Tbilisi, June 22 (AP/UNB) — A ban on Russian airlines taking citizens to Georgia will cut visitor traffic significantly at first but tourism should recover quickly, Georgian travel agencies said Saturday as Russia also barred Georgian airlines from its airports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered a ban on Russian flights to Georgia starting July 8 after a Russian delegation's appearance in the Georgian parliament sparked large protests.
On Saturday, the Russian Transportation Ministry announced Georgian airlines would be prevented from flying to Russia beginning the same day because of security concerns and debts from navigation services.
The moves echo bans Russia imposed in 2006 on flights and imports of Georgian wine and mineral water as tensions rose between the countries. The bans were later lifted.
The 2006 Russian bans "at first had a negative effect, but new markets and new contracts were found. I think the same will happen in the tourism sphere," Kakha Gogolashvili of Georgian tour agency Globus said Saturday.
Georgia is a popular destination for Russian tourists, who are attracted by the country's dramatic mountain scenery and its wine. The Russian association of tour operators says 5,000-7,000 Russians currently are visiting Georgia on organized tours, and twice that many likely are there traveling independently, according to Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti.
Clashes between police and protesters on Thursday in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi injured at least 240 people, including two reported to have lost eyes when police fired rubber bullets to try to disperse a crowd attempting to storm the parliament building.
A large but more orderly protest was held Friday, with demonstrators denouncing the government as overly friendly to Russia and calling for a snap parliamentary election.
On Saturday evening, about 1,500 demonstrators again assembled outside parliament; the crowd was expected to grow during the evening.
Dhaka, June 22 (UNB) – Nepal will welcome all kinds of private and public sector investments from Bangladesh, said its Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Secretary Dinesh Kumar Ghimire on Saturday.
He conveyed his country’s message to Bangladesh when he met State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid at his Baridhara residence.
Dinesh Kumar came here leading a Nepalese delegation to attend the joint working committee meeting on Bangladesh-Nepal power development cooperation held in Cox’s Bazar on June 21.
The Nepalese secretary informed that the Himalayan nation will provide all kinds of cooperation to Bangladesh to boost the trade and business between the two countries, said a Power, Energy and Mineral Resource Ministry press release.
He said both the nations need to explore new areas of cooperation.
Dinesh Kumar also invited Nasrul Hamid to join the Saarc Energy Ministers’ Meeting in Nepal scheduled to be held in the second week of August.
He congratulated the state minister for getting the charge of the ministry again following the December 30 general election.
Informing the Nepalese secretary of different ongoing development projects in the country’s infrastructure sector, Nasrul Hamid said Bangladesh has created a huge investment opportunity. “For these projects, Bangladesh needs huge electricity. We’re keenly interested to import electricity from Nepal and Bhutan,” he said, adding that this electricity even could be brought to the country through investing abroad.
He said some Bangladeshi private enterprises are showing their keen interest to invest in Nepal’s power sector.
Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority Kulman Ghishing, Joint Secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Probin Raj Areial and Nepalese Ambassador in Dhaka Dhan Bahadur Oli were also present.
The working committee meeting on Bangladesh-Nepal power sector cooperation in Cox’s Bazar discussed different issues on two nations’ cross-border electricity trade, hydropower sector development by Bangladesh private sector investors, import of 500 MW hydropower from Nepal and cooperation on development of solar home system in Nepal.
Yangon, June 22 (Xinhua/UNB)-- Myanmar registered 1.05 billion U.S. dollars of trade deficit as of June 14 in present fiscal year (FY) 2018-2019, according to the Commerce Ministry on Saturday.
From October 2018 to June 14 this year, the country's export value reached 11.8 billion U.S. dollars while its import totaled 12.9 billion U.S. dollars, registering a total foreign trade to 24.7 billion U.S. dollars.
This FY's total trade deficit showed a significant decrease by over 2 billion U.S. dollars, compared to the same period of last FY 2017-2018 when it was over 3 billion U.S dollars.
In the same period of last FY 2017-2018, total foreign trade amounted to 24.4 billion U.S. dollars, with 10.7 billion U.S. dollars' export and 13.7 billion U.S. dollars' import.
The country mainly exports agricultural products, animal products, fisheries, minerals, forest products, finished industrial goods to foreign countries while imports capital goods, intermediate goods and consumer goods.
The trade authorities are exerting efforts to boost the country's exports as well as to reduce the imported luxury commodities to decrease the trade deficit.
