeast Asia and Oceania, mobile data traffic in the region is expected to surge 11-fold by 2022, a report by Ericsson has found.

Internet access, speeds lag Asean | Eleven Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 5th Jun 2017
Mobile and fixed internet density and speeds remain low by Asean standards, according to the Huawei Global Connectivity Index 2017. 

Infrastructure

China, ASEAN to enhance infrastructure cooperation China Daily 13th Jun 2017
China and ASEAN economies will further promote cooperation in infrastructure construction, as the Belt and Road Initiative continues to advance, said a senior executive of Jiangxi Jiangling Motors Co Group.

Bali to house ASEAN-China innovation center The Jakarta Post 2nd Jun 2017
The ASEAN-China Innovation Center is set to be built in Bali to support the Silk Road Partnership and the One Belt, One Road initiative.

Building the future in Asean and South Asia The Straits Times 1st Jun 2017
Asean and South Asia are building infrastructure at an unprecedented rate. Anyone who travels the capital cities of this region knows it for a fact. Roads, railroads, bridges, ports and metros. All this construction is transforming the city centres and areas of economic activity, and the lives of 2.4 billion people. It is also connecting people and businesses to opportunities, both within and beyond the region.

China’s Asean fund flows keep surging The Nation 19th Jun 2017
A report by Maybank Kim Eng noted that China’s non-financial direct investment into Belt and Road countries rose to US$14.5 billion (Bt492 billion) last year from $12.5 billion in 2014, based on official data.

AirAsia mulls Asean holding company The Nation 22nd Jun 2017
Fernandes, group chief executive of AirAsia, outlined certain details of this initiative and a major challenge it would need to surmount: persuading Asean leaders to ease outdated airline-foreign-ownership limits as long as said investors were also from the region.

Manufacturing

Asean's fight to keep manufacturing edge The Straits Times 7th Jun 2017
The challenge facing Asean is clear - can this major manufacturing zone retain its competitive edge in the face of rapidly evolving technology and head-spinning change?

PHL, Vietnam rising as Asean’s new car hubs | BusinessMirror BusinessMirror 6th Jul 2017
TO get a taste of Southeast Asia’s burgeoning 600 million-strong consumer base and what it means for economic growth, take a look at the car industry. Carmakers are racing to steal a bigger slice of the market attracted by rising incomes and young workers looking to buy their first set of wheels. The Philippines and Vietnam will be the two fastest-growing production hubs from 2017 to 2021, according to BMI Research. Output will surge 300 percent in the Philippines to 359,000 units and almost double in Vietnam to 112,000 units, it forecast in June.

Southeast Asia's new-car sales rise 5% in May Thailand Business News 1st Jul 2017
New-car sales in Southeast Asia’s six major markets climbed 5% on the year to 281,366 vehicles in May, about the same rate as in April, but poor growth in Thailand leaves automakers cautious.

Local EV Manufacturers Group Stages First ASEAN Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Summit Carmundi 30th Jun 2017
The first ASEAN Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Summit opened its doors yesterday, June 29, 2017, at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Organized by the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP), the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI), the Board of Investments (BOI), and the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), the event has adopted the theme “Strengthening Partnership for Greener Transport in ASEAN and Beyond” as it brings together electric and hybrid vehicle industry players, government officials, technical leaders and executives from global technology companies to discuss technology, innovation, policy, regulatory, environmental, and market topics that impacts all aspects of the industry’s value chain.