Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia

Indonesia

Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia

Indonesia
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NEWPORT BEACH, CA--(Marketwired - June 13, 2017) - In the news release, "Vemanti Group Enters Agreement With Plutos Capital Group To Expand Investments Into Vietnam & Southeast Asia" issued earlier today by Vemanti Group, Inc., please be advised that the company ticker in the first sentence of the first paragraph should be removed. Complete corrected text follows. Vemanti Group Enters Agreement With Plutos Capital Group To Expand Investments Into Vietnam & Southeast Asia Vemanti Group, Inc., "Company", a diversified holding company, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with investment bank Plutos Capital Group, "PCG", to bring institutional offerings and investments to and from Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The new agreement will leverage PCG's institutional investment resources and management experience to strengthen the Company's reach into Vietnam and Southeast Asia where opportunities abound. This will include a variety of financing options, acquisitions, divestitures, or recapitalizations for companies looking to structure and finance their strategic growth plans in the United States. "We are thrilled about this new relationship and the opportunity to create additional value for our clients from the fast-growing economies of Vietnam and Southeast Asia. We believe overall conditions for the region are very positive. With Vemanti's knowledge and experience, we trust our clients will be pleased as we make their offering(s) available to the region's entrepreneurs and investors," stated Kari Laitinen, PCG's Managing Director. Tan Tran, CEO of Vemanti, commented, "Having such agreement in place with PCG provides us with immediate access to first-class investment banking expertise and financial resources. This partnership resonates deeply in our strategy of being an investment conduit between the US and the fourth largest market in the world. PCG's capacity and track record will definitely be an advantage as we navigate through the fundamental drivers and outlook among these booming economies to capture the right investment opportunities." The 2017 edition of "Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India", a bi-annual publication on regional economic growth, development and regional integration in Emerging Asia, prepared by the Asia Desk of OECD Development Centre, in co-operation with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) states that real GDP growth is expected to remain robust at an average of 6.2% over 2017-21. The Philippines and Vietnam are the 2 countries that are expected to grow the most among the ASEAN-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam) countries at an average rate of 6.1% and 6.2% per year respectively to 2021. Vemanti Group, Inc. is a diversified holding company that's looking to be active in high-growth and technology-driven emerging markets. The Company plans to grow by adding value-added and fundamentally-sound businesses to its portfolio and by focusing on opportunities in the emerging markets of Vietnam and Southeast Asia where the economic force is projected to be a strong driver of global growth for years to come. PCG, a subsidiary of Plutos Sama, LLC, is a full-service investment bank focused on the needs of middle-market businesses with revenues of $10 million to $500 million USD. PCG is also an Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction of Global Emerging Capital Group, a New York Stock Exchange Member firm, located at 44 Wall Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10005. PCG advises corporations in structuring and financing their strategic growth plans. This includes a variety of financing options, acquisitions, divestitures, and recapitalizations. PCG's senior investment bankers bring extensive industry and cross-border expertise, strong relationships with institutional investors and significant transactional experience to each engagement. Team members have been actively involved in numerous corporate financings and M&A transactions across an array of key industry sectors. This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27a of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and section 21e of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Those statements include the intent, belief or current expectations of the company and its management team. Forward-looking statements are projections of events, revenues, income, future economics, research, development, reformulation, product performance or management's plans and objectives for future operations. Some or all of the events or results anticipated by these forward-looking statements may not occur. Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors. Accomplishing the strategy described herein is significantly dependent upon numerous factors, many that are not in management's control.


