Malaysia Growth Outlook, Thailand EEC Investment, and Singapore-Myanmar Relations – ASEAN Market Watch

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Malaysia: World Bank forecasts positive growth in 2017

According to the Malaysia Economic Monitor, launched by the World Bank, the country’s growth rate for 2017 is forecast to increase to 4.9 percent. Malaysia registered a 5.6 percent year-on-year growth in the first three months of 2017, its highest quarterly growth rate in two years. According to the report, Malaysia’s positive growth outlook is driven largely by strong private consumption, supported by improving labor market conditions. Increasing private investments and major government-led infrastructure projects also contributed to it.

According to the report, an upturn in the US was reflected in the rising external demand, and stabilizing commodity prices as well as a recovery in global trade further helped to boost growth. The report also includes a special section on the importance of good data and effective data management, and how this can inform policy-making and improve service delivery. The Malaysia Economic Monitor series provides an analytical perspective on the policy challenges facing the country as it develops into a high-income economy.

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Thailand: EEC evokes Japanese investors’ interest

Thailand’s proposed Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) has evoked the interest of Japanese investors. The Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Thailand has extended its support to the project and is planning to urge its members to invest in the EEC, which will straddle three eastern Thai provinces – Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao. The proposed economic zone will promote 10 high-tech industries, including next-generation cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical services.

According to Soji Sakai, the president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, Japanese investors are showing interest in investing in the EEC, and are becoming more confident of Thailand’s investment climate. Thailand and Japan recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in restructuring Thai industry. As per the MoU, Japan will help in the upgradation of the 10 targeted industries in the EEC. According to Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI), in 2016 Japan was the country’s largest foreign investor followed by Singapore and China.

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Singapore boosts economic relations with Myanmar

International Enterprise (IE) Singapore recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) in its bid to boost economic relations between the two countries. The MoU is expected to enable more Singapore companies to enter the Myanmar market and explore opportunities in fields such as urban development, utilities, transport and logistics, manufacturing, oil and gas and professional services. As of March 2017, Singapore was Myanmar’s largest foreign investor with investments amounting to US$4.3 billion.

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Dezan Shira & Associates is a pan-Asia, multi-disciplinary professional services firm, providing legal, tax and operational advisory to international corporate investors. Operational throughout China, ASEAN and India, our mission is to guide foreign companies through Asia’s complex regulatory environment and assist them with all aspects of establishing, maintaining and growing their business operations in the region. This brochure provides an overview of the services and expertise Dezan Shira & Associates can provide.

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An Introduction to Doing Business in ASEAN 2017 introduces the fundamentals of investing in the 10-nation ASEAN bloc, concentrating on economics, trade, corporate establishment, and taxation. We also include the latest development news for each country, with the intent to provide an executive assessment of the varying component parts of ASEAN, assessing each member state and providing the most up-to-date economic and demographic data on each.

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In this issue of ASEAN Briefing, we discuss payroll processing and reporting in Singapore as well as analyze the options available for foreign companies looking to centralize their ASEAN payroll processes.We begin by discussing the various regulations that impact salary computation, and tax and social security calculation in Singapore. We then explore the potential for Singapore to emerge as a premier payroll processing center in ASEAN. Finally we consider the benefits of outsourcing payroll – both Singapore-based and ASEAN-wide – to a reliable third-party payroll processing provider.