Read between the lines


Proceed with caution to avoid risks

While the global economy faces soaring inflation and a myriad of headwinds, Asia is managing to keep a positive long-term outlook. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest trade deal that went into effect in January this year, brought hope to boost intra-Asian trade and investment, attracting more investments in clean tech, manufacturing and e-commerce.

Missing the RCEP train, the US recently enacted the CHIPS and Science Act, 2022 that entices semiconductor companies, many of which are based in Asia, with USD53 billion in grants and up to 25% in investment tax credits for capital expenses with a caveat: Cut China and other countries of particular concern off from their semiconductor chain.

Volume 7, Issue 2
Asia Business Law Journal

On the other hand, the steady rise of national security review regimes around the world has continued to dampen foreign direct investment (FDI) activity. Our Cover story gathers opinions from legal experts in the region to meet these challenges and chart possible strategies for navigating this fickle environment.

For example, scenarios such as special technical security review agreements, proxy control, or spinning-off certain assets and product lines that present national security issues could become common workarounds. Investors may also consider investment targets in Latin America and Southeast Asia, where they may not face stringent national security scrutiny. Don’t miss this must-read investment analysis.

Our Intelligence report delves into the highly active tech sector. What a tangled Web highlights novel issues that have confronted legal professionals in the metaverse. Copyright and trademark disputes convolute decentralised technologies while unregulated content poses difficulties in legal enforcement beyond the platform space. For those considering expanding their business realm to the metaverse, liability risk mitigation and data privacy laws are the priorities to ponder.

Still in decentralised technologies, Damage controls looks into South Korea’s prudent approaches to regulating the crypto market, especially after the collapse of TerraUSD. The country took fierce action against crypto exchanges that resulted in companies closing their shops, but has now softened its tone by considering regulations to strike a balance between blockchain development and investor protection. And the new president has vowed to implement crypto-friendly policies after all.

In this issue, we present an exclusive interview with Johannes Benjamin R Bernabe, the officer-in-charge of the Philippine Competition Commission, who in Against the clock is racing to instigate changes before his term ends in January 2023. Within a limited time, he focuses on key priorities to ensure a clean slate for a new chair and set of commissioners.

Our issue also features insights from Du Jin, general counsel and assistant president at China-based Hytera Communications, for companies to act Fair & square in contending with increased regulation at home and abroad. The company has been committed to improving its compliance management in high-risk areas, and Du shares the strategies from anti-fraud and export control compliance perspectives.

Moving on to tax laws, our Head to Head explores different ways the policymakers are exploring methods to capture revenue. As governments move to exercise their policy choices, any uncertainties as to the effect of different measures must be resolved.

We are also excited to bring you the inaugural Japan Law Firm Awards 2022, where we recognise the top four law firms in the country that have proven to be the best, followed by firms coming top in their respective categories. Similar to Japanese companies, many of these law firms have expanded their presence abroad, in Southeast Asia and further afield in Europe and North America.

Finally, be sure not to miss our annual Korea A-List, which rounds up the top 100 lawyers in the country based on nominations from clients at home and abroad, as well as by their international peers.

Best wishes
Putro Harnowo
Asia Business Law Journal