NEWPORT BEACH, CA--(Marketwired - June 13, 2017) - Vemanti Group, Inc. ( : VMNT), "Company", a diversified holding company, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with investment bank Plutos Capital Group, "PCG", to bring institutional offerings and investments to and from Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The new agreement will leverage PCG's institutional investment resources and management experience to strengthen the Company's reach into Vietnam and Southeast Asia where opportunities abound. This will include a variety of financing options, acquisitions, divestitures, or recapitalizations for companies looking to structure and finance their strategic growth plans in the United States. "We are thrilled about this new relationship and the opportunity to create additional value for our clients from the fast-growing economies of Vietnam and Southeast Asia. We believe overall conditions for the region are very positive. With Vemanti's knowledge and experience, we trust our clients will be pleased as we make their offering(s) available to the region's entrepreneurs and investors," stated Kari Laitinen, PCG's Managing Director. Tan Tran, CEO of Vemanti, commented, "Having such agreement in place with PCG provides us with immediate access to first-class investment banking expertise and financial resources. This partnership resonates deeply in our strategy of being an investment conduit between the US and the fourth largest market in the world. PCG's capacity and track record will definitely be an advantage as we navigate through the fundamental drivers and outlook among these booming economies to capture the right investment opportunities." The 2017 edition of "Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India", a bi-annual publication on regional economic growth, development and regional integration in Emerging Asia, prepared by the Asia Desk of OECD Development Centre, in co-operation with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) states that real GDP growth is expected to remain robust at an average of 6.2% over 2017-21. The Philippines and Vietnam are the 2 countries that are expected to grow the most among the ASEAN-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam) countries at an average rate of 6.1% and 6.2% per year respectively to 2021. Vemanti Group, Inc. is a diversified holding company that's looking to be active in high-growth and technology-driven emerging markets. The Company plans to grow by adding value-added and fundamentally-sound businesses to its portfolio and by focusing on opportunities in the emerging markets of Vietnam and Southeast Asia where the economic force is projected to be a strong driver of global growth for years to come. PCG, a subsidiary of Plutos Sama, LLC, is a full-service investment bank focused on the needs of middle-market businesses with revenues of $10 million to $500 million USD. PCG is also an Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction of Global Emerging Capital Group, a New York Stock Exchange Member firm, located at 44 Wall Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10005. PCG advises corporations in structuring and financing their strategic growth plans. This includes a variety of financing options, acquisitions, divestitures, and recapitalizations. PCG's senior investment bankers bring extensive industry and cross-border expertise, strong relationships with institutional investors and significant transactional experience to each engagement. Team members have been actively involved in numerous corporate financings and M&A transactions across an array of key industry sectors. This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27a of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and section 21e of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Those statements include the intent, belief or current expectations of the company and its management team. Forward-looking statements are projections of events, revenues, income, future economics, research, development, reformulation, product performance or management's plans and objectives for future operations. Some or all of the events or results anticipated by these forward-looking statements may not occur. Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors. Accomplishing the strategy described herein is significantly dependent upon numerous factors, many that are not in management's control.


