Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Business in ASEAN’

6th May 2014

In recent articles in the Financial Times the argument has be made that the Peoples’ Republic of China will economically overtake the United States of America in the year 2014. It  should be noted that Chinese economic outpacing of the United States is only measured in terms of statistical purchasing power and little more. In any event, this revealation is significant as it shows the increasing dominance of China in the world economy. The authors of the two articles (which can be found on the Financial Times official website here and here) appear to disagree as to the importance of these developments. The  author of the first article seems rather alarmist about the fact that China will overtake the USA in statistical purchasing power while the second author notes that this should not be viewed as China overtaking the USA in all facets of comparative economics. Furthermore, the second article notes that the United States still remains politically the most powerful nation in the world despite the fact that the world is evolving from a state of unipolarity with the United States as the lone Superpower able to effectively and virtually unilaterally project its power throughout the world, to a state of multipolarity in which many nations have increasing regional (or even global) dominance in certain spheres of economics as well as politics.

The notion that the world is moving toward a state of multipolarity leads this blogger to posit: how will the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) fit into the framework of a multipolar world? It seems reasonable to infer that ASEAN will become an increasingly important economic bloc following the integration of the various member states’ economies under the framework of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is set to take effect on January 1, 2015. The creation of a single economic platform which will include approximately 400-500 million people, some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and some of the most strategically important geographical locations will likely lead to greater economies of scale for businesses in the region, a larger market for goods and services for the member states, and greater leverage to trade with countries outside of the bloc. However, these issues are not entirely pertinent to the question posited above. The differences between China and an integrated ASEAN economic platform will be substantial. First, some members of ASEAN rank amongst some of the largest economies in the world, in their own right. Meanwhile other economies within the region are still developing. This could lead to a “best of both worlds” scenario for ASEAN, China, and the USA. Case in point, Thailand has seen difficulties in recent years competing with cheaper Chinese labor, but the movements of labor and capital which will come hand-in-hand with ASEAN economic integration could lead to a situation where Thai companies could utilize labor pools in developing ASEAN member countries to offset the low cost of Chinese labor and thereby mitigate previous competitive disadvantages. Furthermore, the United States may find new markets for US goods in an integrated ASEAN and new venues for the manufacture of low cost goods in developing ASEAN nations that would allow for some economic de-coupling from China by the USA, thereby allowing the United States a freer hand in making foreign policy decisions vis-a-vis China. Finally, China stands to gain due to the increase in trade between China and the ASEAN nations which has recently been evidenced by the evolving nature of the geography of the Chinese economy. In recent years, increasing economic activity has been noted in Southern China across the border from Laos, which acts as a kind of entrepot for trade between China and Thailand as well as the Greater ASEAN community. Recent discussions of a high speed rail link connecting China, Laos and Thailand have also been cause for optimism that one day this region could play host to a booming economy which will bring large numbers of people out of poverty and create wealth for the peoples of all nations concerned.

Following ASEAN economic integration, there are likely to be myriad legal challenges for those businesses in ASEAN nations and abroad wishing to gain a foothold in this burgeoning market. The legal challenges posed will likely require the assistance of legal professionals in the region familiar with new ASEAN regulations as well as the internal regulatory frameworks of the various member states.

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5th November 2013

In recent postings throughout the internet, speculation regarding the future of Southeast Asian economics abound. Meanwhile, further analysis of the Thai economy in particular is rife. In a recent article on Forbes’ official website evidence has been cited which would appear to point to the possibility that Thailand may experience an economic bubble burst akin to the crash of 1997. Various Thai government officials as well as Thai businesspersons were quoted as saying that certain aspects of the Thai economy are troubling. Notably, inflows of foreign capital specifically targeting the Thai property market as well as signs that Thai people are engaged in what could be described as conspicuous consumption are leading some experts to believe that Thailand could be headed for a new economic downturn.

Concurrently, the article went on to note that Thailand, ever susceptible to negative economic consequences arising from nations which maintain significant trade relationships with the Kingdom, may see problems in export sectors resulting from decreased demand in both China and the other nations which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Should there be an economic problem in one of these countries then there could be a sort of negative ripple effect in the export sector in Thailand.

