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Indonesia has announced its intention to propose a regional minimum wage for ASEAN during a recent World Economic Forum event held on the first and second of June in Kuala Lumpur.
During the event, Indonesian officials cited wage disparities between low cost production hubs such as Vietnam and those economies with more expensive labor forces.
They also expressed concerns that these differences could result in a race to the bottom and ultimately lead to the exploitation of workers.
The specifics of Indonesia’s proposal are expected to be released at the upcoming ASEAN manpower ministers’ meeting.
For businesses seeking to take advantage of tariff free exports and low labor costs, Vietnam is the place to go. In 2015, industry and construction made up a third of its national GDP and with the recent signing of several free trade agreements, including the European Union-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), this amount is expected to rise. As a compliment to pending agreements, Vietnam already benefits from operational FTAs with members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, India, New Zealand, Australia, and Russia.
Although FTA agreements present a tempting way to lower export costs, the ability to tap into their benefits is largely contingent upon compliance with elaborate rules outlined within each agreement. At hundreds of pages in length, agreements set out specific tariff concessions and compliance requirements at a product specific level. In order to ascertain the manner in which goods will be treated, it is first necessary to identify the HS code that will be designated to the finished product. This is to determine the applicable tariff.
The Singapore-Australia relationship was recently strengthened by the joint announcement of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership on 6 May 2016. The partnership is based on the third review of the 2003 Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), aimed at addressing current business needs of the two economies and furthering integration.
The third review will address education, science and innovation, labor mobility, and defense collaboration between the two countries. Importantly, the agreement will also cover the partnership between Singapore and Northern Australia on agribusiness and encourage Singaporean and Australian companies to work on securing reliable supply chains in the agribusiness sectors. The most significant upgrade of the agreement is the facilitation of government procurement contracts through the reduction of red tape.
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