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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     21-22 November  2011

A Single Asean FTA after a plethora of FTA’s?

21st November, 2011

 (BALI): Asean and its dialogue partners are considering enlarging the Asean-East Asia economic integration and the possibility of having a single free trade agreement (FTA) between the region and its trading partners in East Asia.

Currently, Asean has individual FTAs, namely the Asean-China FTA (2005), Asean-Korea FTA (2006), Asean-Japan FTA (2009), Asean-India FTA (2010) and the Asean-Australia and Asean-New Zealand FTAs (2010).

Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said to ensure Asean centrality is maintained in the enlargement process, Asean economic ministers have drawn up a set of basic principles in an effort to widen and deepen Asian’s relations with its FTA partners.

In this context, he said the 19th Asean Summit, which ended 19th November 2011 (Saturday), had endorsed the establishment of the Asean Framework for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and a working plan to establish a template for Asean+1 FTA.

The initiative will take into consideration the East Asia Free Trade Area Asean+3 and the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Asean+6), he told Malaysian reporters here yesterday.

Mustapa said the summit agreed to accept Japan and China’s suggestion to establish three working groups, namely for trade in goods, trade in services and investment to fastrack the integration study.

All three working groups will study in detail the modality for the economic integration and FTA partners will be invited to participate in the working groups.

The minister said the summit had directed that all three working groups finalise its work on the template and modality before the 21st Asean Summit is held November next year.

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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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