News Article | September 20, 2017
Site: www.ictsd.org

ASEAN 50 Years on: Lessons for the CFTA Process Fifty years after the signing of its founding declaration, how much has the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) achieved in terms of regional integration? What are the main lessons that the CFTA process can draw from its experience? Back in 1967, five nations of South-East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) signed the ASEAN Declaration with a vision of “uniting all nations of Southeast Asia under one roof.” Fifty years on, the roof covers all countries in the sub-region.[1] The combined GDP of current members of US$2.55 trillion (2016) and their population of 640 million people make ASEAN the sixth largest economy in the world. It is also the world’s fourth largest trading power and attracts 7 percent of global FDI inflows. Five years ago, heads of African states adopted a decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). The ambition is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investment, by an indicative date of 2017, paving the way for the establishment of a Continental Customs Union and, later, a full-fledged African Economic Community. Despite significant progress, the establishment of the CFTA has not been completed yet, although some observers indicate that an agreement is within reach by the end of the year. This short commentary picks only a few achievements and failures from the ASEAN half-a-century integration journey in the hope that some of the lessons from ASEAN's experience can be helpful to those working on the CFTA. The ASEAN economic integration process started in earnest with the signing of the ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement in 1992 among the then-six members of the bloc, adopting a relatively slow-paced path for reaching free trade. It was followed by the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services in 1995 and the ASEAN Investment Agreement (AIA) in 1998. On the eve of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, ASEAN (by then a group of 9) adopted the ASEAN vision 2020, looking towards building an integrated economic, political, and cultural community. A decade later, the bloc (then comprised of its 10 current members) adopted a blueprint for establishing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and brought the date of completion of the AEC forward to 2015. The AEC Blueprint 2015 had four building blocks, known as the AEC pillars, comprising 17 core elements packed with 176 priority actions and 611 individual measures: (1) a single market and production base, (2) a highly competitive economic region, (3) a region of equitable economic development, and (4) a region that is fully integrated into the global economy. From the adoption of the blueprint to the delivery date of 31 December 2015, there were other landmark achievements. In 2008, the ASEAN Charter was adopted. Several mechanisms for trade liberalisation were unified under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement in 2010. The ASEAN Financial Integration Framework was introduced in 2011, followed by the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement in 2012. The implementation of the AEC Blueprint 2015 completed one-third of the process towards the ASEAN community (which also includes political and cultural communities). Based on ASEAN’s own internal measure of success, it is the liberalisation of trade in goods, with an almost complete elimination of tariffs, that is deemed the most successful part of integration so far. ASEAN is now an important component of “Factory Asia”, as producers from the bloc have become well integrated with other producers in East Asia through forward and backward linkages. This is attributed, among other things, to the substantive reduction of import tariffs on parts and components and other intermediate inputs needed to take part in fragmented production processes. In essence, manufacturing exports cannot be developed without imports, and import tariffs thus penalise exporters, especially in the context of global value chains (GVCs). While tariff rates of most goods have been reduced to zero, the use of non-tariff barriers such as discriminatory measures, different product standards, import bans, import and export licensing, additional import requirements, technical barriers to trade, and new import procedures has been increasing.[2] A recent study by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) demonstrated clearly that the number of non-tariff measures (NTMs) imposed by ASEAN members increased from 1,634 in 2000 to 5,975 in 2015.[3] The prevalence of NTMs has been identified as one of the major obstacles to the expansion of production networks within the ASEAN community. Another area of great importance for building competitiveness of both services and goods suppliers, and thus a conditio sine qua non for successful integration into global value chains, is linked to the liberalisation of services. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) shows that services accounted on average for 29.4 percent of the total value added in the industrial exports of Asia and the Pacific in 2009, which is at par with the world average of 29 percent, but considerably lower than the EU average of close to 55 percent. Liberalising services trade would allow more efficient imports of services inputs, enhance the competitiveness of the Asia-Pacific region’s industries, and facilitate their participation in GVCs. Liberalisation should not be restricted to regional South-South flows, as developed economies remain the dominant source of imported service inputs. The liberalisation of services appears to be a weak spot of ASEAN integration so far. While the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) was one of the first agreements on the liberalisation of services outside the General Agreement on Services (GATS), its rather non-binding language did not push ASEAN members very far. The AFAS stayed at par with the GATS approach and provided broad guidelines for ASEAN members on both increasing market access and ensuring equal national treatment for services suppliers in ASEAN. The implementation of the AFAS was driven by subsequent rounds of negotiations on so-called protocols, with packages of commitments at the level of individual members in each agreed economic sector or sub-sector and mode of supply. Soon into this process, it was clear that not only the new members of ASEAN, but also some original ones, wanted to move on at a much slower pace with services liberalisation than an economy such as Singapore. Thus, members were allowed to choose their own pace of liberalisation, but this approach slowed the overall progress. So far, ASEAN has concluded nine packages of commitments under the AFAS, and six additional packages of commitments