วันอาทิตย์ที่ 12 พฤษภาคม พ.ศ. 2556

“The Columbia Trail Masters 2013”


The fast growing sport of Trail  running is coming up again “The Columbia Trail Masters 2013” 5th edition will be Start-Finish at Khao Mai Keaw, Pattaya on June 16, 2013.

The 5th edition of the Thailand Trail Running Championship is open to all and will offer 4 distances as follows:

50 km trail, 25 km trail run, 10km trail run and 3.5km fun run/walk for all

Why trail running?

Eco-Friendly and Outdoor activities are becoming more and more popular around the world.  Running events have exploded in popularity during the last seven years in Thailand and more and more people are going back to nature and outdoor activities. Trail running is a new and very fast growing sport that integrates physical and mental endurance, the great outdoors and adventure.

When people think of running, they most often picture running on the road or running on a track. But, a lot of runners opt to run on hiking trails in natural settings. Trail running combines the beautiful outdoor scenery of hiking with the physical challenges of running. If you are the type that loves being in beautiful, outdoor settings, then trail running is something for you.

In addition to the regular running benefits such as improved fitness level and potential weight loss, trail running is also a lot better on the joints. Running on hard surfaces such as pavement and concrete can be tough on the bones and joints. People who suffer from things like shin splints and knee problems often report that they don’t experience these problems on trails!

Trail running is exploding in popularity around the world.

Organized by Active Management Asia, this event consists of:

A spectacular and exciting Trail run

· A 50km Trail run
· A 25km Trail run
  • A 10km Trail run
  • A 3.5km Family Run and walk for all
  • An Expo village for sponsors to display and sell their products and services
  • Trophy ceremony and presentations
  • A kid’s corner
  • A post-race lunch in a friendly and festive atmosphere

The Events

The Columbia Trail Masters Championship 2013 offers exciting routes that travels along scenic trails exploring the mountains, farmlands and greenery Pattaya Area.

Distances: 50km trail run, 25km trail run, 10km run and 3.5km family run and walk for all
Different categories:

50km trail run

-Men 16-29, 30-39, 40 and above
-Women open

25km trail run

-Men 16-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50 and above
-Women 16-29, 30-39, 40 and above

10km Trail Run

-Men 12-15, 16-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50 and above
-Women 12-29, 30-39, 40 and above

3.5Km Family Run and walk for all

No age limit, we are open for all !!

These Fun Runs are designed to be a part of the local communities in the event and to promote sports, fair play and camaraderie amongst children. This initiative has proven very popular in other AMA events!
How to register?

On AMA website www.ama-events.comand pay by bank or ATM transfer
From now to January 6, 2013 at

- Columbia shop at Central Rama9 3 Floor Zone Plaza and all payment for registration will get 30%off for Columbia summer collection

- Mega Bangna shop zone M O U

- Outlet Mall Pataya

- Active Management Asia Co., Ltd

Prime Minister of Vanuatu to Pay an Official Visit to Thailand


The Honourable Moana Carcasses Kalosil, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu, will pay an official visit to Thailand from 18 to 23 May 2013 as guest of the Thai government.

This visit will be the first official visit of a Prime Minister of Vanuatu to Thailand. It is also his first overseas trip since he assumed office on 23 March 2013. During the visit, he will also attend the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit, hosted by Thailand in Chiang Mai province.

According to a report by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister of Vanuatu will have a meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to discuss and exchange views on ways to enhance bilateral relations, promote trade and investment, and strengthen development cooperation.

In this regard, both Prime Ministers will witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Technical Cooperation between the two countries. The scope of this MOU covers technical cooperation in such key areas as agriculture, education, health, sustainable development, and trade and Investment.

The Prime Minister of Vanuatu is also scheduled to pay a study visit to learn about agricultural technology, especially rice production, fruit processing, aquaculture, and the advancement of Thailand’s tourism industry.

This visit will mark a significant milestone in the Thai – Vanuatu diplomatic relations, providing a good opportunity for both countries to further strengthen ties of friendship and further enhance cooperation in various areas.

Thailand and Vanuatu established diplomatic relations on 21 September 1982. At present, there are 17 Thais living in Vanuatu; most of them work in Thai restaurants and Thai massage and spa businesses.

Vanuatu is a South Pacific country to which Thailand accords a high priority. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the enhancement of ties with Vanuatu, an important country in the South Pacific and member of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), is also part of Thailand’s policy to strengthen cooperation with this important region, with a view to addressing regional and global issues of common concern.

Thailand is Vanuatu's most important exporting partner. In 2012, trade between Thailand and Vanuatu was estimated around 176 million US dollars (about 5.28 billion baht). Major Thai exports to Vanuatu include automobiles, canned and processed food, clothes, and sugar. Thailand imports fresh seafood, chilled and frozen seafood, especially tuna from Vanuatu.

World Day of Vesak Celebration 2013 in Thailand


The Office of National Buddhism represents the Thai government in organizing various activities to mark the “World Day of Vesak,” or Visakha Puja, from 18 to 24 May 2013.

