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Spanish Business Presence SG

How to boost Spain’s business presence in Singapore: opportunities in the wake of the Free Trade Agreement with the EU

By Maria Garcia and Clara Portela

5 August 2014

The recently signed Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Singapore opens up new business opportunities for Spanish companies on the island, which is already Spain’s top trading partner in South-East Asia. One highlight of the accord is the elimination of restrictions on the percentage of foreign investment in financial services and sectors such telecommunications, engineering and shipping. At the same time, the possibility of being able to bid on more government contracts can help companies involved in environmental protection and construction firms. The food industry will benefit from the novel creation of a registry of geographical indications.

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China Japan

Old Scores and New Grudges: Evolving Sino-Japanese Tensions

By International Crisis Group

24 July 2014

The deterioration in relations between China and Japan has spiraled beyond an island sovereignty dispute and risks an armed conflict neither wants. A November regional summit is a fence-mending opportunity – if the two countries’ leaders rise above nationalism and manage multiple flashpoints.

Politically viable options to bridge the wide gap on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute remain elusive. New frictions have arisen: China’s declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) above the East China Sea deepened Tokyo’s anxiety that it desires both territory and a new regional order; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and statements that suggest a retreat from past apologies for the Second World War atrocities reopened old wounds. Asia’s two most powerful countries increasingly prioritise defence build-up over diplomacy.

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asean_eu

ASEAN-EU to Talk Trade, Security

By Shada Islam

22 July 2014


Asia remains high on the European Union’s foreign and security policy agenda as foreign ministers from the EU and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations[1]) meet in Brussels on July 23, their first such gathering since talks in Brunei over two years ago.

Next month, security discussions will dominate EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s participation in the influential ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. And mid-October, European and Asian leaders will gather in Milan for summit talks on injecting new life and momentum into their 18-year old ASEM (Asia Europe Meetings) partnership. (read more)

Asia and Europe have worked hard to maintain momentum in their relations despite pressing - and difficult - domestic and regional concerns. Such endeavours are to their credit. However, the challenge facing participants at both the upcoming ASEAN and ASEM meetings is to build more trust and understanding - and take their relationship to a higher, more strategic level.

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HKBeijing

Hong Kong Votes, Beijing Fumes

By Dylan Loh Ming Hui

2 July 2014

An unofficial referendum conducted in Hong Kong, sponsored by the ‘Occupy Central’ movement, drew a surprising 800,000 votes cast – drawing fire from China. What are the implications of the vote for Beijing?

ALMOST 800,000 ballots were cast online and physically at polling stations in Hong Kong, in an unofficial referendum on Hong Kong’s electoral reform. The turnout is a sizeable proportion of the 3.5 million registered voters in the 2012 elections –representing about one in five registered voters.

The poll gave voters three options all of which would allow voters to directly nominate and elect their Chief Executive, although there is an option to abstain.

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Jokowi Prabowo

Indonesia’s Post-Election Foreign Policy: New Directions?

By Emirza Adi Syailendra

16 June 2014

Indonesia’s foreign policy under President Yudhoyono has led to a higher profile and more favourable global image for the country. What trajectory will Indonesia’s foreign policy take after the 9 July presidential election?

Commentary

INDONESIA’S FOREIGN policy-making is now highly personalised. Indonesia’s greater global diplomatic involvement has been associated with the growth of the economy and President Yudhoyono’s vision. As his term comes to an end, uncertainty is emerging over whether the global-mindedness of Indonesia foreign policy under him can be sustained.

For the upcoming presidential election, both Joko Widodo (“Jokowi’) and his rival Prabowo Subianto have been taking inspiration from the nationalist outlook of Sukarno. Jokowi has placed his own imprint on Sukarno’s Trisakti principle centred on national pride that places importance on three basic propositions: freedom to proactively assert the right of self-determination in the international scene; economic self-sufficiency; and building a strong national identity. Coupled with Prabowo’s posture as a strong leader in the image of Sukarno, the question arises as to the overall impact of a Sukarnoist influence on the future trajectory of Indonesia’s foreign policy.

