AEC can work well with China’s Belt and Road initiative

ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) can work well with China’s Belt and Road initiative, as the two complement each other in enhancing regional and world prosperity and harmony, a Malaysian expert has said.
Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Singapore Nanyang Technological University, made the comments during a recent interview with Xinhua.
Oh said ASEAN is scheduled to launch the AEC during the Kuala Lumpur summit this month, adding that the economic pillar of ASEAN Community is the area where ASEAN thus far has been progressing fastest.
He said AEC, comprised primarily of consolidating the existing bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements among ASEAN members, is relatively easier to handle compared with the much more challenging Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, in which some ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei are participating.
“According to at least one estimate, ASEAN countries have reached agreements on more than 95 percent of free trade items,” Oh said.
Believing AEC to be the first step toward an eventual ASEAN Community consisting of not only economic but also political security and socio-cultural aspects, Oh added that the opportunities associated with AEC are wide ranging.
“The removal or reduction of tariffs among ASEAN countries over goods will almost certainly improve trade among ASEAN members, at a time when internal ASEAN trade is only one-third of external ASEAN trade volume,” he said.
He added that a single ASEAN market and production base will also become an even more attractive foreign direct investment destination, and help better integrate ASEAN economy with the global economy.
While seeing the enormous opportunities made by the AEC, Oh didn’t underestimate the challenges lying ahead.
“The main challenge for AEC remains the unequal development needs among ASEAN members, with the CMLV (Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam) countries requiring special assistance to catch up with the rest of ASEAN,” he said.
Regarding these opportunities and challenges, Oh said that the Belt and Road initiative proposed by China could make unique contribution to the building of ASEAN Community, while the AEC would also help the implementation of China’s proposal.
He said AEC can align well with the Belt and Road initiative in at least two aspects.
First, Oh said, it enables China to engage even more closely and easily with its closest neighbors as a whole when China carries out the Belt and Road initiative.
AEC would need large amounts of connectivity in land, on sea and in air to succeed, and the Belt and Road initiative can complement these efforts, he added.
Second, AEC as a whole can become a super hub for the Belt and Road initiative as China attempts to engage with countries as far as South Asia, the Middle East and East Africa, he said.
Most ASEAN countries are culturally diverse and used to handling trade and business in multicultural settings, so AEC can be of tremendous value to the Belt and Road initiative as the latter ventures afar.
With sufficient logistic capability with the help of China, AEC can also facilitate the Belt and Road initiative’s physical movements of goods and services, Oh said.Media agencies

Volkswagen India expands its exports to Argentina;

Volkswagen India expands its exports to Argentina;
‘Made-in-India’ Volkswagen launched in the South American market

  • ‘Made-in-India’ Vento arrives in the Volkswagen showrooms in Argentina, where it will be sold as the ‘Polo’
  • Volkswagen India strengthens its export business with the entry into the important South American market
  • Dr. Andreas Lauermann, President and Managing Director, Volkswagen India Private Limited, commented: “We continue our endeavour to deliver top notch products to the global market from our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Pune, India.”

Pune, November 18, 2015 – Volkswagen Argentina has launched the ‘Made-in-India’ Vento on 10th November 2015 where it will be sold as the ‘Polo’. Manufactured at Volkswagen Pune Plant, the Indian made car’s entry in the South American market marks yet another major milestone for the company in its export business. This export milestone underlines Volkswagen India’s commitment towards producing top-notch quality for global markets.

Volkswagen Argentina showcased the ‘Made-in-India’ Volkswagen for the first time at the Buenos Aires Motorshow in June 2015. The visitors at the show immediately appreciated the car for its ever-green design and top-notch build quality. Volkswagen Argentina will sell the car built at Pune Plant as the Polo with a 1.6-litre MPI petrol engine with five-speed manual as well as 6-speed automatic gearbox. The car will be made available with 105 PS peak power in the South American Market.

Dr. Andreas Lauermann, President & Managing Director, Volkswagen India Private Limited, commented: “Volkswagen India builds highest quality cars at its Pune Plant. We have been exporting to numerous markets across the continents of Asia, Africa and North America. By entering Argentina, we not only now continue our endeavour to deliver top notch products around the world, but also establish ourselves in a new region and a market which has a strong Volkswagen presence.”

Volkswagen has been the market leader in Argentina for 12 consecutive years. With a market share of almost 22%, Volkswagen has a strong presence and offers a wide range of products in Argentina. The Volkswagen Vento, which is being exported from India, will be sold as Volkswagen Polo in Argentina and is expected to attract a lot of customers owing to its sedan shape which is a popular segment in the market.

Volkswagen India started exporting cars from its Pune Plant in 2011 with the first export market being South Africa. Since then, the export operations of Volkswagen India have expanded to over 35 countries across four continents of Asia, Africa, North America and South America. The range of cars being exported includes left-hand drive as well as right-hand drive cars. Additionally, Volkswagen India also exports parts and components of its cars to Malaysia which are assembled there for the Malaysian domestic market. Volkswagen Pune Plant has produced over 156,000 cars for export till date.

ISIS claimed it has killed a Norwegian and a Chinese captive

Naresh Kumar Sagar
China vows to bring ISIS to justice as Chinese hostage confirmed killed.Russia shifts position on Syria to forge French alliance.Russian warships are to cooperate with the French aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle in the Mediterranean Sea, a decision that demonstrates a clear rapprochement between Paris and Moscow, who until now have been at odds over the Syrian conflict.Putin ordered his Mediterranean warships on Tuesday to make “direct contact” with the French aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle, which left the port of Toulon, southern France, on Wednesday.
During a meeting devoted to military operations in Syria, President Putin told the head of the Russian Army that it was “imperative” to work with the French navy “as allies”.
Israel has arrested six Palestinian citizens of Israel over an alleged plan to travel to Syria to join Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) in a case sparked by a man’s paraglider journey, AFP reported. All in their 20s and from Jaljulia north of Tel Aviv, they were charged with “collaborating with hostile foreign forces and planning to travel to Syria illegally to join the ranks of the IS,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Wednesday. The case dated back to October 24, when 23-year-old Nidal Hamad Salah from Jaljulia entered Syria illegally on a paraglider from the occupied Golan Heights. The Shin Bet security services found six other people were intending to enter Syria, either by paragliding or through Turkey, according to police.
Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed it has killed a Norwegian and a Chinese captive after demanding ransoms for their release two months ago, AP said. The latest issue of the extremist group’s English-language magazine on Wednesday contained a page that appeared to show the bodies of the two captives. The group earlier identified the Norwegian man as Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, 48, from Oslo, and the Chinese man as Fan Jinghui, 50, a freelance consultant from Beijing. The militants did not say when or where the two were captured.Media agencies

Magnitude 7 earthquake hits Solomon Islands


Preliminary Earthquake Report
  • 18 Nov 2015 18:31:04 UTC
  • 19 Nov 2015 05:31:04 near epicenter
  • 18 Nov 2015 22:31:04 standard time in your timezone
Location8.946S 158.421E
Depth10 km
  • 119 km (73 mi) SW of Dadali, Solomon Islands
  • 176 km (109 mi) WNW of Honiara, Solomon Islands
  • 438 km (271 mi) SE of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
  • 849 km (526 mi) SE of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
  • 891 km (552 mi) E of Alotau, Papua New Guinea
A magnitude 7 earthquake has stuck the Pacific Solomon Islands about 80 kilometers from the city of Dadali, according to a US Geological Survey (USGS) report. The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a statement saying that “based on all available data… there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake.


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