Merry Xmas to all!

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And to all a good read from Asia’s best law journal

May I first wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone here at Asia Business Law Journal and Vantage Asia Publishing!

In the spirit of the season you should have received by now a gift voucher to the value of US$200 from us. (For Asia Business Law Journal subscribers only.) Please do remember that the expiry date for the voucher is 12 January, so get in quick to enjoy the big discount on our products.

Leader-1711-12In our cover story this issue, The Asia game, we look at corporate counsel associations in the region. The recent alliance of the Hong Kong Corporate Counsel Association with the Association of Corporate Counsel prompted us to get some views on expansions, alliances and services to members that various associations offer.

We found that as time has progressed, so has the role of the corporate counsel association, at least in most parts of the region. In particular, knowledge that transcends jurisdictional borders is sought after as legal boundaries wither under the onslaught of technology and the globalization of trade. Members are more demanding of information that is tailored to them, and once inwardly looking associations have broadened their horizons, while larger global organizations look to swell their ranks and target expansion. On the other hand some associations are firm in their mindset to stay very much “national” organizations.

Fair play in the sandbox is a critical review of these novel apparatuses used for testing the sharp end of fintech in a way that won’t upset markets. The rapid pace of technological development in recent years and the creation of fundamentally new concepts – such as distributed ledger technology, which can be used to completely disintermediate traditional financial services players – is making it more challenging than ever for regulators to adapt to technology-driven changes in the financial services industry.

This article is a must read for those involved in cutting edge tech and how it is being regulated in the region. Importantly, it is the regulators that set the rules for the sandboxes, allowing them to apply safeguards and controls with a view to ensuring that consumers and financial stability are properly protected.

India rolled out its GST six months ago and in Taking aim at GST we take a good hard look at the merits of the tax and get feedback from experts in this practice area. Representatives of large companies said they were more or less prepared for what is a radical overhaul of the country’s indirect tax system, but a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises across India were not.

As we have found, the potential for disputes between the centre and states, or one state and another, is significant, and a more long-term concern has been a lack of certainty that is inherent in the structure of the GST.

This issue we have also included a new section entitled “Expert Briefing”. In the first of these co-published initiatives arbitration law in the Philippines is explored, while in China real estate law is analyzed. Do read up on them if your interest turns to these areas.

Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday everyone!