Building ties

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Projects keep the region’s lifeblood flowing

Welcome to the third issue of Asia Business Law Journal and first of all may I wish you all the best for the festive season! The year has passed quickly, it seems, and since our launch in July we have been working hard to provide you with the best legal intelligence in the region.

ablj-1611-leaderIn keeping with this philosophy, our Cover Story is one that I’m sure will be most enlightening for in-house counsel, and also for law firms and others with an interest in the region’s continuing development. We spoke exclusively with Gerard Sanders, the general counsel for the newly formed and fully operational Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Sanders gives some wonderful insights into building his own legal team for Asia’s newest financial institution and also on helping to develop the wider strategies of the bank as it pursues its developmental goals within the region. The views and opinions of one of the top corporate counsel in this sector make fascinating reading. Of particular interest is his advice for counsel working for government departments, multinationals or other project masters who might be looking to approach the AIIB for project funding in future.

Coupled with this exclusive interview is an overview of infrastructure activity in the region. On track looks at which countries are busiest with projects right now and why. We also explore regulatory developments in these jurisdictions that are helping or hindering legal teams as they deal with often complex frameworks in individual countries. At times when economies are not firing on all cylinders, infrastructure is a buzzword and that time is now in many parts of the region.

In our Country Focus for this issue, we look at Singapore and why this tiny city-state manages to punch above its weight in just about every area of endeavour, the legal fraternity included. Total control talks to a wide cross-section of big and boutique, domestic and international law firms, as well as leading in-house counsel, about how aggressive policymaking and staunch support from the legal community have resulted in big plans for Fintech, restructuring and insolvency, and other areas to keep Singapore leading the region despite a tepid economy.

We also take a look at Brexit and the possible impacts for this region. The twists and turns in the political plot for Britain’s exit from the EU read like Machiavellian theatre, but Brakes on Brexit? gives some clarity to what counsel should be preparing for while waiting for a clearer picture to emerge.

Finally, with the World Health Organization’s November anti-tobacco conference as a backdrop, we look at the two opposing forces. A recent article written for our sister publication, India Business Law Journal, Japan Tobacco International’s Idil Yasa provides some compelling arguments for brand protection. In our Counterpoint, former GC for the Australian Medical Association, Sarah Byrne, tells us why plain packaging laws are effective and innovative. Which side of the debate convinces you?

Merry Christmas to all our readers and here’s hoping your yuletide contractual arrangements include a Santa clause and a Happy New Year!

Best wishes,

John Church
Editor, Asia Business Law Journal
Editor-in-chief, Vantage Asia