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Asean Affairs   12 June  2011


By  David Swartzemtruber

AseanAffairs     12 June 2011

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These were the most important stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of June 4-June 10.

Yudhoyono proposes renegotiation with foreign companies
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's call to renegotiate contracts with foreign companies received mixed reaction on Friday, with some industry players calling it an empty threat.

Najib: Asian countries shouldn't choose
Asia countries shouldn't have to choose between being allies of the US or China and must avoid another Cold War-style polarisation in the region, Malaysia's prime minister said on Friday.

Philippines scolds China
The Philippines, along with Vietnam, criticized recent Chinese military activity in the South China Sea amid fears that small confrontations in disputed areas there could lead to armed conflict.

THAI Airways takes first privatization steps
The Finance Ministry has agreed to reduce its shareholding in Thai Airways International and eventually privatise the national carrier, according to Areepong Bhoocha-oom, the ministry's permanent secretary.

Foreign trade deficits in Vietnam
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has drawn attention to a sudden spurt in the trade deficit run up by foreign firms, and urged relevant agencies to investigate the reasons.

Foreign firms don't support Yudhoyono "renegotiations"
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's push to renegotiate oil and gas contracts with foreign companies would set a bad precedent, industry players said.

Bangkok is top Asian tourist draw
Despite last year's violence in the city and lingering political uncertainties, Bangkok is ranked first among Asian cities based on the estimated number of international arrivals by air and the level of visitor expenditure this year, according to the findings of a study conducted by a leading credit-card company.

Tata Motors backs Thai tax reform
Tata Motors says it welcomes a restructuring of vehicle taxes in Thailand as long as the system is transparent and authorities can ensure that automakers do not try to exploit loopholes.

Indonesia's competitiveness rises
Indonesia's global competitiveness has increased significantly since 2005 but work needs to be done to improve the country's public health, information technology, infrastructure and fight against corruption, a report revealed.

Asean customs heads meet in Myanmar Myanmar
Union Minister of Finance and Revenue U Hla Tun has called for a role for customs departments to realize the Asean Community, stressing the need for encouraging commodity flow integration, earning revenue for the state and handling border trade in line with policy and law, an official media reported Wednesday.

Cambodian trade with China doubles
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and China reached US$498 million in the first quarter, soaring 216 percent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Dawei financing moves forward
Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) expects to conclude loan agreements with creditors to finance its Dawei megaproject in Myanmar within this year.

Cross-border economic moves accelerate
Thailand's Siam Cement announced on Monday that it has spent US$100 million on expanding in Indonesia, buying a ceramic tile producer and a distributor. The action suggests that in Thailand at least, corporate thinking is shifting.

Vietnam-China sea tensions rise
Vietnam protested to China Thursday after what it claimed was a "premeditated" attack on an exploration ship in its waters, but Beijing hit back, warning its neighbour against violating its sovereignty.

Thailand needs more skilled workers
Thailand will face an oversupply crisis in the midlevel labour market if workers do not improve their skills to compete with their counterparts in Vietnam and the Philippines seminar on vocational study was told.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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• Malaysia blocks file sharing sites
• Senior Thai pol calls for reconciliation
• THAI privatization now off
• Vietnam-China dispute intensifies
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Asean Analysis    12  June  2011

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ASEAN NEWS UPDATES      Updated: 04 January 2011

 • Women Shariah scholars see gender gap closing
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• Bursa Malaysia to revamp business rules
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• Thai retailers are upbeat
• Rice exports likely to decline
• Vietnamese PM projects 10-year socioeconomic plan


This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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