in both financial services and air transport. However, realising the importance of the services sector, which represents more than half of ASEAN’s economic output and has attracted two-thirds of FDI inflows over the last decade, ASEAN is currently working on a new agreement, the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA). The ATISA is expected to build upon and enhance the existing agreements, including the AFAS but also those signed with ASEAN’s partners. The proposed agreement would seek to maximise the potential contribution of the services sector to economic growth and allow for deeper economic integration in ASEAN. Perhaps the most disappointing result of ASEAN integration in services so far comes from the movement of natural persons (mode 4 of services supply). While people mobility for tourism and education purposes does not suffer from many restrictions, movements of natural persons across borders to provide services have not progressed. Seven mutual recognition agreements were signed to enable professional service providers’ movements across the border of ASEAN countries, but implementation seriously lags behind. ASEAN has been engaged for 50 years in the building of its community, but from early on the members understood that they would not succeed if they tried to build an inward-looking fortress. They opted for a broader outlook, putting ASEAN at the centre, but forging strong relations with many other countries. As such, they became a hub for preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in the region. Out of 170 such agreements signed by Asia-Pacific countries, 43 involve the ASEAN bloc or an ASEAN member. Most of the ASEAN’s merchandise trade today is conducted with partners in those agreements. The share of such trade in ASEAN members’ total trade increased significantly with the signing of trade agreements with China (in force since 2005), Japan (2008), the Republic of Korea (2010), and India (2010). The agreement with the EU will, of course, increase the importance of trade with PTA trading partners even further. While the value of ASEAN’s intra-regional trade has increased significantly over the years, its share in the bloc’s total trade has recorded a timid growth, from around 23 percent in 2000 to about 25 percent today. As estimated by ERIA, not much of that trade was conducted under the preferential terms: it appears that it is difficult to convert the ASEAN's trade liberalisation scheme into trade flows utilising these preferences.[4] Reasons are many, including the lack of information and know-how at the level of small companies and difficulties in complying with some of the rules of origin. It was established that micro, small, and medium-sized firms find it more difficult to utilise ASEAN free trade arrangements than the large companies. Therefore, ASEAN must work on helping such firms to make better use of the trade agreements both by building their capacity and by providing information. ASEAN must also review its approach to the negotiation of new trade agreements. This is especially important with the ongoing negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with six development partners. While ensure transparency and inclusiveness in the process of negotiation of RCEP and other PTAs is essential, it is also time to negotiate deeper and more binding PTAs than the existing (“ASEAN+1”) agreements. Reducing the current level of “legal inflation” that characterises ASEAN+ deals when negotiating RCEP and other ASEAN-led agreements would make these agreements more useful for business and investors and might also bring in rules to help improve inclusivity and environmental responsibility. This should be achievable through the implementation of the AEC Blueprint 2025 adopted in 2015, which seeks to create a resilient and integrated economy through inclusive growth, innovation, and good governance, among others. The Blueprint 2025 is the first such document to align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It maintains the original values of the ASEAN approach to integration, and by aligning them with the 2030 Agenda, it strengthens the blueprint's plan to deliver a rules-based, people-centred, and people-oriented ASEAN. Other features of the Blueprint 2025 are: (1) a forward-looking approach, cognizant of the dynamic global environment and in line with the objective of ensuring a sustainable regional integration agenda, and (2) a holistic approach to regional integration that seeks to promote inter-pillar and cross-sectoral coordination. In summary, ASEAN has come a long way since 1967. However, its growth potential has not been exhausted, and deepening and strengthening integration among its members as well as with the bloc’s largest trading partners has been adopted as the way forward. The alignment of the integration strategy with the sustainable development goals in the Blueprint 2025 also shows a recognition of the importance of reducing inequalities within the countries and among them. The Gini coefficient for several of the ASEAN members is well above the desired level, while the GNI per capita of the richest member remains 52 times that of its poorest member. Inequality, coupled with global economic uncertainty and nationalist populism, creates new challenges for regional integration. Brexit by the UK and TPP-exit by the USA are both outcomes of these challenges.  ASEAN’s response must be a more transparent, inclusive, and people-led integration for all. What lessons for the CFTA? In light of ASEAN’s experience, including its achievements, but also its shortcomings, the three following lessons should be highlighted to inform the CFTA process. First, there is a value in gradualism, but a slow pace does not always produce the best results. By slowing down services liberalisation (in most sectors, as well as in mode 3 and 4), while also proving unable to effectively address the non-tariff measures, ASEAN countries might have undermined their efforts to develop higher-value-added sectors and to escape the middle-income trap. Second, it is essential to refrain from building an inward-looking bloc. No matter how large your bloc is, the global economy is larger and being able to do trade and investment with partners in the global economy under similar terms as within your own bloc is important. Third, special and differential treatment is not only possible, but also desirable, even necessary. ASEAN has given a special status to “latecomers” in the bloc, so-called CLMV countries (which also happened to be the least developed among all in the group), both in terms of pace of liberalisation and by providing them with development assistance. This paid off, as they fully caught up in terms of trade liberalisation efforts. Author: Mia Mikic, Director, Trade, Investment and Innovation Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).