The points made in the article are compelling and certainly there may be cause for concern that the Thai economy may be placed in a difficult position in the future, especially if Thailand’s main export markets experience an economic downturn. However, the situation may not be as dire as some are predicting. Instead, this blogger would argue that Thailand’s economy may be simply in something of a state of flux due to changes in the ASEAN region and China. The dynamics of global economics are changing. American monetary policy along with economic problems in Europe have caused many to look toward Asia as a beacon of possible future growth.

In a recent article on the official website of Bloomberg it was noted that there appears to be a “boom” of sorts occurring in the Eastern province of Rayong and the region of Northeast Thailand known as Isan. As automobile manufacturing has increased in Rayong, so too has the purchasing power of residents of that province. Meanwhile, Isan is experiencing an upsurge economically as a result of increased domestic income and also concomitant demand for consumer goods from the local population. All of this news comes closely upon the heels of announcements that Thailand, Laos, and China will one day be connected via a high speed rail system. In fact, China has recently noted their commitment to that project and Thai officials have asked China to assist in the design of a rail system between Bangkok and Udon Thani (a city of 400,000 which sits close to the border and capital of Laos). There is an argument that should this rail system go into place the resulting economic boon to Thailand, particularly Northeast Thailand, could be tremendous as there could be a substantial increase in trade and tourism from China via this rail link. Moreover, Thailand could see itself becoming the entrepot for trade between South China and the rest of the ASEAN jurisdictions.

Presently, it is difficult to say whether Thailand will continue a trend of uninterrupted prosperity. However, there is strong evidence to suggest that increased economic integration with ASEAN as well as new, less logistically difficult, trade opportunities with China could usher in an era of prosperity and counter some of the negative factors currently worrying experts analyzing the current state of the Thai economy.

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8th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the issue of inflation has been on the minds of policymakers in some of the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Officials is Laos and Cambodia were recently noted by media outlets in those jurisdictions to have commented upon this issue. To quote directly from the official website of the Vientiane Times, VientianeTimes.org.la:

The government is concerned about rising inflation in Laos, triggered by the high price of oil and food, which is expected to impact on the economy and poverty reduction efforts. Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Bounthavy Sisouphanthong said on Thursday the government is studying measures it can take to minimise the impacts on the economy and livelihoods of local people… Dr Liber warned that the government needs to respond to the situation quickly, as rising inflation will cause more serious impacts on the economy and efforts to reduce poverty levels. The government cabinet’s monthly meeting was held in Vientiane on April 25-26 and assigned the relevant sectors to study measures to minimise the impacts of rising fuel prices on the economy.

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read further from this interesting article. Clearly, Lao officials are aware that inflation may become an acutely pressing issue at some point, but it would seem, at least for now, that measures are being considered to respond to issues pertaining to inflation in Laos.

Meanwhile, Laos is not the only ASEAN member nation whose officials are analyzing the issue of inflation. It would seem as though authorities in the Kingdom of Cambodia are also concerned about the possibility of inflation. To quote directly from the official website of the Phnom Penh Post, PhnomPenhPost.com:

Cambodia should expect price inflation of 6 percent this year, according to a United Nations report released yesterday, which government officials said was a tolerable level…Minister of Economy and Finance Deputy Secretary General Ros Seilava said at the report’s release in Phnom Penh that 6 percent inflation for 2011 was a manageable level. “A six to seven percent increase in inflation is expected this year, however to a certain level, this could be tolerated,” he said.

Again, the administration encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to gain further perspective and insight into this issue in a Cambodian context from a well written and informative posting.

It would seem apparent that issues associated with inflation are likely to be of possible concern for those conducting business in Cambodia or business in Laos going forward. The same may also be true for those conducting business in the neighboring Kingdom of Thailand. In any case, inflation is an important economic issue that must be discussed. It is certainly a positive sign that officials in Laos and Cambodia are aware of these issues, but the ramifications of possible future inflation have yet to be fully realized. Issues associated with inflation are a cause for concern in countries such as the United States, but in the context of so-called “developing nations” this issue can be extremely important. Therefore, those interested in the issue of inflation in a Southeast Asian context may be prudent to continue following this developing story.