Washington, June 22 (Xinhua/UNB) -- A proposed new round of tariffs on some 300 billion U.S. dollars in goods from China, if effectively implemented, would stifle the U.S. economy, a business advocacy group has said.
"Rather than creating more opportunities for U.S. business, sweeping tariffs will restrict U.S. agriculture, goods, and services exports and raise costs for businesses and consumers," the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) said in written comments recently submitted to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
The warning came as the USTR is holding a series of hearings to solicit public responses to the proposed tariff hikes, the fourth round since Washington started trade tensions with Beijing by raising tariffs on Chinese imports last year.
USCIB's China lead Eva Hampl testified before a panel of government trade officials on Friday, warning that the proposed list "includes categories of products that only impact U.S. companies, and not their global competitors."
"Ceding market share to competitors is not weakening the Chinese economy. It is merely weakening the U.S. market," Hampl said.
Dozens of other witnesses, representing such industries as tea, information technology and retail, also attended Friday's hearing, during which most of them explained how the additional tariffs would harm businesses, disrupt supply chains, and add costs to consumers.
Two more days of hearings are scheduled for next week.
Bangkok, June 22 (AP/UNB) — Southeast Asian leaders will commit to conclude a long-delayed regional trade pact this year despite lingering odds to fend off risks from a protracted U.S.-China trade war when they gather for a weekend summit in Thailand.
The Chinese sinking of a Philippine boat, which endangered 22 Filipino fishermen, is also expected to put the South China Sea territorial conflicts under the spotlight in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings. The two-day summit gets underway Saturday in the Thai capital of Bangkok, where ASEAN was founded in 1967 in the Cold War era.
Other key issues include the planned repatriation of more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees, who have fled a military crackdown in Buddhist-majority Myanmar since August 2017 to neighboring Bangladesh in a crisis that has tested ASEAN.
Critics have hit the regional bloc for failing to address the abuses in Myanmar's Rakhine state that the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.
A confidential draft of a post-summit communique, which is expected to be issued by the host, Thailand's junta leader and newly proclaimed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, would commit ASEAN to conclude the negotiations for the massive trade pact within the year.
The draft statement urging economic ministers "to exert relentless efforts to reach this target" was seen by The Associated Press.
"We remained concerned over the unabating tide of protectionism and anti-globalization sentiments that continue to plague the global economy and put multilateralism under threat," the statement said.
Many of the leaders fear the rise of protectionism could have a devastating impact on the regional and global economy.
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China over Beijing's technology policy and other market access issues have added to strains within the region, especially since President Donald Trump took office in early 2017 and declared his "America First" preference for bilateral trade deals and distrust of international institutions.
The two sides have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's products in a standoff that has shown no sign of abating.
ASEAN member states and six other Asia-Pacific countries have been negotiating the market-opening pact, called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP. The accord includes giants such as China and India but not the U.S. and is expected to encompass nearly half the world's population and 40% of world trade.
Although talks have gradually progressed, negotiators failed to finalize the accord last year due to remaining differences. India balked at widening its markets to imports from rival China, for example, according to participants.
The South China Sea rifts have been a longstanding security concern. But the June 9 ramming of an anchored Philippine boat by a larger Chinese fishing vessel in the Reed Bank sparked an outcry and condemnations in the Philippines, after the Chinese crew sailed away while the fishing boat sank at night. Its Filipino crew was rescued by a Vietnamese vessel.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has nurtured close ties with China, has backed Beijing's initial assertion that the collision was accidental and mocked calls for him to immediately take drastic actions.
Amid criticisms, the volatile Duterte said late Friday before flying to Thailand that he would "talk lengthily" about the disputes in the Bangkok meetings and would question China's vast claims that encroached deep into the coastal waters of rival claimants.
"Is it correct for China to declare ownership of an ocean?" Duterte asked in a speech.
ASEAN member states Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines are involved in the long-unresolved conflicts, which escalated in recent years after China transformed seven disputed reefs into missile-protected islands, which can serve as forward military outposts.
Greg Poling of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, which promotes nonaggression in the disputed waters, predicted that "this kind of violence will happen more and more frequently."
"The incident definitely speaks to the larger problem of China flooding the area around the Spratly Islands with hundreds of subsidized fishing vessels," which act as China's militia force, Poling said, referring to a hotly contested region near the Reed Bank.
In the draft statement, ASEAN leaders are expected to stress the importance of not militarizing the disputed region and self-retrainst in carrying out activities "that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea."