Economy & Trade

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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India-Myanmar Relations: Growing Multifaceted Bilateral Ties

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By Yogesh Dubey

Editor’s Note: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a brief official visit to Myanmar last week. This article was originally published in The Diplomatist Magazine, July 2017, and has been republished with the permission of L.B. Associates (Pvt.) Ltd., a contract publishing house.

Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 km (994 mi) with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Four of India’s northeastern states: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram share an international boundary with Myanmar.

Both India and Myanmar share a heritage of religious, linguistic, and ethnic ties. Myanmar has a substantial population of Indian origin (estimated to be around 1.5 to 2 million). Further, Myanmar is a gateway to Southeast Asia and East Asia – regions with which India is seeking greater economic integration through its ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ policy. In fact, Myanmar is the only Southeast Asian country India shares a land boundary with.

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Singapore Set to Sign Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union by Year-End

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By: Dezan Shira & Associates

Russia-SingaporeSingapore Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam (right) with Russian Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov (left) 

Singapore is set to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a free trade bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, and Russia. Commenting on the incoming trade deal, which is expected to be signed by the end of this year, Singapore’s deputy prime minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam reiterated his country’s interest in economic and trade cooperation with Russia, noting that the two states have not been using the existing potential in full. Led by Russia, the EAEU essentially extends from the borders of China to the borders of the European Union.

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Kra Canal Project Revisited As Part Of China’s Maritime Silk Road

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

The Kra Canal project has swept back into vogue again after years of being dismissed as too difficult to build, and opposition from Singapore, who would lose huge amounts of shipping. A group of influential retired Thai generals, politicians, academics and businessmen with close links to China have revived plans to construct a US$28 billion and 135 kilometre canal across southern Thailand to link the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Calling themselves the Thai Canal Association of Study and Development, the body is trying to persuade Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha to approve a feasibility study. The plan would be one of the most ambitious mega-projects ever undertaken in Asia that could be funded through China’s multi-billion dollar Belt and Road and New Maritime Silk Road initiatives, aimed at reshaping trade across Asia.

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Singapore’s Start-up Ecosystem – Part III: The Role of Venture Capital Funds

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By Andrea Bottega and Erasmo Indolino

In the first and second parts of this three-part series on Singapore’s start-up ecosystem, we discussed how the city-state has emerged as a preferred base for international entrepreneurs and the opportunities it offered young overseas talent. In this concluding part, we look at the role of venture capital (VC) funds in nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore.

Venture Capital in Singapore

VC funds will soon be regulated under a slimmer framework, as regulators seek to ease start-up firms’ access to funding. Indeed, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published in February 2017 a consultation paper lining out its proposals for a simplified authorisation process and regulatory framework for these VC managers, which are now subject to the same rules as other fund managers.  MAS hopes the simplified regime will attract more VC managers to Singapore and spur them to play a greater role in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Entering the Philippine Market: Comparing Models

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By Harry Handley

Under the Foreign Investment Act, 1991, which was amended in 2015, a vast majority of industries in the Philippines are completely open to overseas investment, allowing 100 percent foreign ownership in most cases. The country managed to attract over US$ 7 billion of FDI in 2016, 25 percent more than the previous year. The UNCTAD World Investment Prospects survey positions the Philippines as the 11th most promising host country for investment over the period 2016-18. In order to best leverage the advantageous conditions, such as widely spoken English and access to the ASEAN Economic Community, the most effective market entry model must be chosen by entrants.

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