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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     14-15 November  2011

TPP Push: Clinton’s visit to Asean: Philippines and Thailand

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is visiting the Philippines on 15 November 2011 to initiate the Obama administration’s Partnership for Growth (PFG) program for devising measures to facilitate trade and investments in conflict, poverty and graft stricken countries such as Tanzania, El Salvador and Ghana. She will visit Thailand on 17 November.

Clinton’s one-day visit will also highlight the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty and pave the way for new strategies to ensure peace and stability in the region particularly in the disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea where Chinese military intrusions have been increasing of late.

The PFG launching comes amid the Philippines’ efforts to strengthen measures to implement economic reforms and improve trade policies, in order to qualify for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that facilitates trade and investments between the US and four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Brunei.

With the PFG program, the US government seeks to coordinate programs across multiple agencies in order to improve development outcomes and provide a more transparent mechanism to facilitate business investment.

Clinton’s Philippine counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, will hold a bilateral meeting with her on Tuesday. He said her visit comes as a part of the administration of President Barack Obama’s thrust “to reaffirm and broaden alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific."

“Her visit underlines the enduring alliance and responsive strategic partnership between the Philippines and US, and is the latest concrete manifestation of US action and reengagement in the most dynamic region in the world – the Asia-Pacific," del Rosario said.

“The strategic partnership between the two countries also focuses on seizing opportunities for their mutual objective of growing their economies which is manifested in their cooperation under the Partnership for Growth (PFG)," he added.

Del Rosario noted that the Obama administration’s PFG is a new initiative that could unlock the Philippine potential for broad-based and sustained economic growth.

The Foreign Affairs secretary pointed out that out of only four countries chosen by the US to participate in this new type of engagement for development, “the Philippines was chosen due to its solid track record in economic performance, democratic governance, investment in its people and success on other US government investments."

Clinton is also meeting with Philippines Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin to discuss how the nations can bring their alliance to a higher level in 2012

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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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