Welcome to the September edition of Dezan Shira & Associates’ ASEAN Regional Update, highlighting business and regulatory news in Singapore and the ASEAN region.
In this update we will examine FDI into Indonesia, Thailand’s new inheritance tax, an expanded China-ASEAN FTA, and new infrastructure links for India, Myanmar and Thailand.
Indonesia’s FDI for First Half of 2015 Best in ASEAN
Earlier this month, the Indonesian government unveiled statistics showing that the country received more foreign direct investment (FDI) than any other ASEAN member state. While Indonesia has faced some difficulties with the rupiah like other regional currencies losing some of its value against the dollar, the country remains a highly attractive investment destination.
Thailand Unveils New Inheritance Tax
Thailand recently announced the planned implementation of a new inheritance tax. Due to take effect from the beginning of next year, the inheritance tax will impose a levy on inherited assets over 100 million baht (US $2.8 million), with differing rates applying to direct descendants and non-descendants. Additionally, a gift tax was announced alongside the inheritance tax. The new levies reflect the government’s desire to boost revenue and social spending.
ASEAN and China Announce Expanded FTA to be Completed by End of Year
Officials from China and ASEAN both announced lately last month that they expect negotiations over an expansion of the monumental 2010 ASEAN-China free trade agreement (FTA) to be completed by the end of November. Building of the success of the original FTA, the expansion seeks to further reduce tariffs on a wider array of goods and services.
New Section of Three-Nation Highway Links India, Myanmar and Thailand
Earlier this month a new section highway along the East-West economic corridor of the Greater Mekong Sub-region was opened. Once entirely completed, the 3,200 km highway will link Moreh, India with Maesot, Thailand, thereby linking up with existing Thai and Indian highway systems, and incorporating Myanmar (a country sorely in need of infrastructure development) into a larger, pan-Asian transportation network. The highway project is an important facet of Indian Prime Minister Modi’s look east policy, and will serve as a spur in the regional integration of South and Southeast Asia.