ASEAN Regulatory Brief: Singapore Anti-Bribery Standard, Thailand E-Work Permits, and Laos Sea Access

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Singapore: ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Systems Management Standard adopted

In order to enable Singapore-registered companies to implement and manage anti-bribery best practices, the city-state recently adopted the ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Systems Management Standard. The Standard is being launched jointly by SPRING Singapore, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). The two organisations released a joint statement saying ISO 37001 “is based on internationally recognized good practices [and] provides guidelines to help Singapore companies strengthen their anti-bribery compliance systems and processes [to] ensure compliance with anti-bribery laws.”

An accreditation mechanism for certification bodies is expected to be rolled out by the end of 2017. The majority of people prosecuted for bribery and corruption in Singapore in 2016 were private sector employees. According to the CPIB, 808 corruption complaints were filed in 2016, down from 877 complaints filled in the previous year.

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Thailand: E-work permit smart cards for migrant workers introduced

Thailand’s labour ministry has introduced e-work permit smart cards for migrant workers in the country. The measure is aimed at enabling immigration and labour ministry officials to verify the workers’ personal information and detect falsified supporting documents. The smart card will have inbuilt features which will enable officials to check the workers’ information by using their smart phones to read the QR code embedded on the cards. The QR code contains records of any change in employer as well as immigration details about arrivals and departures from Thailand. The e-work permits will be valid for two years, which is the maximum duration of an employment contract.

Laos: Government approves development of port facility in Vietnam

Landlocked Laos will gain access to the sea once it completes the development of the Vung Ang port project in neighbouring Vietnam. The Lao cabinet on 21 April approved the setting up of a public-private joint stock company to develop and manage the port in Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province. The Vietnamese government has already agreed to grant Laos a 50-year concession to develop and operate the port. There is also a provision to extend the concession period beyond the initial 50 years. Lao officials have stated that the port will not only allow much-needed sea access to the landlocked country but will also significantly reduce land transport costs for exporters.   

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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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