Connectivity 6.2.97

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"Connectivity 6.2.97", Aprenet, June 02, 1997, https://nautilus.org/aprenet/connectivity-6-2-97/

Connectivity: Asia Pacific Trade, Environment, and Development Monitor

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April 20th 1997 Vol.1 No.2

 

Regional News

Ban on Trade in Tiger Parts Proves Unsuccessful

May 29, 1997 – Source: Kyodo News Service

The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has failed to protect tigers from extinction, according to a recent report from the British conservation group TRAFFIC. The group reports that the 5,000 to 7,000 wild tigers remaining worldwide will go extinct if weak implementation of the ban on tiger trade continues.

APEC Should Assist SMEs with ISO14,000 Certification

May 8m, 1997 – Source Bernama (Malaysian National News Agency)

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum should assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in meeting international standards, such as ISO 14000, according to the Malay Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz. According to the report, SMEs constitute 90 percent of all enterprises in the APEC region, 35 percent of total exports, and providing 84 percent of employment. The Minister’s comments were made at the APEC South American Forum in Arica, Chile.

Thailand Wants “Anchor Role” in Mekong

May 23, 1997 – Source: Bangkok Post

In a recent address to the US-ASEAN Business Council, Thai Commerce Minister, Narongchai Akrasanee, said Thailand will serve as an “anchor” for Southeast Asia on the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) project. He said Thailand was at the center of development in ASEAN, as well as the GMS, and will continue to play an important role within the region. Thailand wants to work closely with new members of ASEA, the Minister added, on “projects that bring mutual benefit, such as energy development in Laos to supply Thailand.” The GMS includes Burma, Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

APEC Trade Ministerial

May 12, 1997 – Bangkok Post/USTR Press Release

At the APEC Trade Ministerial this week, Ministers reaffirmed their efforts to boost trade and investment liberalization at the regional and global levels. The APEC meeting urged WTO members to work towards a full Most Favored Nation (MFN) financial services agreement, and support the strengthening of the WTO Secretariat’s capacity in assisting the least developed members of the Geneva-based organization. The Ministers also reaffirmed their efforts to work with business in facilitating the “movement of business people, enhancing investment flows, aligning professional standards in the region and involve the private sector in infrastructure planning.”

Expanding Role for APEC in the WTO

May 12, 1997 – Source: World Trade Organization

WTO Director, Renato Ruggiero, in his address to APEC Trade Ministers on May 10th, stressed APEC’s role in forging an effective global multilateral trade system. Ruggiero challenged APEC Ministers to demonstrate the potential benefits from increased WTO participation by promoting implementation of the Information Technology Agreement. As the Asia-Pacific region grows in economic importance, Ruggiero concluded, APEC can potentially increase the WTO’s effectiveness by serving as a role model facilitating economic negotiations at the regional level.

Cambodia

Cambodian Logging Threatens Economy

May 29, 1997 – Source: Reuters

According to the Asia Development Bank, illegal logging in Cambodia – in violation of bans on the harvesting and export of timber – is depriving the government of revenue and threatening economic reform. “Widespread illegal logging and export out of Cambodia are major concerns of the aid community and have undermined major economic reform efforts here,” Mitsuo Sato, President of the ADB, told a news conference this week. “Funds derived from logging should be reflected in the state budget and a framework for sustainable forestry management should be developed by the government,” he said. A recent World Bank report concluded that last year the Cambodian forestry industry was capable of generating half of annual government revenues but had provided only an estimated 12 percent of total government income in 1995. In 1996, the International Monetary Fund canceled a $20 million loan installment over concerns of excessive logging and the loss of potential government revenue.

 

People’s Republic of China

China Falls to Number 2 on Japanese Aid List

May 30th – Source: Japan Times

China dropped to the second largest recipient of Japanese official development assistance in 1996 after Tokyo temporarily froze grants-in-aid to protest China’s continued nuclear tests, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said May 30th. Indonesia became the top aid recipient, with $965.5 million, up 8.2 percent from the previous year; aid to China fell 37.6 percent to $861.4 million; Thailand was the third largest recipient, with $663.95 million; India was fourth with $579.26 million; and the Philippines fifth at $414.4 million.