The Day of Vesak commemorates the birth of the Buddha, his attainment of enlightenment, and his passing away. An extraordinary aspect of the occasion is that the three incidents took place on the same day but different years. In 2013, this significant day coincides with 24 May.

The Buddha taught mutual loving-kindness and forbearance for the sake of peace and happiness in society. Since these principles are shared by the United Nations Charter, the United Nations declared that Visakha Puja was a day of universal significance, and directed that observances be held, as appropriate, at the United Nations Headquarters and other United Nations offices each year.

As host of the World Day of Vesak celebration 2013, Thailand has invited a number of Buddhist leaders and monks from all over the world to join the celebration. Buddhamonthon, a Buddhist religious center in Nakhon Pathom province, is the focal point of the celebration. The Buddhist leaders and monks will join a candle-lit procession at Buddhamonthon on 22 May.

As part of the 10th anniversary of the celebration of United Nations Day of Vesak, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, a public Buddhist university in Wang Noi district of Ayutthaya province, will join various organizations in holding an international conference on 21-22 May at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok.

The conference focuses on the theme “Education and Global Citizenship: A Buddhist Perspective.” There will be a panel discussion in commemoration of the celebration of the 100th birthday anniversary of His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, in 2013.

In her message for the United Nations Day of Vesak celebration, Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, cited education as the best way to build peace from within, by giving everyone the tools they need for self-fulfillment. On a planet under pressure, education is a force to shape new ways of thinking and acting, to build resilient societies able to adapt to change and mitigate its impact. Fostering global citizenship through education is essential for building genuine and lasting peace. It is vital also for laying the foundations for more inclusive and sustainable development.

Meanwhile, a Buddhism week in celebration of Visakha Puja will be held at the Sanam Luang ceremonial site in Bangkok between 18 and 24 May. According to Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana, the Buddhism week is also meant to celebrate the 2,600th anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha, or Buddhajayanti.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the opening of the Buddhism week on 18 May.

Seeking Urgent Solutions to the Volatility of the Baht


The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Thailand have been instructed to come up with urgent measures to reduce the volatility of the baht..

The instruction was made by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who called a meeting of senior officials responsible for economic affairs on 8 May 2013 for a discussion on ways to tackle the appreciation of the baht.

Attending the meeting were Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Governor of the Bank of Thailand Prasarn Trairatvorakul, Budget Director of the Bureau of the Budget Voravidh Champeeratana, Secretary-General of the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, and Permanent Secretary for Finance Areepong Bhoocha-oom.

The meeting was told that the stronger baht since the beginning of 2013 has affected entrepreneurs in the export business, agro-industry, and food manufacturing. The baht rose to 29.62 per US dollar on average during the first four months of 2013. Although the baht is now more stable, all agencies concerned were urged not to be complacent but to closely monitor the situation.

The Bank of Thailand had earlier reported its four planned measures to tackle the stronger baht to the Ministry of Finance. It expressed concern that if the current monetary policy rate at 2.75 percent was reduced further, there would be more currency speculations by foreign investors in the Thai capital market.

The Ministry of Commerce told the Cabinet that, because of the stronger baht, exports in the first quarter of 2013 were on the decline. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives also reported that several agricultural products have been affected, as well. The Cabinet asked all relevant agencies to report the impacts to the Cabinet each week.

According to the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Thailand’s economic growth in the first quarter of 2013 was satisfactory. The industrial sector exported more than 60 percent of its production. The forecast on the economic growth for the entire year still remains at 4.5-5.5 percent, with inflation of 2.5-3.5 percent. The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board will officially announce Thailand’s economic performance and outlook on 20 May 2013.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said that the Thai economic system depends chiefly on exports, by about 60 percent, or 250 billion US dollars. Because of the current volatility of the baht, the country’s export growth target, which was set at 8-9 percent in 2013, might not be achieved. The stronger baht would also lead to a drop in new overseas orders for Thai products. The gem and jewelry business, in particular, has seen a significant decline in turnover.

The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Thailand are ready to work closely in seeking solutions to problems concerning the volatility of the baht.

Thailand and Mongolia to Double Bilateral Trade


Thailand and Mongolia have agreed to double the volume of their bilateral trade in the next three years, from 2014 to 2017, and strengthen their bilateral relations and cooperation in many areas.

In the weekly program “Yingluck Government Meets the People” on 4 May 2013, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra stated that her recent visit to Mongolia had proved successful and that Thai business people accompanying her on this trip had seen greater opportunities to invest in Mongolia.

She cited the automobile industry as a major sector that has good potential for investment in auto part manufacturing in Mongolia, which is rich in natural resources, especially gold and other rare mineral ores.

Both Thailand and Mongolia also discussed cooperation in mining, agriculture, food processing, healthcare, tourism, and renewable energy. Prime Minister Yingluck and her counterpart Norovyn Altankhuyag looked forward to the conclusion of an agreement between the two countries for the promotion and protection of investments.

