Economy & Trade

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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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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Singapore’s Free Trade Agreement with Turkey Comes into Force

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

The much-awaited Turkey-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (TRSFTA) went into effect on October 1, this year. The agreement paves the way for freer movement of goods and services, and further investment opportunities between the two countries. The TRSFTA was first signed in November 2015 and covers a wide range of areas including goods and services, e-commerce, intellectual property rights, competition, and transparency.

According to the official press notification, tariffs for Singapore’s exports to Turkey on 80 percent of all tariff lines will be eliminated under the TRSFTA. The coverage will increase to more than 95 percent of all tariff lines over a period of 10 years.

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IP Protection in the Philippines Pharmaceutical Industry

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By: South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk

The pharmaceutical industry in the Philippines

The Philippines is a major EU trade partner in South-East Asia. In this bilateral relationship, pharmaceuticals will play a growing role as a high-growth sector. In coming years, increasing population affluence and government healthcare initiatives will bolster pharmaceutical consumption in a population which already spends 46% of its out-of-pocket medical expenses[1]. Over the period 2010-2015, some predictions put Philippine out-of-pocket pharmaceutical expenditures as having risen from US$ 664 million to US$ 3.46 billion. Overall healthcare expenditures are predicted to grow at 11.2% annually and reach US$ 38.6 billion by 2023. Many of these sales will take place in retail chain pharmacies—the current dominant drug sales venue—and hospitals which are to be revamped under new government healthcare initiatives. The Philippines is unique in that its largest market players are local firms which maintain their market share through aggressive marketing and generics production.

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Malaysia-Thailand Trade and Economic Relations

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By Dr Sarika Dubey

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Diplomatist Magazine, June 2017, and has been republished with the permission of L.B. Associates (Pvt.) Ltd., a contract publishing house.

Malaysia and Thailand, both active members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), enjoy cordial diplomatic relations and share strong bilateral ties in areas such as trade and investment; security; education and vocational training; youth and sports; tourism; and connectivity and socio-economic developments in border areas. Both countries like any other countries in the region. Though both countries share a land border, yet they are culturally distinct. Malaysia is a primarily Malay Muslim country with a multicultural character with some non-Muslim minorities. On the other hand, Thailand is a homogenous Thai Buddhist country with a small Muslim community, especially in its southern region bordering Malaysia. Before discussing the problems and the prospects of the trade and economic relations of the two countries, let us have a look at their historical, political and cultural linkages over the years.

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Gaming Industry in the Philippines Part II – Online Gaming

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Op-ed by Bob Shead

In this second part of a two-part article on the Philippine Gaming Industry, I will focus on the country’s online gaming industry. Together with the casino sector, which was the focus of the first part of this article, the online gaming industry is of enormous importance to the country’s economy. In this article, I will also identify possible investment opportunities in this rather complicated and sensitive industry. 

Background

The Philippines is an interesting and relatively new market for online gambling.  There are two distinct regions in the country, for gambling purposes.  The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) control the majority of the Philippines where gambling is controlled by the Government owned PAGCOR.   As previously mentioned in the casinos sector, PAGCOR operates their land-based casinos, and betting outlets across the country.

The second region is the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and Freeport which most people just call “Cagayan Freeport.”  This is based mainly at the Manila Entertainment Complex, mentioned earlier and located next to Manila Bay.  This is the only area in the Philippines not under complete control of PAGCOR.  In the Freeport area, there are numerous independent casinos that focus mainly on foreign tourists.

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Gaming Industry in the Philippines Part I – Casinos

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Op-ed by Bob Shead

In the first part of this two-part article on the Philippine Gaming Industry, I will focus on the country’s casino industry. Together with the online gaming sector, which will be the focus of the second part of this article, the casino industry is of enormous importance to the Philippine economy, and is intricately linked to the country’s tourism industry. In this article, I will also identify possible investment opportunities in this rather complicated and sensitive industry. 

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is the Philippine Government body, founded in 1976, that has the responsibility for governing the casino industry.  PAGCOR is 100% owned by the Philippine government, and is a controlled corporation under the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.  The funds generated by PAGCOR augment the government’s budget for infrastructure and socio-civic projects.

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