The Guide to Employment Permits for Foreign Workers in Indonesia

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASEAN Briefing-The Guide to Employment Permits for Foreign Workers in Indonesia (2)

There are two types of employment visas available for foreign workers planning to work and live in Indonesia: ITAS (Izin Tinggal Terbatas), a limited stay permit, issued by the Indonesian Immigration Directorate General through the local immigration office; and KITAP (Kartu Izin Tinggal Tetap), a permanent stay permit that is available for application to only those foreign workers who have held ITAS for a minimum of three consecutive years.

While ITAS is a limited stay permit, VITAS (Visa Izin Tinggal Terbatas) is the limited stay permit visa, a prerequisite to the issuance of the ITAS.

In this article, we discuss the procedures and documentation required for obtaining an ITAS.

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Indonesia Eases Tax Holiday Policy for New FDI Projects

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ASEAN Regulatory BriefBy Dezan Shira & Associates

In a bid to attract more investment to support the country’s economic growth, Indonesia recently issued a new regulation granting a 100 percent Corporate Income Tax (CIT) cut to new FDI-backed businesses.

Further, the new regulation grants tax holidays to new investors in any of the 17 pioneer industries including transportation, telecommunications, robotic components, oil and gas refinery, train engines, medical devices, pharmaceutical raw materials, power plant machinery, and processing of metals and agricultural products among others. Pioneer industries are those that create added value, introduce advanced technology and have strategic value for the national economy. Previously, the provision was available to only eight such industries.

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Thailand’s Special Economic Zones – Opportunities for Investment

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By: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASEAN Briefing-Thailands Special Economic Zones Opportunities for Investment (003)

In 2017, the value of Thailand’s border trade with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Malaysia, combined with goods re-exported to Vietnam, totaled 1.3 trillion Baht. This year, the Ministry of Commerce expects the number to grow further by 10 to 14 percent. Likely to benefit further in the light of these strong trends are businesses that choose to locate in the 10 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the border provinces of Thailand. The development of the SEZs is divided into two phases, with the first phase covering the provinces of Tak, Sa Kaeo, Trat, Mukdahan, and Songkhla. Other provinces include Chiang Rai, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Kanchanaburi, and Narathiwat.

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Growing Opportunities for Manufacturing in ASEAN

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASEAN Briefing-Thailands Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)

As a region, ASEAN has dramatically outpaced the rest of the world in terms of its growth per capita since the late 1970s. Income growth has remained strong since 2000, with average annual real gains of more than 5 percent. Over the years, with the gradual opening up of its economies, increasing demographic dividend, low labor costs, and a steady growth, ASEAN has emerged as one of the most attractive foreign capital destinations in Asia. From the region’s financial services capital in Singapore to its low-cost manufacturing hubs in Vietnam, the ASEAN region offers numerous opportunities for businesses interested in establishing operations or trading in Asia.

In terms of low-cost manufacturing, Vietnam, in particular, has made great strides as a manufacturing hub attracting significant investment from foreign businesses. Manufacturing accounts for 25 percent of its total GDP. Over the years, Myanmar too has grown into a manufacturing base for industries producing textiles and garments, food and beverages and construction materials. Similarly, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines have shown a significant potential in their manufacturing activities. The average monthly wage of a manufacturing worker in these countries is considerably lower in comparison to other manufacturing hubs in Asia, such as China.

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Philippines Under Duterte: Opportunities and Risks

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By Evonne Chiu and Benedict Alibasa at Grapevine Asia Partners

ASEAN Briefing- Philippines Opportunities and Risks Under Duterte

Economic Growth Under Duterte

In spite of President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial ‘war on drugs’ and his acerbic language towards his critics, the Philippine economy continues to register robust growth. Latest economic data show that the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.7% in 2017, marking the seventh straight year of GDP growth of more than 6%. Although the 2017 GDP growth was slightly below the 6.9% growth recorded in 2016, the Philippines remains one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, only trailing behind China’s 6.9% and Vietnam’s 6.8%.

