ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
By David Swartzentruber
These were the most important stories in the Asean region during the week of August 21-27.
Plan for Mekong area rail link approved
A "bold" plan for a railway system connecting more than 300 million people who live around the Mekong River was approved Friday, officials said.
Asean rice alliance formed
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has formed a rice millers' alliance, to strengthen production and stabilise the prices of rice exported from Asean.
Bangkok airport rail link opens
A train that links central Bangkok to the Thai capital's main international airport in 15 minutes opened Monday. Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport - Asia's third busiest by passengers in the first half of this year according to Airports Council International - has for several years been the only major travel hub in the region to lack a direct rail link to the central city.
Domestic investment doubles in HCM City
Domestic investment in the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zone (Hepza) was twice that of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the first seven months of the year, the zone's management authority reports.
Malaysia's Proton profits jump
Malaysian national car manufacturer Proton said on Monday its first-quarter profits leapt 55.13 percent due to rising vehicle sales and improved profit margins.
Rich-poor gaps haunt Asean
Asean leaders warned Wednesday of a widening gap between Southeast Asia's richest and poorest nations that could threaten the region's drive for a single market.
Singapore tops in IPR
Singapore has the best record when it comes to protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) in Asia and Indonesia the worst, a survey of expatriate business people showed on Wednesday.
Asean leader downplays US absence
The head of ASEAN downplayed the absence of US officials from annual trade talks, arguing their no-show does not detract from the US re-engagement with Southeast Asia. READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/asean_news/ties/asean_leader_downplays_us_absence
Vietnamese Industrial output rises 13.7 percent
Viet Nam's industrial output was worth VND504.2 trillion (US$26.1 billion) to the end of August - 13.7 per cent higher than for the same eight months of last year, reports the Planning and Investment Ministry's Industrial Economy Department.
India-Asean may set deadline for services
Trade ministers from India and the 10-member Asean countries currently meeting in Vietnam are to come up with deadlines to wrap up negotiations on the opening of services and investment that appear to be running late.
Ford, Mazda pledge US$350 million
Ford Motor Company and Mazda Motor Corporation are investing US$350 million in their 50:50 joint venture in Thailand to support the the next generation of pickup trucks. READ MORE: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/thailand_news/automotive/ford_mazda_pledge_us$350_million
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