Connect Asia Newsletter, No. 02


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Quarterly newsletter with information on economic cooperation and integration in Asia from the GIZ programme Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia (RCI). In our newsletter we share information about our programme activities, and further input on the programme’s focus areas such as regionalism, trade facilitation and port cooperation in Asia.

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Connect Asia Newsletter, No. 02

  1. 1. Contact | Recommend this newsletter Information on economic cooperation and integration in Asia From the GIZ Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia Programme Issue No. 2 June 2013 Editorial Dear readers, Welcome back to the second issue of our Connect Asia newsletter. As usual this newsletter will focus on recent developments of our programme’s work and provide commentary on recent trends in Asian regionalism. In April we launched our study tour on maritime cooperation in the Pan-Beibu Gulf Region. Read below for impressions from the fact finding mission to port operators and port authorities. Another highlight was the ongoing involvement with the topic of social implications of economic integration. A report on a workshop in Lao People’s Democratic Republic informs you about our recent activities in this area. Last but not least, we will give information on a recent Economic Policy Dialogue carried out by GIZ RCI Programme and our partner, the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD). With our support the event brought together experts from Central-, Southeast and East Asia. The second part of the newsletter brings you key news concerning recent developments in Asian regionalism. Again we have compiled and commented a comprehensive overview to share with you and encourage further discussion on topics such as maritime economy, custom issues and development cooperation. Also make sure, to check out dates on the right column to keep informed about upcoming events. We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and we appreciate any feedback and comments. Please feel free to distribute this newsletter among your colleagues! With the best wishes Magnus C. M. Brod Editor Contents Fact Finding Mission: Port Cooperation in Pan-Beibu Gulf Workshop: Social Implications of Economic Integration Conference: Economic Policy Dialogue among Asian Transition Countries Recent Trends in Asian Regionalism Dates and Events 27-28 June 25th European Customs Law Conference Bonn, Germany European Forum for Foreign Trade, Customs and Excise (EFA) 2-11 July WCO Knowledge Academy for Customs and Trade Brussels, Belgium World Customs Organization (WCO) 10-11 September UNESCAP Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2013 Beijing, PR China United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) 18-20 September WCO PICARD Conference St. Petersburg, Russian Federation World Customs Organization (WCO) 19-20 September Triangular Cooperation & Regional Integration Conference Bangkok, Thailand GIZ and Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) 17-20 November Urban Environmental Pollution 2013 Asian Edition Creating Healthy, Liveable Cities Beijing, PR China Urban Environmental Pollution (UEP)
  2. 2. Recent Trends in Asian Regionalism Programme News Port Cooperation Identifying Port Cooperation Potential in Pan-Beibu Gulf Region April saw the kick-off of the study project on potentials for port cooperation in the Pan-Beibu Gulf Region. From 15 to 26 April GIZ RCI Programme staff accompanied experts from Hamburg Port Consulting (HPC) and Hamburg Port Training Institute (HPTI) on a fact finding mission to Indonesia, the Philippines, Viet Nam and the People’s Republic of China. The aim was to gather data for an analysis of cooperation potentials in the diverse Pan-Beibu Region. Among the institutes visited were the ASEAN Secretariat, the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation, the Philippines Port Authority and several ports such as Haiphong, Viet Nam and Qinzhou, PR China. Additional to data collection and conduction of interviews the consultants visited port facilities to gain on-site knowledge of the development of maritime industries in the region. The final study, which will identify potentials in this specific field of the maritime economy, will be released later this year. Contact: top Regional Integration Workshop on Social Implications of Economic Integration in Lao PDR The Lao National Commission for the Advancement of Women (LaoNCAW) and GIZ RCI Programme joint hands to organise a workshop that took a close look at social implications of economic integration in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 20 November 2012. Whilst recognising numerous advantages of Laos’ economic integration with its neighbouring countries, the workshop targeted illegal migration as one of the main challenges of this process. Despite the potential positive effects of migration due to remittances and economic empowerment of women, negative consequences such as abuse and human trafficking to which women seem the most prone to, remain a significant problem. The workshop brought together representatives of LaoNCAW, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, Lao Trade Union as