Thailand agreed to support research in vocational education in Mongolia, as well as student and academic exchanges between the two countries. The Prime Minister of Mongolia had asked Thailand to open direct flights between Bangkok and Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Concerning this issue, Prime Minister Yingluck said that an assessment would be made for the possibility of the aviation service, taking into consideration that the direct flights could offer greater investment opportunities between the two countries.

According to the joint statement between Thailand and Mongolia, the two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of Mongolia on the establishment of the “Consultative Body on Bilateral Cooperation” and the Agreement between the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia on Cooperation in the Fields of Science and Technology, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking of Thailand.

Both leaders agreed that the two countries should take the opportunity of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2014 to organize cultural and educational activities in their respective countries. They noted the shared cultural similarities, Buddhist beliefs and traditions, and historical links. The Mongolian side also showed interest in sending high-profile patients for medical treatment in Thailand.

The Prime Minister of Mongolia welcomed Thailand’s proposal to host the first meeting of the “Consultative Body on Bilateral Cooperation” in Thailand in 2014. He also accepted Prime Minister Yingluck’s invitation to pay an official visit to Thailand in 2014, as part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Asia-Pacific Leaders to Gather in Thailand for the Second Asia-Pacific Water Summit


Asia-Pacific leaders will gather in Thailand from 14 to 20 May 2013 for the second Asia-Pacific Water Summit (2nd APWS).

The event will be hosted by the Thai government, in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Water Forum. It will take place at the International Convention and Exhibition Center Commemorating His Majesty’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary in Chiang Mai province.

The summit will consist of three parts. First, the Leaders’ Forum will be held on 20 May, when participating leaders will be invited to deliver statements addressing the theme “Water Security and Water-related Disaster Challenges: Leadership and Commitment.

Second, Focus Area Sessions will be held on 19 May, when representatives and experts from relevant organizations and other stakeholders will discuss issues of water security and water-related disaster challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.

Third, technical workshops and exhibitions will be held between 14 and 18 May. Participants will learn about technical and practical aspects of water management, including an exhibition on Royal Projects.

The Thai government has invited 49 Asia-Pacific leaders, ministers, and delegates from international organizations and the private sector to attend the summit and related events. Leaders from nine countries, as well as vice-presidents, deputy prime ministers, and ministers of several countries, have so far accepted the invitation. The President of the 67th United Nations General Assembly will deliver a keynote address.

The summit will provide an opportunity for regional leaders to exchange views and approaches to water-related crisis management. It will help reinforce disaster prevention and management mechanisms for flood and drought. The event will also provide a water-centric forum where leaders and senior officials may discuss regional cooperation in this issue.

The summit is expected to produce an outcome document that will synthesize regional leaders’ key messages, representing their commitment to cooperation on water resources management. It will disseminate knowledge on integrated water management and provide best practices and technologies on water management for reducing disaster risk and impact.

All countries in the region will be urged to incorporate a water resource management plan into their national economic and social development plans and to recognize water management as a key factor in sustainable development.

Thailand, on its part, will share the water-related royal initiatives of His Majesty the King and the country’s lessons learned from the flood crisis in 2011. Recognized as the Father of Water Resource Management in Thailand, His Majesty the King is aware of the importance of water. His initiatives in managing water resources have eased the water shortage problem and others concerning pollution, drought, and flooding.

Plans for Establishing Tourism Court to Help Foreign Visitors


The Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Justice have discussed the idea of setting up a tourism court to specially handle tourism-related cases.

Minister of Tourism and Sports Somsak Pureesrisak said that the tourism court would expedite the judicial process for foreign visitors who often stay in Thailand for a short period.

The proposed tourism court will provide better protection for tourists who may receive unfair treatment from tour agencies. Robbery and crime against foreign tourists and other cases involving tourists will be dealt with by this court, which is expected to help increase confidence in Thailand among international visitors.

Since the establishment of the tourism court requires amendments to related laws and would take some time, Mr. Somsak said that, in the initial stage, a new section responsible for tourism-related cases might be set up under the Ministry of Justice.

He said that his discussion with the Ministry of Justice also touched on the topic of opening a night court in order to speed up the legal process for tourism-related cases. He had also asked the Royal Thai Police to help expedite the cases for the court judgments.

Mr. Somsak said that safety and security for tourists was one of his priorities. He believed that Thailand would achieve its target of 24 million tourist arrivals in 2013.

Thailand achieved record-breaking tourist arrivals for the first time in 2012, with 22 million visitors, surpassing the set target. The number represented an increase of 15.98 percent over 2011. East Asian visitor arrivals to Thailand comprise the biggest market share of all visitors.

The Government is stepping up efforts to increase Thailand’s tourism revenue to two trillion baht in 2015. Five tourism strategies have been worked out to achieve the revenue target. They seek to make a difference in Thailand’s tourism, boost international markets, stimulate domestic tourism, promote travel through world mega-events, and encourage travel through the meeting, incentive, convention, and exhibition, or MICE, business.

In recent years, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has actively promoted Thailand as a high-quality destination, targeting new markets and offering new niche products, such as health and medical tourism, agro-tourism, Thai cookery courses, and international conventions and exhibitions.