Li Outlines China’s Energy Strategy

May 30, 1997 – Source: China Daily

Chinese Premier Li Peng outlined the state’s energy policy in an article published in the latest issue of Qiushi, or “Seeking Truth,” a theoretical journal published by the Communist Party. In the six-part article, Li outlines key development strategies for China’s energy industry; the guidelines for the development of China’s coal, oil, electricity and nuclear power industries; energy conservation policies; and the relationship between energy development and sustained economic growth.

The article’s key points:

  • per-capita energy consumption in China is only 1.14 tons of standard coal, lower than the world’s average;
  • proven deposits of oil and natural gas resources, however, are insufficient for supporting economic growth;
  • in 1996, China produced 1.38 billion tons of raw coal, making the country a leading coal producer worldwide;
  • roughly 70 per cent of energy in China comes from coal, and “such a consumption mix will not likely be changed in a long period of time,” said Li;
  • Li acknowledges that State mines have operated in the red in recent years with combined losses in 1992 hitting 5.77 billion yuan (US$695 million);
  • coal-fueled electric power will still account for 75 percent of the total in the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000); electricity created from water should account for about 30 per cent of the total in China; and small hydroelectric power stations should be extended in rural areas, according to Li.

China Launches ISO 14,000 Committee

May 28, 1997 – Source: China Daily

China launched a national supervisory committee on certification of environmental management systems this week. According to the China Daily, the committee’s daily task is to oversee the adoption of the International Standards Organization’s 14000 series. Agencies tasked with the certification of ISO-14000 can only begin work with the committee’s approval. These requirements guarantee the nation’s environmental-management certification work is carried out under one set of standards and one regulating system, said Xie Zhenhua, director of National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) and head of the committee. The report concludes that the adoption of ISO-14000 will help strengthen public awareness of environmental conservation, as it requires systematic training of enterprises’ employees about environmental protection.

Mining Company Promises China Benefits

May 22, 1997 – Source: Dow Jones News Service

John Wilson, the president and chief executive of Canada’s Placer Dome Inc. (PDG), urged China to

Reduce bureaucratic control and increase legal protections for foreign operators. Wilson, in a speech to Hong Kong business executives, said foreign mining companies have something to offer China and other developing countries: social and environmental responsibility. ‘I believe mining will be warmly welcomed in China if our projects are seen on sustainable development terms,’ according to Wilson.

Indonesia

Indonesia Serves as Model

May 27, 1997 – Source: The Earth Times

In collaboration with the Center for African Family Studies (CAFS), the Indonesian National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN) is now reaching beyond national successes to assist with development of family planning programs in Africa. Mali and Senegal, with their low family planning success rates, are to be among the first participants in the CAFS program. This type of South-South cooperation serves as a model for future programs which will encourage sustainable development based on experiential learning, according to the report. As Indonesia has demonstrated, education in areas such as family planning is optimal on regional levels as countries are more receptive to learning from experiences of those with similar cultural norms

Indonesian Industries Urged to Adopt ISO 14,000 Standards

May 2, 1997 – Source: Antara (The Indonesian National News Agency)

Indonesian industries should be able to implement environmental – friendly production programs in line with the requirements stipulated in ISO-14000, according to a senior government official. “It is now high time to implement a ‘clean’ production program in Indonesia as such a program can cut production cost, enhance product quality and productivity and minimize the generation of polluting wastes,” Director General for Forest and Agricultural Production Sujata said Tuesday. Speaking to a technical training course for workers in the furniture industry, Sujata said, “Development of environment friendly industries will not only aim for economic and technical benefits, but it should also be able to bring about positive benefits and avoid negative effects that may harm the general public and the environment.”