well as Lao Youth Union. Its main purpose was to convey to these institutions a clearer understanding of their specific role and to strengthen their capacities to effectively manage cross- border migration. In two sessions the participants identified substantial achievements but also remaining challenges. For these “hot topics”, such as the inadequacy of skill development especially for women, the unsatisfactory compliance with existing law by many firms, as well as the lack of awareness about the downsides of labour migration in rural areas, concrete and feasible policy measure were identified for further joint implementation by these institutions. A comprehensive documentation of the workshop which contains the event's main findings and inputs is available for download: Contact More on GIZ RCI Programme Regional economic cooperation and integration play an increasingly important role in Asia’s economic landscape. They help countries to overcome the limitations of domestic markets and foster inclusive development, both by boosting economic growth and by providing the resources for pro- poor policies. The GIZ RCI Programme supports regional stakeholders with the aim to strengthen selected core processes of regional economic cooperation and integration and to contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic development in the region. Stay up to date with GIZ RCI If you would like to continue receiving regular updates on our programme activities and further insights on regionalisation processes in Asia, please refer to the GIZ Newsletter mainpage and suscribe here. Follow GIZ FollowFollow FollowFollow @rci_asia@rci_asia
  3. 3. top Regional Knowledge Sharing 10th Economic Policy Dialogue among Asian Transition Countries From 27 to 28 April 2013, the RCI Programme in cooperation with the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD) and the Vietnamese Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) conducted the “10th Economic Policy Dialogue among Asian Transition Countries” on “Development of Urbanization and Inclusive Growth - Policies and Systems for Population Urbanization” in Haikou, PR China. While urbanization bears great potential for economic development for Asian transition countries, problems have emerged which require a change of strategy and therefore a profound discussion on suitable and sustainable policies. To initiate such a dialogue and exchange of country-specific experiences, the conference brought together senior policy makers, researchers as well as practitioners from Southeast, East and Central Asian transition countries GIZ RCI Programme contributed to the productivity of this dialogue through its international network and its ability to mobilise renowned experts from across Asia. A comprehensive documentation of the conference is available with the event's main findings and inputs. Access the document here: Contact: top Recent Trends in Asian Regionalism Shanghai International Shipping Institute (ISI) Study finds: Chinese ports show great potential The Shanghai International Shipping Institute (ISI) examined the development in the Chinese port industry. According to the institute's analysis the recent year saw a surge in potential vis-à-vis the global port landscape. This is especially true for smaller and medium sized ports. SISI identifies a list of container terminals with great potential; the list is topped by Chinese ports. Download the paper from: top Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) Interim Report: Connecting South Asia and Southeast Asia ADBi's recent report highlights the importance of regional integration via enhanced connectivity for South and Southeast Asia. The analysed process comprises of both: physical infrastructure and public policies. Trade and investment are covered as well as economic cooperation and regional integration initiatives. Masahiro Kawai, ADBi Dean and CEO, elaborated on the need for compensation policies to share the gains from greater integration more equally. A role that can be played by regional initiatives such as GMS or SASEC; institutions that provide a platform for bringing together the involved countries. For more details about the report, please visit: World Bank Single Window Systems: What We Have Learned The duration of import and export procedures are seen as a major bottleneck for the competitiveness of developing countries. As custom agencies are quiet modern and developed, a recent piece by World Bank’s Gerard McLinden highlights the role of other border management agencies such as quarantine or standards. Establishing national Single Electronic Window systems (SEW) can overcome those hurdles, but relies on the close cooperation between all involved stakeholders. Examples from Lao PDR show that with careful planned
