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APEC Economies Report Improved Trade Finance, Discuss Free Trade

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The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum has released a survey that shows an improvement in financing trade in more than half of their economies. The survey was released during APEC meetings in Singapore.

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The survey released Monday indicates trade finance has since July improved in most APEC economies as more cash has become available.Twelve out of the 19 APEC economies surveyed said companies conducting trade had no serious problems accessing funds. That compares with eight out of 18 APEC economies surveyed that felt that way in July.The survey does not say which of APEC’s 21 economies were surveyed, but says they are optimistic that trade finance will ease further in the next six months.

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The survey comes as senior officials from APEC economies met for a second day in Singapore to discuss recovering from the global financial crisis and improving business in the Pacific Rim. Free trade agreements top the agenda – both agreements already in existence among members, and the proposed APEC agreement that would liberalize trade across the Pacific.Elizabeth Chelliah is chairwoman of APEC’s committee for trade and investment. She says APEC members need to learn what works in free trade agreements as they move toward creating an APEC-wide deal.”We can actually use a ready made FTA outside there as a possible vehicle so APEC can still concentrate on doing what it’s very good at doing – awareness, capacity building, dialogue issues,” Chelliah said. “And [as] economies become more comfortable I hope over the next year or two we will be able to set the timeline for development of this FTA.”Chelliah says APEC members have been studying how the European Union expanded its free trade area, as well as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership.Although there is no firm timetable for an APEC free trade agreement, Chelliah says there has been substantial progress on liberalizing trade among some members.

via VOA News – APEC Economies Report Improved Trade Finance, Discuss Free Trade.

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National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.

The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.

Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.

The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.

The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.

The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.

Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.

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