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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.

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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Economics

BoI Plans More Efforts to Promote BCG Economy

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Board of Investment (BoI) is working with related agencies to rev up promotion of the bio-, circular and green (BCG) economy to help drive growth over the next 5 years.

BoI Secretary-General Duangjai Asawachintachit said the BoI is looking into more business categories for high technology as part of efforts to promote the BCG economy.

She said the government is focused on developing the bio-economy as Thailand has more than 30 million people working in the farm sector, yet most of them remain in poverty.

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Covid-19 and medical tourism: is a recovery on the cards?

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Covid-19 and medical tourism: is a recovery on the cards?

– Before the pandemic, medical tourism was a major growth area
– Dubai was a world leader among emerging market destinations
– Covid-19 travel bans and lockdowns seriously dented growth
– Increased emphasis on safety has enabled a gradual re-opening

Prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, medical tourism was a significant growth industry in many emerging economies. While the pandemic represented a major setback for the segment, there are signs that it may be recovering in several markets.

The last decade saw a boom in medical tourism. By 2018 the global market was generating $58.6bn annually and in 2019 it was forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% – reaching more than $142.2bn by 2026.

The segment’s growth was largely spurred by increased awareness – particularly among citizens of higher-income countries – of the quality and relatively affordable health care options on offer in many emerging economies. The appeal was further enhanced by the possibility of combining medical treatment with a holiday in an attractive location.

Asia has been a popular region for medical tourism for some time. In Thailand, for example, guided by the Ministry of Public Health’s 2016-25 strategic plan entitled ‘Thailand: A Hub of Wellness and Medical Services’, stakeholders have been working to cement the country’s position as a regional leader in medical tourism.

Elsewhere in Asia, in 2017 the Indian government began offering a medical visa aimed at bringing in more foreign patients. 

Governments in other regions similarly moved to capitalise on this growing segment. In 2015, for example, Turkish Airlines announced a 50% discount on flights for people coming to Turkey for medical treatment.

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Thai Government Promotes Circular Economy

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Industry Ministry aims to increase social awareness among 65 factories this year to promote environmentally friendly production under the circular economy model.

Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said the government is committed to safeguarding the environment and communities through a campaign for business sustainability.

He said factories that join the government’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) project will benefit from waste and cost reduction based on high technology.

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