Consumer sovereignty in the framework of social justice, economic equality and environmental balance, within and across borders


  • Food and flirting: how firms learn to live with China antitrust raids

    August 11, 2014

    In the early afternoon of Monday, Aug. 4, ten men in suits and casual business wear barged into a busy office at Mercedes-Benz’s east China sales office, near Shanghai’s Hongqiao international airport.

    “People were starting a new week and were just back from lunch, when the men arrived,” said a person familiar with the scene. “They didn’t have the slightest idea they were coming to rip the office apart and question people for data and information for the next 10 hours,” he said, adding the men were antitrust investigators from China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
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  • Int’l forum focuses on Mekong infrastructure

    August 9, 2014

    HA NOI — The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) must ensure that economic corridors yield benefits in terms of trade, investment, and jobs, participants at the sixth GMS Economic Corridors Forum (ECF) heard yesterday.

    The forum, co-organised by Viet Nam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Asian Development Bank attracted ministers, vice-ministers, senior officials, development partners, and representatives of the private sector from the six GMS countries.

    They reviewed achievements during the last six years and took stock of cross-border transport and trade initiatives in the region.
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  • Corruption: The gravest problem

    August 9, 2014

    Currently, businesses can hardly comply with tax regulations as they are too complicated. Even though types of taxes and their rates are defined, they are accompanied by a plethora of guidelines. It is not difficult therefore to find an example to back this argument.

    Tax authorities wish to shorten the list of non-taxable items, aiming toward a uniform tax rate to ensure better simplicity and transparency. Yet value added tax (VAT) may prove quite the contrary.
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  • SOE equitisation goal reached, but quality still an issue

    August 9, 2014

    HA NOI — As the Government urges to streamlines the operation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), the target can be attained in terms of quantity. However, there are doubts about the quality of most businesses after equitisation.

    Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved restructuring proposals of 20 corporations as of July; additionally, 55 companies were equitised and 15 others were merged in the first seven months of this year.

    The equitisation target of 432 businesses by the end of next year was achievable, said the Enterprise Reform and Development Commission.
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  • State fund to take over crisis-hit Malaysia Airlines

    August 8, 2014

    Malaysia Airlines will be taken over by a state investment fund under plans announced Friday, ahead of a “complete overhaul” aimed at saving the company from oblivion.

    Khazanah Nasional, which already owns 70 percent of the flag carrier, said it intends to de-list the company, purchase all minority shares and finalise a restructuring plan by the end of the month.

    Speculation had been mounting that Khazanah would step in and steer Malaysia Airlines (MAS) off the stock exchange to give the fund a freer hand as it works to resuscitate a carrier in crisis after the double disasters of MH370 and MH17.
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  • Asia-Pacific region must unlock fiscal space to drive inclusive growth

    August 6, 2014

    Asia-Pacific countries continue to drive the global economy. The region has demonstrated great resilience during the economic and financial crisis, contributing about 70 per cent of world growth from 2008-2011.

    Yet, regional growth is now in a challenging phase. The 2014 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, the flagship publication of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), forecasts a third successive year of growth below 6 per cent in Asia-Pacific developing economies. However, this conceals a wide variation in performance among some major developing economies, ranging from a 7.5 per cent 2014 growth forecast for China, to just 0.3 per cent for the Russian Federation.
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  • Shrimp producers face more scrutiny for chemical usage

    August 6, 2014

    HA NOI — The Prime Minister has directed the concerned ministries and agencies to monitor shrimp production and trade more strictly, according to the Government’s news portal chinhphu.vn.

    Under Directive 20/CT-TTg issued late last week, the PM asked the chairpersons of coastal provinces and cities with large seafood production and trading activities, such as Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and Kien Giang, to increase the supervision and inspection of seafood production, processing and trade to prevent the contamination of the products with banned chemical residues.

    Those violating the rules will be strictly punished in accordance with Decree 178/2013/ND-CP, under which the production and business licences can be withdrawn and the cases can be made public through mass media.
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  • India says confident WTO will understand food security concerns

    August 5, 2014

    NEW DELHI – India refused to yield ground on Tuesday on its spat with the World Trade Organisation and said it believed it could convince other members that its need for more freedom on food subsidies was legitimate.

    Trade Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not give details in a statement she made in parliament, but her comments offered a robust and uncompromising defence of the Indian position, suggesting the government planned to dig its heels in on an issue that has isolated New Delhi.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government vetoed the adoption of a treaty to simplify, standardise and streamline the rules for shipping goods across borders, having previously agreed to its terms at a ministerial conference on the Indonesian resort island of Bali last December.
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