Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Free Trade Agreement’

1st October 2012

It would appear that the Chinese Special Autonomous Region of Hong Kong may be poised to play a larger role with respect to trade between Greater China and the countries which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To quote directly from an article by Mary Swire posted on the website Tax-News.com:

During a recent speech, the Director-General of Trade and Industry, Kenneth Mak, has explained why, last November, Hong Kong made a formal request to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA). He noted that ASEAN is Hong Kong’s close neighbour and a very important trading partner. “The ACFTA is an evolving platform for progressive liberalization of trade and investment between ASEAN countries and China, with the ultimate objective of fostering closer economic integration and sustainable economic growth in the East Asian region,” he said…As an important platform for trade and investment between ASEAN and China, Hong Kong’s entry into the ACFTA should also strengthen its intermediary role, with more than 3,700 multinational companies having set up their regional headquarters or regional offices in Hong Kong, and, being a global financial hub and the pre-eminent offshore renminbi centre, Mak believes that Hong Kong can provide high-quality financial and management services between ASEAN, China and the rest of the world.

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

Clearly, Hong Kong’s participation in a China-ASEAN free trade area could result in financial, industrial, and business benefits for all of the jurisdictions concerned as the streamlining of trade between these locales could lead to an increase in economic activity not only in ASEAN and China, but in Hong Kong as well.

Meanwhile, the issue of energy security would appear to be at the forefront of the agenda for the members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote from the official website of the Manila Bulletin, MB.com.ph:

MANILA, Philippines — With the Philippines taking the center stage in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit by 2015, Energy Secretary Rene D. Almendras has indicated that his department will be actively involved in the fortification of policies for the APEC-wide energy security plan… In the proposed strengthening of the APEC energy security plan, the energy leaders in the region will have to re-assess the impact of the global financial uncertainties which have been primarily plaguing the Eurozone countries. They will similarly address concerns relating to political developments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as those issues relating to carbon emissions from fossil fuel consumption…

Readers are again asked to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in full.

Energy is a concern in virtually every nation around the globe. Some nations in the Asia-Pacific region have extensive energy resources to draw on while others have virtually no energy resources. Therefore, analysis of the issue of energy security differs depending upon the country. Clearly, as the ASEAN and Asia-Pacific regions evolve there will be new challenges to overcome. Hopefully through careful planning and effective policy making both ASEAN and APEC can create and maintain economic opportunities for those living and working within their members’ jurisdictions.

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18th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that China and the United Kingdom have apparently concluded a revision of those nations’ double tax treaty. To provide further insight into these events this blogger is compelled to quote directly from the website of Accountancy Age, AccountancyAge.com:

REVISIONS TO THE double taxation treaty between the UK and China will reduce the withholding tax on dividends received by UK investors from Chinese companies. The document revisions coincide with the visit of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao. They reduce the withholding tax on dividends paid out by Chinese companies to 5% from 10%. This will apply to people holding at least 25% shares in a Chinese company and the rate will remain at 10% for other dividends. There has also been a small change in the treatment of royalties, with some royalties being charged at 6%, down from 7%.

The administration of this web log asks readers to click on those relevant hyperlinks noted above to read about these developments in detail. As has been previously noted on this web log, as China becomes increasingly economically dominant it stands to reason that many nations around the world will try to engage in further trade and business with that country. International agreements and treaties can often act to streamline trade and investment. Hopefully, the developments above will provide benefits for all concerned.
In somewhat related news, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that authorities in Taiwan appear to be encouraging that interested parties remain patient with respect to the prospect of a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To quote directly from the website of Focus Taiwan, FocusTaiwan.tw:

Manila, July 16 (CNA) Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs is asking the country’s businesses to wait patiently for Taiwan to sign economic cooperation pacts with other Southeast Asian countries because Singapore and China are the trade negotiation priorities at present…There are over 8,000 items being discussed in follow-up negotiations with China, and substantive talks are also being held with Singapore, making it hard to give the necessary attention to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Shih said…The minister acknowledged, however, that ASEAN was an area with which Taiwan needed to forge a free trade agreement or economic cooperation agreement…

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read the article in full.

