Malaysia proffers Korea commerce during high-level trade trip

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Along with Malaysian Ambassador Dato’ Rohana Ramli, the country’s minister of international trade and industry, Mustapa Mohamed, directed three seminars on “Business Opportunities in Malaysia” in late September in Seoul and in similar meetings in Tokyo from Oct. 1-2.

The seminars were aimed at updating the South Korean business community on current economic developments in Malaysia, and highlighting new opportunities offered by Malaysia, particularly for investment and trade in the manufacturing and services sectors. Malaysia has maintained annual average GDP growth of around 5 percent over the past three years.

A platoon of 47 executives and trade experts accompanied the minister in Seoul, representing a slew of economic sectors that the Southeast Asian country is promoting here, such as green technology, high-tech businesses, biotechnology, advanced electronics and automobiles.

More than 350 local executives, scholars and trade experts participated in the seminars.

In his capacity as chairman of the seminar, Ahn Choong-yong, professor of economics at ChungAng University, delivered the opening message followed by a keynote address by the Malaysian trade minister.

IMF CEO as a Pastor
Listening to the IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, speaking to journalists at the  concluding aspects of the meetings, one could  not but liken her message to what a pastor would tell  his congregation.  A church is supposed to be a place of providing succour to all manner of people: the highly indebted; people with failed marriages; people who are lost to addictions and all manner of miscreants. The role of the pastor is to give them message of hope which if allowed to sink can ultimately sanctify those bad individuals and turn them into men and women of envy. The reality however is that the pastor can only dish out tips, how the message he preaches  transforms is left to the individual members of the congregation. While some can stay on indefinitely without witnessing any change, others who put into practice what the pastor is teaching may become whole and functioning normally.


WTO Director-General spoke in Washington D.C., Oct. 1 2012

Source: WTO Website

On October 1, 2012 in Washington D.C.,  WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy gave a speech at Brookings Institutes about the future of trade.  In his speech, he mentioned about new trading powers – China, Brazil, India, Mexico and Malaysia as the drives of global export growth. Nature of trade has changed because of the increasing integration of production of products.

“For centuries, the mercantilist approach of single country product was a driving force in trade policy”, Lamy said, and has still been a heated argument about whether exports were good and imports bad.  It is now very hard to disintegrate the goods and services since nearly 60% of the merchandise trade happened in components.  Such changes in the nature of trade from single manufacturing sites to global value-chain productions has urged for re-thinking of our trade calculation. According to Lamy, “if the measure of trade was in value-added rather than gross statistical terms, bilateral trade balances would look very different” – WTO economists believe that China’s $295 billion trade surplus with the U.S. would be reduced by nearly half.

On the other hand, Lamy also suggested that tariffs and other trade regulations can have profound impact in trade.  He points out that an “open” conversation on international trade should be facilitated given the changing environment.

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Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) Negotiation

The 14th Trans-Pacific Partnership has taken place in Leesburg, Virginia, on September 6th – 15th. Leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam have gathered there to deepen comprehensive market access, regional agreement, cross-cutting trade issues, and new trade issues.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) has been engaged in high-standard economic integration process with comprehensive duty-free access to members’ markets and new trade and investment rules.  Currently with nine team members, the Partnership has drawn strong attention and interests from other countries in Asia and Pacific region, in particular, Mexico and Canada.  The Partnership Negotiation has also actively attempted to address new issues in the trade arena, such as information technology, green growth and new technologies. TTP derived from Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement in 2007 with four members originally.

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