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hkvote

Hong Kong's Future

By Tom Roe, Senior Vice President

21 May 2014

As Hong Kong approaches the 17th year of ‘one country – two systems’ it is timely to reflect on the state of play in the former British colony and the challenges it faces in preserving its democratic structures in the face of a more assertive China. This paper considers the role of ‘Perfidious Albion’ pointing to British arrogance and inconsistency towards Hong Kong and China. It considers the possible options for Beijing faced by the sensitive ‘democracy issue,’ suggesting it is likely to opt for some flexibility within a rigid framework. The paper also examines Hong Kong peoples’ fears and desires before concluding with an analysis of the prospects for Hong Kong, especially its future autonomy, freedoms and suffrage in light of the proposal currently under discussion for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017.

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Afghanistan

Afghanistan's Insurgency after the Transition

By International Crisis Group

13 May 2014

The war in Afghanistan entered a new phase in 2013. It now is increasingly a contest between the insurgents and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Many within and outside the government are more optimistic about stability in the wake of a relatively successful first round of presidential elections on 5 April 2014. However, any euphoria should be tempered by a realistic assessment of the security challenges that President Karzai’s successor will face in the transitional period of 2014-2015. Kabul may find these challenges difficult to overcome without significant and sustained international security, political and economic support.

The overall trend is one of escalating violence and insurgent attacks. Ongoing withdrawals of international soldiers have generally coincided with a deterioration of Kabul’s reach in outlying districts. The insurgents have failed to capture major towns and cities, and some areas have experienced more peace and stability in the absence of international troops. Yet, the increasing confidence of the insurgents, as evidenced by their ability to assemble bigger formations for assaults, reduces the chances for meaningful national-level peace talks in 2014-2015.

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Whither Myanmar

Whither Myanmar?

By Derek Tonkin

29 March 2014

After three years of remarkable progress, commentators are wondering whether the reform process in Myanmar might be running out of steam. Some Western politicians undoubtedly cherished unreasonable expectations about the pace of the transition to democracy. More generally, the outcome of the Arab 'Spring' has shattered many illusions. Transitions are seen to be fraught with difficulties.

There has been a concerted, possibly inspired campaign against the National Census which is due to start on 30 March 2014, counting the population as at midnight tonight. In some cases, I suspect an intention to destabilise, as there is never likely to be a good time for a Census in any nation in transition. It is on balance better that the deed were done now, rather than wait until later.

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Jokowi

Indonesian elections - a watershed?

By Julia Marie Ewert

7 March 2014

In the next few weeks Indonesia will elect a new People’s Consultative Assembly and a new president. The legislative elections are scheduled for 9 April and presidential elections will take place on 9 July. With incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono being barred from a third term by the constitution, the Indonesian political scene will be fundamentally reshaped. The change of leadership in the largest Muslim-majority country in the world and the world’s fourth most populous country will have an impact beyond South East Asia.

The Indonesian legislature, the People’s Consultative Assembly, consists of the People’s Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR) and the Regional Representative Council. Of the 692 seats, 560 are in the People’s Representative Council and 132 in the Regional Representative Council.

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Mapping EU-ASEAN Relations

Mapping EU-ASEAN Relations

By Gauri Khandekar

6 March 2014

This publication provides an in-depth review of the European Union’s (EU) relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and each of the 10 ASEAN member countries. EU-ASEAN bilateral ties have undergone much progress in recent years. They are multi-layered, and cover a wide array of issues, ranging from development to economics, trade and investment, aid, and political and cultural affairs. By working with ASEAN, the EU enhances its presence in Asia and supports regional cooperation and multilateralism at large. This publication argues that the two parties should build on these achievements and deepen their partnership to exploit its full potential.

The book can be downloaded in .pdf format at http://www.fride.org/publication/1183/mapping-eu-asean-relations.

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