Thailand has been ranked the fourth best world destination in a survey conducted by the renowned Conde Nast Traveler magazine. It was also named the “Most Popular Destination” by Go Asia, at the International Tourism Exchange Berlin 2012.

Tourism continues to play a crucial role in Thailand’s socio-economic development, accounting for about 7 percent of GDP. It is a major source of foreign exchange, investment, employment generation, wages, and government revenue.

Thailand Removed from FATF Public Statement on Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism


The Ministry of Justice of Thailand has received a letter from the President of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), informing that Thailand has been removed from its public statement categorizing the country as a jurisdiction with insufficient progress in addressing the deficiencies of its Anti Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Strategy.

The FATF public statement aims to caution its Member States to increase their scrutiny in engaging in financial transactions originating from or flowing to country listed therein.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the removal of Thailand from the FATF public statement resulted from the country’s significant progress in complying with FATF’s recommendations, specifically by enacting the Anti-Money Laundering Act (No. 4) B.E. 2556 (2013) and the Counter Terrorism Financing Act B.E. 2556 (2013), both of which recently came into force on 2 February 2013.

FATF experts will once again visit Thailand in May 2013 to confirm whether the country has strictly and concretely addressed its deficiencies and complied with FATF’s recommendations.

If the experts find that Thailand has not made satisfactory progress on the matter, they may recommend that the country be relisted on the FATF public statement. Thailand is therefore highly committed to continuously tackling other existing deficiencies.

Justice Minister Police General Pracha Promnog is scheduled to meet the FATF President in June 2013.

FATF is tasked with combating money laundering and terrorism financing worldwide. It has developed a series of recommendations that are recognized as the international standard for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

This task force also monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.

ASEC to Host Back-to-Back Events Tackling Development Gaps in ASEAN


A book titled “Narrowing the Development Gap in ASEAN: Drivers and Policy Options” will be launched on 17 May 2013 at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. A collaboration between ASEAN and AusAID, the book defines and describes the existing gap in ASEAN particularly within and between its newer member states, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (or CLMV) and the so-called ASEAN-6.

As part of the regular Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG) Lecture Series, public lecture sessions will also be held on 16 May and 17 May in cooperation with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and AusAID, respectively.
  • NDG Lecture Series, No. 2: Implementation of Regional Cooperation Initiatives to Narrow the Development Gap – Thursday, 16 May, 3pm [download the programme]
  • NDG Lecture Series, No. 3: Defining the Gap, Zooming in on the Health Sector – Friday, 17 May, 1pm [download the programme]
The Series explores salient issues in narrowing various forms of development gaps in ASEAN. Convening a set of expert practitioners, academics, and decision-makers, the series aims to create a venue to share both theoretical and evidence-based observations, policy suggestions and practical solutions to addressing NDG issues.

ASEAN Defence Ministers Strengthen Cooperation Ties


The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) has continued to grow as a robust and active mechanism that contributes to regional peace and stability as the region heads to ASEAN Community 2015.   
Since its establishment in 2006, the ADMM has provided a platform for continuous strategic dialogue, consultation, and practical cooperation, said Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh yesterday. “This is one channel how the defence sector is  contributing to the community building efforts of ASEAN,” said SG Minh at the 7th ADMM that was held in Brunei Darussalam on 7 May 2013.

In the efforts to further strengthen regional defence cooperation, the Ministers endorsed two new ADMM initiatives - Establishing ASEAN Defence Interaction Programmes (ADIP) and the Establishment of Logistics Support Framework. The ADIP will strengthen regional unity and identity among ASEAN defence establishment through various interaction activities while the Logistics Support Framework will enhance ASEAN’s capacity and develop capabilities to contribute to operational effectiveness in addressing non-traditional security challenges.

To enhance their cooperation with eight of ASEAN Dialogue Partners in the ADMM-Plus, the Defence Ministers, also adopted, among others, a Concept Papers on Establishment of Experts’ Working Group (EWG) on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA). This new EWG adds to the existing five EWGs on Maritime Security, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Peacekeeping Operations, Military Medicine, and Counter Terrorism under the ADMM-Pus framework.  The 2nd ADMM – Plus is scheduled for 29 August 2013 in Brunei Darussalam.

The Ministers also discussed how the defence sector can help address emerging non-traditional security challenges in the region such as cyber security, trans-border crimes, and communicable diseases. On the South China Sea issue, the Ministers supported the Leaders commitment at the 22nd Summit for ASEAN to work actively with China towards the early conclusion of a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) to promote peace and stability.

The ASEAN Defence Ministers also had an informal meeting with the Minister for National Defence of China, General Chang Wanquan on the sidelines of the 7th ADMM. General Chang reiterated China’s commitment to advance defence and military cooperation between ASEAN and China through activities such as the conduct of military education, training and joint exercise on the basis of the principles of mutual trust, benefit and accommodation. Previously, the ASEAN Defence Ministers had met with the Minister for National Defence of China at the sidelines of the 5th and 6th ADMM in Indonesia and Cambodia respectively.

