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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   29 November 2012 

US pledges $6b aid for clean energy in Asia-Pacific

Publication Date : 26-Nov-2012

The United States has pledged up to US$6 billion to grow sustainable energy in the Asia-Pacific region as part of an initiative brokered with Brunei and Indonesia.

Dubbed the "US-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Partnership For A Sustainable Energy", the US government announced last week that it will invest billions in Asian countries over the next four years to increase their purchasing power for American technology, services and equipment.

The move will ensure "affordable, secure, and cleaner energy supplies for the region", the White House said in a statement.

US Ambassador to Brunei Daniel Shields said: "The Asia-Pacific region will need an estimated $9 trillion in investments in electricity by 2035. President Barack Obama, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono have joined together in recognition of this fact to help supply the region with clean energy."

The US has partnered with Brunei and Indonesia as the countries take up the chairs of Asean and APEC respectively in 2013.

The funds to support the partnership will include up to $5 billion in export credit financing to increase access to American technology, services and equipment.

The Overseas Private Investment Corps (OPIC) - the government's development finance institution which mobilises private capital - will spend an additional $1 billion to finance sustainable power and clean energy infrastructure projects in Asia, said the White House.

"We are willing to invest up to $6 billion to provide a better future for the peoples of this region," Shields said. "We are open to exploring a variety of clean energy technologies and will leverage US private sector engagement, technical expertise, and financing to enhance the region's energy security."
US foreign direct investment stock in Asean countries was $159.6 billion in 2011, up 11.2 per cent from 2010.

Asia's growing demand for energy signals enormous potential for investment from United States industry.

"Businesses are growing and so is the number of people living in the Asia-Pacific region.

In order to keep the economy growing in the right direction, action needs to be taken," the envoy said via email.

"The United States intends to continue seeking investment opportunities in Asean, both in the energy sector and in other sectors, as our reciprocal trade grows."

Shields added that Brunei and Indonesia will help coordinate efforts to consolidate existing regional and bilateral energy initiatives under a single comprehensive framework.

"But it will take more than governments working in tandem. We must collaborate with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank as well as provide avenues for the private sector to secure Asia-Pacific's sustainable development."

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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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