Southeast Asian economic ministers will discuss ways to accelerate regional economic integration following free-trade arrangements with Asian giants China and India, an official said yesterday.
A two-day informal meeting of economic ministers from the 10-member ASEAN is scheduled to kick off in Jogjakarta today and will also feature talks with EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy.
"We [ASEAN] have to accelerate economic integration because this is necessary if we are to compete with China and India," said a member of the Indonesian delegation, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"Free trade agreements with China and India provide opportunities but at the same time also challenges," the official said.
In a summit in Bali in October, ASEAN leaders launched the first phase of a free-trade agreement to be fully developed with China by 2010, and signed a pact with India to set up a similar arrangement by 2016.
The leaders also signed a pact that lays the foundations for closer economic and security ties.
A key element of the pact is the ASEAN Economic Community, an effort to achieve a single market by 2020 with a free flow of goods, services and investments throughout the grouping of 530 million people.
ASEAN has given priority to integrating 11 industry sectors -- wood, rubber, automotive, textile, electronics, agriculture, information technology, fisheries, healthcare, air travel and tourism.
But the official said some issues still needed to be worked out.
ASEAN also seeks to introduce the use of regional ASEAN branding to produce competitive products and develop a "Made in ASEAN" brand for parts produced in member countries.
The meeting between ASEAN economic ministers and Lamy tomorrow will focus on measures to boost economic cooperation between the two regions, the Indonesian official said.
The EU has proposed the so-called Trans-Regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative as a new mechanism for economic cooperation.
But a European Commission official said last Thursday that the time was not yet ripe for a free trade agreement between the EU and ASEAN.
In 2002, the EU was ASEAN's second-largest export market and third-largest source of imports, behind Japan and the US.
RECORD BUDGET: TSMC does plan to raise its proposed capital expenditure a lot, and could benefit if Intel outsources more of its production to foundries, analysts said Intel Corp’s earnings conference call on Thursday is expected to clarify the US semiconductor giant’s outsourcing production plans, which would be crucial regarding Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) performance, analysts said. “TSMC stands to benefit if Intel outsources more of its fabrication to foundries,” SinoPac Securities Investment Service Corp (永豐投顧) analysts said in a note on Friday. Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) was more cautious, saying that Intel’s contribution initially would be limited, but its outsourcing plans would still highlight TSMC’s leadership in technology, it added. “Intel will continue to manufacture server or high-end central processing units [CPUs], which have higher
MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday announced it would give incentive bonuses totaling NT$1.7 billion (US$59.7 million) to its employees and those at the firm’s major subsidiaries, after the smartphone chip supplier’s revenue hit US$10 billion last year. This is the biggest incentive bonus the Hsinchu-based handset chip designer has ever distributed in its 23-year history. About 17,000 full-time employees of MediaTek and five of its subsidiaries, including Richtek Technology Corp (立錡科技) and Airoha Technology Corp (絡達科技), would receive a “red envelope” of NT$100,000 each, the company said. “Surpassing US$10 billion is just the beginning. We will continue to [grow] on this basis,” MediaTek
TO SPUR REVENUE: The contract chipmaker expects its profit to grow 15 percent this year, outpacing the foundry industry’s projected advance of about 10 percent Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday raised its projected capital spending for this year by 62 percent, a new high, in an attempt to satisfy customer demand for advanced technologies in the production of central processing units, high-performance-computing (HPC) devices and 5G applications. After investing US$17.24 billion last year, TSMC this year plans to spend US$25 billion to US$28 billion on manufacturing equipment and new facilities, including a fab in the US. About 80 percent of the budget would be allocated for developing advanced technologies including 3, 5 and 7-nanometer technologies, the company said. The larger-than-expected capital spending prompted speculation
Norway’s oil and gas reserves have made it one of the world’s wealthiest countries, but its dreams for deep-sea discovery now center on something different. This time, Oslo is looking for a leading role in mining copper, zinc and other metals found on the seabed and in hot demand in green technologies. The country could license companies for deep-sea mining as early as 2023, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said, potentially placing it among the first countries to harvest seabed metals for electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar farms. However, that could also place it on the front line of