China-ASEAN Monitor

Hong Kong Scenery

Photo Credit: Xinhua

Economy, Investment and Trade

Hong Kong important for facilitating businesses between ASEAN and China
(28 June 2017) Hong Kong plays an important role for facilitating business cooperation between ASEAN and China. Deputy Chairwoman of Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Shinta Widjaja Kamdani said that peaceful relations between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland has helped ASEAN countries export their products to China. This has also led to ASEAN being Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner. According to Hong Kong’s trade and industry department, the total trade between Hong Kong and ASEAN reached US$105.5 billion in 2015.
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Thai Development Board approves rail project
(30 June 2017) The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has given approval to build the first phase of a high speed railway from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchima to ensure connection of local routes with the Belt and Road Initiative. NESDB secretary-general Paramethi Wimonsiri said they will present the Thai-Chinese proposal which is worth approximately US$5.3 billion to the cabinet. The NESDB considered the train project from all aspects including its compatibility with national strategy, the expected financial return, its technical suitability and overall value. He added that Thailand would lose the opportunity to be a regional transport hub and draw investments if the project is not approved.
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SCCCI signs agreement with Bank of China for business to enter China’s markets
(3 July 2017) The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) and the Bank of China signed an agreement during the Singapore China Business Forum to assist Singapore businesses to enter China’s market. SCCCI president Ronald Ng said the Bank of China will provide credit services to SCCCI members over the next three years. This will lead to an increase in Chinese enterprises entering Southeast Asian markets as well. Ng added the Chongqing city is a key link in the Belt and Road Initiative and that SCCCI is sending delegates from about 30 companies to the city to scout out investment opportunities.
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Bank of China establishes bond division in Singapore
(5 July 2017) Bank of China has established a bond division at its branch in Singapore which aims to facilitate debt financing to prepare for greater funding demands for infrastructure projects related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The hub acts as a link between the two countries including helping Chinese companies issue bonds in the Singaporean Market as well as sell bonds to Chinese investors. Singapore is a key route in the Belt and Road Initiative as it is the center of the Southeast Asian financial markets and also a stop on the Maritime Silk Road. As a funding channel for infrastructure projects, Singapore can now handle bonds and conventional joint lending more easily.
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Foreign Affairs

China and Philippines enter “golden period”
(29 June 2017) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed the relationship between China and the Philippines has reached the “golden period of fast development” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. Wang also encouraged trade growth and efforts to settle disputes in the South China Sea. Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte plans to collaborate with China for its business and investment to avoid dispute over maritime sovereignty. Despite being criticised by Filipinos for being lenient with China over the long running territorial dispute, he sees his approach as pragmatic and believes that challenging China risks starting a war. In less than six months, both countries have inked 22 cooperation agreements which have led to China emerging as one of Philippines’ biggest trading partners.
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