For related information please see: Thailand business.

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7th May 2011

It is unfortunate that there is a seeming trend within the zeitgeist of the American collective consciousness to immediately associate the term “States’ Rights” with notions of slavery, discrimination, and, in a sense, political corruption. It is this author’s opinion that much of the animosity surrounding the term “States’ Rights” is derived from some egregiously wrongheaded positions held by bigoted and xenophobic American politicians in years past. This trend is unfortunate because it is this author’s opinion that the very diversity of jurisprudence in an intrastate and interstate jurisdictional context within the American Union (by this term, this author refers to the United States of America as enshrined in the United States Constitution and the amendments thereto in conjunction with the 50 several sovereign United States each having their own State Constitution) is the very sinew which reinforces America’s economic strength on the global stage. Others associate the term “States’ Rights” with secessionist movements in years past. To be clear, this author has always believed that America’s strength is in the Rights of the Several States WITHIN THE UNION! American Founder Benjamin Franklin once famously stated: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”. This statement is no less true now than at the time it was uttered. America’s strength lies in her simultaneous interstate and intrastate diversity buttressed by a virtually monolithic national government in matters pertaining to foreign affairs and national defense. It is something of a paradox that is both vexing to outsiders and the source of America’s ability to remain fluid in both a political and economic sense. In short: this duality is the secret to America’s historical success.

Full Faith and Credit: The Clause That Binds The American Republic

The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution could be viewed non-literally as the mortar securing the bricks which maintain the indomitable structure acting as a repository for the ideals of the American republic. Around the Full Faith and Credit Clause the Union of American jurisprudence is maintained. Therefore, analysis of said Clause is important for our purposes. This author has come to find much insight in studying the thoughts of Justice Robert H. Jackson on this issue, to quote directly from Justice Jackson:

“By other articles of the Constitution our forefathers created a political union among otherwise independent and sovereign states. By other provisions, too, they sought to integrate the economic life of the country. By the full faith and credit clause they sought to federalize the separate and independent state legal systems by the overriding principle of reciprocal recognition of public acts, records, and judicial proceedings. It was placed foremost among those measures which would guard the new political and economic union against the disintegrating influence of provincialism in jurisprudence, but without aggrandizement of federal power at the expense of the states.”

This author has often found that Justice Jackson is a unique resource on these issues as he understood the fundamentals of American law through long practice and study of New York law and later study of Federal law in his capacity as a Supreme Court Justice. Concurrently, Justice Jackson also was a trailblazer in matters pertaining to international law especially in his capacity as prosecutor during the Nuremberg trials. Therefore, this author finds Justice Jackson’s epitaph to be one of the most fitting: “He kept the ancient landmarks and built the new.” Such a notion should be palpable as America looks across the horizon of the 21st century.

Legal Diversity in an American Context

The motto on the Seal of the United States is “E Pluribus Unum”. This phrase is Latin and translates to English as “Out of Many, One”. Many Americans have long associated this phrase with the notion of the American “melting pot,” a phrase which alludes to the fact that America is a racially, ethnically, ideologically, and religiously diverse nation. This is very true and this fact has been one of the cornerstones of America’s relative economic success since her founding. However, rather few take note of the fact that from the perspective of an attorney this phrase could also allude to the notion of a legally stratified republic in a geographic sense as each sovereign American State has her own jurisprudence which operates simultaneously with much of that of the United States federal government. Under some circumstances, the federal government’s authority may override that of the States, but such circumstances, in this author’s opinion, are likely to be of less concern moving forward in light of the fact that the internet and World Wide Web have integrated the global economic platform to the point that true “Long Tail” economics is creating novelty and comparative advantage for the 50 states in both an interstate context as well as an intrastate context. This is also true in a global context as businesses located in the 50 States are likely to continue to do business in increasingly creative ways both domestically and internationally. The author does not mean to imply that there will be less Federal oversight in the future as there will likely be regulations and scrutiny emanating from federal authorities, but America is incredibly flexible when it suits her interests and as the business environment in America evolves so too does it seem likely that State and Federal regulatory schemes will evolve as well. This current state of affairs is likely to be the precursor to future economic dynamism in the relatively long term and could be the key to economic success in the short term as well.

