China-ASEAN Monitor

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Photo Credit: Reuters


Economy, Investment and Trade

Malaysia is trying to rearrange East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) terms
(27 May 2018) According to Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Malaysian government will renegotiate the terms of the ECRL agreement, which is worth US$14 billion (RM55.8 billion) with China as Malaysia’s debts might possibly lower by US$50 billion (RM199 billion) through the abolishment of mega project. ECRL is one of the largest construction projects in Malaysia and is a crucial part of Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure push. The project is being constructed by China Communications Construction Co Ltd and financed by a loan from China Exim Bank. However, it is now being reevaluated as the current priority of the Malaysian government is to reduce its national debt of US$251.32 billion (RM1 trillion), at 80% of the country’s GDP. The government has announced its intention to drop the high-speed rail (HSR) project with Singapore, which is worth US$17 billion (RM67.8 billion).
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Chinese deputation seeks investment opportunities in Philippines
(28 May 2018) A delegation from the All-China Federation of Commerce and Industry (ACFCI) has met Finance Secretary of the Philippines recently in seeking cooperation and investment opportunities in Philippines. ACFCI is a civil organization comprising of 44,000 local-level business chambers or organizations with 47 million of members, engaging with Chinese private entrepreneurs. The organisation accounts for 60% of GDP and 50% of tax revenues in China as well as 70% and 80% towards technological and product innovation and job opportunities in China respectively. ACFCI was impressed by Philippines’ economic development and believed that Chinese investment would further boost the country’s economic development by providing more job opportunities and incomes for Filipinos. Philippines’s DOF gave positive responses and are willing to connect ACFCI with Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) for further discussion regarding business collaboration and the opportunities in the country.
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Cavite earns China’s support to build a US$10 billion airport in Sangley Point
(28 May 2018) The province of Cavite in the Philippines has gained full support from China under the One Belt, One Road initiative for the proposal to build a US$10 billion airport in Sangley Point. The Sangley International Airport project aims to expand the former United States naval station into a modern gateway that can be an alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The project is crucial in reducing traffic and lowering the burden of NAIA, which has a maximum design capacity of 35 million passengers. The project will also reduce traffic in Metro Manila as the new road projects are connected to Sangley. Development of first runway in Sangley Airport will be able to accommodate 25 million passengers yearly with a capex of US$3.8 billion (199 billion pesos), and expected to operate the earliest in 2022 whereas the second runway with a capex of US$5.5 billion (289 billion pesos) is expected to accommodate 75 million passengers annually. This government-to-government proposal has been handed to the Department of Transportation.
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Rising tra fish exports from Vietnam to China in the first four months of 2018
(25 May 2018) Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) stated that China has became Vietnam’s largest tra fish or also known as Pangasius, importer in the first four months of 2018, with a rise of 34% on-year, which is worth US$145 million (3.3 trillion dong). Vietnam is currently occupied 21% of the fishery industry’s total export value and the third largest white fish provider for China. Vietnam’s tra fish output reached 1.2 million tons, which is an increase of 5.1% in 2017 whereas its export turnovers almost reached US$1.8 billion (41 trillion) with a rise of 4.3% in 2017, expecting to perform better in second quarter of 2018. However, the market deteriorated since the implementation of high anti-dumping and technical barriers by United States and the European Union recently. Vietnam aims to occupy 31.5% of the total export value in the fishery industry by achieving a turnover of US$ 2.2 billion (50 trillion) in 2018.
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Foreign Affairs

Medical team from China helps rural communities in Cambodia
(23 May 2018) A total of thirteen doctors, nurses and health specialists who are specialised in cardiology, ophthalmology and infectious diseases from seven hospitals in southwest Yunnan Province of China are sent to Cambodia to assist the rural communities in the country. Ma Linkun, the deputy dean of the Yunnan Fuwai Cardiovascular Diseases Hospital and head of the medical team stated that they will visit three states in Cambodia for almost 20 days. He also said the team is formed from the collaboration between Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce and the Yunnan Fuwai Cardiovascular Diseases Hospital. Prior to this, China also supplied 20 mobile clinics to Cambodia to give on-the-spot primary care for patients who live in rural communities.
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