The 6.7% growth of last year was partly anchored by the government’s increased public spending. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that public construction posted a 12.6% growth in the third quarter of 2017. A primary driver of growth in public spending is Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. Improved public spending was also driven by higher utilization of cash allocation by government agencies.

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Indonesia’s Investment Outlook for 2018

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By: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASEAN Briefing-  Indonesias Investment Outlook for 2018

Strategically positioned along major sea lines connecting East Asia, South Asia, and Oceania, Indonesia holds a natural appeal for foreign investors. The country is the largest archipelago in the world, consisting of five main islands – Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua – and about 30 smaller archipelagos totaling approximately 17,508 islands. Aside from its geographical reach to major international markets, the country houses over 250 million people offering a viable domestic market for investors. In addition, the country has relatively low wage rates, which provide a cost-effective source of manpower for investors.


Indonesia is rich in natural resources, mainly energy fuels, minerals, and abundant forests that provide important raw materials for industry, thereby offering a comparative advantage for investment. Apart from natural resources, the services and industrial sectors are key economic drivers, accounting for 46 percent and 40 percent of the country’s total GDP, respectively.

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Managing Trade Secrets in Thailand

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By: South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk

ASEAN Briefing-Managing Trade Secrets in Thailand (003)

Trade secrets are a highly valuable form of intellectual property that nearly all businesses in all industries and sectors possess. However, they are frequently overlooked by businesses, partly because there is confusion about what actually constitutes a trade secret. So what is a trade secret?

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), any confidential business information that is of considerable commercial value to businesses and that provides an enterprise with a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. In practice, this could be:

  • sales methods
  • distribution methods
  • consumer profiles
  • advertising plans
  • pricing strategies
  • lists of suppliers and clients
  • manufacturing processes

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Import and Export Procedures in Indonesia – Best Practices

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By: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASEAN Briefing-Import and Export Procedures in Indonesia  Best Practices (002)

Spread across more than 17,500 islands, the Indonesian archipelago is a pivotal trading hub in Southeast Asia. The island country borders Malaysia, Timor-Leste, and Papua New Guinea by land, and Christmas Island, India, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and Palau by sea.

In 2016, Indonesia exported US$140 billion worth of goods and imported US$ 132 billion, resulting in a positive trade balance. The country’s top export destinations are China (US$16.8 billion), the United States (US$16.2 billion), Japan (US$16.2 billion), Singapore (US$11.2 billion), and India (US$10.1 billion). The country imports predominantly from China (US$32.1 billion), Singapore (US$25.8 billion), Japan (US$11.3 billion), Malaysia (US$6.67 billion), and South Korea (US$6.61billion). 

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CPTPP and Opportunities for Businesses in ASEAN

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By: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASEAN Briefing- Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for the Tran-Pacific Partnership Way Ahead (002)

Following the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 11 remaining signatories of the TPP agreed to move ahead with a revised TPP.  The rechristened Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for the Tran-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was formally signed on March 8, 2018, and will enter into force as soon as at least six out of 11 member countries ratify it.  The 11 member countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

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Banking Sector Reforms in Myanmar

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Rohini Singh

ASEAN Briefing-Banking Sector Reforms in Myanmar

In a long-awaited move, Myanmar’s government recently permitted seven of the 13 foreign banks operating in Myanmar to provide export-financing services. This puts the foreign banks at par with their local counterparts, and provides additional options for local businesses to access credit at more competitive rates.

The decision is a welcome development as Myanmar’s banking system has been highly restrictive for foreign players. Besides providing export financing services, the select foreign banks will be allowed to extend credit to foreign businesses as well as local banks.

While foreign banks may cooperate with local lenders to offer additional services, they will continue to be prohibited from pursuing retail operations, such as opening of saving accounts, local money transfers, and extending loans in local currency.

Overall, Myanmar’s banking sector is in its formative stages of development – bank loans in the nation of 51 million comprise a mere 19 percent of its GDP, far below other emerging economies like Vietnam (36 percent) and Cambodia (108 percent). 

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