Meanwhile, an understanding of States’ Rights, in conjunction with an understanding of the enumerated powers of the United States Federal government can provide a sort of framework for thinking about the opportunities which can be exploited by Americans in an increasingly economically integrated global marketplace of not only goods, services, and commodities; but ideas as well. For example, the State of North Dakota and the State of Utah have made interesting decisions regarding intrastate monetary and financial policy. North Dakota has opted for a sort of miniaturized Federal Reserve in that State in the form of the Bank of North Dakota, which is considered by some to be a departure from “mainstream” thinking regarding State finances. Also, the State of Utah has recently enacted a legal tender reform bill which appears to recognize gold and silver coinage minted by the federal government as legal tender within that jurisdiction. This legislation also appears to have changed the way in which the exchange of gold and silver coins are taxed in an intrastate context as the bill apparently repeals state taxation of such coinage. Those interested in further information on these issues are well advised to contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Utah (and/or North Dakota, for that matter), as further commentary by this author on that subject would simply be an exercise in speculation. What is clear merely from the information noted above: American States are becoming increasingly creative and dynamic in terms of intrastate activity and this relatively new dynamism may be the driving force behind an eventually resurgent American economy.

America: A Nation of Webmasters

The Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte once snidely declared: “L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers.” This statement could be roughly translated to state that: “England is a nation of shopkeepers”. Unfortunately for Napoleon that nation of shopkeepers went on the defeat his Grand Army at the Battle of Waterloo and thereafter administer an Empire upon which the sun never set. This historical factoid is important for the reader to understand because it elucidates an analogy in a modern context. Namely, the United States of America, due to the rise of e-commerce, appears set upon the path to becoming a nation of e-shopkeepers. These e-shopkeepers, e-commerce businesses, and webmasters are increasingly coming to form a major component of the American economy at a time when some areas of the economy are showing signs of stagnation. Bearing this in mind, the reader is encouraged to note a quotation from Sir Winston Churchill: “Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.” The reader is encouraged to note the fact that Churchill was a British-American and quite proud to be so. Churchill understood that strong nations are built upon the foundation of a vibrant free market as well as a thriving business environment and he knew this from long study of American, British, and world history. In this author’s opinion, the wagon of America will continue to be drawn by the forces of her citizenry’s entrepreneurialism, but much of the commerce which emanates from the United States in the future will be on platforms which exist in cyberspace. Therefore, such commerce will not have all of the same attributes as that of years past.

America, China, Thailand, ASEAN, and Greater Asia

As the 21st century rolls on it seems likely that America will be increasingly engaged with Asia in both a diplomatic context as well as a commercial context. This commercial engagement is increasingly likely to occur across the spectrum of business as American companies large and small trade goods, services, and intellectual property with jurisdictions in Asia. While most Americans are aware of the growing economic might of Greater China comparatively few are aware of increasingly vibrant economies of countries such as the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia. Meanwhile, the somewhat young Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would seem to be on track toward creating economic efficiencies across Southeast Asia to the apparent benefit of all concerned. In this author’s opinion, Americans would be wise to remain mindful of the East Asian and Southeast Asian markets as there appears virtually no limit to the economic potential inherent in some of these economies. Hopefully, through skillful statesmanship, keen understanding of relevant law, and shrewd business acumen America and the American people can benefit from economic developments in Asia and throughout the world.

For related information please see: Full Faith and Credit Clause or ecommerce.

