With its newly opened International Commercial Court, Singapore wants to become the alternative location for arbitration in Asia. The country has also made a series of other investments into its legal services sector and has established the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC).
On its first day back in business, January 19, 2015, Singapore’s Parliament has approved the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill and the Pawnbrokers Bill on second readings, and saw the introduction of the Community Disputes, Deep Seabed Mining, Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption), and MediShield Life Scheme Bills.
A Rule from Indonesia’s Trade Ministry requires commodity exporters to use letters of credit (L/C) in overseas shipments from April 1, 2015. The new rule will effect coal, oil and gas, palm and palm-kernel oil, and minerals including tin. According to the Ministry, these commodities together accounted for over 41 percent of Indonesia’s exports from 2009 to 2013, averaging $US71 billion per year.
On December 9th, the Second ASEAN-OECD Investment Policy Conference was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, to discuss the continued facilitation and promotion of ASEAN investment for regional integration. The event brought together ASEAN investment policy makers, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members, and industry leaders, to showcase ASEAN’s regional investment integration achievements since the first conference in 2010. Included at the conference was the release of the OECD’s Investment Policy Review of Myanmar, which marked the country as one to watch heading into 2015.
In this article we highlight some of the recent tax and regulatory actions taken in the ASEAN region. The importance of ASEAN continues to grow, with 2015 set to see the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The AEC seeks to “transform ASEAN into a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy.” Collectively, ASEAN represents a market of some 600 million people, with a combined GDP of about US$2.5 trillion and upwards of US$1.5 trillion in trade flowing throughout the region.
On September 1, 2014, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (“IRAS”) released a consultation process whereby it has requested comments on proposed changes to the transfer pricing documentation requirements in Singapore.
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has published a revised edition of its e-tax guide for the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC). The new guide includes the changes made in February’s 2014 Budget Statement.
On September 9th, the Philippines’ Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which prevented it from enforcing regulations requiring the submission by withholding agents of a list of their investors receiving taxable income. These regulations were laid out in Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 1-2014, which were promulgated earlier this year.
The government of Hong Kong has recently announced that it will support the new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) new global standards on the automatic exchange of information for the purposes of enhancing tax transparency and combating cross-border tax evasion.
The Malaysian government has announced that on April 1, 2015 it will implement a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of six percent. The new GST will replace the current sales and service tax regime.