September 20, 2017

The 3rd ASEAN Summit organised by RHTLaw Taylor Wessing carried strong themes across innovation, e-commerce and the digital economy, as published in The Straits Times

The 3rd ASEAN Summit organised by RHTLaw Taylor Wessing carried strong themes across innovation, e-commerce and the digital economy, as published in The Straits Times. The article was first published in The Straits Times on 20 September 2017. Digital economy a focus for Singapore as Asean chair Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 20 September 2017 Author: Chia Yan Min E-commerce and the digital economy will be a key focus for Singapore when it takes over the Asean chairmanship next year. Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Education), yesterday said the country will also work to improve trade facilitation in a bid to help companies expand internationally. The Asean Economic Community (AEC) "remains the cornerstone of Singapore's foreign economic policy", Ms Low told about 250 delegates at the Asean Summit. Asean has consistently been Singapore's largest trading partner, accounting for about a quarter of its international trade. Since its founding in 1967, Asean's share of global gross domestic product has almost doubled from 3.3 per cent in 1967 to 6.2 per cent last year. Asean is also the sixth largest economy in the world with a combined GDP of US$2.55 trillion (S$3.5 trillion). The Philippines is the current chair of Asean. Ms Low said Singapore will work closely with other Asean members to promote innovation, build up digital connectivity and facilitate e-commerce flows to benefit businesses, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. STAYING NIMBLE This will include streamlining regional trade rules governing e-commerce to promote greater digital connectivity and lowering barriers to entry to allow seamless movement of e-commerce goods. Singapore also intends to focus on helping Asean businesses lower the administrative costs of trade, for instance by expediting Customs clearance via electronic exchange of information across borders. During its chairmanship, Singapore will also look to continue building up the region's ties with external partners while preserving Asean centrality, said Ms Low. Asean has maintained longstanding relations with its six dialogue partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. Negotiations are also ongoing for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement. "Asean businesses will drive the AEC while governments of the Asean member states play the role of catalysts to support their internationalisation," Ms Low said. "Businesses will therefore need to continue to be nimble and adaptable, and attuned to new trends emerging from disruptive technologies and global developments." The summit at the Suntec Convention Centre was hosted by RHTLaw Taylor Wessing.
September 20, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Deputy Managing Partner and Chairman of ASEAN Plus Group Azman Jaafar addresses Singapore’s push towards a digital economy as timely, at the Firm’s 3rd ASEAN Summit as featured in TODAY

