Photo Credit: South China Morning Post
Economy, Investment and Trade
China and Philippines to jointly explore oil and gas in South China Sea
(28 September 2017) The Philippines Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, speaking at a media briefing after a meeting in Manila with other energy ministers from Southeast Asia, said that the country was pursuing a long-delayed oil and gas exploration project with Chinese state-owned entity CNOOC Ltd and a Canada-listed company in an area near disputed waters in the South China Sea. CNOOC has a 51 percent interest in the project, with Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corp keeping a 28 percent stake while Jadestone, formerly Mitra Energy Ltd, has 21 percent.
China targets Indonesia auto market with US collaboration
(30 September 2017) A joint venture between China’s SAIC Motor and General Motors is making a bid to challenge Japanese carmakers’ dominance in the Indonesian automotive market. The joint venture is focusing on 7-seater minivans to compete on price, quality and features with the likes of Toyota’s Avanza model. SAIC-GM minivans have reportedly been developed through meticulous efforts to study the competitive advantages of Japanese cars, which combined control over 90% of the market.
China’s Sinopec enters Singapore’s petrol station market
(1 October 2017) Chinese oil giant Sinopec is slowly entering the Singapore petrol station business, successfully outbidding the incumbents for two sites recently. Observers said this could lead to more competitive petrol prices for consumers. Industry watchers said it might be more “a political move” than a purely commercial one, when asked why a huge company was keen on a small, and shrinking, petrol station market.
Thailand keen to amend new FTA with China
(2 October 2017) Thailand Prime Minister’s Office Vice-Minister Kobsak Phutrakul will chair a meeting to review the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Thailand and China. Thailand is seeking a review of the FTA as the 0% import duty for electric vehicles (EV) as it would impact the country’s ability to attract foreign EV manufacturers. Currently, EVs from China are subject to a 20% import duty but once the FTA takes effect, the rate will be 0%. This is due to the fact that talks on the FTA began in 2003-04, and at that point EVs fell into the categories of “others”.
China, Vietnam warm ties ahead of APEC Summit
(2 October 2017) Recently, China and Vietnam have had a more conciliatory tone. At a meeting to discuss border defence issues – held on the border between China’s Yunnan province and Vietnam’s Lai Chau province – Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, told Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich that the two nations should seek to “strengthen mutual trust and deepen communication”. However, observers have said that the situation between the two communist neighbours is still far from settled as Hanoi seeks to balance its relationships with both Beijing and Washington due to its strategic location in Asia.