RHTLaw Taylor Wessing is pleased to announce the addition of Professor Stephen Phua as a Senior Consultant in our Corporate Practice with effect from 6 November 2015.
Prof Stephen teaches Income Tax, VAT/GST, International Tax Law and Business & Finance for Lawyers in the Faculty of Law, NUS. He is the Director (Tax), Centre for Law and Business and the Director, LLM (International Business Law) programme. He serves as a member of the executive committee, International Fiscal Association (Singapore Chapter). He is also a regular speaker in the executive programmes at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the NUS Business School conducted for senior officials from some national tax authorities.
He was a visiting scholar/professor at several leading universities in Australia, Canada, China, Japan and the USA. He also served as a member for more than a decade on each one of the three tax tribunals (Income Tax Board of Review, GST Board of Review and Valuation Review Board). He was a consultant in IRAS and to some tax authorities in the PRC.
In 2012, he established the Center for International Tax Law in East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, PRC where he currently serves as its International Director. He was the first legal scholar from Singapore to be appointed an Eastern Scholar in Shanghai from 2012 – 2015.
He has delivered papers in many international conferences and published articles in refereed journals and chapters in books. He is the editor of 2 books.
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Deputy Managing Partner Azman Jaafar published a post on LinkedIn titled “The Trans Pacific Partnership - 5 things you need to know”.
1. What is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)?
It is a trade pact that aims to regulate trade amongst 12 countries, namely the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia.
2. The TPP is important
If the TPP comes into force, it will be the biggest trade agreement struck since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed in 1994 and the 1994 completion of the Uruguay round, which created the World Trade Organisation. It will account for 40% of the world’s economy but its footprint will very likely extend beyond that.
3. The immediate impact on trade
It will reduce trade barriers to the flow of everything from beef and dairy products to textiles and data, and with new standards and rules for investment, the environment and labour. It will set minimum standards to other factors such as labour rights, environmental care, intellectual property etc.
4. The biggest winners
Trade has undeniably increased global living standards and enabled many poorer countries to close the wealth-poverty gap. Consumers have gained access to a broader range of goods, and in wealthy nations cheap imports drove down the cost of basic items, such as clothes, thanks to manufacturing industries in less developed countries.
Vietnam, a low-wage economy heavily reliant on exports, may be the biggest winner from the trade deal. Its GDP is forecasted to gain 11%, or US$36 billion in 10 years. Its exports are predicted to increase by 28% during the same period, which could be attributed to companies moving production to Vietnam. Major Chinese textile giants are relocating to Vietnam to take advantage of this. (Source: John Boudreau, Bloomberg)
Singapore can boost trade and investment flows thanks to the TPP as well. In 2013, the TPP countries accounted for 30 per cent of Singapore's total goods trade, worth S$300 billion, and 30 per cent of foreign direct investment in Singapore, amounting to S$240 billion. It can stand to gain by providing intermediary services that facilitate trade between partners. Trade needs to be facilitated by banking or legal services, which Singapore is arguably the best at amongst the Southeast Asian countries involved in the TPP. (Source: The Business Times, “Despite optimism over historic TPP, doubts persist”, 7 October 2015)
Japan probably stands to benefit more than most from higher inward FDI given the very low existing presence of foreign firms in the country. Perhaps most importantly, the wider economy should benefit as previously protected sectors are exposed to competition, albeit amidst howls of protest from sectors like agriculture.
5. Impact on Small Businesses
The TPP will set and enforce minimum standards on issues ranging from workers’ rights, environmental protection, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) to intellectual property. The TPP is a FTA that ensures SMEs flourishing along with other bigger commercial entities. It encourages fair competition. It levels the playing field between the public and private sectors.
To view it on LinkedIn, please click here
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Head of Intellectual Property and Technology Practice Jonathan Kok was quoted in The Straits Times article titled “Live stream going mainstream”.
The article highlighted how newer social media apps Periscope and Snapchat, which supports live video streaming and posting of short video clips respectively, are creating a video revolution. While Snapchat is far from overtaking traditional social media outlet Facebook in terms of its more than a billion users worldwide, it boasts the fastest growth of all current social media portals with more than 100 million active users. As for Periscope, a statement released by the company in August indicated that there were more than 10 million active users. These video streaming apps allow instant and active interaction between users and their audience as they post real-time content.
As a result of the video revolution, increasing legal issues related to copyright or licensed content being streamed online without authorisation are surfacing. Jonathan remarked that posting copyrighted material such as streaming live concerts or sporting events can be seen as copyright infringement by organisers who own the broadcast rights.
The full article can be found under the Lifestyle section of The Straits Times dated 9 November 2015.
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Intellectual Property & Technology Partner Wun Rizwi contributed to the Singapore Chapter of the Bloomberg BNA publication titled “Bloomberg Law: Privacy & Data Security”.
The publication highlights the importance of privacy and data security in developing business strategies and solutions. The publication outlines issues arising from and relating to data protection regulations and privacy compliance requirements around the world and Rizwi’s contribution focussed on the position in Singapore.
Bloomberg BNA is a wholly-own subsidiary of Bloomberg and is a leading source of legal, tax, regulatory and business information for professionals.
The full publication can be found at www.bna.com/bloomberg-law-privacy-data-security.