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AFP: Rafidah Perang Mulut VS Wakil A.S. dll
By Kapal Berita

14/11/2000 1:53 am Tue


Wakil Amerika Charlene Barshefsky dan Menteri Perdagangan Malaysia, Rafidah menggunakan perkataan yang tidak diplomatik semasa sidang APEC. Pertengkaran "panas" itu menyebabkan berkecai beberapa harapan untuk mencari satu titik persetujuan. Ia turut mencemarkan tuan rumah yang pernah menasihati Malaysia agar memainkan peranan berkesan, bukannya menjadi pariah merosakkan keharmonian.

Menurut AFP, Malaysia dianggap sebagai pariah APEC oleh beberapa negara ekonomi yang membangun, kerana sengaja menentang sebarang konsensus dengan alasan agenda hendaklah dinyatakan terlebih dahulu.

Mahathir dijangka bertemu dengan Putin, wakil Rusia di Sidang APEC. Perhatikan Malaysia sebelum ini bersetuju membeli helikoper Rusia untuk menggantikan jenis Nuri yang asyik meragam kerana skandal alat-ganti dan 'recond.' dan 'second-hand'.

Nampaknya Rafidah tidak sudah-sudah "buang angin" busuk di Brunei... Terpaksalah 'pekerja tandas APEC' menggunakan pewangi (perfume) dan pelbagai sabun untuk mencuci ketulan cair ditengah-tengah jalan......


Rencana Asiatimes ini pula memetik lapuran dari Unctad pada 3 Oktober yang menunjukkan FDI bersih ke 4 negara Asian (Indonesia, Malaysia, Filipina, Thailand) pada tahun 1999 cuma US$7 billion berbanding US$11.6 billion pada 1998, satu kemerosotan 40%.

Singapura nampaknya tidak tersenarai dalam ekonomi yang berpenyakit ini. Ia maju berkembang, malah mendapat pelbagai pujian di sidang APEC. business/afp/article.html? s=asia/headlines/001113/ business/afp/ Malaysia_and_US_row_as_tempers_ fray_in_APEC_ministerial_meeting.html

Monday, November 13 1:14 PM SGT

Malaysia and US row as tempers fray in APEC ministerial meeting


Malaysia and the United States had a heated exchange in the APEC ministers' meeting as attempts to reach consensus on the crunch issue of global trade talks collapsed in disarray, officials said Monday.

US trade representative Charlene Barshefsky and Malaysian Trade Minister Raafidah Aziz used "undiplomatic" words, an official at the closed door meeting said.

Leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, who began arriving here Monday expecting to see a declaration prepared for their summit, instead found the ministerial talks bogged down on the central issue of trade liberalisation.

There is unanimous support on the need for a new round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations, but stark differences have emerged over whether APEC should use its muscle to force multilateral liberalisation talks in 2001.

Malaysia has been held up by some developed economies as the APEC pariah, preventing consensus by insisting on an agenda being set before the meeting.

As Malaysia began to win over Asian allies, Barshefsky and Rafidah "exchanged words that can be considered not polite," a Taiwan official said.

He said Barshefsky accused Rafidah of being "too analytical" and said she "should not decide such a technical matter at this forum."

Another official, who did not wish to be identified, said the "heated exchange" took place Sunday.

As a stern-looking Barshefsky left the meeting Monday, refusing to talk to reporters, other officials played down the row.

"It wasn't heated at all, the meeting was boring," a US official said, while a Japanese trade ministry delegate described the verbal volley as "not animated, it was just a discussion".

Roberto Romulo, the head of the influential Pacific Economic Cooperation Council which has observor status at APEC, said that essentially both women held common views.

"Rafidah is not the bad girl in this, and Charlene's not the bad girl either.

"In the context of WTO, what she (Rafidah) is saying is very logical.

"The US wants to go forward on the basis of what has already been agreed, while japan wants the talks to tackle a comprehensive programme.

"And in essence Rafidah is saying essentially the same thing: Tell us what the agenda is and I'll agree."

The United States has been leading the drive for talks in 2001, saying the trade initiative aborted at Seattle a year ago needed to be kick-started as soon as possible.