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5th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that an official within China’s foreign exchange authority was noted for comments made regarding the currencies of the so-called BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and their future relationship to the so-called SDR or Special Drawing Right.  To quote directly from the Reuters Africa section of the official website of the Reuters news service, Reuters.com:

SHANGHAI May 5 (Reuters) – The IMF should consider including currencies of the BRICS countries and other emerging economies when it next reviews its Special Drawing Right (SDR) system by 2015, the head of China’s foreign exchange authority said in remarks published on Thursday.

Yi Gang, who is also a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), called on the International Monetary Fund to kick off a research of a “shadow SDR” this year, the semi-official China Business News reported.

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to read this story in detail as doing so would likely add perspective on an insightful article.

Clearly issues related to the relationship of currencies of developing countries, rising economies, and those of developed countries are being considered of increasing importance to policymakers the world over. This is especially true in the context of East Asia while Southeast Asian nations seem to have different issues to ponder regarding currency.  As the constituent economies and jurisdictions comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continue to thrive economically, the question of a single currency seems to persistently manifest itself at the foreground of analysis pertaining to the long term outlook for the ASEAN region. To quote directly from the website of The Jakarta Post, TheJakartaPost.com:

Indonesia and its neighbors in the ASEAN region have been weighing the possibility of having a single currency such as the euro for years.

Some ASEAN representatives and economic ministers believed that the implementation of a single currency in ASEAN could take the economic community in the region to the next level, as it would enhance economic development in the area and forge stronger ties among ASEAN countries.

But currently, Europe’s crisis is a lesson to learn for Indonesia and ASEAN on the risks and to realize that the potential economic losses if the single currency policy fails is indeed massive.

The administration again encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to read this intriguing story in detail.

It would appear as though recent developments in Europe have been a cause of concern for those analyzing the issues associated with a single ASEAN currency, as they probably should be since the decision to implement a single currency for multiple jurisdictions is a serious undertaking that would likely require a great deal of logistical as well as financial investment. While exploring The Jakarta Post website this blogger also came upon an interesting letter posted on that site. To quote directly from the posting Letter: On ASEAN Currency at TheJakartaPost.com:

I hardly see a future for a single ASEAN currency. What is lacking in ASEAN is unity. ASEAN is mainly focused on an economic agenda while the European Union (EU) has adopted extensive and expensive integration programs not only on an economic scale but also on a social, cultural and demographic platform.

Again, readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlink above to read this letter in detail. Some could argue that one of the strengths of the ASEAN community in her current form arises from the fact that there is not a single currency since some could argue that it would be extremely difficult to integrate the, sometimes radically, different economies of the ASEAN region via currency unification. Therefore, this reasoning posits, the creation of a relatively unified market platform in combination with multiple currencies operates as a sort of “best of both worlds” scenario under the current prevailing circumstances. That stated, anything further than simple analysis of the current factual circumstances pertaining to this issue would arguably be an exercise in mere speculation.

It is this blogger’s personal opinion that the issues above are likely to be debated for some time to come while it is hoped that business in China, business in ASEAN, business in Thailand, and business in the United States of America will continue to show growth in coming years.

For related information please see: US Company Registration or Thailand Company Registration.

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2nd May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Premier of China has expressed interest in expanded trade relations with the economies comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To quote directly from the official website of the China Post, ChinaPost.com.tw:

JAKARTA — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Saturday Beijing wants to boost cooperation in trade and security with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In a policy speech on the last day of a three-day visit to Indonesia, the current chair of ASEAN and its biggest member, Wen extolled the virtues of an ASEAN-China free trade agreement (FTA) that came into effect in January.

It should be noted that the trade between the jurisdictions comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China is not negligible. As the economy of China has shown tremendous growth in recent years, so too have many of the ASEAN nations. It is interesting that as both regions grow, they seem to create a mutually beneficial feedback loop in terms of trade and business. To quote further from the aforementioned article in the China Post:

“Last year, China became ASEAN’s biggest trading partner. We launched the largest FTA among developing countries and we have set the target of US$500 billion in two-way trade by 2015,” he said.

The administration of this web log highly recommends that readers click upon the above hyperlinks to learn more on this story and the issues associated therewith. It would appear as though the current trading relationship between ASEAN and China is highly beneficial to many of the economies concerned.

