China-ASEAN Monitor

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Economy, Investment and Trade


ASEAN was China’s second-largest trade partner in 1H 2019
(21 July 2019) China-ASEAN trade grew 10.5% in the first half of the year totalling US$288 billion, while China-US trade fell 9% to US$254 billion, according to Chinese government trade data. ASEAN became China’s second-largest trade partner in the first half of 2019, overtaking the US for the first time since 1997. The growing trade ties between China and ASEAN has bode well for the Southeast Asian countries and will only continue to boost the global economy, said Thai banker Wichai Kinchong Choi in an interview with Xinhua. According to him, the Chinese market has become ever more important to ASEAN over the years and vice versa.
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Myanmar records 150% increase in FDI inflows from China and Hong Kong in 1H2019
(18 July 2019) Myanmar recorded a 79% year-on-year increase in FDI inflows in the first half of 2019 totalling US$2.35 billion, led by a 150% increase in inflows from mainland China and Hong Kong totalling US$590 million, according to the Myanmar Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). Chinese and Hong Kong finance accounted for 84 of the 134 newly approved investments during the period. FDI from Singapore, where many international companies base their regional operations, grew nearly three times to reach US$1.3 billion during the period. The ongoing US-China trade war also appears to have contributed to the surge in Myanmar’s FDI, as manufacturers from China and other countries — primarily in the garment industry — shifted their production base to Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar.
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Myanmar-China border economic zone in Kanpaiktee in the pipeline
(17 July 2019) Plans are underway to develop an economic zone on the Myanmar-China border in Kanpaiktee, deputy commerce minister Aung Htoo said. According to him, the economic zone is expected to widen bilateral trade cooperation and boost border trade between China and Myanmar, such as through the development of schemes to promote investment in Myanmar’s industries and tourism sectors. Myanmar commerce minister Dr Than Myint, for his part, said that the Kanpaiktee project is one of three Myanmar-China joint economic zones that will be constructed, with the other two being zones in Muse and Chin Shwe Haw.
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China to impose anti-dumping tax on stainless steel from Indonesia
(22 July 2019) China announced that it will impose anti-dumping tariffs effective July 23 on certain types of stainless steel product imports from Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and the EU. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the decision to impose anti-dumping duties ranging from 18.1% to 103.1% was made following investigations that found that dumping activity by certain parties had caused substantial damage to the local Chinese industry. These duties will be applied to stainless steel billets and hot-rolled stainless steel plates, both of which are commonly used as raw material to produce cold-rolled stainless steel products or in shipbuilding, containers, rail, power and other industries.
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Malaysia ready to talk to China regarding recent seizure of pipeline project funds
(18 July 2019) Malaysia is open to holding discussions with the Chinese government regarding its recent seizure of US$242.85 million from state-owned China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Ltd (CPP)’s bank account, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. According to the premier, the decision to order HSBC Bank Malaysia to transfer the funds from CPP’s bank account to the Malaysian government comes nearly a year following the Mahathir administration’s decision to suspend two gas pipeline projects worth US$2.3 billion which were originally awarded to CPP. Mahathir also said that the Malaysian government was entitled to reclaim the funds since only 13% of the work had been completed, while 80% of the total project cost had been paid.
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