Prior to the series of meetings, SG Minh also had a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Energy of Brunei Darussalam and Chairman of the 7th ADMM, H.E. Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin Haji Umar. Both SG Minh and Pehin Datu exchanged views on the outcomes of the recently convened 22nd ASEAN Summit in Brunei Darussalam.

The Joint Statement of the 16th ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting


I. Introduction

1. We, the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea (ASEAN+3), convened our 16th meeting in Delhi, India, under the co-chairmanship of H.E. Pehin Dato Abd Rahman Ibrahim, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister’s Office of Brunei Darussalam, and H.E. Zhu Guangyao, Vice Minister of Finance of the People’s Republic of China. The President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Director of ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) and the Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN were also present at our meeting.

2. We exchanged views on the recent global and regional economic developments and policy responses. We reviewed the progress of regional financial cooperation achieved since our last Meeting, including the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), AMRO, the Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI), the ASEAN+3 Research Group (RG), and Future Priorities. We also discussed measures to further strengthen our regional financial cooperation in the future.

3. We are pleased to announce that we have finalized the amendment of the CMIM Agreement, reached consensus on the draft Agreement to transform AMRO to an international organization, and endorsed the work plan to implement the ABMI New Roadmap+. These achievements will be a significant step forward in our efforts to strengthen the regional financial safety net and contribute to sustainable economic growth and integration in the region.

II. Recent Economic and Financial Developments in the Region

4. We are pleased to note that, despite uncertainties in the global economy and financial markets, the ASEAN+3 region posted steady growth last year and is poised to sustain this momentum in 2013. Resilience of the regional economy has been underpinned by robust domestic demand, effective financial intermediation by the healthy banking system, and appropriate macroeconomic policies.

5. Global economic and financial conditions have been improving, but we recognize the remaining risks. Policy uncertainty, private deleveraging, fiscal drag and impaired credit intermediation continue to weigh on global growth prospects. We are also well aware that continuing global liquidity infusion could potentially induce excessive risk taking and leverage, credit expansion, and asset bubble. We shall remain vigilant on the unintended negative side effects stemming from extended periods of global monetary easing on the region as well as on the risk-on, risk-off sentiment in global financial markets that could amplify volatility in capital flows and adversely affect regional financial stability. We agree that monetary policy should remain oriented towards domestic purposes, namely domestic price stability, continuing to support economic recovery and securing financial stability according to the respective mandates of central banks.

6. Under these circumstances, we are strongly committed to enhancing our efforts to respond to such risks by making the necessary macroeconomic policy adjustments and where appropriate, adopting macro-prudential policies, and by further strengthening financial cooperation in the region.

III. Strengthening Regional Financial Cooperation

[Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM)]

7. We appreciated the work done by our Deputies to amend the CMIM Agreement to reflect the measures to strengthen the CMIM as agreed in May 2012. In this connection, the Finance Ministers welcomed the Central Bank Governors’ involvement in the fundamental decision making process of the CMIM. At the same time, we remain committed to ensuring that the CMIM is operationally ready, and we instructed the Deputies to continue work on the necessary revisions of the current CMIM Operational Guidelines by the next ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting in 2014.

8. We welcomed the work of our Deputies and AMRO to develop the “Economic Review and Policy Dialogue (ERPD) Matrix”. The matrix will consist of economic indicators of all ASEAN+3 members and will facilitate the assessment of members’ qualification for the CMIM’s crisis prevention facility. We instructed the Deputies and AMRO to continue work on the ERPD Matrix for the smooth implementation of the CMIM should the need arise.

9. We reaffirmed our commitment to further strengthening the CMIM as part of the regional financial safety net. Recognizing that enhancing the use of local currencies for settlement in trade, investment and capital transactions, and reducing the volatility of capital flows in and out of the region would help mitigate the impacts of external risks, we endorsed further studies on “Ways to Improve the Use of Local Currencies under the CMIM” and “Joint Response to the Capital Flows at the ASEAN+3 Level”. We instructed the Deputies to consider ways to seek an effective cooperative relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral financial institutions in the areas of surveillance, liquidity support arrangement and capacity development.

[ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO)]

10. We were pleased with the solid progress of AMRO as an independent regional surveillance unit since its establishment in 2011, particularly in conducting regional economic surveillance and contributing to effective decision-making of the CMIM. We encouraged AMRO to continuously find ways to properly, and in a timely manner, identify risks and challenges facing the region. We are committed to enhancing the organizational capacity of AMRO.

11. To further consolidate our endeavor, we agreed to transform AMRO to an international organization. This marks an important milestone in our joint efforts to enhance the effectiveness of our ASEAN+3 financial cooperation. We have reached consensus on the draft of “AMRO Agreement” and will proceed with the necessary domestic processes as early as possible for its prompt signature and entry into force. This would enable AMRO to conduct objective surveillance as a credible, independent international organization, contributing further to the regional financial stability along with the strengthened CMIM.