Meanwhile, of possibly more pressing interest to some, it would appear as though the United States Embassy in India is taking some precautionary measures in the aftermath of the recent announcement that notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden is deceased. To quote directly from the official website of the Times of India:

NEW DELHI: Immediately after the United States informed India on Monday about the killing of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden by American forces in Pakistan, security was tightened around the US Embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

“Besides asking Delhi Police to enhance its deployment around the US embassy here, the home ministry issued advisories asking states having US consulates to strengthen the security of these places”, said a senior home ministry official.

The administration of this blog again strongly recommends that readers click upon the hyperlinks above to read the above story in detail. Frequent readers of this web log may take note of the fact that the United States maintains the American Corner Bangalore.

Clearly authorities are taking precautions in reaction to recently announced events. It is likely that further information will come to light regarding all of these subjects in the coming weeks, months, and years. Hopefully, all of these precautions will prove unnecessary, but this remains, as of yet, to be seen.

For related information please see: business in China or US Visa India.

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30th April 2011

Over the years this blogger has seen large numbers of tourists flock to the Kingdom of Thailand as well as the neighboring nations of Laos, the Union of Myanmar (referred to by some as Burma), Malaysia, and the Kingdom of Cambodia. At the same time, this blogger has also witnessed the metamorphosis of some of these tourists into entrepreneurs by remaining in some of these countries (as well as other jurisdictions in Greater Asia such as Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Nepal, Macau, India, and Sri Lanka; to name only a few) in a business context for many years and; for some, even decades or a whole lifetime. Whatever the circumstances of those Americans Resident Abroad remaining in the region of economies increasingly being labeled by both the mainstream and alternative media outlets by their affiliation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) one thing is clear: the economies of Asia are set to expand at an incredible rate by relative historical comparison. Therefore, it stands to reason that there are likely to be more Americans doing business in these jurisdictions. This state of affairs is occurring at a time when the potential of the internet and the World Wide Web first noted little more than a decade ago is beginning to become fully realized by businesses large and small. As e-commerce becomes an evermore ubiquitous facet of virtually every enterprise’s business strategy it is becoming more clear that many business functions are increasingly being performed by businesses of all sizes online and, in some cases, these businesses are even being maintained from an entrepreneur’s home.

This phenomenon is interesting for this blogger to note from the perspective of an American who is resident in Bangkok, Thailand as the Thai shop-house business model of maintaining a residence and business premises within close proximity has lead to a thriving small business community in the vast metropolis that is Greater Bangkok. This thriving business community, coupled with many of the other positive factors associated with doing business in Thailand, has lead to a vibrant economy that remains conducive to further foreign investment by entrepreneurs and businesses seeking to derive economic benefits both in Thailand and throughout the Asian markets. Of possible importance to Americans resident abroad or those thinking of residing abroad are the issues noted above as well as those associated with ownership of Thai property or Thai real estate especially in the form of a Thai Condominium.

In Thailand, as well as throughout many jurisdictions in Asia, there are restrictions placed upon foreign ownership of real estate. Although there are provisions allowing for foreign ownership of Thai property in many cases it is difficult, if not impossible, for a foreign national to secure freehold title (referred to as Chanote title in Thailand) in Thai real property such as land. However, it may be possible for a foreign national in Thailand, such as an American Citizen, to conveniently secure freehold title to a Thai Condo if the provisions of various laws and regulations on this issue, such as the Thai Condominium Act, are adhered to. Meanwhile, a foreign national who owns a Condo in Thailand may be qualified to receive a Foreign House Registration Booklet (referred to as a Tabien Baan for Thais or a Foreign Tabien Baan, or Yellow Tabien Baan for foreign nationals). Taking the aforementioned factors into consideration, in conjunction with the fact that for American Citizens and American Companies in Thailand there may be benefits pursuant to the provisions of various legal instruments such as the US-Thai Treaty of Amity which may provide the privilege of virtually 100% ownership of a Company in Thailand with “National Treatment” for certain business undertakings, one is left with little doubt that there are tangible legal benefits which could be accrued to the favor of Americans resident in Thailand conducting business in the ASEAN region as well as the regions of Greater Asia. Therefore,  investing in what this blogger would refer to as a “Thai Pad” (which non-literally alludes to the IPad-like gadgets allowing for increasingly easy real time access to the internet as well as the exponentially beneficial combination of privileges accruing to owners of Thai property registered on a Yellow Tabien Baan in conjunction with the advantages which may be had for Americans resident abroad utilizing a Thai company certified under the US-Thai Amity Treaty) could prove to have been prudent by future analysts in both tangible as well as intangible terms.

