India-Myanmar Relations: Growing Multifaceted Bilateral Ties

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By Yogesh Dubey

Editor’s Note: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a brief official visit to Myanmar last week. This article was originally published in The Diplomatist Magazine, July 2017, and has been republished with the permission of L.B. Associates (Pvt.) Ltd., a contract publishing house.

Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 km (994 mi) with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Four of India’s northeastern states: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram share an international boundary with Myanmar.

Both India and Myanmar share a heritage of religious, linguistic, and ethnic ties. Myanmar has a substantial population of Indian origin (estimated to be around 1.5 to 2 million). Further, Myanmar is a gateway to Southeast Asia and East Asia – regions with which India is seeking greater economic integration through its ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ policy. In fact, Myanmar is the only Southeast Asian country India shares a land boundary with.

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Singapore Set to Sign Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union by Year-End

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By: Dezan Shira & Associates

Russia-SingaporeSingapore Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam (right) with Russian Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov (left) 

Singapore is set to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a free trade bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, and Russia. Commenting on the incoming trade deal, which is expected to be signed by the end of this year, Singapore’s deputy prime minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam reiterated his country’s interest in economic and trade cooperation with Russia, noting that the two states have not been using the existing potential in full. Led by Russia, the EAEU essentially extends from the borders of China to the borders of the European Union.

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Kra Canal Project Revisited As Part Of China’s Maritime Silk Road

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

The Kra Canal project has swept back into vogue again after years of being dismissed as too difficult to build, and opposition from Singapore, who would lose huge amounts of shipping. A group of influential retired Thai generals, politicians, academics and businessmen with close links to China have revived plans to construct a US$28 billion and 135 kilometre canal across southern Thailand to link the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Calling themselves the Thai Canal Association of Study and Development, the body is trying to persuade Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha to approve a feasibility study. The plan would be one of the most ambitious mega-projects ever undertaken in Asia that could be funded through China’s multi-billion dollar Belt and Road and New Maritime Silk Road initiatives, aimed at reshaping trade across Asia.

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Singapore’s Start-up Ecosystem – Part III: The Role of Venture Capital Funds

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By Andrea Bottega and Erasmo Indolino

In the first and second parts of this three-part series on Singapore’s start-up ecosystem, we discussed how the city-state has emerged as a preferred base for international entrepreneurs and the opportunities it offered young overseas talent. In this concluding part, we look at the role of venture capital (VC) funds in nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore.

Venture Capital in Singapore

VC funds will soon be regulated under a slimmer framework, as regulators seek to ease start-up firms’ access to funding. Indeed, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published in February 2017 a consultation paper lining out its proposals for a simplified authorisation process and regulatory framework for these VC managers, which are now subject to the same rules as other fund managers.  MAS hopes the simplified regime will attract more VC managers to Singapore and spur them to play a greater role in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Entering the Philippine Market: Comparing Models

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By Harry Handley

Under the Foreign Investment Act, 1991, which was amended in 2015, a vast majority of industries in the Philippines are completely open to overseas investment, allowing 100 percent foreign ownership in most cases. The country managed to attract over US$ 7 billion of FDI in 2016, 25 percent more than the previous year. The UNCTAD World Investment Prospects survey positions the Philippines as the 11th most promising host country for investment over the period 2016-18. In order to best leverage the advantageous conditions, such as widely spoken English and access to the ASEAN Economic Community, the most effective market entry model must be chosen by entrants.

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The Guide to Employment Permits for Foreign Workers in Cambodia

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASB- Cambodia Employment Permits  (002)

Foreign nationals planning to work in Cambodia must obtain a valid E-class visa, previously known as ‘business’ or ‘ordinary’ visa, along with a work permit and employment card issued by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MLVT).

Besides, foreign applicants must satisfy the following conditions:

  • have a job offer from an employer who is compliant with relevant regulations regarding the employment of foreign nationals in Cambodia;
  • have entered Cambodia legally;
  • possess an original passport with at least six months validity;
  • have the right to reside in Cambodia;
  • have the physical qualifications for the relevant job; and
  • have no communicable diseases.

In this article, we explain what foreign nationals entering Cambodia need to know as regards employment related visas and work permits in the country.

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Singapore’s Start-up Ecosystem – Part II: Opportunities for Overseas Entrepreneurs

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By Andrea Bottega and Erasmo Indolino

In the first article of this three-part series on Singapore’s start-up ecosystem, we discussed the factors behind the city-state emerging as a preferred base for international entrepreneurs. In this second article, we look at the opportunities that Singapore offer young overseas entrepreneurs.

The city-state as a start-up hub

With the Singapore government regularly rolling out new initiatives to attract start-ups, the reasons for establishing a base in the city-state are many. No wonder, the country has the sixth-highest percentage of immigrant founders in the world, with immigrants making up 35 percent of start-up founders compared to a global average of 19 percent.

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The Philippines Launches Visas on Arrival Program for Chinese Nationals

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By: Dezan Shira & Associates

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) has launched a Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) program for Chinese nationals. As part of the program, the BI will issue “landing visas” to Chinese travelers upon their arrival at the airport of their destination. The program will be implemented in the capital Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as well as Clark International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport and at Kalibo International Airport. The VUA scheme will also be extended to Chinese travelers arriving at the Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Laoag, and Caticlan seaports.

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Malaysian Labor Contracts: What You Need to Know

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By: Dezan Shira & Associates

Editor: Bradley Dunseith

ASB- Malaysian Labor Contracts (002)

Malaysia continues to be an attractive FDI destination in South East Asia, offering foreign investors a skilled workforce at competitive rates. However, in the regional context, as Chet Scheltema, Regional Director of Dezan Shira & Associates, notes, “historic sensitivity to abusive labor practices, and in some cases combined with the influence of litigious jurisprudence, has led to an environment where foreign investors are advised to tread cautiously and lay a solid foundation for human resources management, lest they run afoul of local labor laws or trigger costly labor disputes. One pillar of this firm foundation is typically a well-crafted employment contract.”

As such, Malaysia as well as some of its fellow members within ASEAN, including Indonesia and Vietnam, distinguish themselves by mandating a formal, written labor contract signed by the parties. When drafted with a strong understanding of Malaysia’s regulatory landscape and labor laws, these formal contracts can serve as an opportunity for foreign investors to establish a firm foundation for human resources management in the country.

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Singapore’s Start-up Ecosystem – Part I: The City-State as a Favored Destination for Overseas Entrepreneurs

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By Andrea Bottega

Editor: Erasmo Indolino

While pro-business policies and a strategic geographical location has made Singapore a favored destination in Asia for global corporations, the city-state has also created a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem over the past five years that has lured some of the most prominent global entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to the country. In this article, the first of a three-part series on Singapore’s start-up ecosystem, we look at the factors that have made the city-state a preferred base for international entrepreneurs.

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