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SIIA Media Note: 20 Apr 2011

Updated On: Apr 20, 2011

Laos plans for dam

"Plans by Laos to build a dam on the upper Mekong were strongly questioned by other ASEAN states downstream on the river," notes Simon Tay. 

"Laos wants to generate electricity to sell, especially to Thailand, but the environment costs will be high and can disrupt the societies and farming communities that depend on the river. How Asean neighbours approach the issue has wider implications. China plans dams even further up the river in Yunnan."

Professor Simon TAY is the Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. He is a professor at the Law faculty and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore [bio].


Trans-Pacific partnership talks in Singapore: ambitions meet realities

"The recent sixth meeting of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Singapore produced mixed results," says Hank Lim. 

"Before the Singapore meeting, officials have been able to talk in general terms about objectives. But starting in Singapore, rather than talking in abstractions, officials are arguing over specific texts and drafting new rules that will govern trade between nine very diverse economies."

"This is where officials will confront two different problems. The nine TPP members are already linked in 25 different agreements at bilateral and regional levels. Each of these existing agreements has different provisions and new TPP arrangements have to take these existing agreements into account. Another problem, given the hype surrounding the TPP, it will be difficult to live up to expectations as clearly demonstrated in the Singapore meeting. As the deadline for conclusion is only eight months away (scheduled in November at APEC Summit in Honolulu), it is unlikely that the agreement would have coverage as originally planned as some topics would be jettisoned or diluted to meet the economic and political realities in member states."

Dr. Hank LIM is a Senior Research Fellow at the SIIA [bio].


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