GETTING ON THE BANDWAGON TOGETHER IN LIBYA

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce which is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations announced on 20 December 2011 its full support to the establishment of a US-Libyan Chamber of Commerce.

AALEP RECEIVES VISIT OF ECCIL'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

On 22 December 2011, AALEP received the visit in Brussels of Dr. Ramon Bruesseler, Executive Director of the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR. Both organizations are linked through a Protocol of Cooperation. The visit provided an opportunity to exchange views and to discuss possible action programmes to be implemented in 2012 to further public participation in the Lao decision-making process.

PROMISING MARKETS FOR FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENTS IN 2012

According to the 2012 A.T. Kearney (Management Consultants) FDI Confidence Index, large and medium-size emerging markets register the most positive changes in investor outlook. Top destinations for foreign direct investments in 2012 include: 1. China 2. India 3. Brazil 4. United States of America 5. Australia 6. Singapore 7. Indonesia 8. Malaysia 9. South Africa 10.Russia 11.Turkey 12. Vietnam 13. United Arab Emirates 14. Thailand 15. Taiwan 16. South Korea 17. Japan

GOODBYE MR. VACLAV HAVEL AND THANK YOU FOR SHOWING US THE WAY

Among all of Mr. Vaclav Havel's contribution to the world-- playright, activist, Czech independence leader, Czech President and what today's New York Times obituary calls 'a global ambassador of conscience'- his least celebrated role might be that of public intellectual.

RUSSIA APPROVED TO JOIN THE WTO

Amid the current world financial turmoil, Russia's admission into the World Trade Organization (WTO) is seen by many as a beacon of hope. It will enhance free and fair trade as well as boost international cooperation at the same time.

Russian consumers hope admission will bring price stability or even a tangible drop in the cost of living. Western investors are banking on Moscow's membership in the rules-based body leading to more reliability and adherence to the rule of law by their partners when conducting business in the country.

EUROPEAN PROTECTIONISM IS A BAD IDEA!

The EU's room for manoeuvre is very small. Indeed 65% of EU imports take place inside the EU and about 5% with countries linked by commercial treaties. If you take out oil imports, only 20% remains out of which about 10% from low wage countries. In the 10% the largest part concerns goods that are not produced or not  produced anymore in Europe or goods that are integrated in European productions. Protectionism would therefore not protect any revenue and would have as a direct consequence the reduction of the competitiveness of export industries.

EU TRADE IN GOODS WITH RUSSIA UP BY NEARLY 30% IN 2011

Among the EU 27 Member States, Germany accounts for 32% of EU exports to Russia followed by Italy (8.7%), France (6.9%), the Netherlands (6.5%), Poland (5.7%), Finland (4.9%), Belgium (4.4%), the United Kingdom (4.2%), Austria (3.3%), Czech Republic (3.2%), Sweden (3.0%), Lithuania (3.0%), Spain (2.4%), Slovakia (1.9%), Latvia (1.4%), Denmark (1.4%) and Estonia (1.1%).

Over 85% of EU exports to Russia are manufactured goods.

BLEAK PICTURE FOR THE EUROZONE IN 2012

In 2012 Germany will grow by only 0.6%, France by 0.3% and Spain by 0.3%. Italy is forecast to enter into recession (-0.5%). Greece and Portugal are set for another year of deep recession (-3.2%) and (-3%) respectively. According to the ECB, the Eurozone economy as a whole will grow by -0.4% to 1.0% in 2012 which gives a feeble midpoint of +0.3%.

AALEP IS ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE PROMOTION OF SKILLS TO FOSTER PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN EMERGING COUNTRIES

AALEP is actively engaged in the promotion of skills necessary to foster public participation and to become reliable, professional advocates in emerging countries.

Public participation is a political principle or practice, and may also be recognized as a right (right to public participation). The term public participation may be used interchangeably with the concept or practice of stakeholder engagement and/or popular participation.

DEVELOPMENT AID TIED TO GOOD GOVERNANCE

The European Union along with international donors considers accountable participatory governance as a key enabler of development. The European Parliament is very supportive of this approach since it is believed this policy should eliminate corruption, improve financial management, enhance transparency and ensure the protection of human rights. The premise is that development aid must be used as an incentive for political reform.

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