As the ASEAN region continues to thrive economically there appears to be a growing yearning for ASEAN trade agreements from nations outside the region. This news comes shortly after the recent announcement that a sort of pan-ASEAN visa, similar to the Schengen Visa, will be one topic of discussion amongst ASEAN leaders. How any of these events will ultimately play out remains to be seen, but there are certainly those who would speculate that many of the topics noted above are positive developments.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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30th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has implemented a new policy regarding the I-130 petition for visas such as the CR-1 visa and the IR-1 visa. To provide further insight it may be prudent to quote directly from the official website of the USCIS, USCIS.gov:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that effective Aug. 15, 2011, petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices will be able to file a Petition for an Alien Relative (Form I-130), with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility. This will increase the efficiency of the relative petition filing process and give USCIS more flexibility in managing its workload. Previous regulations permitted these petitioners, who comprise about 5 percent of all I-130 petitioners, to file with USCIS or the U.S. Department of State at their local U.S. embassy or consulate. Under the new regulation, published today in the Federal Register, petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices may file a Petition for an Alien Relative based on the addresses provided in the revised form instructions…

Clearly, this new policy could have significant ramifications for those seeking a United States visa on behalf of a foreign loved one. Concurrently, those familiar with the American visa process may note that this new policy effectively ends the Direct Consular Filing option for petitioners in certain Consular jurisdictions. In the past, it may have been possible for petitioners to file their visa petition directly with a US Embassy or US Consulate if the petitioner resided in the Consular District. These recent regulatory changes would appear to bring this era of Consular Processing to an end.

Meanwhile, in news related to Southeast Asia and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) community, it appears that Malaysia is poised to engage in a Free Trade Agreement with India. To provide further insight into these developments it may be best to quote directly from the website MoneyControl.com:

The free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Malaysia will come into force from July 1, giving Indian professionals like accountants, engineers and doctors access to the key South-East Asian nation. In addition, exports of items of considerable interest to India, like basmati rice, mangoes, eggs, trucks, motorcycles and cotton garments, will attract lower or no duty in Malaysia with the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), according to a statement of the Commerce Ministry issued today…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more on this developing story.

As nations in ASEAN, such as Malaysia, continue to become more integrated into broader markets it stands to reason that new trade arrangements will be forged. The ASEAN community (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) has been the topic of a great deal of recent discussion regarding future free trade agreements as many nations around the world try to make headway into this important and increasingly lucrative regional market.

For information related to legal services in ASEAN, please see: Legal.

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28th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a United States Senator introduced legislation designed to engage the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In order to provide further information regarding these developments it may be best to quote directly from the official website of The Nation, NationMultimedia.com:

United States Senator Richard G. Lugar, the Republican Leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced legislation encouraging United States officials to initiate Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the U.S. and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which presently accounts for the fourth largest export market of the United States. ”I am continuing my efforts to encourage the Obama Administration to announce a comprehensive and long-term strategy toward engaging ASEAN in FTA discussions,” Lugar said…

This blogger strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more on this story.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the ASEAN community is likely to become more economically important in an international context as time passes. Clearly, Senator Richard Lugar’s proposed legislation will have a significant impact upon the trade relations between the United States of America and the countries which make up ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). Assuming appropriate circumstances, it could be surmised that the United States and the ASEAN community could share a strong trade relationship notwithstanding the growing trade between the United States and countries of the so-called BRICS grouping which includes nations such as India and China. Hopefully the business relationship between the US and ASEAN continues to thrive as these issues are discussed among relevant legislators.

In other matters pertaining to the United States Senate, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that this legislative body was also the forum in which a new UAFA-inclusive piece of immigration legislation was introduced. To provide further insight into these events it may be prudent to quote directly from the website Care2.com:

U.S. Senators introduced Wednesday the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011 which includes the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), legislation allowing U.S. nationals to sponsor their foreign-born same-sex partners for citizenship. The bill, introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) alongside Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Kerry (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), has a UAFA-inclusive counterpart measure in the House as introduced by Representative Mike Honda (D-CA). LGBT groups including the Immigration Equality Action Fund praised the reintroduction of the legislation…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks note above to read more.

As the struggle for LGBT equality continues, legislation such as that noted above could have a significant positive impact upon the LGBT community. Importantly, the inclusion of language similar to the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), a stand alone piece of legislation originally introduced by Representative Jerrold Nadler in the House of Representatives, would permit same sex bi-national couples to petition for American family immigration benefits similar to those routinely granted to different sex bi-national couples. Currently, the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) preclude such benefits from same sex couples even if a couple has entered into a same sex marriage in one of the sovereign American States that legalize and/or solemnize such unions. Hopefully this proposed legislation can gain traction and thereby end the current discrimination imposed upon same sex couples.

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

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