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ASEAN Study Tour Gets Farmers, Gov’ts Talking to Each Other

Government officials and farmers’ groups from seven ASEAN countries went on a rare study tour together in Thailand to learn more about cooperatives in the country and also to get to know one another better. Mia Gomez looks at the effort to increase dialogue between farmers and ASEAN sectoral bodies in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

Building the Bloc

ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, seen as low-profile compared to his Thai predecessor, has been underrated for achievements such as strengthening the secretariat, getting the European Union to open a mission to ASEAN, and telling China its behaviour in the South China Sea has eroded ASEAN-China links, says this article in SEA Globe.

Thais Take to A New Language: Bahasa Indonesia

Indonesian has become a popular language to learn among Thais. This is a gateway to deepening intra-ASEAN linkages, a key building block for the socio-cultural pillar of the ASEAN Community. Sathapat Phaethong (@Sathapat_P) of ‘Sawasdee ASEAN’ programme reports from Bangkok and Jakarta in this TV report for the ‘Reporting ASEAN 2015 and Beyond’ media programme.

What is ASEAN?

The Philippines will be ASEAN chair when ASEAN turns 50 next year. Yet in this report by Daniel Abunales and Jake Soriano of ‘Verafiles’ for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme, listen to Filipinos say of ASEAN: “I don’t know.” “It includes the US.”

China’s ‘Water Grab’ and Its Consequences

Southeast Asia’s waters are boiling with politics, tussles involving fishing boats, South China Sea disputes and dam issues in the Mekong – on top of the steaming-hot weather these days. Thitinan Pongsudhirak analyses China’s conduct in the region in this commentary in the ‘Bangkok Post’.

CAMBODIA: Taking the Fishiness Out of A Favourite Food

Industry standards have been drawn up for prahok, the Khmer fermented fish paste, as the Cambodian government seeks to protect consumers and boost exports. Cheng Sokhorng of The Phnom Penh Post takes a look at what this means for producers and customers in her story for the ‘Making AEC Work’ series, ‘Reporting ASEAN:2015 and Beyond’ programme.

In Burma, A Fine Line Between CSR and Karmic Cash

What constitutes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? That’s the question on everyone’s lips in Burma, where the term is being interpreted differently by businesses. Kyaw Hsu Mon of ‘The Irrawaddy’ reports for the ‘CSR in the ASEAN Community’, Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond programme.

CAMBODIA: The Root of the Problem

Exporting cassava to Thailand has never been tougher for Cambodian farmers, who say Thai authorities are erecting non-tariff barriers as a protectionist measure. Does the ASEAN Economic Community’s vision of free trade work in reality? Sor Chandara of the ‘Phnom Penh Post’ reports for the ‘Making AEC Work’ series, ‘Reporting ASEAN:2015 and Beyond’ programme.

How Do MNCs See the ASEAN Economic Community?

With the freer movement of labour, capital, investment and goods across Southeast Asia, multinational corporations (MNCs) look set to benefit from deeper economic integration under the ASEAN Economic Community. Industry leaders weigh in with their expectations of what the AEC means for their organisations and ideas on how to speed up the integration process in this article from ASEAN UP.

Freer Movement of Skilled Workers: Pitfalls, Positives for ASEAN

Will the greater skills mobility under the ASEAN Community be is an inclusive type of economic integration, and contribute to a reduction in income or wealth inequality? The Asian Development Bank’s Shang Wei Lin tackles the issue in this article in’ The Nation’.

ASEAN Chair A Potential Coming of Age for Laos

Vientiane takes centre stage this year, as ASEAN chair. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is also becoming a magnet for competing powers, but some analysts say it is a potential coming of age for the relatively isolated country, says this article from The Straits Times.

CSR in the Philippines: ‘Everybody Happy’

Giving back to the community. Being an inclusive business. A business that makes partners out of its suppliers and the communities around it.  These are some of the ways Philippine businesses define corporate social responsibility (CSR), a habit that is acquiring more relevance against the backdrop of ASEAN integration.

How ASEAN are Filipinos?

Separated from mainland South-east by vast oceans, the Philippines is often seen as more interested in the West than in its own neighbours. Will the ASEAN mindset grow in the Filipino psyche now that the ASEAN Community has been launched?

INDONESIA: Controls on Agricultural Imports Protect Whom?

Indonesia controls – through reference pricing – the imports of products like shallots. It’s meant to protect local producers, but there often isn’t enough supply and consumers find the prices of this basic kitchen spice high. What’s the balance between a barrier to trade and a protection tool for domestic interests? Kanis Dursin reports for the ‘Making AEC Work’ series, part of the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ media programme.

THAILAND: Firm on Protecting the Palm Oil Sector

The third largest producer of palm oil in the world, Thailand is facing domestic and international challenges in its management of the prized crop. Although oversupply, high costs and lack of competitiveness in terms of pricing are ongoing concerns, the country is adamant about protecting the sector, as Kornchanok Raksaseri of ‘Econ News’ finds out in this ‘Making AEC Work’ story, part of the ‘Reporting ASEAN:2015 and Beyond’ programme.

THAILAND AND BURMA: Set Sights on Boosting Bilateral Trade

Boosting bilateral trade volumes to reach $10-12 billion in 2017 will be a key concern for Thailand and Myanmar. To achieve the target, the two neighbours will need to combat smuggling and ease certain restrictions, explains Kyaw Hsu Mon of ‘The Irrawaddy’ in her story for the ‘Making AEC Work’ series, ‘Reporting ASEAN:2015 and Beyond’ programme.

THAILAND: Unified Halal Standard Still A Big Issue in ASEAN

Thailand is a major exporter of halal products, but hasn’t found it easy to export to Indonesia, home to the biggest Muslim population and thus the biggest consumer base for halal products. Thai officials propose that ASEAN pushes for a unified halal standard, but this does not seem likely anytime soon,  explains Sathapat Phaethong (@Sathapat_P) of ‘Sawasdee ASEAN’ in this video report for the ‘Making AEC Work’ series, part of the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ media programme.

BURMA: Illegal Timber Trade Still Bedevils in ‘Balding’ Burma

Deforestation is a key concern in Myanmar, where total forest cover has reduced by a third in the last 15 years. The thriving illegal timber trade is to blame, explains Kyaw Hsu Mon of ‘The Irrawaddy’ in her story for the ‘Making AEC Work’ series, ‘Reporting ASEAN:2015 and Beyond’ programme.

Business Tries to Cut Through the Haze

As this year’s haze episode affects Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand, businesses are trying to look beyond governments to address this recurring problem – by using market and consumer tools. Candida Ng reports.

 

 

Sharpening Weapons Vs Corruption in ASEAN

Experts discuss a mix of weapons with which to fight corruption and bribery in the world of business and government, all to encourage responsible, ethical business as norms of doing business in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Diana Mendoza reports.

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