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The Asian Panama Canal
Kra Canal

Countdown to resurrection

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May - June 2009

After more than three centuries in the works, Southeast Asia’s mother of all mega projects remains dormant. Signs have emerged pointing to the reactivation of the multi-billion dollar project, sooner than expected.

COVER STORY 

The Saga of Kra Canal
Reviving the mother of all mega projects
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AANZFTA : Building a Deeper Integration with Asean

Simon Crean,  Minister of  Trade, Australia Simon Crean was appointed Australia’s Trade Minister in December 2007when the Rudd Labor Government took office.
Before this he held a range of Shadow Ministerial positions including Shadow Trade and Regional Development Minister, and Shadow Treasurer.  He was Leader of the Opposition from November 2001 to December 2003. In the previous Labour Government, he served as Minister for Primary Industries and Energy and Minister for Employment, Education and Training.

Tim Groser, Minister of Trade, New Zealand
Tim Groser also holds the portfolios of Minister of Conservation, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues (International Negotiations). He is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on international trade, and until recently was New Zealand's Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Chair of Agricultural Negotiations for the WTO. Tim was elected to the New Zealand Parliament as a List MP in the 2005 General Election and again in 2008.
Q: What is the significance of the recent AANZFTA for Australia? Q: What is the significance of the recent AANZFTA for New Zealand?
A: AANZFTA is an important agreement for Australia, and the region as well.It is the largest FTA Australia has concluded, and the most comprehensive one for Asean.The deal covers an area with a combined population of 600 million people and a GDP estimated at over $2.7 trillion.
As a group, Asean and New Zealand account for a significant part of Australia’s trade.In 2007-08, Australia’s two-way trade with this group was valued at A$103 billion, accounting for 21 percent of Australia’s total trade.This is larger than Australia’s trade with any single country, including China (13 percent), Japan (12 percent) or the United States (10 percent). The liberalisation that will occur under AANZFTA will directly benefit Australia and it will help ensure that Australia’s competitiveness in the region is not undermined as Asean continues to do trade deals with other trading partners. In addition, AANZFTA provides a solid platform for Australia’s deeper economic integration and engagement with the region.

Q: Which industry sectors in Australia should benefit the most from this agreement?

A: There will be broad benefits for all industry sectors in Australia, including agriculture, manufactures, minerals and services.For example, the FTA delivers, over time, tariff elimination commitments from the more developed Asean countries and Vietnam on between 90 and 100 percent of tariff lines covering 96 percent of Australia’s current goods exports to Asean.It also delivers greater certainty and transparenc

Q: Where do you see the two-way trade (value) between Australia and Asean in the next three years?

A: Australia’s two-way trade with Asean has grown by an annual average of 10 percent over the last decade. This is faster than Australia’s trade with any of its top 10 commercial partners, except China.While it is impossible to predict the value of two-way trade between Australia and Asean over the next few years, particularly given uncertainties associated with impacts arising from the current global economic crisis, (...)

A: AANZFTA creates significant new opportunities for New Zealand exporters of goods and services and investors with one of the world’s most dynamic economic regions and New Zealand’s third largest export market. I believe that this FTA will strengthen commercial ties with the region as well as significantly raising the profile of New Zealand's businesses in the region.
AANZFTA also represents an important ‘building block’ in the growing East Asia trade and economic architecture and underscores our strategic commitment to greater regional integration. 

Q: Which industry sectors in New Zealand should benefit most from this agreement?

A: The AANZFTA agreement is a comprehensive FTA, and significantly, is the first time that Asean has agreed to negotiate an FTA as a ‘single undertaking‘– one that spans goods, services and investment, as well as intellectual property, electronic commerce and competition policy.
This means that there is significant scope for all sectors to benefit from the agreement. Specific benefits are in goods trade where tariffs on 99 per cent of New Zealand’s current trade with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Viet Nam will be eliminated by 2020.

This outcome has a significant bearing on some of New Zealand’s key exports – predominantly primary sector exports such as dairy, meat and horticulture. In the services sector, the agreement secures new GATS- plus and in some cases Doha-Plus commitments in New Zealand’s priority services sectors, including in particular some significant outcomes for education services.

New Zealand investors and their investments will benefit from new and additional protections for their investments into the region, including the potential for recourse to binding investor-state arbitration procedures.

Q: Where do you see the two-way trade (value) between New Zealand and Asean in the next three years? Read the Complete Article Subscribe to ASEANAFFAIRS Magazine

ZFTA is an important agreement for

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