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 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
September 11, 2017

External counselling services are accessible to lawyers to cope with the stress of the legal profession, shares Deputy Managing Partner Azman Jaafar with The Sunday Times

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Deputy Managing Partner Azman Jaafar shares with The Sunday Times that external counselling services are accessible to lawyers to cope with the stress of the legal profession. The article was first published in The Sunday Times on 10 September 2017. Law and accounting firms taking steps to tackle stress Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd Date: 10 September 2017 Author: Ng Huiwen The hours can be long but there must be a purpose to their work, say young lawyers. Mr Lee Yi Liang, 28, who practised for about a year before becoming an in-house counsel, said that young lawyers like him were made to feel like they were just moneymakers for the firm. "It is not about the hours (you put in). It must be fulfilling too, otherwise there's no impetus to continue," he said. And it is not just in the legal profession. Young accountants are also feeling the heat, and leaving the industry for the same reasons. Law and accounting firms contacted by The Sunday Times said they are aware of the stress and work-life challenges impacting the young professionals, and have processes to help them. Law firm Withers KhattarWong, for instance, has an informal "buddy system" that allows junior lawyers to consult their seniors when faced with issues, said partner Sharon Lin. The firm has 88 lawyers, of which about 30 per cent have less than five years of experience. Some of its international offices have tie-ups with independent healthcare consultants to run a confidential helpline, and this could be extended here too, she said. Employees at Big Four accounting firm PwC Singapore have access to one-on-one counselling with certified psychologists to help with work and personal problems. These sessions, which can be carried out face to face or over the phone, are free and confidential, said human capital leader Trillion So. Similarly, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing deputy managing partner Azman Jaafar stressed that lawyers have access to external counselling services. "As senior lawyers, we understand that lawyers can feel overworked and under-appreciated at times," he said. Accounting firms Ernst & Young and Deloitte Singapore have focused on creating social and sporting activities, while at mid-sized firm Straits Law Practice, ad hoc lunches and drinks allow lawyers to interact in an informal setting. And at Fortis Law Corporation, founder Patrick Tan said young lawyers, who make up about half of the firm's strength of 29, are not made to do just the "grunt work". "Our motivation is simple: If the young lawyers enjoy legal practice, acquire new skills and feel involved in the business, they will probably stay longer in the firm and in the profession," he said. Mr Z.K. Lim, who previously worked for a large local law firm, said he did have help when he was practising for a year. "I was quite lucky to have partners who would be around to guide me and help manage the stress. But much of it also came from wanting to do our best for our clients," he said. But that meant being on his toes all the time. He said: "After a year or so in practice, I was tired of not being able to 'switch off' even when I was not at work."