12. We also encouraged AMRO to further enhance cooperation with relevant multilateral and regional financial institutions including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the IMF, and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) particularly in areas which will be able to bolster institutional capacity of AMRO.

13. We welcomed the conclusion of the Host Country Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Singapore and AMRO, and expressed our appreciation to Singapore for its firm commitment to provide AMRO with the necessary host country support. We also welcomed the finalization of the text of the Headquarters Agreement (HQA) between Singapore and AMRO concurrently with the AMRO Agreement, which would be concluded once AMRO is reconstituted as an international organization.

[Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI)]

14. We acknowledged the continuous progress under the ABMI in promoting issuance and facilitating demand of local currency denominated bonds, as well as improving the regulatory framework and related infrastructure for the regional bond markets. Against the backdrop of heightened volatility in the global financial market, our efforts under the ABMI to develop efficient and liquid regional bond markets will help alleviate volatilities and contribute to the economic and financial stability in our region.

15. We welcomed the inauguration of the guarantee transaction of the Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility (CGIF), and expect the CGIF to seek more opportunities to provide guarantee to viable bond issuances in the region. We took note of the ASEAN+3 Bond Market Forum (ABMF) second phase study report and look forward to further discussion on the remaining key issues. We stressed the importance of new public-private round table discussions among market participants, the regulators and policy makers. We welcomed the completion of the business feasibility reassessment for the establishment of the Regional Settlement Intermediary (RSI). We agreed to set up a Cross-border Settlement Infrastructure Forum, which will be based on the voluntary participation of member countries, to discuss detailed work plans and related process for the improvement of the cross-border settlement in the region including the possibility of establishing the RSI. As part of the effort to strengthen the region’s credit rating capacity, we endorsed further study based on the findings of the Research Group. We also welcomed the completion of the current phase of technical assistance programmes for Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam and note the progress of the technical assistance programme for the Philippines under the Technical Assistance Coordination Team (TACT).

16. We endorsed the work plan prepared by the ABMI Taskforces with the guidance of Deputies for the implementation of the ABMI New Roadmap+ with nine priorities adopted in May 2012. We expect the Taskforces to diligently carry out the work plan, with the support from the ADB, to achieve more tangible outcomes.
17. Furthermore, we recognized the great potential of the ABMI in developing debt instruments and fostering bond investment to help channel the substantial savings into infrastructure development in the region. In this regard, we endorsed an initiative on “Fostering Infrastructure Financing Bonds Development”, which aims to promote both issuance and demand of infrastructure financing bonds. We expect the ABMI Taskforces to develop the detailed work plans while encouraging private sectors’ involvement and taking into account current efforts of the region to improve synergies.

18. We note that the Asian Bond Fund (ABF) under the Executives’ Meeting of East Asia Pacific Central Banks (EMEAP) has contributed to increasing the demand for the regional bond market. We advised the Deputies to consider what additional types of investment tools would further accelerate the development of the regional bond market.

[ASEAN+3 Research Group (RG)]

19. We appreciated the efforts and noted the findings made by the Research Group on the study for 2012/2013 on “The International Discussions on the Credit Rating Agencies and Enhancing Infrastructure to Strengthen the Regional Credit Rating Capacity in the ASEAN+3 Region”. We endorsed two new study topics for the 2013/2014 Research Group activities as follows: i) The Policy Recommendations for the Expansion of the Securitization Market in the ASEAN+3 Countries; and ii) SWOT Analysis on the Capital Market Infrastructures in the ASEAN+3 Member Countries and its Implications.

[Future Priorities of ASEAN+3 Financial Cooperation]

20. We welcomed the progress of the second phase studies on each of the three possible areas for ASEAN+3 financial cooperation: i) infrastructure financing, ii) disaster risk insurance, and iii) using local currencies for the regional trade settlement. We instructed the Deputies to continue in-depth studies, with the continued support from the ADB and the World Bank, and put forward policy recommendations that will contribute to the sustained and inclusive growth and development of the region.

IV. Conclusion

21. We expressed our appreciation to the governments of Brunei Darussalam and the People’s Republic of China for their excellent arrangements as the co-chairs of the ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Process in 2013. We also thanked the government of India for its warm hospitality.

22. We agreed to meet in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2014. Myanmar and Japan will be the co-chairs of the ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Process in 2014.

Public and Private Sectors in ASEAN Join Forces to Promote Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Long-Term Food Security


“Partnership between the public and private sector provides a new opportunity for doing development better – by recognising the strength and competencies of each sector and finding new ways of harnessing the common good,” said Mrs Elvi Wijayanti, on behalf of Mr Anang Noegroho, Chairman of the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Fisheries.

Recognising that partnership and collaboration between the public and private sector can create effective and efficient solutions, government and private sector representatives in ASEAN have participated in dialogues and discussions since 2010 through the support of the ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility and the ASEAN-U.S. Maximizing Agricultural Revenue through Knowledge, Enterprise Development, and Trade (MARKET) Project. In preparation for the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community, and to address issues threatening the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in ASEAN, the public and private sector has decided to further the level of engagement, from dialogues to partnership and collaboration in the implementation of activities.

