ASEAN Market Watch: Philippines – EU Trade Agreement, Thai Infrastructure Projects, and Cybercrime

Posted by Reading Time: 4 minutes

asean market watch

Philippine, European negotiators progress in trade agreement

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Philippines will hold a fifth round of negotiations on a proposed free trade agreement early in 2016. The EFTA includes the four non-European Union (EU) Member States – Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – that operates in parallel to the EU.

The Philippines wants the inclusion of processed tropical fruits and durable fresh products in the agreement while EFTA nations are seeking to access the market for processed and fresh fish products for Norway and Iceland at zero tariff rates. During negotiations in November, the two sides also discussed the inclusion of services, technical barriers to trade, trade facilitation, intellectual property, public procurement, competition, trade and sustainable development. The EFTA remains important to the Philippines; in 2014, the total commodity trade reached US $636 million.

Government approves Bangkok rail project to boost economy

The Thai government approved a US $2.64 billion project to build a new elevated rail line in the capital Bangkok. The government has invested US $50 billion worth of infrastructure projects to boost the economy. The state rail authority also opened the electronic bidding for a project to construct a dual-track railway line in the northeastern part of the country. The project is estimated at US $650 million.

Professional Service_CB icons_2015 RELATED: Corporate Establishment Services from Dezan Shira & Associates

The authorities want to commence building 20 rail, road and air transport projects by 2018. The Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak was reported saying that more rail lines will be considered by the cabinet in March 2016.  Bangkok already has three Skytrain lines operating in the city. The bidding for new Orange Line will be taking place in May and this line will be just over 13 miles (21km) long. The government hopes to speed up and use infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy.

Southeast Asia faces increased attacks by cyber criminals

According to a recent report by a leading security and telecommunication firm, businesses and governments in Southeast Asia are increasingly likely to become targets of cybercrime. In the first half of the year, 29 percent of organizations based in Southeast Asia were the targets of advanced cyber attacks. Out of these, Thailand and Philippines were the worst hit and susceptible to these attacks. The report mentioned that the organizations that faced the highest risk from cyber-crime were entertainment, media and hospitality sectors, followed by the government sector.

Related-Reading-Icon-Asean Link RELATED: Nationality and Residency Requirements for Directors across ASEAN – Part One

The report further stated that espionage is increasingly being done online, with Southeast Asia a hot spot. Geopolitics can also play a role as the region becomes economically competitive while tensions increase in the South China Sea; firms should be prepared for targeted attacks. In 2014, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand were ahead in adopting market solutions to combat the threat of cybercrime while Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam lagged behind.


Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email or visit

Stay up to date with the latest business and investment trends in Asia by subscribing to our complimentary update service featuring news, commentary and regulatory insight.

Related-Reading-Asean Book Title

The 2015 Asia Tax ComparatorAB 1214 Cover small small
In this issue, we compare and contrast the most relevant tax laws applicable for businesses with a presence in Asia. We analyze the different tax rates of 13 jurisdictions in the region, including India, China, Hong Kong, and the 10 member states of ASEAN. We also take a look at some of the most important compliance issues that businesses should be aware of, and conclude by discussing some of the most important tax and finance concerns companies will face when entering Asia.

Manufacturing Hubs Across Emerging Asia
In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we explore several of the region’s most competitive and promising manufacturing locales including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Exploring a wide variety of factors such as key industries, investment regulations, and labor, shipping, and operational costs, we delineate the cost competitiveness and ease of investment in each while highlighting Indonesia, Vietnam and India’s exceptional potential as the manufacturing leaders of the future.

An Introduction to Tax Treaties Throughout Asia
In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we take a look at the various types of trade and tax treaties that exist between Asian nations. These include bilateral investment treaties, double tax treaties and free trade agreements – all of which directly affect businesses operating in Asia.