  4. 4. preparatory work, collective efforts can yield best results for developing an SEW. Access the full article here: World Customs Organization WCO PICARD conference to focus on the impact of customs on regional integration initiatives During the upcoming WCO PICARD (Partnerships in Customs Academic Research and Development) conference in September this year the “impact of customs on the development, implementation, and administration of regional integration initiatives" will be among the three major topics. A focus of this year’s conference will be regional trade agreements as means for further integration. Examples will be drawn from the ASEAN economic community among others. A part of the conference will address the impact of regional integration on customs, and how customs can become an instrument in the development, management and launching of such processes. For more details on the conference, please visit: The Economist Japan's closer cooperation with ASEAN about business and diplomacy Japan’s move towards closer ties with members of ASEAN can, as the author suggests, be seen as a diplomatic and economic hedge against China. The country has rapidly increased its presence in its allied states, such as Indonesia, but even more so in states that lack longstanding ties with Japan. More precisely, the new Japanese strategy includes a special economic zone in Myanmar, infrastructure projects in Indonesia, manufacturing in Thailand but also maritime assistance for Vietnam. Increased presence in ASEAN member states thus seems to be promising in economic as well as diplomatic terms. Access the full article here: World Bank Road Freight Transport: What Bilateral Agreements Tell Us About Trade Openness All supply chains are dependent on road freight transport at some point. However, to reduce costs and thus increase competitiveness, endeavours for trade facilitation must also encompass support to road transport services. Citing the recent QuARTA study by the World Bank, Charles Kunaka argues for greater regulatory effectiveness. This can be achieved by a focus on transparency in procedures involved in cross border transport operations. A key could be the provision of knowledge platforms for involved countries. This would also address the underlying problem of bilateral agreements in contrast to regional approaches to trade facilitation. Access the full article at: Asian Development Bank Impacts of increasing integration: Challenges in trade, finance and the environment ADB’s lead economist Jayant Menon highlights the important role of cooperation, i.e. dialogue and macroeconomic coordination in the region, for enhanced regional integration in Asia. In a recent blog post (see he concludes that national reforms have to accompany regional processes. Highlighting the increased convergence in Asia due to regional cooperation, poorer countries are increasingly catching up. However, he points to inequalities within the countries, thereby stressing to focus on social implications of regional integration processes. Access the full article here: The Economist China's expansionary port strategy about trade, not aggression The enlargement of the port of Colombo in Sri Lanka by Chinese firms, as the author argues, reflects a wider strategy to strengthen China's leading role in the global shipping and port industry. Positive results can be seen across the globe, with Piraeus, Greece, where Chinese investments have led to the creation of jobs and to productivity increases, receiving most praise by experts. Nevertheless, concerns remain, more pronounced in states which have ambivalent relations with China such as India. The author however sees these
  5. 5. as unjustified, because China's actions do not seem to be triggered by hegemonic ambitions but rather by a desire to create easier access to trade for its western provinces. Access the full article here: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development New BMZ Strategy Paper on Triangular Cooperation published Triangular cooperation is "a practical link between the South-South and North- South cooperation," concludes BMZ in a recent policy paper. As an additional instrument triangular cooperation improves the effectiveness of measures, promotes exchange and dialogue as well as fosters mutual learning processes. At the same time, however, the increased coordination effort and the associated high transaction costs are a challenge for German international development cooperation. The same applies for ensuring the ownership of recipient countries or cooperation with emerging economies. The strategy paper shows different solutions for these challenges. Triangular cooperation is thus considered as a promising instrument by BMZ, whose potential should be used in the future – especially in Asia. Access the full article here: (PDF 2,4MB) Registration information Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH Registered offices Bonn and Eschborn, Germany Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 40 53113 Bonn, Germany Phone: +49 228 44 60-0 Fax: +49 228 44 60-17 66 Dag-Hammarskjöld-Weg 1-5 65760 Eschborn, Germany Phone: +49 61 96 79-0 Fax: +49 61 96 79-11 15 Email: Internet: Registered at Local court (Amtsgericht) Bonn, Germany: HRB 18384 Local court (Amtsgericht) Frankfurt am Main, Germany: HRB 12394 VAT no. DE 113891176 Tax no. 040 250 56973 Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz, State Secretary Management Board Tanja Gönner (Chair) Dr Christoph Beier (Vice-Chair) Tom Pätz Dr Hans-Joachim Preuß Cornelia Richter If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, please click here. In charge of this newsletter: Dr. Jürgen Steiger, Editor(s): Magnus C. M. Brod,
  6. 6. Contributors: Lisa Brückner, Magnus C. M. Brod, Julia Langendorf, Torben Niemeier, Unsubscribe | Disclaimer | Contact | Recommend this newsletter |