The latest issue of ASEAN Briefing Magazine titled, “How to Set Up in the Philippines“, is out now and available to subscribers as a complimentary download in the Asia Briefing Publication Store.
In this issue of ASEAN Briefing
- Political, Economic, and Social Introduction to the Philippines
- Entering the Philippine Market: Comparing Models
- Corporate Establishment in the Philippines: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Using Singapore as a Gateway to the Philippines
Laos: Korean businesses seek local franchise partners
Korean businesses are increasingly looking to launch their products in the Lao market through the franchise route. At least seven prominent Korean brands recently participated in the K-Franchise Business Meeting 2017 organised by the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in Vientiane, where they met with potential Laotian partners. The franchise brands represented at the event include Well-Being Pizza, Elli Cel, Didim (Mapo Seagull), Street Churros, Chicken Derby, Beaupeople and Y Entertainment.
With about 257 projects worth US$ 800 million, Korea is the sixth largest foreign investor in Laos. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached US$ 199 million in 2016. Laos’ exports to Korea were valued at US$22.9 million in 2015. The country’s main exports to Korea include potassium fertilizers, coffee, lead bullion and scrap, fabrics and ingredients for oriental traditional medicine. In 2015, Korea’s exports to Laos were valued at US$ 170 million. The main items of export from Korea to Laos include vehicles, trucks, automotive parts, construction equipment and electronics.
By: South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk
Although the Philippines has slipped behind other ASEAN nations in automotive market size and though lacking in major domestic brands, the country’s massive exports of electronics and metal goods still make it a significant part of the international automotive supply chain. Currently, over 250 automotive companies operate in the Philippines, with foreign businesses largely represented by Japanese firms. Automotive exports created a net trade surplus of US$ 2.7 billion in 2010 and reached a total market size of US$ 3.5 billion in 2012. For automotive firms, these exports include many humble but critical components such as ignition wiring sets, intake air filters, clutch pedals, and radio receivers. Other exports are more immediately recognizable, including pneumatic tires, lead-acid storage batteries, and transmissions. Alongside these automotive staples are integrated circuits, the electronic brains which will form a critical part of the worldwide automotive industry’s adoption of self-driving cars. Many of these more sophisticated parts are produced not by automakers themselves but rather by smaller specialized contractors.
While the Philippine intellectual property regime stands head and shoulders above some of its other ASEAN counterparts, automakers or automobile component companies which source their products from the Philippines will still encounter challenges. Enforcement in the Philippines lags behind that of more developed markets, and there are always difficulties inherent in negotiating IP contracts with local partners. Nonetheless, with careful IP protection and a smart IP management strategy SMEs can reap the benefits of the Philippines’ comparative advantage in relative safety. To do so, a company must focus on three key elements: patents for key technology, especially in propulsion systems which will play a central role in international fuel efficiency design competition; semiconductor topography designs (integrated circuit layout-designs) for electronics which will give smart cars eyes and ears to manoeuvre safely and control their components; and copyrights for computer codes which will run on those electronics.
Malaysia: GST exempted for supplies directly related to exported goods
Malaysia’s finance ministry recently issued an order exempting suppliers from the need to charge Goods and Services Tax (GST) on certain goods and services directly connected to exports. The GST relief, which came into effect from July 1, 2017, will apply to four broad categories of services and supplies directly connected to exports and export processing. These include handling or storage services related to goods for export; services provided by a company with licensed manufacturing warehouse status or a business operating in a free zone; research and development (R&D) services related to goods for export; and tools or machines which are highly specialized in nature and used for the manufacture of goods in Malaysia for export.
To qualify for the GST waiver, the recipient of the goods and services must be an overseas customer of foreign nationality, who is resident abroad at the time of receiving the goods and services, and who does not own a business entity in Malaysia. Certain categories of the aforementioned goods will require the approval of Malaysia’s Director General of Customs to avail of the GST waiver. Further, the goods for which the supplies are made must be exported within a period of 60 days from the date of the completion of the services.
By Bradley Dunseith
Officially Negara Brunei Darussalam, the oil-rich independent sultanate of Brunei shares land borders with the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo island and opens up to the South China Sea.
