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FutureBrand names its 'Future 15' list of countries with 'great potential'
The list is part of the company’s Country Brand Index 2012-13, now in its eighth year.
|1. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
To make the Future 15 list, countries had to rank strongly in the following six categories, according to report analysis excerpted here:
Good Governance – a government's ability to effectively implement policies that protect its people and goals, as well as factors like the presence of corruption on a macro- or micro-level. A strong, stable legal framework is also an essential part of this driver, balanced by enforcement mechanisms that are corruption free and reliable.
Investment – a country's financial commitment to its future vision. By supporting infrastructure, education, healthcare, communications, technology and international partnership, a country asserts that it is ready to strengthen its brand.
Human Capital – Citizenry plays a huge role in the establishment and maintenance of a cohesive national identity, and as such, a population's strength in education, productivity, health and happiness will undoubtedly impact its progress in the future. Human capital identifies the competencies, knowledge and values underpinning a nation's vision.
Growth – the current momentum behind a country's growth in population, GDP, exports and more. By understanding a country's trajectory, we can make informed predictions about its ability to prosper in the future.
Sustainability – a country's financial management, resource dependence and adherence to international norms. It assesses whether or not a country has developed a strategy for continued success and progress.
Influence – a nation's weight in the global community via economic, political and cultural influence. This is a key measure of power and often determines global trends in investment, social attitudes, political policies and cultural preferences.
A high ranking in any one of these dimensions may not guarantee a country's future success. Instead, a combined commitment across each of these elements can help empower a country to meet its goal and become a global force.
FutureBrand's 2012-13 Top Country Brands are:
||11. United Kingdom
||8. United States
||23. United Arab Emirates
|5. New Zealand
||25. Costa Rica
Cambodia approves Lower Sesan 2 hydroelectric dam
From BBC News Asia, November 2, 2012:
Cambodia's government has approved a controversial hydroelectric dam on a tributary of the Mekong River.
The joint venture involves Cambodian, Chinese and Vietnamese investment of $781m (£488m) and is due to be completed within five years.
The project in northern Stung Treng province is known as Lower Sesan 2.
Environmental campaigners say the dam will damage the river's biodiversity and devastate the livelihoods and homes of thousands of people.
A government statement said the approval came after eight years of study into the possible environmental and social consequences.
It said Prime Minister Hun Sen had ordered new homes to be built for an unspecified number of families who would be resettled for the project.
Activist Meach Mean, of the 3S Rivers Protection Network (3SPN), estimated that more than 50,000 people would be affected by the dam.
He called on the government to organise a public forum to discuss concerns before going ahead.
"We are surprised by the approval," he told AFP news agency.
"We don't know clearly about the process to build the project. We are really concerned about the impact on the people's livelihoods, water, and ecology system."
In September, a report by UN human rights envoy Surya Subedi also raised concerns about the dam, saying communities did not believe they had been adequately consulted about the project.
Damming the Mekong River has causes widespread controversy in South East Asia.
Although hydroelectric dams allow countries to generate vast amounts of electricity, they also threaten massive changes to the ecosystem across the Mekong basin.
In 1995, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam set up the Mekong River Commission to help manage and co-ordinate use of the river's resources.
Canadian commercial real estate investment volumes on verge of exceeding pre-credit crisis levels, while investors’ lingering indecision stymies U.S. recovery
Avison Young releases inaugural Fall 2012 Canada, U.S.
Commercial Real Estate Investment Review
Toronto, ON — The gap between Canadian and U.S. property market fundamentals is not only evident on the leasing side of the ledger, but also on the investment side. Historically low interest rates have Canada on the verge of exceeding pre-credit crisis investment levels, while cautious lenders and investors leave the U.S. with some distance still to cover. [...Read More]
BRAZILIAN GOVERNMENT EXTENDS PAYROLL TAX EXEMPTIONS TO 40 INDUSTRIAL SECTORS
Tax break valued at approximately R$60.0 billion in the next four years
BRASÍLIA (14 September 2012) – In a press conference held Thursday, Brazil's Minister of Finance Guido Mantega announced an increase in the number of industrial sectors to benefit from the payroll tax exemptions under the government's "Brasil Maior" program. Starting in January 2013, the number of sectors that will pay 1 or 2 percent on their gross revenue instead of making the 20 percent social security contributions will more than double from 15 to 40 sectors.
