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
Organised by the Singapore China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), RHTLaw Taylor Wessing together with Taylor Wessing sponsored the annual Singapore Investment Seminars in China 2015 event. Various local governmental authorities in China partnered the event with the purpose of introducing Singapore and the regional markets to the audience and also promoting the region as a business hub.
There were four seminars that took place and they were held in Suzhou, Kunming, Jinan and Shanghai in April, June, August and November respectively. RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Partner Amanda Chen and Legal Manager Ian Li presented on foreign investment laws and regulations in Singapore as well as shared their experiences on cross-border transactions within the region. The attendees comprised large sized state owned entities and private companies which have existing investments or are interested in investing in Singapore and the region.
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat shared his views in this week’s topic in the Business Times’ weekly column, Views from the Top.
This article was first published in The Business Times on 9 November 2015.
Better health care for all
NOV 9, 2015 5:50 AM
THIS WEEK'S TOPIC: What are the hallmarks of a good healthcare system? How else, if at all, might Singapore's MediShield Life scheme be tweaked to ensure healthcare costs remain affordable for an ageing population?
Tan Chong Huat
RHT Law Taylor Wessing LLP
A GOOD healthcare system delivers quality health services to all the people. Although Singapore's healthcare expenditure is lower than other developed countries', our system was ranked sixth by the World Health Organisation in 2000 and ranked the most efficient by Bloomberg in 2014. The challenge ahead is finding ways to keep healthcare costs affordable as our population ages.
In our insurance practice's view, there are three ways to do this. Firstly, we note that a majority of employers provide healthcare benefits which overlap with MediShield Life. The integration of the two types of plans will save unnecessary costs. Secondly, the inculcation of a healthy lifestyle is important as prevention is better (and cheaper) as opposed to a cure. Finally and perhaps the most difficult, managing the healthcare providers' costs in terms of unnecessary treatment, costly tests and expensive medicine. Inflated claims have always been the bane of the insurance industry.