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Deputy Managing Partner and Chairman of ASEAN Plus Group Azman Jaafar addresses Singapore’s push towards a digital economy as timely, at the Firm's 3rd ASEAN Summit as featured in TODAY. This article was first published in TODAY on 20 September 2017. E-commerce a top focus when S’pore chairs Asean Source: TODAY © Mediacorp Press Ltd. Date: 20 September 2017 SINGAPORE — E-commerce and the digital economy will be the key points of focus when Singapore takes over the chairmanship of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) next year, Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education, said yesterday. Addressing the Asean Summit 2017 hosted by legal firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, Ms Low highlighted the importance of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and the Republic’s efforts to open up business opportunities for small and medium-sized companies in the region. “The AEC remains the cornerstone of Singapore’s foreign economic policy. Asean has consistently been Singapore’s largest trading partner, accounting for 25.7 per cent (S$217 billion) of Singapore’s world trade,” noted Ms Low. With an annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth of between 4.5 and 6.1 per cent from 2012 to 2016, Asean is expected to grow at a yearly average of 5.2 per cent in the period 2017 to 2020. “Innovation and e-commerce present immense opportunities as new growth sectors and enablers that businesses can tap into,” said Ms Low. Highlighting the example of e-commerce start-up ShopBack, Ms Low noted how the local company successfully immersed itself in regional markets and established partnerships with merchants in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Singapore will work closely with Asean member states to promote innovation, build digital connectivity and facilitate e-commerce flows into the region to benefit businesses — especially the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises — Ms Low said. Mr Azman Jaafar, deputy managing partner and chairman of Asean Plus Group, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing said: “Singapore’s push towards prioritising the digital economy is timely, given that most Asean countries are now primed to jump onto the digital bandwagon given the rise of the Asian middle class and increasing Internet penetration rates.” The Republic will also work closely with other Asean member states towards the realisation of an Asean-wide self-certification regime and the Asean single window. Tariff concessions and expedited customs clearance via the electronic exchange of information across borders will lower administrative barriers and improve the movement of goods and services across the region, added Ms Low. Speaking at a panel discussion during the summit, Mr Ngurah Swajaya, Indonesia’s Ambassador to Singapore, noted the potential for a digital economy in Indonesia is huge. He cited the example of ride-hailing firm Go Jek as a new breed of businesses tapping into the digital economy. Operating in more than 25 cities in Indonesia, Go Jek’s motorcycle taxis transport people as well as goods and services, including the delivery of groceries and food. Mr Antonio Morales, the Philippines’ Ambassador to Singapore, said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, to be completed this year or next, is the most important trade agreement since the demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. When approved, the RCEP will cover 3.5 billion people, making it the world’s largest market in terms of population and third in the world in terms of GDP and total trade. Economists forecast that if the RCEP is concluded, it would boost regional GDP by close to 2 per cent, Mr Morales added.
September 20, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Deputy Managing Partner and Chairman of ASEAN Plus Group Azman Jaafar expresses the importance of ASEAN to be a rules-based organisation as a coping strategy in response to the changing business environment, in The Jakarta Post

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Deputy Managing Partner and Chairman of ASEAN Plus Group Azman Jaafar was featured in an article published by The Jakarta Post. The article was first published on 20 September 2017. Greater Integration Vital for Asean to Benefit Business More Source: The Jakarta Post © Date: 20 September 2017 Author: Linda Yulisman Greater integration vital for ASEAN to benefit business more With sound economic fundamentals, ASEAN appears to have a promising outlook ahead. Celebrating 50 years since it was founded this year, the group has become the world’s sixth-largest economy with a combined income of US$2.55 trillion and it is estimated to expand by 5.2 percent in the coming years. Deeper economic integration, which began with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of 2015, is seen as a way for the 10-member bloc with a population of more than 500 million to further unlock its potential and better benefit business. Singapore’s senior parliamentary secretary for the ministry of education and ministry of trade an industry, Low Yen Ling, said that greater integration would provide enormous opportunities for business people across the region. “ASEAN’s journey into deepening economic integration is a continuous journey,” she said on the sidelines of ASEAN Summit 2017, organised by Singapore-based international law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing. “It will always be a work in progress, something to work on together, and that is also a reflection of the rapidly changing world, not just in ASEAN, but also outside of the region.” The Southeast Asian grouping has benefitted from the free flow of goods across its borders without tariffs in the past decade. It has also undertaken efforts to improve the ease of exporting in a wide range of sectors, such as automotive, cosmetics and medical equipment through reducing and simplifying regulations. In its latest move in August, ASEAN launched an online portal – ASEAN Solutions for Investment, Services and Trade (ASSIST) – to allow companies to voice their concerns over non-tariff measures that impede trading of good within the region. Low further said that when taking the ASEAN chairmanship next year, Singapore aimed to push for initiatives on e-commerce and the digital economyy in order to provide greater benefits for business, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises. Vice president for public sector and government practice at consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, Richard Won, said that it would be crucial for ASEAN to bring a real impact to the private sector as a way to make the grouping more relevant to business. It would be, therefore, necessary for the grouping to address two critical issues faced by businesspeople, namely the cost of doing business and the regulatory environment, he added. “If we can help to reduce costs, make it easier to register business and increase trade and services, and also to have transparent rules within the bloc, that will be a dream come true for many businesses in the region,” he said. The group is working on the creation of ASEAN Single Window that will enable exporters across the region to expedite customs clearance through online exchange of information between the member countries. Since a few years ago, it has simplified the procedure for exporters seeking a certificate of origin for their products, a requirement to enjoy exemption of tariffs, through an online self-certification scheme. Deputy managing partner and chairman of ASEAN Plus Group at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Azman Jaafar acknowledged that it would be important for ASEAN to become a rules-based organisation, partly to cope with the changing business environment in the past two decades. “It is not good for us to rely on the old ways of allowing personal judgement to get in the way of decision-making for business,” he told The Jakarta Post. “If a business needs to be in a particular country, I think a rules-based economy would be very helpful instead of thinking about what we have to go to get the
September 19, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Hosts 3rd ASEAN Summit themed “The Future Economy in the ASEAN Narrative: Gearing Your Business for the ASEAN Economic Community”

