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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        23  May 2011

Asean food companies take on Indo market

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Even before the Asean Economic Community takes effect in 2015, Indonesia’s processed food industry faces growing competition from imported products from elsewhere in Southeast Asia, a trade association said.

According to data from the Indonesia Food and Beverages Association (Gapmmi), food from Asean nations made up $19.41 million, or 43.26 percent, of total processed food imports in the first quarter this year. Total processed food imports in the quarter hit $44.8 million. The association did not provide more comparative figures.

Gapmmi secretary general Franky Sibarani said the implementation of the Asean Free Trade Agreement had boosted imports of processed foods from other Asean countries.

“Imports are higher because now it is easier among Asean countries. Vietnam has begun exporting processed food here, while Malaysia and Thailand are still aggressive,” he said, adding that imported food from Asean countries reached 46 percent of total food imports last year.

Imports from Malaysia in the first quarter were worth $6.7 million, followed by Thailand with $5.3 million and Singapore with $3.6 million. Vietnam accounted for just $915,000, but Franky said it had only recently entered the Indonesian market.

China accounted for $5.4 million of imported processed food.

“While our neighbors are preparing for the upcoming AEC and actively improving their competitiveness, we are still faced with classic issues such as a high interest rate, lack of infrastructure, tariff or protectionism policies and gas supplies,” he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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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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