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Asean Affairs    2  November  2011

Go west for investments?

 By David Swartzentruber

 AseanAffairs     2  November 2011

With Europe and the United States still battling the economic blues, some Asian leaders say it is time to get investments from those regions for Asia.

Among those saying “Go West,” is Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Malaysia’s former International Trade and Industry Minister.

Speaking at the MEF-European Ambassadors' Roundtable 2011 on Wednesday she said.

"We should make all efforts to go to Europe now to see the companies' potential to come to Malaysia to do business here.

"If Europe is trouble for them, they would like to go abroad. Some governments are in trouble now and there are companies which are not in trouble, they might want to come out," she told a press conference.

Rafidah said Malaysia has the strength and should take advantage of that when going overseas.

"Don't forget, we have competitors. This is the time to be aggressive in Europe and America. I think it is the right time for them to look at Malaysia," said the former International Trade and Industry Minister.

"We should make all efforts to go to Europe now to see the companies' potential to come to Malaysia to do business here,” she concluded.

From a global perspective, Asia is a more important region to more companies than either Europe or America. About 38 percent of companies are ‘very reliant’ or ‘entirely reliant’ on the health of the Asian economies, whereas 29 percent percent are very reliant or entirely reliant on developed Europe, according to a Fidelity Worldwide Investment survey.

The report concluded, “Companies will continue to offshore to reduce costs but the destinations of that new investment are changing - more so for European companies than Asian, perhaps reflecting their higher cost base.”

“For Asian companies, Southeast Asia will be by far the biggest beneficiary of this followed by China at 13 percent. For European companies, though, India beats China and Southeast Asia as the top destination for offshoring.

Given Europe’s recent request for Chinese help in straightening out their continuing crisis all of these Europe-Asia exchanges may portend  interesting developments after the eurozone crisis is hopefully resolved.

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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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