Dear Infrastructure Working Group,
I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself to you in this week’s clippings. I am excited to have joined the Council and being a part of the Infrastructure Working Group.
I hope in addition to focusing on larger policy issues such as procurement, SOEs and local content, we can create relationships with project owners and those developing feasibility studies so that US firms can be involved in the dialogue around successful project delivery from the earliest stages. There are numerous opportunities for the Infrastructure Working Group to play an important role in supporting ASEAN infrastructure development and as well the bottom line of member firms.
I look forward to working with all of you this coming year in setting and executing our agenda and I would welcome the opportunity to set up initial phone calls with members of the IWG to learn more your activities in the region.
Top Story of the Week: Singapore’s STI ends at new 5-year high
TOP STORIES: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) maintained its forecast GDP growth for Singapore at 1%-3%. Singapore's STI ended Friday, April 26 at a new 5-year high. As part of his May Day message, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin urged employers to work with unions to bring in progressive wages to boost the pay of low-wage workers. Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committtee, US Air Force Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan reported that he expects Singapore to make a final decision on the F-35 by the summer. IN THIS UPDATE:
Top Story of the Week: Philippines Gets Second Investment Grade
LOOKING AHEAD Mid-Term Elections on Monday, May 13. TOP STORIES Standard & Poor's (S&P) raised its sovereign rating on the Philippines to BBB minus from BB plus. Clark International Airport announced that it had seen a sharp increasing in both international and domestic flights in the first quarter of 2013.
Top Story of the Week: World Bank Revises 2013 Growth Figures
TOP STORIES: The World Bank upgraded its growth forecast for Cambodia upwards from 6.7% to 7.0% as the Kingdom's agriculture, tourism and garment sectors improve. The Ministry of Commerce announced that export values increased by 21 percent in the first quarter of 2013. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations has drafted a new national policy to improve broadband and ICT in Cambodia. Telecommunications Minister So Khun announced the government aims to issue the policy shortly. IN THIS UPDATE: National Affairs
HIGHLIGHTS: Indonesia overtook India as the most optimistic consumer market globally, according to a survey by global information and insights company Nielsen. Global consumer confidence rose in the first quarter, with a marked increase in sentiment in the United States, Japan and northern Europe, the survey showed. Consumers in Europe's south, where austerity imposed to tackle the region's debt crisis has helped push unemployment to record levels, remained among the most pessimistic.
Top Story: 77pct of ASEAN integration completed, target achievable, says Brunei
ASEAN is on target to achieving its integration goal by 2015 with 77 percent of work completed and would intensify engagement with members to improve economic synergies, Brunei's leader said here on Thursday. The Chairman's Statement added that the progress of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was significant with 259 measures or 77. 54 percent of the blueprint implemented.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 22nd ASEAN SUMMIT:
ASEAN wants talks on HK FTA to begin: The agreement would cover the elimination and reduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers; liberalization of trade in services; promotion and protection of investment; as well as a dispute settlement mechanism.
Top Story: ASEAN Banking Integration Framework advances, early definition of QAB
Officials from central banks at the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Friday came closer to agreeing on requirements for Southeast Asian banks to do business in other nations in the region. To qualify for the improved market access, banks must reach the status of Qualified Asean Banks. Requirements to be a QAB will include having headquarters in Asean and meeting certain thresholds on capital adequacy and consolidation, restrictions on large exposures, accounting and transparency.
Top Story: Malaysia aims to be biopharmaceutical hub, producing cost-competitive medicine
Malaysia is positioning itself as a biopharmaceutical hub producing cost-competitive medicine, especially for the underserved emerging markets following joint-venture initiatives clinched with foreign firms at the renowned global bio-technology conference here. The partnerships include the manufacture of low-cost cancer drugs, the distribution of insulin and insulin-related products, setting up a biotech facility in Nusajaya and producing lower cost biopharmaceutical products. The four projects were announced at the Bio Chicago 2013, where Malaysia through the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation is again taking an active part.