REPORTS FROM THE
economies surge ahead
despite global slowdown
pointed out that China’s recent data
show signs of a “ soft landing” for next year’s
economic recovery in the entire region
REPORT BY XINHUA CORRESPONDENT
Qilin, Hu Junxin
(Xinhua) -- Emerging economies in Asia have
surged ahead despite the impact of debt crisis in
Europe, the slow world economic recovery, and the
feared U.S. “fiscal cliff”.
economies performed well in 2012 although their
growths were slower than expected. A United Nations
report released recently says that economic growth of
Asia and the Pacific in 2012 is forecast to be 5.6
percent, down from an earlier forecast of 6. 5
the upcoming 2013, economists are generally optimistic
on the continued growth in the Asia Pacific with
strong domestic demand expected to offset weak export
Sachs recently released 2013 Asian Economic Outlook
report, expressing optimism about the economic outlook
for next year in the region excluding Japan.
predicted that economic growth in Asia would average
6.9 percent in 2013 and to further expand to 7.3
percent from 2014 to 2016.
for its part, which is more open to the outside world,
was obviously the most affected by the weak global
economy. The European Union (EU) is Singapore’s
second largest trading partner, second only to its
to official data, the bilateral trade between
Singapore and the European Union reached 106 billion
Singapore dollars (about 86.9 billion U.S. dollars) in
2011, an increase of 7 percent. This year,
Singapore’s non-oil exports to the EU fell by 16.5
percent in the third quarter of this year.
on weak exports in the third quarter, the
International Enterprise Singapore Board forecasts
non-oil domestic exports growth would be reduced from
4-5 percent to 2-3 percent the whole year, and next
year’s non-oil domestic exports grew by 2 percent to
4 percent, the total trade would grow by 3-4 percent.
to Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry,
Singapore’s economic growth in the third quarter in
2012 remained in the doldrums. The first quarter GDP
grew by 1.6 percent, the second quarter by 2.5
percent, the third quarter by only 0.3 percent.
Indonesia, although the central bank has forecast a
6.2 percent growth for the fourth quarter, the
full-year growth would be 6.3 percent, which is still
within the country’s growth forecast for 2012.
Indonesian exports reflect a slowdown in external
demand. According to data released by the Central
Bureau of Statistics, in October, Indonesia exported
15.67 billion U.S. dollars and imports of 17.21
billion U.S. dollars, a deficit of up to 1.55 billion
U.S. dollars, a record monthly trade deficit in
Wiranto, Asia Investment Strategist, Barclays, in an
interview with Xinhua, said that in Indonesia,
domestic demand was the main engine of economic growth
this year and in the upcoming year.
the devastating floods of 2011, Thailand exports have
gradually recovered. According to official data, the
total export value of Thailand in October year-on-year
increased by 15.57 percent, mainly from the rebound in
exports of agricultural and processed products of
agricultural products and a variety of industrial
for India, experts called for a “rebooting” of
the country. India’s high growth rates of 8-9
percent have been revised downwards to 5.5 percent,
an all-time low since 2004. Wiranto said that
overall, Asia has done well despite the global
headwinds of eurozone situation and the feared
effect of the so-called “fiscal cliff” in the
Hu Guangzhou, associate professor, National University
of Singapore, said in an interview that the
Asia-Pacific emerging economies have taken timely
measures to cope with external factors, adding that
these “proactive” measures have stimulated
domestic demand to make up for the shortfall in export
the short term, these policies have achieved certain
positive results in the majority of countries,”
the Philippines, the country’s economic growth for
the first three quarters was 6.5 percent. For the
second quarter, the Philippines grew by 7.1 percent,
the second fastest in Asia after China. The
Philippines expects to grow by more than 6 percent for
the whole year of 2012.
pointed out that China’s recent data show signs of a
“ soft landing” for next year’s economic
recovery in the entire region. Wiranto believes that
China’s new leadership will be more policy-oriented
and clearer, so China can successfully achieve
forecasts that China’s economic growth next year
would exceed 8 percent. “China’s recovery will
not only improve market sentiment but will also
increase the speed of economic growth of the Asian
economies, because trade between Asia’s emerging
economies is becoming increasingly important,”
Analytics senior economist Glenn Levine, in a recent
report, said that China will drive the entire Asian
region forward, adding that if China’s economy
improves, it would definitely push the economies in
the region upwards.
believes that Asian economies in 2013 will continue to
exhibit remarkable growth. This could be triggered by
more spending for infrastructure projects and sound
economic reforms, particularly in attracting foreign
steady economic recovery, the structural reforms in
the eurozone countries, and perceptible advances in
the U.S. economy would help maintain the growth
momentum of the emerging Asian economies.
finally makes headway on
road to democratic election
(Xinhua) -- The year 2012 has seen the
Fijian government take several major steps to realize
its promise to hold a democratic and free general
election in 2014 to return the island-state into
in relations with its Pacific neighbors has also
created a favorable external environment for the
island country that has been outcast since the 2006
military coup led by incumbent Prime Minister
Commodore Frank Bainimarama.
progresses in electoral preparations and external
relations, analysts say there seems to be light at the
end of the tunnel.
