Myanmar: Government Approves Licenses to New Foreign Banks
The government recently gave approval to four new foreign banks to operate in the country. The four banks are as follows:
- Bank for Investment and Development – Vietnam
- SUN Commercial Bank – Taiwan
- Shinhan Bank – South Korea
- State Bank of India – India
With the issuance of these licenses, the total number of foreign banks now allowed to operate in Myanmar has risen to thirteen. A number of banks that have been approved have not opened branches yet, as they fulfill their regulatory compliance obligations. In addition, a number of banks will operate under temporary licenses for a year, and will only become permanent, once they fulfill their obligations to the government. Once the banks have been operationalized, foreign companies will find it easier to access financing, which the World Bank stated was the largest problem for business in Myanmar. The approval for the banks is a part of the government’s larger plan to attract foreign investment into Myanmar.
Malaysia: FTAs to be Signed in Bid to Boost Economy
Malaysia is expected to sign three more Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) this year according to International Trade and Industry Second Minister Ong Ka. The three FTAs will be with the European Union, Hong Kong and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The FTAs are expected to further increase volumes in trade and investment as well as bolstering revenue. The minister further stated that the FTAs will facilitate two-way trade, with zero tax rates and no import duties on almost 90 percent of products. In addition, more FTAs are planned to further help the economy and boost two-way trade. According to data, 65 percent of trade in 2015 was due to FTAs –which removed tax and non-tax barriers. Ong further stated that his could increase to 70 percent this year.
Indonesia: Foreign Ownership Laws in Power, E-commerce Other Sectors Relaxed
Franky Sibarani, head of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), said on February 3 that the country will relax foreign ownership rules in three sectors. These sectors include power, e-commerce and retail. The new changes are a part of review by the BKPM on the “negative investment list”, which list a few sectors where Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is restricted.
Cambodia: Cambodia Ranked as ‘Most Corrupt’ Country in the Region
Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks Cambodia as the ‘Most Corrupt’ country in Southeast Asia. Cambodia score was 21 out a possible 100 points, which is the same as the country’s score in 2014.
Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit Chairman, Om Yentieng dismissed the score. Meanwhile, Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International (T.I.) Cambodia said that the country’s score landed it in the ‘highly corrupt’ category. Local analysts believe that graft in the judicial system is responsible for the low ranking.
By: Mareike Entzian
Much like the European Union, the ASEAN Economic Community is founded on several unchanging pillars. The community is supposed to create a single market and production base, support one another in increasing competitiveness, close gaps of an economic nature and other disparities, and to further integrate with the global economy.
In a previous article , we laid out the relationship between ASEAN’s largest markets and Germany, and we will now explain what investors can do to act on this potential. In a survey conducted by Germany Trade and Invest, German firms operating within ASEAN indicate that they are excited by new opportunities presented by the AEC and are ready to seize them. However, unlike their invested counterparts, companies not yet operating in the region continue to register reservations about committing capital. This hesitance has led German firms to fall behind other competitors, such as Japan, who have been successfully leveraging tariff removals and other benfits of found within the region.
To understand the AEC, it is paramount to be aware of its geopolitical background as well its fundamental differences to the European Union. Once it is clear that, although on paper the AEC looks like the European Union, it remains a long way from the EU’s level of integration, it becomes clear what investors can do to operate successfully.
By: Fernando Vidaurri
On December 9, 2015, Myanmar’s new stock exchange – the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) – opened with big expectations. However, despite the grand opening and the US $24 million investment, the bourse will not be operational until February of 2016, or later. So is this really the beginning of a new economic era, or is the new move by the administration being rushed before the country is ready?
Myanmar has come a long way from being isolated from the world community under a military regime, to becoming an attractive investment destination. In fact, during the fiscal year 2014-2015 Myanmar managed to attract US $8 billion in FDI despite some economic sanctions still being in place. However, the fact remains that there are still many factors that can keep the country from reaching its full economic potential. Still optimism is prevalent, and with many favorable factors aligning Myanmar seems to be at the right place at the right time for investors.
In this edition of ASEAN Regulatory Brief, ASEAN Briefing takes a closer look at new tax treaties negotiated by the Philippines, changes to Myanmar’s foreign investment laws, and ride hailing services in Indonesia.
In this edition of ASEAN Regulatory Brief, ASEAN Briefing takes a closer look at Brunei’s new finance regulations, the US’s eased export restrictions for Myanmar, and a fight against corruption in Indonesia.
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Steven Elsinga
In the previous article we began our discussion on nationality and residence requirements for member of the Board of Directors. We now continue with the remaining five ASEAN nations, where we shall come across both the most restricted and the most liberal regime. Vietnam will be examined separately at our sister website Vietnam Briefing.
In this edition of ASEAN Regulatory Brief, ASEAN Briefing takes a closer look at regulations over Myanmar’s internet and mobile SIM cards, as well as Thailand’s new Business Collateral Act.