SLG Newsletter: February-March 2020

Dear Friends and Clients,

In this newsletter we deliberately omit information about the sanctions in the Covid19 area. You will certainly be inundated with such information and we do not want to contribute to scare tactics. On the contrary.

We want to show you how life goes on despite all adversity and how chances can be used.

Therefore, we have switched to other mediums in addition to our written newsletter.

On 9 April 2020, 12:30 UAE time, Jakob Kisser, our UAE managing director, will hold a webinar, arranged by the Austrian Business Council, on Employment & Contract Law Related Issues in Light of the current crisis. Please register here: LINK.

Our Viennese partner law firm Lansky, Ganzger & Partner publishes articles on legal effects and changes due to the crisis.

I attach explanations about MLI, BEPS and the new EU Mandatory Disclosure Act in the form of a Youtube video in German: The tax implications of this law are fundamental and important for every EU entrepreneur. Especially in times of economic tightness and enormously increased government spending, it can be predicted that the tax authorities will forego the sources of income that this law grants them. Every new business idea (and we will probably need them more urgently than ever before) should be carefully considered and planned in the light of these laws.

And if the crisis has led you into over-indebtedness, do not let your head hang down. We also concentrate in insolvency and bankruptcy law, often appointed trustees by the Vienna Commercial Court in Austrian bankruptcy proceedings. We can help you out of this situation with our special knowledge. The UAE also offers a well-set insolvency law and often such proceedings are a new start for a flourishing company. No matter only hotels and golf courses become lucrative after the 2nd insolvency.

I wish you not only health but also fun reading and listening to this newsletter.

And remember: The world won’t be spinning as slowly as it is now, so it’s easier to jump on than into a vehicle in full speed. Use the time, create new business ideas, dig up old ideas, keep cash and invest carefully. Don’t diversify too much, but take the path that seems the safest and most promising to you.

In this sense – all the best, take the change as a new chance.


Theodor Strohal

RAKICC: No original signed documents prior to approval required

RAKICC has implemented several measures due to the current travel restrictions implemented across the UAE and other countries. It has announced that it will not require original signed documents to approve Service Requests and will approve scanned copies through its portal. Original Signed Signatory List and Memorandum and Articles may be required eventually but this should not delay the issuance of certificates, extracts, etc. Registered Agents who still wish to submit original documents may do so. All are adhered to comply with their obligations under s.55. (2) of the RAK ICC Registered Agent Regulations 2018.

Corporate re-domiciliation to RAKICC

On February 18, 2020 the Economic and Financial Affairs Council of the EU (ECOFIN) adopted a revised EU blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The EU Finance Ministers agreed to add four new jurisdictions to the list: Cayman Islands, Palau, Panama and Seychelles.

Following this latest revision, as at February 18, 2020, the EU blacklist comprises the following twelve jurisdictions: American Samoa, the Cayman Islands, Fiji, Guam, Oman, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.

The UAE is a “whitelisted” jurisdiction with considerable advantages, There is no better time than now to re-domicile companies from blacklisted jurisdictions and from jurisdictions that would struggle to meet Economic Substance Requirements to RAK ICC.

Our law firm acts as agent for the RAK offshore jurisdiction since 13 years and we can offer such re-domiciliations for a low lump sum.

UAE Central Bank: New consumer protection framework

The Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) announced that it will develop a new consumer protection framework in connection to Federal Decree Law No. 14 of 2018. The framework is expected to:

– Strengthen the protection of financial consumers,

– Enhance the quality of disclosure and transparency,

– Ensure timely responses to consumers, and

– Financial institutions are required to provide consumers with effective dispute resolution services.

It will also include information on the following:

– Disclosure and transparency

– Regulatory supervision and corporate governance

– Market and business conduct

– Protection of consumer data

– Responsible financial practices

– Complaint management and dispute resolution

– Consumer education and awareness

– Financial inclusion

– Sharia compliance of financial services

A consultation process will be held to develop the framework while taking the stakeholders’ comments into review before obtaining approval from the CBUAE Board of Directors.

10-year UAE visa: Developer request the reduce of property price value

Property developers in the UAE have requested the government to reduce the minimum price of property in their 10-year visa scheme. They proposed a minimum Dh2 million to Dh4million investment limit which they believe will help the economy to compete with other countries that offer citizenship through business and property investments. It will also help the real estate sector to cope with the oversupply that caused lower prices and rentals.

Far East:

Myanmar: Updates on the of the implementation of the new Trademark Law

Myanmar’s new Trademark Law which was passed last year is expected to come into force this year 2020. Trainings and seminars have already been conducted as a preparation for the implementation of the new law. Trademark registrations can be done online and trademark registration agents will also be able to register on the platform. Official costs are in the process of trademark registration are yet to be announced.

Major points of the new law include:

– Trademark validity of up to 10 years from date of filing and can be further renewed for another 10 years.

– Documents upon application can be in English or local language.

– The Nice Classification will be officially adopted.

– Trademark owners may claim priority from any application filed in a Paris Convention country.

Cambodia: New special economic zone

Sihanoukville in Cambodia is set to be transformed as a multi-purpose economic zone and industrial hub of Cambodia. A master plan is already being prepared for its development and plans to build infrastructures to attract more tourists and investors. The project, which is led by the Prime Minister himself, was announced by a top official of the Ministry of Economy and Finance at the Public Forum on Macroeconomic Management and Budget Law 2020.

Cambodia: Labour Force Restructuring

Voluntary leave without pay and reduced working hours

Based on mutual agreement.

Suspension of employment

If agreement cannot be reached with all affected employees with respect to leave without pay or reduction in working hours, another option is suspension of employment.

Article 71 of the Labour Law permits an employer to proceed with suspension of employment on the basis of serious financial or material difficulty (or specific difficulty) or, subject to certain qualifications, force majeure. Suspension typically requires the involvement of the labour authorities.


For multinational corporations, redeployment of employees from one branch to another, often in different jurisdictions, is frequently a desired approach to minimize labour costs.

Collective termination

For employers whose situation requires the collective termination of employees (more than one employee), the employer must follow a collective termination layoff procedure.

Thailand: Banks use facial recognition

Six Banks in Thailand are now allowed to use facial recognition for Know your Customer (e-KYC) technology. It can be used to verify the identity of new customers when opening online deposit accounts through the National Digital ID platform. It has been assured that the new measure can prevent identity theft and fraud.

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