Investing in Manila

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By Vasundhara Rastogi

ASB- Investing in Manila (002)

The Philippines has shown strong economic growth in the last one year, and is expected to grow at the rate of 6.5-7 percent annually in the coming years. Given its strong economic prospects, it’s the best time for foreign businesses to explore business opportunities in the country.

Manila, the capital and main city of the Philippines, offers a variety of business possibilities in industries ranging from manufacturing to information technology (IT), and financial services. In this article, we provide a brief overview of the city’s investment climate.

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ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement Signed

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASB- ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA (002)

On November 12, 2017, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China signed a free trade and investment pact to strengthen economic cooperation between the two regions and stimulate economic development. The two agreements, the ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) and the ASEAN-Hong Kong Investment Agreement (AHKIA), were signed at the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila and will come into force on January 1, 2018.

The agreements cover all aspects of trade in goods, such as tariffs; rules of origin; non-tariff measures; customs procedures and trade facilitation; trade remedies; technical barriers to trade; and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. They also include elements related to trade in services; investment; economic and technical co-operation; dispute settlement mechanism; and other areas of interests to be mutually agreed upon by the two parties.

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Malaysia’s 2018 Budget: Salient Features

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASB- Malaysias 2018 Budget (002)

On October 27, 2017, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak tabled the country’s much anticipated 2018 budget. The new budget is in line with the government’s agenda to achieve Transformasi Nasional 2050 (TN50) or National Transformation 2050; TN50 is a 30 year-plan,first introduced in the budget 2017,that aims to make Malaysia one of the world’s top 20 countries by 2050.

Termed as a generous and people friendly budget, the proposed allocation for 2018 stands at RM280.25 billion (US$66.3 billion) – a rise of 7.5 percent from 2017. The Malaysian government has proposed several tax incentives for investors and venture capital firms in the 2018 budget. In this article, we look at the salient features of the budget and their implications for businesses.

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Cambodia’s Garment Manufacturing Industry

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASB- Singapore Employment Permits - Part II

Cambodia is strategically located in the heart of Southeast Asia. The country is bordered by Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, and has the Gulf of Thailand to its south-west. The country is popular for providing a low-cost manufacturing base for several industries. Among the many advantages that the country offers to investors are duty-free access to some large and developed markets, a stable economy, and several government incentives. Additionally, there are several special economic zones exclusively established to promote manufacturing across the country. In this article, we briefly discuss the chief characteristics of the garment manufacturing industry in Cambodia and the advantages it offers to foreign investors.

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Payroll Outsourcing in Singapore: Allowing Companies to Focus on Regional Expansion in ASEAN

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

Although managing payroll in Singapore is a relatively less complex process than elsewhere in ASEAN, it is not without its inherent challenges given the city-state’s constantly evolving regulatory environment. While Singapore-based companies may find it challenging to keep track of the country’s changing social security, tax, and regulatory norms when computing payroll for its employees, those with operations in the wider ASEAN region are likely to find the task even more daunting.

When a company operates in multiple countries, its internal HR teams often struggle to stay updated with changing payroll regulations. Indeed, payroll regulations in emerging markets can change quickly and without proper notification. HR staff doing payroll without up-to-date information may, inadvertently, lead to issues of non-compliance. Non-compliance, even accidental, can invite unwanted scrutiny from authorities, heavy fines, and may negatively impact the morale of employees adversely affected. 

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Investing in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh

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By Vasundhara Rastogi

Phnom Penh, once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’, is the capital and largest city of Cambodia. Located at the confluence of three major rivers –  the Mekong, the Tonle Sap River, and the Bassac River -, the city serves as Cambodia’s major economic, business, and trading destination. Though the city is located 120 miles away from the sea, its proximity to the Mekong river valley makes it an ideal port – connecting the landlocked region to the South China Sea via Vietnam by the Hau Giang channel of the Mekong Delta. Phnom Penh is home to 1.5 million people, and serves as a major global and domestic tourist destination in Cambodia. Khmer, the most popular and official language of the country is the main language; English and French are also widely spoken.

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Top Three IPR Mistakes that SMEs Should Avoid in Southeast Asia

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By: South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk

A wide range of foreign industries are now looking to Southeast Asia not just to take advantage of an abundance of cheap labor for production of goods for export, but also to tap into new consumer markets formed from a growing middle class population. While these opportunities can lead to substantial returns for Western, including European businesses, via both the production and sales side, the less developed nature of business-related legislation means the dangers of intellectual property (IP) infringement are often great.

There are very few SMEs who would not take the issue of intellectual property rights (IPR) seriously in their business strategies, nevertheless there are some issues that are commonly overlooked and can even lead to commercial disaster. Here we take a look, in no particular order, at the top three IPR mistakes SMEs make.

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Thailand’s New Customs Act: A Relief for Importers and Exporters

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

In May 2017, the government of Thailand published a new Customs Act B.E. 2560 (2017) in the country’s National Gazette, repealing the outdated and controversial Customs Act B.E. 2469 (1926). The new Act, scheduled to come into force from November 13, 2017, will herald a new era in customs and excise control in Thailand. With an aim to modernize Thailand’s customs law, the revised Act will significantly ease customs procedure and bring transparency in the country’s customs law. The changes will remove ambiguities present in the existing law and bring it closer to the international best practices in line with Thailand’s current free trade agreements. The agents and businesses involved in importing, exporting and the manufacturing of excisable goods in Thailand will greatly benefit from the new law.

Among the most notable changes introduced in the new act are a reduction in incentives and rewards to whistleblowers, clarification of customs offenses and reduction of statutory penalties, elimination of liability presumptions, and the imposition of deadlines for post-clearance audits and appeals, among others. In this article, we take a closer look at the key changes introduced in the new Customs Act, 2017.

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Singapore’s Patent Law: What You Need to Know

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By: South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk

Singapore and the EU: a background for SMEs

The Republic of Singapore is a leading global city-state and island country in Southeast Asia, lying off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. As one of the original four ‘Asian Tigers’ Singapore is a world leader in several economic areas, the world’s fourth leading financial centre, and the only Asian country to receive a AAA credit rating from all three major credit rating agencies[1]. Singapore is widely known as one of the freest, most innovative, and most competitive economies in the world. It is also widely accepted as a business friendly trade hub, with the World Bank naming Singapore the easiest place in the world to do business[2]. Out of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Singapore is Europe’s largest trading partner and 15th largest trading partner worldwide.

The Singaporean Intellectual Property (IP) legal framework is very comprehensive and is generally considered to be one of the most thorough in Asia. Singapore is a member of the following international conventions regulating IP matters[3]:

  • The Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks
  • The Patent Cooperation treaty
  • The WIPO Copyright Treaty
  • The NICE Agreement concerning the International Classification of Goods and services
  • The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

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Singapore’s Inward Re-Domiciliation Regime: What You Need to Know

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

One of the key amendments to the Singapore Companies Act, the inward re-domiciliation regime came into effect on October 11, 2017. The amendment allows foreign companies to relocate their business headquarters to Singapore instead of setting up subsidiaries, without losing their corporate history or brand identity. This means that a foreign company located outside of Singapore may become a registered Singapore private company limited by shares, domiciled in Singapore and continue its operations under the laws of Singapore; the company need not wind up its business activities and set up a new company in Singapore. Re-domiciliation in Singapore does not create a new legal entity. It also does not affect the property, rights or obligations of the foreign company, or affect any legal proceedings by or against the foreign company.

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