July 22, 2019
Latest News

ASEAN leaders oppose protectionism amid US-China trade war

By Noel Caballero

Bangkok, Jun 23 (efe-epa).- The summit of Association of Southeast Asian Nations concluded on Sunday in Bangkok, with leaders making progress on environmental and security matters amid a trade war between the United States and China.

Representatives from Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam attended the 34th summit of the bloc in the capital of Thailand, which concluded on Sunday.

"We remained concerned over the unabating tide of protectionism and antiglobalization sentiments that continue to plague the global economy and put the multilateral trading system under threat," a joint statement said.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who presided over the meeting, pointed out the urgency to conclude, before the end of the year, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega-free trade treaty with other six partners which would create the biggest economic alliance in the world.

"The summit has helped to reiterate the importance of strengthening the region's economy... in times of uncertainty and trade tensions among the most important ASEAN partners," he said in his closing speech.

The RCEP - which seeks to bring together almost 40 percent of world's GDP - began to be negotiated in 2012, promoted by China as an alternative to the multilateral agreements favored by the US, before the arrival of President Donald Trump in the White House with his protectionist policy.

In addition to China and ASEAN members, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand are participating in RCEP negotiations, which aims to create a joint market for 3.4 billion people.

"The US and China must both take the high road and resolve their differences before the situation spirals out of control. And we in ASEAN must strengthen our support for a rules-based and open multilateral trading system," the Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, said during the ASEAN leaders' event.

One of the advances of the summit was the so-called "Bangkok Declaration" which aims to fight garbage dumping in the seas, although it failed to detail the mechanisms to reach this goal.

Four ASEAN members, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, are considered, along with China, to be responsible for half of the plastic pollution in the world's oceans.

The countries also agreed to strengthen the fight against illegal trafficking of wild animals, in a region with a rich biodiversity of animals and plants, and move towards a "green economy" and job opportunities that promote sustainability.

Political leaders also discussed the Rohingya crisis, which was started in 2017 with a Myanmar army operation in the west of the country that has caused some 728,000 members of the ethnic minority to flee their homes into neighboring Bangladesh.

The ASEAN chairman's final statement urged Myanmar authorities to "facilitate the voluntary return of displaced persons in a safe, secure and dignified manner," but without citing the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group that has been subjected to discrimination for years.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah asked his counterparts to bring justice to those responsible for the crisis, which UN representatives described as "ethnic cleansing with genocide signs."

The summit's final statement added: "We expect that the independent commission of inquiry established by the government of Myanmar would seek accountability by carrying out an independent and impartial investigation into alleged human rights violations and related issues."

As for security matters, ASEAN leaders reiterated their commitment to fight against cross-border crime and to progress, before the end of the year, in the presentation of the first draft of the "Code of Conduct" over the South China Sea, an area where there are territorial claims by Brunei, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Manila announced on Saturday that it accepts the proposal of Beijing to jointly investigate the accident between fishermen of both countries that occurred in disputed waters in June, after Vietnam, one of the countries that have criticized the position of China, published an alleged video of the incident.

ASEAN also announced its intention to present a joint bid to organize the 2034 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. EFE-EPA


News history
British Airways suspends all flights to Cairo, citing security concerns

London, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- British Airways said Saturday that it has suspended all flights to Egypt's capital for seven days, citing unspecified security...

Kenya inaugurates Africa's largest wind farm

Loiyangalani, Kenya, Jul 19 (efe-epa).-Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday inaugurated Africa's largest wind farm, a 310-MW power station located in a...

Japan, South Korea trade fresh barbs over export curbs

Seoul, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- South Korea on Friday said Japan’s curbs on exports of high-tech materials critical for manufacturing of memory chips was in...

Trump nominates Eugene Scalia to replace scandal-ridden labor secretary

Washington DC, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Thursday nominated a right-wing corporate lawyer to be the new secretary of labor...

Microsoft's cloud business drives record sales

By Asa Fitch and Dan Gallagher

China reaffirms zero tolerance to corruption in New Silk Roads initiative

Beijing, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- China’s top anti-graft watchdog on Thursday reaffirmed its pledge of zero tolerance to corrupt practices in the country’s...

KLM diktat to cover up while breastfeeding in flights causes global outrage

The Hague, Netherlands, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- Dutch airline KLM is facing a storm of criticism for asking mothers to cover up while breastfeeding their babies...

Australian MasterChef star fined for underpaying his employees

Sydney, Australia, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- A high-profile chef who serves as a judge on the Australian version of the popular television show MasterChef and is...

Japan's trade surplus fell by 19 percent in June

Tokyo, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- Japan recorded a trade surplus of 589.5 billion yen ($5.5 billion) in June, a figure that is 19 percent lower than the one...

US-China trade war threatens economic growth in LatAm

Guayaquil, Ecuador, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- The already flagging economies of Latin America could be hurt by the ongoing trade war between the United States and...

Japan's curbs can damage global tech industry, South Korea says

Seoul, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- South Korea on Wednesday said Japan’s curbs on exports of high-tech materials critical for manufacturing of memory chips could...

Amazon faces EU antitrust probe for third-party retailer data use

Brussels, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- The European Commission on Wednesday opened a formal investigation into US tech giant Amazon to see whether its use of...

Paraguay taxi drivers again at war with Uber

Asuncion, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of taxi drivers suspended their service this Tuesday to again drive through the streets of Asuncion with a long...

Mercosur seeks to build on EU trade deal with new agreements

Santa Fe, Argentina, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- South American economic bloc Mercosur is seeking to build on a trade agreement reached with the European Union and...

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

Washington DC, USA, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- Social media behemoth Facebook will not offer its Libra cryptocurrency services until it had been proven to meet the...

737 MAX woes hobble budget carrier Ryanair

By Oliver Griffin

Energy company says faulty cable was behind power outage in New York

New York City, USA, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- United States energy company Con Edison, which is responsible for the power outage that affected over 73,000...

Mercosur looking to expedite enactment of pact with EU

Santa Fe, Argentina, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Officials from Mercosur member-states Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay said here Monday that they will urge...

Billionaire Buffett's real estate unit joins forces with Spain's LARVIA

New York, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the real estate unit of billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. conglomerate,...

Trump says tariffs taking a toll on China's economy

Washington, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Monday that the tariffs imposed by his administration were taking a toll on China's economy,...

Huawei plans layoffs in US as blacklisting takes a toll

By Dan Strumpf

South Korea, Israel to push for early FTA deal

Seoul, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- The leaders of South Korea and Israel on Monday agreed to accelerate negotiations to reach a free trade agreement.

China's GDP grew 6.3 percent in 1st half of 2019, 27-year low in 2nd quarter

Beijing, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- China's gross domestic product grew by 6.3 percent during the first half of 2019, 0.5 percentage points less than in the same...

Former FARC rebels turn to coffee growing in Colombia

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.