China-ASEAN Monitor: Indonesia and China to develop direct settlement between rupiah and yuan
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Indonesia, China to develop direct settlement between rupiah and yuan
(1 October 2020) China and Indonesia signed a memorandum of understanding on 1 October 2020 to develop and promote a framework of direct settlement between the rupiah and the yuan, to strengthen bilateral financial cooperation between both countries. Authorities believe this will strengthen the usage of both local currencies for the settlement of trade and investments. China is Indonesia’s largest trading partner, with more than US$73 billion worth of goods exchanged between the two countries annually. Chinese investors are also significantly involved in Indonesia, including in key infrastructure projects such as Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train project in West Java and the US$10 billion Weda Bay industrial complex in Sulawesi.
Cambodian banana exports to China could exceed 300,000 tonnes in 2020
(5 October 2020) Cambodian banana exports to China could exceed 300,000 tonnes in 2020, a substantial increase from the 130,000 tonnes which were exported in 2019, according to industry insiders. Cambodian bananas were exported to China for the first time in May 2019 which not only diversified the fruit basket of Chinese consumers but also boosted Cambodia’s banana industry. As of 5 October 2020, the number of Cambodian banana plantations approved to export to China numbered 15 with a planting area of more than 24,000 hectares, and this is expected to expand. The autumn and winter are important consumption seasons for bananas within China, with the peak around the Spring Festival.
Chinese tourists to arrive in Thailand under Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme
(7 October 2020) The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) stated that both Chinese and Scandanavian tourists will be arriving in Thailand in October 2020 under the Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme. Tourists from both countries that have complied with regulations will be arriving after the Thai government started easing regulations on 1 October. The Thai government has set quotas for tourist numbers at approximately 300 persons a week or about 1,200 per month. The TAT, however, does not want to rush the opening up of the country for foreign tourists but will follow strict disease control measures to prevent putting the country at risk of COVID-19 spreading. The arrivals of the first group of 150 Chinese tourists scheduled for 8 October could be postponed to allow officials to work on proper preparation and settle entry processes.
China to enhance cooperation with Malaysia in vaccine development and resumption of production
(1 October 2020) China will work together with Malaysia to enhance collaboration on COVID-19 vaccine development and resumption of production, said China’s outgoing ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian. He said Beijing and Kuala Lumpur will also continue the fight against the pandemic and subsequent economic recovery. According to Bai Tian, Xi Jinping had announced at the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly in May 2020 that China will make its COVID-19 vaccine a global public good, once available. The ambassador was speaking at an online reception on the occasion of the 71st Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Digital Silk Road initiative to integrate technology into culture, tourism, and industrial cooperation
(2 October 2020) The 2020 Malaysia-China Year of Culture and Tourism – Digital Silk Road campaign was launched via cloud by the China Culture & Entertainment Industry Association (CCEA). The initiative will integrate digital technology into culture, tourism and industrial cooperation to shape a “digital culture industry” that can further facilitate exchange of culture, technology and business opportunities between China and Malaysia. CCEA president Liu Jinhua said the integration between culture and tourism, together with traditional industries, through digitalisation, is creating new business opportunities to take the economy to the next level. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, 16 typical business entities belonging to the digital culture industry recorded US$76.8 billion in annual revenues with a growth rate of 15.5%.