Sheng Y.,Australian National University | Sheng Y.,Nankai University | Shi X.,Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia | Zhang D.,Peking University
Energy Strategy Reviews | Year: 2013

This paper uses a general method of moment regression technique to estimate an energy demand function with a dataset covering 71 countries between 1965 and 2010. The estimated results show that countries undergoing rapid economic growth may show relatively higher income and price elasticities in the long run. The higher income elasticities and lower price elasticity in the short run of rapid growing countries may impose pressure on energy demand in the domestic and international markets. Energy market integration can help to reduce such pressure by smoothing energy demand through lowering its income elasticity and creating a flexible energy market through increasing its price elasticity. These findings have important implications for forecasting energy demand and promoting international cooperation in East Asia. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Chang Y.,Nanyang Technological University | Fang Z.,Nanyang Technological University | Fang Z.,SIM University | Li Y.,Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
Energy Policy | Year: 2016

Many countries have implemented various policies for renewable energy development ranging from setting power purchase agreements and the legislation of renewable energy requirements to providing incentives and imposing carbon taxes. The evaluation of the effectiveness of such policies, however, is fragmented, which raises a need for a comprehensive analysis. This paper aims to assess whether and how policies promoting renewable energy investment have achieved the intended goals. It employs five broadly defined criteria - market, uncertainty, profitability, technology, and financial resources - to build an index to assess respectively if such policies have helped create a market for renewable energy, maximize potential profits, reduce risks relating to the investment, develop and adopt new technologies, and improve the access to financial resources. Each criterion is reflected by three indicators. Values of each indicator are converted into ordinal values for analysis. The index not only scans comprehensively all relevant renewable energy investment policies in the East Asia Summit countries, but also provides systematic and quantitative measures to compare the effectiveness of policies in these countries with respect to the creation of market, the degree of uncertainty, the potential of profitability, the development and adoption of technology and the accessibility of financial resources. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd


Li Y.,Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia | Chang Y.,Nanyang Technological University
Energy Economics | Year: 2015

This study establishes a systemic approach in assessing the feasibility of power infrastructure investment for GMS and APG in the ASEAN + 2 (ASEAN plus China and India) region. It aims to identify the financial and finance-related institutional barriers of implementing such a regional power interconnection. A whole-system simulation model is built to assess the financial viability as well as commercial viability, which imply bankability for financiers and profitability for investors respectively, of new transmission projects under the optimized pattern of power trade. It also determines the optimized planning of new transmission capacities. According to our results, the existing development plan of power transmission infrastructure in the region, so called APG +, appears to stand as a financially and commercially viable plan. However, there is room for improvement in the planning in terms of timing, routes and capacity of the cross-border transmission lines and the GMS-related projects should be prioritized. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Chang Y.,Nanyang Technological University | Li Y.,Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
Energy Policy | Year: 2015

Energy market integration (EMI) in the ASEAN region is a promising solution to relieve the current immobilization of its renewable energy resources and would serve the fast increasing demand for electricity in the region. EMI could be further extended with coordinated policies in carbon pricing, renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS), and feed-in-tariffs (FIT) in the ASEAN countries. Using a linear dynamic programming model, this study quantitatively assesses the impacts of EMI and the above-mentioned policies on the development of renewable energy in the power generation sector of the region, and the carbon emissions reduction achievable with these policies. According to our results, EMI is expected to significantly promote the adoption of renewable energy. Along with EMI, FIT appears to be more cost-effective than RPS and is recommended for the ASEAN region, albeit political barriers for policy coordination among the countries might be a practical concern. In addition, an RPS of 30% electricity from renewable sources by 2030, which is considered politically a "low-hanging fruit", would achieve moderate improvements in carbon emissions reductions and renewable energy development, while incurring negligible increases in the total cost of electricity. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Shi X.,Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
Environment and Development Economics | Year: 2011

This paper argues that the use of coal can be reconciled with the environment. In the empirical work, three environmental pollutants are considered, using two alternative methods with two sets of Chinese data. CO 2 emissions could not be studied because of data limitations. The hypothesis that the use of coal can be reconciled with the environment through declined emission intensity is confirmed by the empirical tests. The decreases in emission intensity are driven by the application of clean coal technologies, which can be encouraged by appropriate regulations and incentives and have both environmental and economic benefits. Therefore it is critical that appropriate legal and fiscal regimes be formulated and that the development and utilization of high-efficiency and clean coal technologies be promoted. The paper also suggests that the use of coal could continue to be reconciled with concern for the environment, even while considering CO 2 emissions. © Cambridge University Press 2011.


Sheng Y.,Australian National University | Shi X.,Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
Applied Energy | Year: 2013

Energy Market Integration (EMI) has been a goal for many regions, including the European Union and East Asia, for quite a long time. How it could play a role in facilitating equitable economic growth among a group of countries remains an empirical question that this paper will attempt to answer. The paper uses economic convergence analysis (including both the σ-convergence and β-convergence approaches) to examine the impact of EMI - measured by two newly constructed indexes (namely, the energy trade index and the energy market competition index) - at the country level on dynamic economic growth paths across countries. Its special interest lies in informing policy making related to promoting EMI. The results show that countries involved in a more integrated energy market are more likely to reduce their income disparity, suggesting that EMI may help the region to achieve equitable growth through the accelerated economic development of lagged economies. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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