Minister Mantega explained that the measure will encourage the reduction of labor costs and make enterprises more competitive to face the current international crisis. "Abroad, wages and benefits of workers are being reduced. In Brazil, this does not happen. We are reducing the employer's tax contribution to preserve wages," he pointed out, adding that this will also lead to an increase in formal jobs.
The value of the tax break will be approximately R$60.0 billion (US$27.9 billion) in the next four years. According to the Minister, a lower tax burden also contributes to a lower inflation rate, as the benefiting sectors have committed to converting their tax breaks into lower prices for consumers.
"By transferring the reduction to prices, (enterprises) will compete with imported products with lower prices," he stated.
The potential impact of the payroll tax reductions in 2013 will be R$12.83 billion (US$6.371 billion), which corresponds to 0.26 percent of next year's forecasted Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of R$4.9 billion (US$2.43 billion).
For 2014, the impact is expected to be R$14.11 billion (US$7.01 billion). The Minister explained that all the 40 business sectors benefiting will be exempt from paying a combined R$21.57 billion (US$10.72 billion) in contributions to social security, while the gross revenue-based tax system will mean tax expenses of R$8.74 billion (US$4.35 billion) for these participating sectors.
The Minister pointed out the importance of the tax reductions for food sectors such as the poultry, pork and pork derivatives sectors, which have been facing high grain prices. "Brazil is a great producer and exporter, and the reduction in the price of labor may compensate for the impact of the increase in the cost of inputs," he said.
In the public road transportation sector, the Minister stated that the tax exemptions will avert an increase in the price of bus fares, which has a great impact on inflation.
The payroll tax exemption policy began in August 2011 at the launch of the Brasil Maior program, which aims to strengthen national industries. By August of this year, 15 labor-intensive sectors were beneficiaries of this program. Yesterday's announcement brings the total number of sectors eligible for these payroll tax breaks to 40 sectors.
Another measure announced by the Minister is the accelerated depreciation for the acquisition of capital goods between September 16 and December 31, 2012.
Depreciation is the value registered as expense related to capital goods. By including the goods as an expense, the company reduces profit and pays less income tax. With this new measure, instead of depreciating capital goods every ten years, the goods are depreciated every five years.
"In other words, instead of registering the expense as 10 percent of the product's value, 20 percent is subtracted each year. This reduces the income tax paid by enterprises," explained Minister Mantega.
The Minister anticipates an acceleration in the purchase of capital goods through the end of the year. "We are encouraging an anticipation of purchases so that there is an increase in investments made by enterprises," he said.
The total value of tax breaks in five years is forecasted to reach R$6.75 billion (US$3.34 billion), including R$1.374 billion (US$0.68 billion) per year between 2013 and 2016 and R$1.259 billion (US$0.624 billion) in 2017.
Inflation and growth
The Minister of Finance stated that inflation is under control in Brazil and that all measures for reducing costs adopted by the government will result in a reduction in prices. He stated that the global economy has experienced a shock in supply due to climate-related issues.
According to the Minister, several measures are being taken that contribute to the drop in prices. He pointed out the reduction on the Tax on Industrialized Products for several products, the drop in the cost of energy, and the newly announced tax breaks. "With the measures that will come into force next year, inflation will behave in 2013."
Mantega said the measures announced also ensure a 4 percent growth for the Brazilian economy next year. He indicated that some indexes have pointed to this growth trend, such as retail, which recorded a 1.4 percent growth in July as compared to June. "That is a lot. It is growing significantly," he assessed.
For 2012, however, the Minister commented that at the next GDP review, the forecast will be for 2 percent annual growth in comparison with the previous estimate of 3 percent.