In 2015, Brunei exported US$6.35 billion worth of goods and imported US$3.89. Brunei’s principle export destinations include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and India. Brunei imports predominately from Malaysia, China, Singapore, the United States, and South Korea.
Singapore: Economy forecast to register positive growth
According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the island republic’s economy is forecast to grow by 1 to 3 percent in 2017. The MAS Annual Report released on 29 June indicated that while the country’s economic growth has been somewhat uneven across sectors, it is expected to gradually broaden to the rest of the economy over the course of 2017.
According to the report, the manufacturing, transport and logistics, and the wholesale sectors, accounting for 43 percent of GDP, were the major drivers behind the economy’s rebound since the fourth quarter of the previous year. On the other hand, the services sectors comprising finance, business processes, and IT-enabled services, accounting for 30 percent of GDP, recorded mixed outcomes in the last two quarters. These sectors are, however, poised to register higher growth in the latter half of 2017. Retail and food services, and construction sectors, which account for 17 percent of GDP, are expected to remain weak.
By Bradley Dunseith
Cambodia is strategically positioned within South East Asia. With a major port on the Gulf of Thailand, the country also shares land borders with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
In 2015, Cambodia exported US$16.1 billion worth of goods and imported US$15.3 billion. Cambodia’s top export destinations include the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Vietnam. Cambodia’s top import sources include Thailand, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Furthermore, many goods traveling through South East Asia go through Cambodia to reach their final destination.
In this article we explain best practices for import into and exporting out of Cambodia, while highlighting the unique procedures required to ship imported goods through the country on transit clearance.
Myanmar: Trade in construction materials, hospital equipment and agricultural goods opened to foreign companies
Foreign companies will now be allowed to engage in both retail and wholesale trade in construction materials, hospital equipment, and agricultural goods such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Previously, overseas firms were allowed to trade in these commodities only if they entered into a joint venture with a local company. The Myanmar ministry of commerce’s latest decision to open these sectors to foreign wholly foreign-owned enterprises (WFOEs) comes as part of its bid to make the domestic market more competitive.
According to the commerce ministry, there have been complaints from local traders about the presence of poor quality products smuggled from across the country’s land borders. The liberalization of trade in these sectors is expected to lead to the availability of better-quality equipment and materials in Myanmar. However, foreign companies have been urged to comply with prescribed health and safety codes and internationally accepted trade procedures. They will also be required to open bank accounts in Myanmar with foreign capital.
Op-ed by Bob Shead
In this article, I will discuss and explain the advantages and potential business opportunities of solar energy in the Philippines. There has been a general expansion in solar power generation in Asia as opposed to Europe and the rest of the world, and ASEAN countries, including the Philippines have a greater growth potential. Current electricity costs in the Philippines are the highest in Asia, including Japan. This makes solar power a much cheaper and economically more advantageous option in the Philippines. The Philippines is a country of 102 million people, and is a relatively fast growing Asian economy, and it is anticipated that 7000MW of power generation will be added over the next five years.
An estimated 16 million people are off the grid with regards to current electricity supply, and this includes approximately 6000 schools. This demonstrates the potential for supplying solar power to the Philippines. Residents in off grid areas, are beginning to arrange the finance to purchase solar panels, batteries etc. A friend recently mentioned to me that his golf caddie, who lives in a local off grid village, near the golf course, had invested in two solar panels with batteries, at a cost of about P5000 (US$100), and this has supplied her house with electricity for lights, fans, a small refrigerator and a TV. The Philippine Government has also committed to a 70% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and has a 15.3GW renewable energy target, thus encouraging a large increase in solar power as an energy source.
By Bradley Dunseith
The Philippines is an archipelago comprising of 7,641 islands. The country shares maritime borders with China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the island nation of Palau. In 2015, the Philippines exported goods valued at US$77.9 billion and imported products worth US$76.8 billion. The Philippines’ top export destinations are China, Japan, the United States, and Singapore; and the country’s top import partners are China, Japan, Korea, the United States, and Thailand. In this article we explain best practices for importing into and exporting out of the Philippines.