Legal Updates for January 2024

Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act – A Year in Review 2023

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.

Regional Trade Year-end Highlights 2023

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.

Regional Guide on Listings & Initial Public Offerings in Southeast Asia

Rajah & Tann Asia is pleased to present this guide on listings and initial public offerings in Southeast Asia to you, which we believe will be a useful aid to listing aspirants in the Asia region. As a summary, this guide gives a general overview of the key requirements and processes involved in listings and initial public offerings in the following jurisdictions: 

  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam 

In addition to the above, this guide also provides a general overview of the capital markets and/or stock exchanges in the region. 

Rajah & Tann Asia is here to assist you in every step of your way towards a successful listing. If you have any queries on any specific jurisdiction(s), please feel free to reach out to any one of our experts in our Rajah & Tann Asia and we will be happy to assist. 

This publication is up to date as of 3 January 2024.  As the report is cast in general terms and not exhaustive, detailed advice must be sought on specific situations or queries.