For 2013, Minister Mantega said that additional tax breaks may be announced. "We will continue to conduct a cost containment policy in order to increase room for the expansion of investments and continue to offer tax breaks," he stated.
Questioned about the impact of the new QE3 stimulus measure announced Thursday by the United States Federal Reserve, the Minister said he is watching this new monetary expansion closely and adequate measures will be taken if unwanted resources make their way into Brazil in the short term.
"We will not let the real raise its value because of these measures," he emphasized.
In a communiqué yesterday, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that it will buy US$40.0 billion in mortgage debt per month and that it will continue to purchase assets until employment-related prospects improve substantially.
In Minister Mantega's view, it would be 'desirable' if the monetary resources that are expanding in the United States market went to production in the country itself without hindering emerging markets.
"This would enable higher growth for the American economy, which would be positive for everyone," he said.
Grand opening of Heraeus Medical Components facility in Singapore
SINGAPORE, Oct. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Heraeus announces the opening of a new Singapore facility to support expansion of their Medical Components Division. This Singapore expansion is focused on R&D and production of Materials and Components for the medical device industry. This facility will increase Heraeus' presence in Asia to more than 20 manufacturing facilities.
According to Dr. Nicolas Guggenheim, President of Heraeus' Medical Components Division, Singapore was selected as the new Medical Materials Development and Production Center in Asia for a number of reasons:
"Heraeus has a long tradition of being close to our customers and there has been a strong movement in the last few years by our major Cardiac Rhythm Management customers to relocate their medical device manufacturing to Southeast Asia. With the strong Asian investment in local startups, a strong base of new Asian medical device companies is growing in the region, which makes for a powerful mix of companies and innovation."
High-tech hub Singapore
"Being the first phase of Heraeus Medical Components' Asian operations strategy, Singapore is uniquely positioned as a premier high-tech hub providing access to a very technical and well educated workforce that can support our development efforts. Singapore's ideal location situated between Malaysia and Indonesia provides both Heraeus and our customers with nearby lower cost manufacturing and production options," said Dr. Nicolas Guggenheim.
According to Mark Kempf, Executive Vice-President of Global Business Lines for Heraeus Medical Components, "the Division is also very fortunate to be able to leverage the existing Heraeus Singapore infrastructure, which includes one of the world's largest bonding wire facilities and that has already received approval by many of our top medical customers. With strong guidance and support from the Singapore government Heraeus Medical Components was able to quickly and efficiently ramp-up our new development and production center." Kempf has also been named Singapore General Manager and has relocated to Singapore.
Novelis Opens Asia's Largest Beverage Can Recycling Operation
ATLANTA, Oct. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Novelis, the global leader in aluminum recycling and rolling, today announced the opening of an aluminum recycling and casting center at its Yeongju, South Korea, facility. The new operation is the largest aluminum beverage can recycling center in Asia.
The Yeongju recycling center is part of a multi-year, $400 million expansion of Novelis' operations in Korea. Asia is the world's fastest growing market for rolled aluminum used to create beverage cans, cars and consumer electronics.
"The opening of the Yeongju recycling and casting facility marks an important milestone in our sustainability commitment," said Phil Martens, Novelis President and Chief Executive Officer. "Combined with our other recycling operations worldwide, this new state-of-the-art facility makes Novelis the world's leading recycler of aluminum, saving valuable natural resources while enabling our customers to create world-class products with a much smaller environmental footprint."
As a key component of the company's unique sustainable business model, Novelis has committed to dramatically increasing the recycled content of its rolled aluminum products to 80 percent by 2020. This project represents the first major step in the company's plan to increase its recycling capacity to 2.1 million tons by 2015. The new facility will have an annual capacity of 265,000 tons, and will increase the company's total consumption of recycled aluminum to over 1.4 million tons per year. Other significant recycling expansions are already underway in Brazil and Germany, along with additional investments worldwide.
"The commissioning of our new recycling and casting facility is a testament to the diligent efforts of the Novelis Asia management team and the dedication of our highly skilled Novelis workforce here in South Korea," noted Shashi Maudgal, President of Novelis Asia. "With our aggressive expansion plans, we are well positioned to meet the rising demand for rolled aluminum."
