Newsletter May 2022

Dear Friends and Clients,

The trade mission to Cambodia was a resounding success, not only for the participants but also for the emerging market of the country. The fact that the small Austrian delegation was able to obtain conference appointments with three ministers in the short term shows not only the efficiency of the organization but also the willingness of the high-ranking politicians to open up the country further to foreigners.

As can be seen in the newsletter, Cambodia is in the vanguard of bilateral agreements with other ASEAN countries. We still recommend approaching Cambodia through Singapore or Thailand as all the treaties are in place, such as double taxation and investment protection as well as tariff preferences, immigration, etc.

If our newsletters are not always published on time and monthly, it does not mean that there has been no news. Rather the opposite is the case. But let’s try out whether it might be helpful, if we don’t get just as fast with change and news, to communicate and comment on them right away. We might then realise that what we missed wasn’t really that important.

I do believe that it is a fact that the pace of our lives is constantly increasing, and I am no longer sure which pace is actually the right one for us human beings. It is advisable to take a closer look here and perhaps adjust our own speed. We have to regulate this in and through ourselves, the outside can hardly be changed. Only in the sense of mutual interconnectedness do we influence the outside through our personal corrections.

Even when looking at alarming world news, it would be appropriate not to immediately form and spread opinions. Often developments show that we have “shot from the hip” too early and perhaps even hit the wrong person. And dictatorial influence on the opinions of our fellow human beings has only rarely improved human coexistence.

Sometimes it would be a good idea to take a look at ourselves and see where we react too quickly and therefore often too unreflectively.

In solidarity,

Theodor Strohal

Office News:

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Digitization of services in the UAE

A new integrated system, developed in collaboration with several UAE government entities, has been launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) to improve the customer experience and facilitate business. A new system that includes the digitalization of all services will improve the ease of doing business. MoFAIC and MoIAT signed an MOU under which MoFAIC will review attestations and related fees payable by investors in the industrial sector through the MoIAT e-services platform, to streamline attestation services. Additionally, the new system will help regulate and streamline certain trade-related banking procedures through a collaboration between MoFAIC and UAE banks. The next phase of the new system will see enhanced ease of using online attestation services, along with improved service delivery times and enhanced ease of access.

All you need to know about entry and residency permits in the UAE

The UAE will adopt a new visa and residence scheme to take effect in September 2022 with the hopes to attract and retain global talent, increase competitiveness and flexibility of the job market, and promote a sense of stability among residents and their families.

We wrote about everything you need to know concerning the Entry and Residence Permits including the new visa legislation in the UAE. The new visa scheme is absolutely packed with a lot of benefits for every category. Read more about the article here.

Dubai – top destination of global travelers

Dubai welcomed almost four million international overnight visitors between January and March 2022, a 214 percent increase from last year, thus confirming its status as the top destination for global travelers. The city also topped the global hotel occupancy top 10 in the first quarter of 2022, with 82 percent. Dubai ranked as the world’s top travel destination according to Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice 2022 report. Additionally, it ranked No.1 in the Travelers’ Choice Awards 2022 for ‘City Lovers’ and No. 4 in the Food Lovers’ category, proving the city’s enduring appeal to global tourists. 2021 has seen Dubai become the world’s leading MICE destination, hosting a number of events that have put it at the forefront of global conversations about the recovery of key sectors.

Abu Dhabi: 50% increase of real estate transactions in Q1

During the first four months of 2022, real estate agencies in Abu Dhabi recorded a 50 percent increase in demand from international buyers from across Europe, compared to last year. Property transactions in UAE’s capital reached 3,304, with Yas Island topping the list, followed by Al Saadiyat Island and Al Reem Island. Total transactions reached Dhs11.3bn in Q1 2022. There are a number of reasons for this influx, from growing free zones that encourage business relocation to Abu Dhabi’s unparalleled safety and family-centered culture to the city’s thorough handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New UAE unemployment insurance scheme

The UAE has announced a new regulation implementing the unemployment insurance scheme. The employment support insurance is mandatory for both the private and public sectors starting January 2023. The program will provide employees, who lose their jobs under unforeseen circumstances, cash support every month for a limited period until they find alternative employment. Insured workers who suddenly lose their jobs will be entitled to receive 60 percent of their basic salaries up to a maximum of Dh20,000 per month. The cost of the insurance package will range from Dh40 to Dh100 per year. Employees can apply for higher insurance packages. However, it is unclear how the insurance plan will be implemented or whether employers will be required to assist their employees in applying.

Far East:

Thailand cabinet slash excise tax on diesel by 5 baht per liter

The cabinet agreed to slash the excise tax on diesel by 5 baht per liter for two months until July 20 to curb rising inflation and alleviate the effects of high energy prices on consumers. The business sector has welcomed the government’s decision and hopes that the government can find the best means and channels for managing the country’s energy supply in order to prevent a possible energy shortage. Businesses foresee that the reduction in tax will diesel tax reduction will benefit big companies that use many trucks for transport.

Cambodia and Myanmar to expedite trade agreements negotiations

Cambodia and Myanmar are moving forward with negotiations on two important draft trade agreements in an effort to increase bilateral trade as soon as possible, citing low bilateral trade volumes. Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president stated that “Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements will help investors pay taxes more easily, which will attract more cross-border investment. If these two agreements materialize, especially the agreement on avoiding double taxation, it will be easier for investors in both Cambodia and Myanmar.”

Cambodia and Singapore commit to stepping up cooperation

Cambodia and Singapore have pledged to step up cooperation to boost bilateral trade after recording over $5 billion in trade last year, a nearly 50 percent increase from 2020. The two sides agreed to arrange a meeting soon in Singapore for stakeholders to share experiences and explore key areas of interest more in-depth, in effort to improve the capacity of the private sector, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) in Cambodia.

Saudi Arabia pledges to make Thailand its investment hub in SEA

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has committed to using Thailand as an investment hub in Southeast Asia. The fund’s chief, Yasir bin Othman al-Rumayyan said he had been instructed to discuss cooperation between the two countries, especially on trade and investment in energy businesses such as petroleum and gas surveys. Saudi Arabia hopes to hold bilateral talks with Thailand to increase trade and investment opportunities. The two parties also discussed e-sports and soft power cooperation.

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