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March 8,2013

High quality TPP needs to be concluded sooner than later, urged businesses

Business representatives from around the Asia Pacific region, gathered for the 16th round of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations currently underway in Singapore, urged negotiators to show flexibility and narrow the range of differences so that the negotiations can be brought to conclusion as soon as possible.

“It is to the businesses’ interest that the negotiation should be concluded sooner than later so that companies could benefit and help their businesses to grow. However, bearing in mind that TPP should be a high quality agreement, we don’t want to sacrifice substance for speed”, said Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Business Federation. “We welcome new parties to join the TPP but we hope that the inclusion of new participating economies would not slow down the current negotiation process”, he added.

Business organisations supporting the call to bring TPP to a substantive conclusion as soon as possible include the Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce, Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Emergency Committee for American Trade, Foreign Trade Association of Peru, National Center for APEC, New Zealand International Business Forum, Singapore Business Federation, US-ASEAN Business Council and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

These national business organisations, representing thousands of companies and millions of employees from their respective APEC economies, are putting their consolidated efforts in support the speedy conclusion of the negotiation.

“We support TPP because it can provide the framework which enables business to create the conditions for growth in the region”, said Calman Cohen, President of the Emergency Committee for American Trade. “TPP is about eliminating barriers to trade and investment, reducing the costs of doing business and enhancing the operation of regional supply chains. Addressing these issues will allow business to invest, expand and support and create jobs”.

“TPP should not be seen as an exclusive club, it is in fact meant to be a living agreement” said Alexander Feldman, President of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “While eleven economies are currently involved, we hope others in ASEAN sharing the vision of a high quality, comprehensive, and ambitious agreement will join over time, thus creating a pathway to an even wider agreement in the region”.

“The TPP will serve as an important building block for APEC’s long term vision of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific,” noted Monica Whaley, President of the U.S. National Center for APEC. “It will establish high standards for the rules that govern trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific and will solidify economic ties between countries on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.”

Asia Pacific business organisations have earlier reaffirmed their view that a successful TPP will be:

    Comprehensive – with no product exclusions and with commercially meaningful and flexible rules of origin.

    High quality – with strong standards across all main areas, from transparency, investment and government procurement to intellectual property, e-commerce and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

    Ambitious – with the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on trade in goods and services and investment no later than 2020, the deadline set for free and open trade and investment in the Bogor goals.

Innovative – with concrete new commitments on new generation and behind the border issues, including eliminating chokepoints in the operation of regional supply and value chains, fostering small and medium-sized business participation in expanding trade, facilitating regulatory coherence, and promoting and protecting innovation.

    Enforceable – with clear commitments, and strong and transparent state-to-state and investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms.
    A living agreement – open to accession by other Asia-Pacific economies, provided these economies share TPP's ambitious vision and can demonstrate their ability to accede to an agreement with the characteristics described above.

Hoang Van Dung, First Vice President of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that with the high quality and inclusive nature, the TPP should benefit all participating parties.

“The bottom line is that businesses need a comprehensive and ambitious TPP that opens up opportunities, strengthens trade rules and improves business conditions in the region just as much as the world trading system needs a 21st century trade agreement that effectively addresses behind the border issues. We urge negotiators to maintain momentum and deliver a high quality agreement as soon as possible”, said Jayson Myers, President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

Business representatives from TPP member economies joined government negotiators and other representatives of civil society at a TPP Stakeholder Event in Singapore on 8 March.


For further information:

Francisco Garcés, Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce, +562 2653 3185

Kathleen Sullivan, Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance, 613 560 0500

Jean-Michel Laurin, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, 613-668-4611

Calman J. Cohen, Emergency Committee for American Trade, 001.202.659.5147

Jessica Luna, Foreign Trade Association of Peru, 511 625 7700

Alex Parle, U.S. National Center for APEC, 206 441 9022

Fiona Cooper Clarke, New Zealand International Business Forum, +64 21 93 44 66

Martin Yuoon, Singapore Business Federation, +65 6827 6828

Kathy Santillo, US-ASEAN Business Council, +65 6339 8885

Nguyen Van Hai, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, +84 4 35742022 Ext 241.
March 7,2013

 Indigenous women from Asia and Pacific speak out about sexual violence and multiple forms of discrimination against indigenous women and girls

This week, indigenous women from throughout the Asia-Pacific region have gathered to raise their voices and present their concerns to the on-going session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.

This session of the CSW is focusing on the priority theme of violence against women and girls.

In preparation for the discussions taking place this week, indigenous women have submitted to the Commission a range of documents detailing how indigenous women experience violence against themselves and their peoples. These documents also reiterate the fact that indigenous women suffer disproportionately from a multi-fold of discrimination and oppression based on their ethnicity, race, location and economic status together with their sex.

In a statement delivered to the Commission this week, indigenous women from Asia highlighted the connection between the collective rights to lands and resources on which indigenous peoples depend, and the status of indigenous women and their vulnerability to violence.

The statement notes the impact of militarization of indigenous peoples’ lands in Bangladesh:

“occupation of indigenous peoples’ land, evictions and sexual harassments, including rape and murder of indigenous women by military and settlers continues”.

The statement also notes that this phenomenon is not restricted to a single example but can be found throughout the region:

“dispossession goes hand in hand with violence by state armed forces, settlers or the security personnel of private companies. The occupation of indigenous peoples’ land not only means forced eviction but murder and sexual harassment including rape of indigenous women”.

The women gathered in New York this week have presented to the Commission a number of recommendations to help address these issues, primarily by providing for the effective participation of indigenous women in the governance of their own communities, peoples and nations.


This statement is supported by the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI) and all the indigenous women participants in the CSW 57 and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).

For further information about indigenous women delegates from Asia-Pacific and interviews, please contact:
Anne Lasimbang at:
Shimreichon Luithui-Erni at:

Relevant resources:
• Statement and recommendations by Indigenous Women from Asia-Pacific and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation (AIPP) to CSW:

• Written Statement by the Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact Foundation (AIPP) and the Forest Peoples Programme ‘Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls: a complex phenomenon’:

About the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation (AIPP):
The Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) is a regional organisation founded in 1988 by indigenous peoples' movements and established its Secretariat in 1992. It is committed to the cause of promoting and defending indigenous peoples' rights and human rights as a whole. It aims to strengthen the movements of indigenous peoples of Asia for recognition of their collective rights, and protection of traditional knowledge, bio-diversity and environment for sustainable and self-determined development. More information:

Best regards,

Forest Peoples Programme

1c Fosseway Business Centre
Stratford Road
Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9NQ
United Kingdom

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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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