 

Republic of Korea

Korean Industries Call for Change in Tax Laws for the Environment

May 16, 1997 – Source: Korea Herald

The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) called on the Korean government to modify the current tax and accounting rules to take corporate spending on environmental protection into account. The FKI, which represents the interests of large Korean companies, made these and other points in its comments to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) advisory panel on economic and environmental matters. In the statement, the FKI called for the introduction of environmental tax and waste emission rights systems which, according to the group, should not overlap with the present environment levies and other environmental surcharges. The statement also stressed the need for the government to regard environmental outlays as corporate costs and investments entitled to tax benefits. Finally, the statement suggested multilateral bodies to consider the introduction of governmental subsidies for the manufacture of environment-friendly products and development of such technology.

 

Republic of China – Taiwan

Australian Trade in Radioactive Scrap Iron

May 30, 1997 – Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan)

The Republic of China’s Atomic Energy Council has asked a steel plant in Taichung County to immediately return a shipment of radioactive scrap iron imported from Australia. An Atomic Energy Council official said this is the first time Australian-imported scrap iron has been found to be contaminated. In most previous cases, radioactive material originated in the United States. Officials also advised local scrap iron importers to add a return shipment clause to their contracts to protect their own rights.

 

PBEC Backs Taipei/Beijing WTO Bid

May 27, 1997 Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan)

The Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC), an international organization of private business leaders, urged the World Trade Organization (WTO) to immediately admit China and Taiwan, according to the Central News Agency. The PBEC board, in a resolution passed during its 30th International General Meeting in Manila last week, said WTO membership for the two will “greatly advance the goal of regional as well as global economic integration,” the WTO report said. The PBEC groups business executives and chief executive officers (CEOs) from Australia, Canada, Chile, mainland China, the Republic of China, Columbia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand and the United States.

 

Thailand

Coke Bottler First to Achieve ISO 14001 Certification

May 17, 1997 – Source: Bangkok Post

Thai Pure Drink Ltd, which bottles Coca-Cola in Thailand, is the world’s first Coke bottling plant to achieve ISO 14001 certification. Five more Coca-Cola plants in Thailand will push for certification over the next two years in a bid to “raise efficiency, protect the environment, and reduce production costs by 60 million baht a year.” Thailand’s ISO 14000 pilot project is led by the Thailand Environment Institute.

Animal Feed Group Joins Shrimp Boycott

May 20, 1997 – Source: Bangkok Post

The Thai Animal Feed Association, in a show of solidarity with shrimp farmers, has agreed to stop I mporting vitamins and ingredients for animal feed production from the European Union. The move came in response to the EU’s 50% cut in preferential tariff benefits for shrimp imported from Thailand on January 1. Thai shrimp exports are set to lose all of their preferential tariff benefits by 1999 under the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme. The EU claims that Thailand’s economy has reached a level where it no longer needs full assistance granted to poorer nations. Shrimp farmers hope the association’s stand will pressure the European Union to review its decision to cut the GSP privileges to Thai shrimp exports.

 

United States

US/China Clean Energy Talks

May 30, 1997 – Source: Environment News Service

According to Department of Energy (DOE) officials, environmental and energy matters were the focus of U.S. Secretary of Energy, Federico Pena’s, two-day meeting with Chinese Vice Chairman of the State Planning Commission Ye Qing. New and renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear technology, petroleum and natural gas, and clean coal technology were explored for areas of potential cooperation during the discussions. “It’s pretty clear that the largest domestic energy resource China has is coal and, in their current five-year plan, they envision a significant expansion of oil-based energy,” DOE officials said. “We are trying to give them some access to technology that would allow them to utilize this coal in an environmentally responsible manner. We also recognize that, in the near term, coal is their most economic option for this broad-scale and rapid expansion.” During the trip, Department of Energy and U.S. Export-Import Bank officials reached an agreement with the Chinese delegation to support a $50 million export credit targeted toward renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in China.

