Region-Building: Common Objectives Part 1

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HARMONIZATION OF REGULATIONS
AFRICAN UNION:
East Africa:
EAC Central Banks to Harmonise Strategies
– AllAfrica, October 23, 2012 – Central banks from the five members’ states of the East African community are looking at harmonizing their banking systems to pave way for the Monetary Union. The Monetary Union, to be effective, it requires that Central banks harmonise their payments systems, communication strategy, financial policies among others, meaning that similar monetary tools will be used.
Regional Ministers Push for Universal Health Insurance – AllAfrica, September 14, 2012 – EAC [East African Community] member states agreed to establish the committee as a first step towards rolling out Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The universal health coverage, once implemented, will ensure that a patient is accorded treatment from any of the EAC state, basing on insurance acquired from his or her home country….They also pledged to support cross-regional studies to explore harmonisation of social health protection policies, including an advocacy strategy and networking among private and public sector stakeholders.
East Africa eases flow of imports with new tax model – Business Daily (Kenya), May 1, 2012 – The East African Community (EAC) heads of state have endorsed a revenue management model where tax will only be collected at the point of entry and imported goods transported to the final destination without stopping at national border points for customs charges or inspection.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab countries step up preps to launch regional customs union – Zawya (Dubai), April 14, 2012 – Arab customs officials on Saturday kicked off a meeting at Arab League Headquarters in Cairo to discuss final details to launch an Arab Customs Union. In its meeting, the Arab Commission for the Unified Customs Tariff will tackle the tariff table of goods exchanged between Arab League member states and world countries in a bid to adopt a unified tariff mechanism as the backbone of the union’s strategy.
Call for Arab common market  – Oman Daily Observer, April 6, 2012 – The Arab Labour Conference in a final statement called on the Arab League to speed up the establishment of Arab common market to ensure easy flow of capital, commodities and labour and realise the integration by expanding the role of Arab finance funds.

ASEAN:
Standardized banking rules for Asean pushed – Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 13, 2012 – BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said that under the plan, a bank in one Asean country would be allowed to operate in another member-country under the same terms and conditions that applied to local banks.
ASEAN Ucits type passports take two steps closer to coming into existence – Opalesque, October 30, 2012 – Angelyn Lim of Dechert’s Hong Kong office has reported on developments in establishing an ASEAN funds passport, and most recently highlighted the news that Thailand and Singapore are leading the way in establishing a Ucits type fund passport across the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN).
Philippines supports unified ASEAN visa – Rappler, September 27, 2012 – To entice more tourists to visit the Philippines, the Department of Tourism is supporting the move for a unified visa for foreigners traveling to countries that are part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ASEAN Braces For Regulatory Reforms – Manila Bulletin, August 28, 2012 – ASEAN is moving towards creating a template that would institutionalize regulatory reforms that would guide the region in its trade negotiations with other regional trade partners as the ten-member states fully integrate their economies by 2015.

EURASIAN UNION:
What a Eurasian Union Means for Washington – The National Interest, April 19, 2012 – This planned Eurasian Union would lower trade barriers, harmonize regulations and currency policies, and eventually lead to deeper political association. If this sounds like the growth of the European Union, that is deliberate. Putin’s Izvestiya article portrays the Eurasian Union as modeled directly on the EU and even suggests that a strong Eurasian Union would be a natural partner for the EU…
Law to harmonise Russian legislation and that of the Customs Union within the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) – ISRIA, Dec. 12, 2011 – In addition, the federal law makes amendments to Russian legislation on special economic zones to bring it in line with the agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Republic of Belarus, and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan of June 18, 2010…
EurAsEC leaders sign new deals on further integration – People’s Daily|Xinhua (China), Dec. 20, 2011 – The presidents of the EurAsEC [Eurasian Economic Community] member states — Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, signed several documents on matters including the further buildup of the Russia-Belarus- Kazakhstan Customs Union, the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Common Economic Space and the operation of the new EurAsEC court.