The Taiwan official said several Asian countries, notably South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia were now supporting Malaysia.

This was denied by Japanese officials.

"I'm not sure 2001 will be incorporated in this ministerial communique. But Japan hasn't changed its stance at all in that we support 2001," a trade official said.

Although the APEC leaders will express support for free trade initiatives in the declaration at the end of their summit on Thursday, it is now almost certain they will call for a new WTO round "at the earliest opportunity" rather than specify 2001.

Malaysian air force to buy Russian helicopters

The Malaysian air force is to buy Russian Mi-17 helicopters to replace its ageing Sikorsky S-61 'Nuri fleet.

The Bernama news agency quoted Defence Minister Najib Tun Razak as saying discussions were taking place on specifications and a contract, and the number of helicopters to be acquired had not been determined.

Deputy air force commander Lieutenant General Suleiman Mahmud was quoted as saying that Malaysia would initially buy 10 Mi-17 helicopters for various purposes.

Last updated: 11:03 Tuesday 7th November 2000.


Of flying geese and lame ducks

By Uwe Parpart
Editor, Asia Times Online

The "Flying Geese" pattern of economic development, a notion apparently first proposed by Japanese economist Kaname Akimatsu in the late 1930s to early '40s, became Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) doctrine in the 1970s and '80s and is laid out in detail in the writings of Hitotsubashi University professor, Miti-affiliated Institute of Developing Economies president, and one-time member of the Apec Eminent Persons Group, Ippei Yamasawa. By the lights of the Akimatsu-Yamazawa theory, Japan - as the lead goose of a V-formation - develops successively higher-technology levels of production and sheds, passes on and invests in those production technologies in East Asian nations following in its slipstream.

That worked all right for a while. From the mid-'80s onward, following the massive revaluation of the yen agreed in the Plaza Accords of the world's leading industrialized nations, Japan invested somewhere near US$50 billion in developing East Asia, and the East Asian Miracle was under way. The problem, of course, was that in the early 1990s the lead goose lost its bearings and while those in its wake kept on course for a while, they all came tumbling down like so many lame ducks in 1997.

Unhappily, no new lead goose has come forward to replace Japan - except perhaps that rather distant one, the United States. In fact, Japan, instead of resuming its lead role and reinvigorating the flock, has been feeding off the rest. The income generated by Japanese multinationals is not recycled back out as foreign direct investment, but stays home to support an unproductive domestic sector that makes up two-thirds of the total economy. Worse than that, over the past several years, Japan has been reducing its foreign-invested assets to a very significant extent. Figures released by the (central) Bank of Japan in August make the point: at the end of 1997, Japan's direct investments abroad totalled 35.3 trillion yen, by the end of 1998 that sum had dropped to 31.2 trillion, and by the end of 1999 to 25.5 trillion. Divestment in Asia was a large part of that story: assets at the end of 1997 were 10 trillion yen, by the end of 1999 they had dropped to 4.6 trillion.

Should anyone be wondering why the one-time miracle economies of developing East Asia are having such a damn hard time getting back on their feet, a good part of the answer can be found in those numbers. To make things worse, no one else is seriously picking up the slack. Figures released by Unctad on October 3 show that net FDI inflows to the Asean-4 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand) in 1999 were just US$7 billion compared to US$11.6 billion in 1998, a whopping 40 percent decline. That was largely due to divestment to the tune of US$3.3 billion in Indonesia. But declines of 18 percent and 58 percent were registered by Thailand and the Philippines, respectively. Only Malaysia made a 31 percent gain.

We won't blame the continuing East Asian malaise merely or even mainly on lack of sufficient FDI. We have said often enough that failure of these economies to thoroughly reform themselves in the wake of the Asian crisis is the main culprit. Low levels of FDI merely reflect the lack of confidence on the part of foreign investors - and such confidence will not return until such reforms are carried out in earnest. Japan, of course, is part of that unreformed bunch. They all will only fly together if and when governments and businesses come to understand that serious overhauls are in order. Till then the geese will waddle.

(Special to Asia Times Online)