 

US Renews MFN Status for China

May 19, 1997 – Source: White House Office of the Press Secretary

In an effort to, show of support for openness in China and a stable period of change in Hong Kong, the US announced plans to renew China’s MFN status this week. According to the Administration, if the US were to end China’s MFN status, because of human rights or other grounds, the US would become isolated from trade with an ever expanding Chinese market. US officials maintain that granting China MFN status will encourage long term transitions to more humane practices and will ensure peace and stability throughout the region.

 

Clinton’s ‘Middle Way’ Limits Trade Options

May 28, 1997 – Source: Financial Times

According to a recent Financial Times op-ed article, US President Bill Clinton’s recent decision to not seek fast track authority until the autumn demonstrates the limits of his “middle-of-the road trade strategy.” With so many members in both parties opposing trade liberalization, the Financial Times claims, the President has had to “broaden the centre” to get approval for trade policies. The strategy – known as “triangulation” – places the President on a politically moderate third track between the conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. Clinton first used “triangulation” to gain consensus on the North American Free Trade Agreement by embracing the free trade deal, while negotiating “side agreements” on labor and environment to attract Democratic votes. However, according to the report, in light of the failure of NAFTA’s side agreements, “triangulation” is an increasingly hard sell to Democrats who are wary of linking trade, environment, and labor standards.

Upcoming Events

Conference Date Location/ Contact Information
Government Conference on the Environment (GCOE) Seminar on ISO 14000 June 3, 1997 Sacramento, California, USA

Contact: John Jones at GCOE, Tel: 800-877-GCOE; Fax: 916-334-5334;

Marine Conservation Biology Symposium June 6-7, 1997 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Contact: Elliott A. Norse, Ph.D., Marine Conservation Biology Institute, (206)883-8914,

email: enorse@u.washington.edu

APEC Environment Ministerial June 9 – 11, 1997 Toronto, Canada

For all APEC events contact: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat

438 Alexandra Road

#14-00, Alexandra Point

Singapore 119958

Tel : (65) 276-1880

Fax: (65) 276-1775

Email: info@apec.stems.com

Workshop on “Destructive Fishing Techniques with Focus on Cyanide Fishing”

APEC Fishery Working Group

June 9, 1997 Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico
Clean Oceans `97 June 13-15, 1997 Kauai, Hawaii, USA

Contact Carl Stepath, Save Our Seas, (808)826-2525,sos@aloha.net, or http://planet-hawaii.com/sos/cleanocean97.html

United Nations General Assembly, Special Session on Agenda 21 June 23-27 New York, NY, USA

Contact UN Environment Programme, Jim Sniffen, UNEP Information Officer, New York, Tel: 1-212-963-8094; Fax: 1-212-963-7341; E-mail: sniffenj@un.org

Understanding and Implementing ISO 14000 Environmental Management Systems Online interactive seminar 21April-2 May Contact: 403-266-1030;

Email: pallistj@cadvision.com;

Fourth North Pacific Rim Fisheries Conference 22-24 April Tokyo, Japan.

Contact: Steve Cowper, US Co-Chair, North Pacific Rim Fisheries Conference, ACIB, UAA, 3211 Providence Drive, BEB 203, Anchorage, Alaska 99508, USA; Tel: 907-786-4300; Fax: 907-786-4319.

First European Conference on Sustainable Island Development 23-26 April Minorca, Spain

Contact: International Scientific Council for Island Development (INSULA), http://www.insula.org/conf.htm

Please send announcements or suggestion for the next issue to aprenet@nautilus.org

In coming weeks this space will host a regular analysis of the issues shaping the trade, environment and development debate in the Asia Pacific Region. If you wish to contribute to this section or have any comments on the Monitor please contact aprenet@nautilus.org

Connectivity is a bi-monthly information service reporting on trade, environment and development issues in the Asia-Pacific. The Monitor is emailed to members of the Asia Pacific Regional Environment Network (APRENet). To register for this free service please fill out the on-line registration form at or send email to nautilus@nautilus.org

 

APRENet is funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.


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