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL:
Gulf states are inches from customs union  – Al-Bawaba (Jordan), July 24, 2012 – The incident underlined the difficulties faced by the six rich oil exporting countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as they edge toward closer economic integration….Projects already underway or under study include a customs union, a joint value-added tax and even the introduction of single currency.
Residents see Schengen-style GCC visa – Zawya (Dubai, UAE), November 9, 2012 – If this Schengen-style unified visa is introduced, foreign tourists and businessmen would be allowed to travel to any of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries…
[The “Schengen Zone” is the continental security perimeter surrounding all euro-zone countries, within which there is a “free flow” of commerce and people across borders.]

NORTH AMERICA:
Canada And The United States, A Singular Partnership
– Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, August 20, 2012 – The Editor interviews John F. Prato, Consul General of Canada in New York. Prato: The goal of the Action Plan is to make the perimeter of North America more secure than ever and relieve pressures at the border itself so we can free up the flows of legitimate people, goods and services….For example, goods arriving in Canada or the United States from outside the North American perimeter will be screened once at their first point of arrival. They would then be shipped directly to their North American destination without the need for duplicate inspections along the way, even if they cross the land border.
Prince Rupert starts harmonized cargo screening – MM&D (Canada), October 22, 2012 – Under the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy, any cargo arriving from off-shore only needs to be screened once at its initial port of arrival. After it has been cleared, the shipment is free to move across the US-Canada border without the need for further security screenings. The program is part of the Beyond the Border Action plan…
Canada to copy Obama’s fuel efficiency rules
– Globe and Mail (Canada), August 30, 2012 – “The single national standard, harmonized between Canada and the United States, is what we support. That allows the standard to become in effect a continental standard…”
U.S. official muses about joint border controls with Canada
– Yahoo! News Canada, March 6, 2012 – Imagine a ‘North American’ customs agent inspecting your luggage as you return from your European vacation. According to a report in the Globe and Mail, a top U.S. Homeland Security official says it could happen.
Canada, U.S. a step closer to harmonized regulations
– 24 Hours Vancouver, August 3, 2012 – The embassy confirms the joint Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council now has a fully laid-out plan for what steps officials will take over the next two years to create common regulations in a host of areas, including transport along the St. Lawrence Seaway, meat inspections and new car safety standards.
Harmonizing Regulations for Increased International Trade
– Truth about Trade & Technology, May 3, 2012 – The Obama Administration received little media attention when it released an Executive Order on Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation in trade. It is an extension of the January 2011 Executive Order on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review that focused on domestic issues.
Executive Order 13609 of May 1, 2012 -  Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation
– Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 87 / Friday, May 4, 2012 / Presidential Documents – In some cases, the differences between the regulatory approaches of U.S. agencies and those of their foreign counterparts might not be necessary and might impair the ability of American businesses to export and compete internationally. In meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues, international regulatory cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such cooperation. International regulatory cooperation can also reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements.
Obama Hosts Calderon, Harper to Boost N. American Economy
 
– Bloomberg, April 2, 2012 – The top leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico hold a trilateral North American Leaders’ Summit at the White House today to thrash out conflicts in energy and regulations to boost economic competitiveness and increase jobs….The summit may yield more progress on two separate studies aimed at harmonizing border-crossing issues that hamper the movement of commerce, analysts said….The fastest way “to create jobs and double exports is for the three governments to work together on continental plans for transportation, education and infrastructure” [Robert] Pastor wrote in the Miami Herald on Nov. 15.
North American countries adopt pandemic coordination plan
– Vaccine News, April 5, 2012 – The plan includes the development of an interconnected surveillance system and early warning mechanism, as well as protocols for transporting laboratory samples. The three countries have also agreed to conduct joint epidemiological investigations of viruses that could cause pandemics and outbreaks of animal influenza that could threaten human health.
Regulatory Cooperation Council to harmonize economic regimes
– Canadian Sailings, June 12, 2012 – The bilateral Canada–United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) was created by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama in February 2011 as part of the broader Beyond the Border action plan. RCC’s mandate is to align regulatory approaches across a broad spectrum of industries, including agriculture and food, health and personal care products and workplace chemicals, environment and transportation.

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