Novelis expects to be a major buyer of aluminum scrap throughout Asia due to this investment. Used aluminum beverage cans and other aluminum scrap will be processed by the new facility for re-melting and casting into sheet ingot that will be rolled at the company's Yeongju and Ulsan plants. When running at full capacity, the new operation will add nearly 80 new positions to Novelis' 1200 employee workforce in Korea.
PTP wins Asia Pacific “Green Terminal Operator of the Year” for 2012
The Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) was named the winner of the 2012 Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific “Green Terminal Operator of the Year” award in October as part of the Frost & Sullivan Annual Best Practices Awards which “identify exemplary achievements within a multitude of industries and functional disciplines”.
Azlan Shahrim, PTP’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, accepted the award on behalf of the company at the awards ceremony held in Singapore recently. In accepting the award, Azlan said, “It is indeed an honour to accept this award, which is a result of the collective efforts of our employees. They have done a remarkable job to help PTP reduce our environmental and energy footprint using sustainable business processes”.
The Green Excellence Awards are presented to companies that demonstrate significant progress in enhancing long-term sustainability and managing the environmental impact of their operations, resulting in measurable improvements in their overall environmental performance. “It is a privilege to celebrate the commitment and success of the award recipients in their efforts to care for the environment," said Manoj Menon, Partner and Asia Pacific Managing Director, Frost & Sullivan. Awards recipients were evaluated, among others, based on their social impact, overall market growth and penetration as well as overall industry impact.
Azlan added, “With more than 8,000 vessel calls and handling over 7.5 million TEU last year, and further increases this year, the energy demands of the port are considerable. So reducing the amount of diesel fuel consumed and lowering CO² emissions continue to be a high priority”.
Going forward, PTP will continue to help the environment by combating pollution and reducing waste. Beyond the major focus on fuel usage, the port is reducing the inefficient use of energy, recycling where possible and continuously investing in new equipment and implementing new techniques to make their operational practices more planet-friendly.
PTP is ranked 17th globally in container throughout with 7.5 million TEUs handled in 2011. It is a major global transshipment hub located on the Straits of Johor to the north of the Port of Singapore. The port, which saw its container traffic grow by 15% in 2011, will undergo significant expansion which includes the investment of RM1.4 billion over the next three years for the construction of two new berths and installation of larger cranes and associated equipment to accommodate 18,000 TEU capacity vessels.
Clintons Open Haiti Industry Park
From BBC News Latin America & Caribbean, October 22, 2012:
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has attended the launch of a $300m (£187m) industrial park in the Haitian town of Caracol. The project is part of US efforts to help Haiti recover from the devastation it suffered in the 2010 earthquake. The US has invested $124m (£77m) in the project, which it hopes will create thousands of jobs.
At a grand opening ceremony Haiti's President Michel Martelly said the country was "open for business". Mr Martelly said that too often the images of Haiti shown around the world were sad, but that Haiti had more to offer. "We are committed to taking all appropriate measures to make it easier for you to invest in Haiti," President Martelly told investors and celebrities at the opening ceremony.
Former US President Bill Clinton, who now serves as the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, also attended the launch of the park in the impoverished north of Haiti, some 160km (100 miles) from the capital, Port-au-Prince.
South Korean clothing manufacturer Sae-A Trading says it will create 20,000 permanent jobs over the next six years at the Caracol park and build 5,000 houses in the surrounding area for its workers.
Critics fear the project could benefit foreign investors more than local workers. They say factory jobs rarely manage to pull locals out of poverty.
But Hillary Clinton said projects such as the Caracol industrial park created sustainable economic growth. She said the US had "learned that supporting long-term prosperity in Haiti meant more than providing aid, it required investments in infrastructure and the economy that would help the Haitian people achieve their own dreams".
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and suffered further in the 2010 earthquake, which destroyed much of the country, and from a subsequent cholera epidemic that has killed more than 7,000 people.