Jan. 29 – China’s largest bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) became the first mainland bank to be given a banking permit in Vietnam since 1995.
ICBC opened its Hanoi branch with the aim of linking businesses in China, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. Trade between China and Vietnam is anticipated to grow after the implementation of China’s new free trade pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries this year. Continue reading
Jan. 29 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, and South Korea will be able to draw from a foreign exchange reserves pool worth US$120 billion when the Chiang Mai Initiative is finally launched on March 24.
The initiative is a reaction to the effects of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis on the region and will allow member countries to tap into a network of currency swap transactions to help manage balance of payments and short-term liquidity problems as well as supplement other international financial arrangements. Continue reading
Jan. 28 – European Union and Indian negotiators gathered in New Delhi for a three day meeting to expedite efforts to finalize a free trade deal by the end of the year.
India and the EU regional bloc have been in talks over a deal for three years but negotiations have been hampered. For one, the European Union wants issues on global warming, intellectual property rights and child-labor policies factored in the talks which India has opposed saying they were extraneous non-trade issues. Continue reading
Jan. 28 – A Chinese pharmaceutical firm plans to enter the European Union market via Sweden once a regulation on herbal drugs is implemented in 2011.
Lanzhou-based Foci Pharmaceuticals produces Chinese herbal medicine already sold to 27 countries around the world including the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. It is China’s largest exporter of herbal products by volume. Continue reading
Jan. 27 – India wants to prioritize negotiations for the trade services component of its Free Trade Agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The services agreement will allow more qualified Indian professionals to travel and work in Southeast Asia after a FTA in goods with the regional bloc was implemented this month. India wants to gain more market access for its IT, information technology-enabled service, health and education services in the ASEAN region- a market which imported more than US$180 billion worth of services in 2008. Continue reading
Jan. 27 – Richard Hoffmann of the Beijing office of Dezan Shira & Associates explains the pricing differences between Seoul and Beijing in this Korean TV clip broadcast last Friday.
[media id=1 width=550 height=331]
The Asia Comparator
Jan. 27 – Athens denied reports that it planned to offer Beijing a US$35 billion government bond sale as a way to pay for its increasing public debt.
Greek’s Finance Ministry said in a statement:”The figures reported are not true.” An earlier report claimed that investment bank Goldman Sachs approached the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, the agency managing China’s US$2.4 trillion foreign exchange reserves, about a possible purchase although Beijing rejected the offer. Continue reading