For related information please see: US Company Registration.

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25th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Peoples’ Republic of China may soon be taking measures to decrease that country’s position in United States dollars. To quote directly from Xinhua at Xinhuanet.com:

BEIJING, April 23 (Xinhua) — China should reduce its excessive foreign exchange reserves and further diversify its holdings, Tang Shuangning, chairman of China Everbright Group, said on Saturday. The amount of foreign exchange reserves should be restricted to between 800 billion to 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, Tang told a forum in Beijing, saying that the current reserve amount is too high. China’s foreign exchange reserves increased by 197.4 billion U.S. dollars in the first three months of this year to 3.04 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of March. Tang’s remarks echoed the stance of Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank, who said on Monday that China’s foreign exchange reserves “exceed our reasonable requirement” and that the government should upgrade and diversify its foreign exchange management using the excessive reserves.

The administration of this blog recommends that readers click on the links above to learn more.

The Chinese media are not the only outlets reporting that the dollar holdings of the Chinese could be diminished. In fact, some media outlets are noting that China’s economy appears to be ascending in relation to the United States. To quote directly from MarketWatch.com:

For the first time, the international organization has set a date for the moment when the “Age of America” will end and the U.S. economy will be overtaken by that of China. And it’s a lot closer than you may think. According to the latest IMF official forecasts published two weeks ago, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to read further from this story to gain context and perspective.

This news could be very important for the international business community and for those conducting business in China. At the same time, this news could prove important for the business community in the economies comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The ultimate effects of this news will likely play out over the coming months.

In the context of United States Immigration these developments could prove to be a boon to prospective immigrant investors seeking an EB-5 visa to take up Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States because the dollar could prove in coming months to show weakness. As a result, currency utilized by prospective immigrants could strengthen in relation to the United States dollar and thereby facilitate a less costly investment in real terms.

How this news impacts business and politics in the United States of America, the Kingdom of Thailand, and Greater Asia will likely be the topic of further postings on this blog in the future.

Those interested in information regarding legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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18th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there are important events occurring in the realm of finance as the United States recently appears to have had its sovereign debt rating outlook lowered by Standard & Poor’s. To quote directly from an article written by Robin Harding, James Politi, and Michael Mackenzie on the official website of the Financial Times at FT.com:

Standard & Poor’s issued a stark warning to Washington on Monday, cutting its outlook on US sovereign debt for the first time and throwing more fuel on the raging debate over America’s swollen deficits.

The agency kept America’s credit rating at triple A but for the first time since it started rating US debt 70 years ago, cut its outlook from “stable” to “negative”. A negative outlook means there is a one-third chance of a downgrade in the next two years.

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to view this story in detail as further insight can be derived therein.

The ramifications of this announcement are likely to reverberate around the globe, but in the United States there appears to have already been at least a market reaction to this information. To quote directly from an article written by Larry Elliot posted on the official website of The Guardian at Guardian.co.uk:

US budget deficit has moved from a surplus at the turn of the millennium to a deficit of 11% by 2009. Shares fell sharply on Wall Street today after the ratings agency S&P issued a warning to the US government about its soaring budget deficit. In a move that surprised and rattled the financial markets, S&P said it was cutting its long-term outlook on America from stable to negative…In early trading in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average had lost nearly 250 points – 2% – with the dollar weaker on the foreign exchanges and yields rising on US Treasury bills. The FTSE 100 in London was also down 2% or 126 points at 5869.

