Singapore

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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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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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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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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The Guide to Employment Permits for Foreign Workers in Singapore

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASB- Singapore Employment Permits (002)

For expatriate workers and their employers in Singapore, understanding the process to obtain a valid employment permit is vital. The Singapore government’s Ministry of Manpower (MoM) issues a wide range of work passes and permits to expatriates planning to work in Singapore. Each of these employment permits is designed for a specific purpose and differs across various categories of employees, based on their professional skills and monthly salaries.

Some of the most common employment permits issued by the government of Singapore are discussed below:

Employment Pass

The Employment Pass (EP) is issued to expatriates employed as foreign managers, executives, and skilled professionals in Singapore, for an initial period of 2 years; thereafter, the pass can be renewed for up to three years at a time. The EP is generally issued to individuals with a job offer that includes a minimum monthly salary of SG$3,600. However, more experienced candidates are required to be offered a higher salary to qualify for the same.

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Salary, Individual Income Tax, and Social Security in Singapore

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

It is important for companies operating and hiring employees in Singapore to understand the key elements of the country’s payroll process and stay updated on the latest regulatory changes when computing salary and social security contributions.

Salary

Salary Definition

The Employment Act of Singapore defines ‘salary’ as all remuneration including allowances, base salary, bonuses, commissions and incentives, payable to an employee for work done under the contract of service. Salary does not include:

  • Any reimbursement made for expenses incurred by the employee during work;
  • Allowances for travelling, food, housing, medical and other amenities;
  • Goodwill payment or gratuity payable on retirement;
  • Retrenchment benefits payable; or
  • Pension or provident fund contributions paid by the employer.

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ASEAN Market Watch: Thailand GDP Growth, Malaysia Manufacturing Sector, and Singapore Retail Sales

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Thailand: First quarter GDP growth fastest in four years

The Thai economy recorded its fastest growth in four years during the January-March 2017 period. This has been propelled by stronger exports, consumption and growth in tourist arrivals despite weaker private investment and public funding. According to a poll conducted by Reuters, gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to have expanded a seasonally-adjusted 1.2 percent in the January-March period from the previous quarter, when growth was 0.4 percent – the best pace since the final quarter of 2012. As per the poll, growth is expected at 3.3 percent in 2017, up from 3.2 percent in the previous year.

According to data from Thailand’s central bank, exports grew at 6.6 percent in January-March, private consumption at 2.9 percent and farm income grew at 20 percent. Exports comprise about two-thirds of the Thai economy. Tourist numbers rose to 9.2 million in the January-March period from 7.8 million in the previous quarter, when some tourism-related entertainment activities were curtailed following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October 2016.

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ASEAN Market Watch: Singapore Innovation Fund, Philippines Credit Rating, and Myanmar Tourism

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Singapore: Innovation fund created to fuel growth

As part of its bid to fuel economic growth, Singapore’s government is setting up a S$1 billion (US$718 million) fund to help innovative companies to develop their businesses and expand overseas. Billed as the Makara Innovation Fund, the project is a collaboration between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and local private equity firm Makara Capital. According to IPOS, the fund will invest S$30 million (US$21.5 million) to S$150 million (US$107.5 million) each in 10 to 15 companies with globally competitive technologies over the next eight years.

According to Bloomberg’s 2017 innovation index, Singapore ranked sixth ahead of the U.S. and Israel. According to Bloomberg estimates, Singapore has the third-largest number of patents granted per one million inhabitants, trailing only South Korea and Japan. As per latest available data from 2015, Singapore had 10,814 applications for patents, the largest number of any Southeast Asian nation, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization. According to IPOS, the agency plans to double the number of intellectual property experts in Singapore to 1,000 over the next five years and will train 4,000 people a year. It will also assist companies in using intellectual property as collateral for financing. IPOS expects these initiatives to add about S$1.5 billion (US$1.07 billion) in value to Singapore’s economy over the next five years.

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ASEAN Regulatory Brief: Singapore Anti-Bribery Standard, Thailand E-Work Permits, and Laos Sea Access

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Singapore: ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Systems Management Standard adopted

In order to enable Singapore-registered companies to implement and manage anti-bribery best practices, the city-state recently adopted the ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Systems Management Standard. The Standard is being launched jointly by SPRING Singapore, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). The two organisations released a joint statement saying ISO 37001 “is based on internationally recognized good practices [and] provides guidelines to help Singapore companies strengthen their anti-bribery compliance systems and processes [to] ensure compliance with anti-bribery laws.”

An accreditation mechanism for certification bodies is expected to be rolled out by the end of 2017. The majority of people prosecuted for bribery and corruption in Singapore in 2016 were private sector employees. According to the CPIB, 808 corruption complaints were filed in 2016, down from 877 complaints filled in the previous year.

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Singapore Companies Act and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) Act: Significant Recent Developments

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

Singapore’s parliament on March 10, 2017 passed significant amendments to its Companies Act and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) Act. Among the key changes are measures aimed at making ownership and control of business entities more transparent in the city-state and reduce opportunities for the misuse of corporate entities for illicit purposes. The measures are also aimed at bringing Singapore in line with international good practices, and uphold the city-state’s sound reputation as a globally trusted financial hub. Among other significant changes introduced by the amended acts are (a) increased record keeping requirements and (b) introduction of an inward re-domiciliation regime allowing foreign corporate entities to transfer their corporate registration to Singapore.

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