ASEAN Summit, into its third year, welcomes Guest-of-Honour Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Trade and Industry, who will be giving a keynote address on  the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) The yearly conference is expected to attract over 300 business leaders, industry practitioners and decision makers for pragmatic perspectives on the future economy in the ASEAN narrative RHTLaw Taylor Wessing hosts its 3rd annual ASEAN Summit today on Tuesday 19 September 2017, themed “The Future Economy in the ASEAN Narrative: Gearing Your Business for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)”. The ASEAN Summit serves as a knowledge-exchange platform for business leaders, industry practitioners and decision makers to discuss strategies and share insights on how Singapore businesses can future-proof themselves for ASEAN within the new world economic order, and the opportunities for ASEAN in this modern geopolitical environment. ASEAN offers much potential in playing centre stage in the future global economy, considering the multitude of shifts in the current economic and political backdrop, including Brexit and the US under the Trump administration. Contrary to the anti-globalisation sentiments, Singapore’s openness to trade, talent, and investments, and its exhaustive drive to maintain regional and global connectivity presents an unparalleled opportunity on the enterprise level for Singaporean businesses, as well as an economic gateway for neighbouring countries.   Singapore small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) face challenging economic conditions, rising competition and disruption from technological advances; with land and manpower constraints becoming more pressing. Many Singaporean SMEs still regard the AEC with mixed sentiments – uncertainty, scepticism, and even indifference – on its exact impact on their businesses. It is now or never, that SMEs must step up, in order to stay in business; to capture new market opportunities, and to prepare against the intense competition from regional players that will flood the marketplace. Singapore’s businesses need to urgently innovate and evolve beyond status quo, or risk being displaced by competitors. ASEAN is in our backyard and ASEAN SMEs are the backbone of the ASEAN economies. Guest-of-Honour Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Trade and Industry, will be giving the keynote address on gearing businesses for future opportunities in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Speakers and panellists at the ASEAN Summit include a distinguished line-up comprising Mr. Eduardo Pedrosa, Secretary General, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council; H.E Antonio A. Morales, Ambassador, The Republic of Philippines; and H.E. Ngurah Swajaya, Ambassador, The Republic of Indonesia. Other prominent guests include Mr Teng Theng Dar, former Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Business Federation, Mr Iqbal Jumabhoy, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of BlackBook Hotels, Ms Rina Neoh, Venture Capitalist, & Co-Founder, Mercatus Capital, and Dr. Katharina Lange, Executive Director, Singapore Management University (SMU). Topics covered at the ASEAN Summit have been put together after extensive interviews and surveys with SME businesses in Singapore on the issues they face, and key highlights are: ASEAN’s Opportunity in the New World Economic Order Leadership Development for an ASEAN Diversified Workforce  Funding your expansion in ASEAN ASEAN Connectivity, Cross Border Strategies & the Digital Journey Growth Perspectives of the Future Healthcare Landscape in ASEAN and Singapore Leveraging on ASEAN’s Tourism Boom RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Deputy Managing Partner & Chairman of ASEAN Plus Group Azman Jaafar, will give the closing speech. --- This press release is featured in the following news report: “刘燕玲:我国将加强 亚细安数码经济和创新连通性”  - Lianhe Zaobao, 23 September 2017