2012, progress has been made in Fiji’s
constitutional and electoral processes since Prime
Minister Bainimarama, after reneging on a promise to
hold the elections in 2009 and tearing up the
constitution, reiterated that the country will hold
general elections in 2014.
Constitution Commission handed over a draft
constitution to President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on
Dec. 21, which was seen as the first tangible
manifestation of the long awaited election.
president will deliver the draft constitution to a
Constituent Assembly, which comprises representatives
from a wide cross-section of society, to deliberate on
it and adopt the final form of the constitution.
work of the Constituent Assembly is expected to be
completed by late March 2013. And the new constitution
should come into effect the day after President
Nailatikau assents to it.
remarkable results have been achieved in voter
resignation and fund allocation.
Fijian government announced on Dec. 11 that more than
500, 000 Fijians, or over 80 percent of the estimated
number of eligible voters, have registered to vote in
is a significant achievement in Fiji’s Electronic
Voter Registration, said Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fijian
attorney-general and minister responsible for
registration will continue in 2013, notably for
Fijians living overseas.
ensure a successful general election, the government
has allocated 1 million Fiji dollars (550,000 U.S.
dollars) for the Constituent Assembly, 11 million Fiji
dollars (6.08 million U.S. dollars) for the
preparations for the 2014 elections, and 1 million
Fiji dollars (550,000 U.S. dollars) to refurbish the
parliament complex for the first parliamentary sitting
will have parliamentary democracy in 2014 - a
democracy that is built to last... People said we
won’t have this but we will,” Bainimarama said
in his address to the nation while announcing the
budget on Nov. 22.
improvement in Fiji’s relations with its neighbors,
especially Australia and New Zealand, has been deemed
as major progress that will bring back international
aid, while its Look North Policy has also been
November, 13 leaders of the African, Caribbean and
Pacific Group of States (ACP) met separately with
Bainimarama during a meeting in Port Moresby, Papua
New Guinea, and invited Fiji back into all talks in
the Pacific ACP.
means that all 14 countries of the Pacific ACP will
participate together in all meetings and in all
activities relating to the group.
a meeting with Fijian Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke
Kubuabola in July, Australian Foreign Minister Bob
Carr and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully
agreed to exchange top-level diplomats with Suva for
the first time in three years and to ease travel bans
against members of the Fijian regime, which were
implemented after the coup as part of sanctions.
Dec. 15, Carr announced Margaret Twomey would be
Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji. Several days
later, McCully said New Zealand would follow suit by
early next year.
Fiji’s constitutional and electoral progress, both
Australia and New Zealand have pledged to provide
financial and technical support.
the same time, Fiji has also pushed forward its Look
North Policy, adopted following the coup with an aim
to open up new markets in Asia and China in particular
to meet its trade and investment aspirations.
to the Fijian government, the level of official
Chinese development assistance to Fiji has increased
considerably since 2006, mainly in the form of direct
also has gained access to Chinese government
concessional loans through the Export-Import Bank of
China to upgrade its national infrastructure.
2014 election is the only way forward for Fiji, said
well- known Fijian academic Dr. Steven Ratuva, a
senior lecturer at Pacific Studies of the University
of Auckland. “For the military, it is the only
exit strategy. And for the population generally, it
is a way of moving out of the post-coup quagmire,”
is both optimism and cynicism in the air. It’s
difficult to imagine the election being postponed
after all the advanced preparations for it in the form
of the constitutional review process, voter
registration and the high expectations generated.
don’t think anyone, including the government, has
any reason or excuse not to have an election. The
momentum is simply too big to stop at this point in
time,” Ratuva said.
many Fijians, Ratuva’s concern is that the country
has not really addressed the fundamental issue of
election will not solve all the problems. History
has taught us that Fiji’s problems usually happen
after the elections. Election is the trigger for
conflict. Thus we still need to address the
fundamental issues of ethnic competition, socio-
economic inequality and power contestation if
elections are to be meaningful,” Ratuva told
Xinhua in an emailed interview.
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