Again, this blogger strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to read further and gain greater insight.

Hopefully, the consequences of the S&P downgrade will be short lived for America and her People, but there are some who argue that further turbulence may be ahead as countries around the world are economically re-aligning in ways which are unprecedented.  To quote directly from an article written by David Marsh on the website Yahoo.com:

China and four other leading high-growth economies have taken landmark steps toward lowering the importance of the dollar in international financial transactions — part of a seminal shift in the move towards a multicurrency reserve and trading system…Addition of South Africa to the former BRICS format seems to have galvanized the grouping. The five countries agreed to expand use of their own currencies in trade with each other — an important step toward putting the dollar into a new downsized place. One key influence is the annual expansion of China’s trade volume with other core countries by 40% in 2010 — and the buoyancy looks set to continue. The BRICS’ state development banks, including the China Development Bank, agreed to use their own currencies instead of the dollar in issuing credit or grants to each other — and they will also phase out the dollar in overall settlements and lending among each other.

In the recent past, it seemed as though many were discussing an “alternative” reserve currency to take the place of the dollar in an international context. However, from the information which can be gathered above, it would appear as though the so-called BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and newly added South Africa) are moving towards something of a multicurrency system which, presumably, would incorporate the currencies, to one degree or another, of the member states noted above.

It is difficult to comment upon these events in detail at the time of this writing as the full ramifications of S&P’s downgrade, in conjunction with the BRICS announcements, could substantially impact the United States, Thailand, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a whole; since all of these entities have economic and political ties to the BRICS nations.

Concurrently, it would appear as though the Kingdom of Thailand remains something of an oasis of economic stability amidst the events unfolding above as tourism in Thailand along with the business of Thai Companies would appear to be steady. Currently, Thailand maintains thriving economic ties with the United States pursuant to agreements such as the US-Thai Treaty of Amity.

For related information please see: Thai business visa or US Company Registration.

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4th March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention via Mr. Paul Huang at the Law Firm of Cenlaw in Shanghai, China that Chinese government officials have promulgated new rules for reviewing mergers and acquisitions in a national security context. To quote Mr. Paul Huang directly:

The State Council of China has laid out long-awaited rules and procedures for national security reviews of foreign mergers and acquisitions. The new acquisition rules will commence operation in March of 2011. Under the rules, the new National Security Review Committee led by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce that already review mergers under the Chinese antitrust rules will review mergers and acquisitions targeting key companies in the defense, agriculture, energy, resources, infrastructure, transportation and equipment-manufacturing and technology industries. It will apply a broad definition of national security, assessing the impact of deals on economic stability, social order and China’s ability to research and develop key technologies for national defense.

The administration of this blog encourages readers to check out the publications section of the Cenlaw website as it is filled with relevant and detailed information regarding the legal issues which can arise in the context of Chinese business.

As more international investors seek business opportunities in Asia, it will become increasingly necessary for such investors to comply with applicable local laws and regulations. The legal systems in Asian jurisdictions can be very similar or extremely different from Western legal systems. For example, the SAR of Hong Kong, China has a legal system which has its roots in the common law tradition. This state of affairs could be attributed to the fact that Hong Kong was once a Crown Colony of the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, so-called “Mainland China” has a legal tradition that is quite unlike any other jurisdiction in the world. At the same time, the Kingdom of Thailand in Southeast Asia has a legal system which draws upon many different legal traditions around the world while maintaining a uniquely Thai complexion.

Many Western stock exchanges have announced various plans to consolidate through multi-jurisdictional merger or acquisition. This state of affairs will likely raise increasingly complex legal issues as business transactions increasingly occur in a transnational context. As Southeast Asia sees the creation of new stock exchanges in countries such as Laos and Cambodia. It appears increasingly likely that the legal systems in those countries will be of ever increasing interest to international investors seeking information about doing business in those jurisdictions. It will be interesting to follow these developments as business in China and the countries which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) become increasingly dominant in a global business context.

For related information please see: Laos Stock Exchange.

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