At the ASEAN Public-Private Dialogue on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture held in Bangkok, Thailand, in December 2012, participants from the public and private sectors agreed and supported the formation of the ASEAN Public-Private Informal Taskforce for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture that will serve as a platform for ASEAN’s public and private sector stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture industry to work collaboratively on tackling issues that threaten the sustainability of the industry. To kick-start the formation of the informal taskforce, key representatives from ASEAN’s government, private sector, and smallholder fishers and farmers gathered in March 2013, at Bali, Indonesia, to discuss and finalise the details of the structure and operational details of the Informal Taskforce, and to prioritise key activities that can be implemented jointly and coordinated through the taskforce.

The Informal Taskforce prioritised several areas for further exploration in the capture fisheries sub-sector, including the design of common ASEAN fisheries improvement program protocols for key fisheries, combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, and the development of marine aquaculture. For the aquaculture sector, the Taskforce identified disease management, harmonisation of standards, improvement of seed quality and availability, addressing the cost of feed through better feeding practices and applied research on alternative protein sources as priority activities. A representative of ASEAN’s small fishers and farmers expressed that issues prioritised by the Taskforce were very much in line with the interests of the private sector, including small holders, and the collaborative implementation of these activities “would have positive impacts on business opportunities and in ensuring the success of production in the future”.

The 26th ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue to Further Enhance Partnership


The ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue took place last week in Washington D.C., where Senior Officials from all ten ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN Secretariat and the United States met to discuss pressing regional issues across ASEAN’s political-security, economic, and socio-cultural pillars.

The annual dialogue is a reflection of the strong and enduring relationship between ASEAN and the United States—now in its 36th year; and as an opportunity for senior officials from ASEAN and the United States to convene and discuss ways to further enhance ASEAN-U.S. partnership.

The Meeting discussed a wide range of issues in the ASEAN-U.S. relationship, including maritime security, transnational crime, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, the ASEAN-U.S. Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiative, energy, education, rule of law, and development in the Lower Mekong Sub-region.

The Senior Officials also discussed preparations for the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) Session with the United States, and the first ever inaugural ASEAN-U.S. Summit scheduled later this year. They agreed to hold the 27th ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue in Myanmar in 2014.

The Dialogue was co-chaired by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs’ Acting Assistant Secretary, Joseph Y. Yun and Director-General of the ASEAN Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, U Aung Lynn.

Highlights of 22nd Summit in Brunei in Latest “ASEAN Today”


The march toward an integrated region was the major agenda item at the 22nd ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan.  And the latest edition of “ASEAN Today” captures that issue and other highlights of the leaders’ gathering.

Sarah Kamit of the Brunei Times and Dalton Tanonaka of Indonesia’s Metro TV report this edition’s stories on the people and places of the dynamic Southeast Asia region.  Also included in this month’s program are the high-rolling hopes of a new casino in the Philippines, a new girl group in Indonesia that’s versioned after Japan’s AKB48, and golfing near the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.  Durudee Sirichanya, Head of Public Outreach and Civil Society Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, has the regular feedback segment.

This is the 18th episode in the informative and entertaining series, and can be viewed on YouTube as well as through ASEAN broadcasters including Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia and Indonesia’s Metro TV.

“ASEAN Today” is a joint production of the ASEAN Secretariat and Metro TV.  Some material is provided by broadcasters in member countries.  Check local listings for broadcast times.  For more information, contact Tanonaka at dalton@metrotvnews.com.

Call of Ms Akira Matsu on the Secretary-General of ASEAN


H.E. Ms. Akira Matsu, Member of the House of Councillors – the upper house of the National Diet of Japan – called on H.E. Mr. Le Luong Minh, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, last week at the ASEAN Secretariat.

SG Minh welcomed Ms. Matsu and her delegation to the ASEAN Secretariat, which he said was a “reflection of the importance that Japan attaches to ASEAN-Japan dialogue relations that now spans to 40 years”. SG Minh added, “Notwithstanding the achievements of the dialogue relations over the last 40 years, there still remains scope to further enhance the already dynamic ASEAN-Japan relations. ASEAN looks forward to the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit being organized towards the end of the year and is in anticipation of new initiatives that would be meaningful and conducive to further expanding and deepening ASEAN-Japan relations.”

Ms. Matsu congratulated SG Minh on his appointment to lead ASEAN at the most critical stage of its Community-building efforts. She conveyed Japan’s confidence on the capability of SG to bring ASEAN towards its 2015 goal and reiterated Japan’s continued support to ASEAN’s endeavor. According to Ms. Matsu, “Japan recognizes the importance of ASEAN in the region, thus, Japan’s readiness to provide continuous support to ASEAN and its Community-building efforts, through various programs including the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).” Ms. Matsu was actually directly involved in the conceptualization of ERIA in 2006.

The private sector representatives in Ms. Matsu’s delegation also expressed their strong interest in expanding trade and investment in the ASEAN region.

