Stay up to date with legal developments in Thailand.
The field of intellectual property ("IP") has been a hive of activity in the past year. With blockchain and artificial intelligence quickly becoming the buzzwords of the new economy, much attention has been placed on how IP frameworks will evolve and adapt to fit the changing needs of the business world and the innovation economy.
The speed of IP development shows no sign of slowing down, and businesses and IP rights holders would be well advised to keep ahead not just of ongoing developments, but of the trends that may be expected to take shape in the near future. In this annual review, we take a look back at the major legal developments relating to the area of IP in the past year in Southeast Asia. We also look ahead to the trends and expected developments of the year ahead across the jurisdictions in our regional network.
Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2562 (2019) ("PDPA") became fully effective in mid-2022 and, since then, various subordinate laws have been issued to clarify certain provisions. In this Update, we set out a snapshot of PDPA developments in 2023, including enforcement trends and notifications.
Happy 2024! To wrap up the year 2023 and further to our Regional Trade Mid-year Highlights issued in August last year, we are pleased to present an overview of the various trade law related developments in the region. 2023 has been a year of moving onward from the pandemic, though fraught with gloomy growth predictions. In spite of this, trade law has continued to evolve, with legislations, regulations, and policies continuously upgrading to better facilitate the movement of goods across borders. We discuss some of the key developments across Southeast Asia, on topics such as anti-dumping and safeguard measures, developments relating to export/import, free trade agreements, as well as sanctions.
Some of the key developments highlighted in this Update include those on anti-dumping and safeguard duties in Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam. There are also developments to improve the ease of import and export of goods, by way of agreements for the mutual recognition of Authorised Economic Operator (“AEO”) programmes across countries, in particular the ASEAN AEO Mutual Recognition Agreement signed by all 10 ASEAN Member States. Singapore has updated its rules on its Free Trade Zones (“FTZ”), which imposes fresh obligations on FTZ cargo handlers, shipping agents, and air cargo agents. Businesses involved in the Malaysian market should also be cognisant of the enhanced marking obligations on wholesalers, manufacturers, imports and producers in relation to pre-packaged goods. Under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”), Vietnam has also introduced requirements on the import management of refurbished goods to meet their obligations.
Countries have also remained active in the negotiation and signing of both bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements ("FTA"), in a bid to facilitate greater trade and investment flows. Regionally, an update of significance is the enhancement of the ASEAN – Australia – New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), which is ASEAN’s most comprehensive ASEAN-Plus FTA to date, with improvements being made in e-commerce, investment, services, consumer protection, and government procurement, amongst others. The UK is also set to join the CPTPP, which will help countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in gaining greater market access to the UK and present newopportunities for trade and investment. Going into 2024, we expect to see newer FTAs possibly incorporating elements such as digital trade, green economy, and e-commerce, which will further aid businesses in navigating the rapidly changing landscape. On sanctions, while there have been minimal developments in the second half of 2023, businesses should continue to stay alert to ensure that they comply with them, given the severity of breaching sanctions. There is enforcement activity, occurring as recent as in December 2023.
Moving forward into 2024, we wish you a smooth and prosperous year. We look forward to working and enaging with you, whether it is to ensure legal compliance, assisting to resolve any issues, or advising you on how to best utilise FTAs to improve your cross-border trade processes. We are also happy to help in conducting trainings or have a dialogue with you, to provide you with unique insights specific to your industry. Please feel free to reach out any time if you have any queries, or if you would like to have a chat.