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.
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Steven Elsinga
This is the third installment in the series on FDI restrictions in ASEAN. Please click on the following to read Part One and Part Two.
The final part of this series turns to the remaining three ASEAN nations: Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar. Of these, Malaysia is by far the most developed and has the most sophisticated and mature legal system. Here, we see that restrictions are mostly imposed due to domestic political reasons. Most investment restrictions specifically targeted at foreigners have been removed in recent years.
Laos and Myanmar are underdeveloped countries eager to attract foreign investment. As such, their investment policies are quite liberal on paper. However, as these countries are still in the early stages of developing a reliable rule of law, the situation on the ground may differ.
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Maxfield Brown
In this final installment on the Association of South East Asian Nation’s (ASEAN) adoption of International financial reporting standards, ASEAN Briefing touches on the state of harmonization in the Philippines as well as the regional bloc’s frontier economies.
Unlike previous installments, nations covered herein present divergent opportunities for investment. The Philippines – an original member of ASEAN 6 – has a long history of financial reporting requirements, and its transition from national GAAP to IFRS is largely representative of previously covered member states.
ASEAN’s frontier economies on the other hand offer investors a relatively blank slate. The absence of preexisting regulatory infrastructure has enhanced and – in several instances – allowed swift and uncompromised convergence with international standards to take place. Although implementation of IFRS promises to reduce compliance costs for wholly owned foreign investment projects, lagging local penetration of accounting practices among other issues mandates a careful selection of local partners.
In this edition of ASEAN Regulatory Brief, ASEAN Briefing covers opposition by shippers in the Philippines to new inspection regulations, the splitting of the Thai aviation authority, and restrictions on the use of dollars in Myanmar’s tourism sector.
In this ASEAN Regulatory Brief, we look at some of the important regulatory changes taking place recently in Thailand, Myanmar, and the Philippines.
By Edward Barbour-Lacey
As Myanmar continues the process of opening up and liberalizing its economy, there have been a number of changes in the level of foreign investment that the country has been receiving. This has occurred in part due to the various new rules and regulations that the government has promulgated in its attempt to improve the country’s business environment.
In order to attract investment, Myanmar’s government has worked to improve its investment atmosphere through such measures as updating its legal structure and investment law, as well as modernizing its infrastructure. In particular, with regards to investment, the country has combined two of its investment laws – the Foreign Investment Law and Myanmar Citizens Investment Law.
Earlier this week Jiang Zhengxin – vice general manager of China United Telecommunications Corp. –revealed that the company has been contracted to construct China’s first international undersea cable linking China and Myanmar.
Speaking from the sidelines of the China-ASEAN Information Harbor Forum held on September 13th, this announcement comes as part of a larger push by China to enhance its connectivity with ASEAN.
Construction will be headed by China Unicom, a subsidiary of China United Telecommunications Corp., which will work in partnership with Myanmar’s Telecommunications operators. Of those currently operating in Myanmar, the most likely partner for the project is state owned Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) which has a prior working relationship with China Unicom, experience in undersea cable construction, and a monopoly on the telecommunications sector in Myanmar.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM), all transactions on the soon to be opened Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) will be commercially taxed.
The new bourse, the first of its kind in Myanmar, is scheduled to be opened in December of this year. The YSX is being developed in partnership with two Japanese firms, the Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd, which holds a 30.25 percent stake, and the Japan Exchange Group, with an 18.75 percent stake. As a result of the opening of the new exchange, all existing over-the-counter (OTC) markets will be made illegal.
A new section of the planned Asian highway linking India, Myanmar, and Thailand has become operational. The 25.6 kilometer roadway will reduce travel time between Thinggan Nyenaung and Kawkareik from three hours to 45 minutes.
The newly opened section of the highway is located in the East-West economic corridor of the Greater Mekong Subregion (a development project implemented in 1992 by the World Development Bank and consisting of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Yunnan Province, China). It is hoped that the road will help to further grow trade between Myanmar and Thailand and build stronger relationships between the people in the region.
We have just completed our nine part series on the cost of doing business in ASEAN compared with China. The nine country comparisons (see below for all links) detail cost of labor and taxes, together with bilateral trade profiles between China and Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Brunei was omitted from the series as it is of limited interest to foreign investors except in the oil and gas fields, while Singapore was compared directly to operational costs in Hong Kong.