Ms. Matsu’s party included H.E. Ambassador Kimihiro Ishikane of the Mission of Japan to ASEAN, officials from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and several private sector representatives. Prior to her meeting with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Ms. Matsu also participated in the Exchange of Views between the ERIA Governing Board (GB), the Academic Advisory Council (AAC) and the Ambassadors of EAS Member States, which took place at the sideline of the 6th Meeting of the ERIA Governing Board. Besides her official public position, Ms. Matsu is also a famous actress in Japan.

Improving ASEAN Healthcare Through Medical Device Regulation Harmonization


As ASEAN moves towards the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, healthcare remains a high priority sector to be integrated across the region and vital to successful integration of the sector is the harmonization and efficiency of its regulations. To boost the capability of ASEAN medical device regulators and the medical device industry, over 40 ASEAN medical device regulators met in Malaysia last week at the Medical Devices Regulatory Harmonization Training Program.

The workshop is the first of a multi-year medical devices training program for ASEAN that will ensure ongoing improvement in the understanding and interpretation of the ASEAN Medical Device Directive (AMDD). The AMDD requires ASEAN countries to implement standardized medical device classification criteria and device placement systems, and to establish post-marketing surveillance alert systems. The Medical Device Product Working Group (MDPWG), which is one of 11 bodies of the ASEAN Consultative Committee for Standards and Quality (ACCSQ), developed the draft AMDD.

“The AMDD will help reduce red tape and boost the efficiency of trade in medical devices in the region,” said Matthew Hein of the US Department of Commerce.  “It will clarify and delineate the many roles and responsibilities held by regulators in bringing and keeping medical devices in the marketplace and it will not only make the role of regulators more straightforward, it will bring the people of ASEAN improved access to medical technologies.”

Topics covered in the workshop included a big-picture overview, product life cycles, roles and responsibilities of regulatory authorities, the definition of a medical device, risk management, conformity assessment, listing and registration of devices, and post-market surveillance to provide regulators rapid identification of defective or unsafe devices.

“The training program is aimed at high-level ASEAN medical device regulators,” said Michael Flood, a former senior official in Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration with over 30 years of experience working with medical devices. Mr Flood, responsible in the development of the ASEAN medical device training curriculum, added that “we expect feedback from this meeting will help guide us in selecting areas of the syllabus to give greater focus to in future ASEAN-wide training programs.”

Following the implementation of the AMDD, uniform systems and regulations that come with the directive are expected to help improve patient safety standards across the region as well as providing a more straightforward path to market in the region for manufacturers of medical devices.

“Successful introduction and implementation of the AMDD will require regulatory agencies of each of the ASEAN Member States to have a thorough understanding of both the underlying philosophies of the Global Harmonization Task Force and the basic building blocks which, when integrated, provide a robust and adaptable framework aimed at ensuring citizens of each of the ASEAN Member States have timely access to safe and effective medical devices. This series of training will help ASEAN medical device regulators forge a common understanding and interpretation of the provisions of the AMDD,” said Mr. Zamane Abdul Rahman, Chairman of the MDPWG.

The U.S. Government-funded ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Malaysia and the ASEAN Secretariat organised the Medical Devices Regulatory Harmonization Training Program on 22-23 April 2013 in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Foreign Minister of The People's Republic of China Visits ASEAN Secretariat


H.E. Wang Yi, the newly appointed Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China today called on the Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Le Luong Minh at the ASEAN Secretariat.

During their meeting, SG Minh and Foreign Minister Wang Yi exchanged views on a wide range of topics, including ways and means to further strengthen the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership.

“ASEAN-China cooperation has expanded to cover a wide range of areas, especially over the past ten years in implementing our Strategic Partnership. Since we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership this year, there is need to further build on the achievements to strengthen our relations”, said SG Minh. Both sides are working on a list of activities to celebrate the anniversary, which includes the proposal for an ASEAN-China Special Foreign Ministers Meeting in Beijing later this year.

SG Minh suggested that ASEAN and China further strengthen cooperation in a number of areas such as in combating transnational crime, maritime cooperation, ASEAN Connectivity, implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), science and technology, health, and food and energy security.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi reaffirmed that the new Leadership of China attaches great importance to its relations with ASEAN and strongly supports ASEAN’s central role in East Asia cooperation. “We will also strongly support ASEAN’s Community building efforts and the integration process, the Foreign Minister said. Sharing SG Minh’s views on priority areas of cooperation, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China would focus its cooperation with ASEAN, among others, in three areas, namely supporting the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, maritime cooperation and efforts towards a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

SG Minh and Foreign Minister Wang Yi also exchanged views on the issue of the South China Sea. They emphasised the importance of ensuring full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and moving towards the conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). They reaffirmed that maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and the region continues to be of paramount importance.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi also extended invitation to SG Minh for an official visit to China.

During the visit to the ASEAN Secretariat, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was accompanied by H.E. Mme. Yang Xiuping, Ambassador of China to ASEAN and H.E. Mr. Liu Jianchao, Ambassador of China to Indonesia.