Session 1: General Counsel Forum

Legal expertise in the chemical industry is a prized skill set which need to be honed in specific ways so as to respond to the needs of the industry.

The Singapore Chemical Industry Council, together with Mayer Brown, will be launching the first General Counsel Forum, bringing together legal counsels and lawyers of chemical companies to share experiences and discuss topical issues affecting their work. The GC Forum is envisaged to be a platform designed for discussion and exchange of ideas among general counsels on industry issues and developments.

  • Mayer Brown will introduce the objectives of organizing the GC Forum and how similar fora have been set up in other countries/regions.
  • Mr. Pieter de Ridder, a tax partner at Mayer Brown, will discuss the tax landscape in Asia and how tax treaties between countries help investors to increase the return on investment. Investing in Asia brings up tax issues at various levels: at the level of the foreign investor and that of the country of the investment. Should the investment be structured as a local company or as a branch or partnership and should the investor fund the investment with shareholders equity or with debt? Should the shares of the company be held by the foreign investor directly or is it better to hold it through an intermediary holding company in Singapore or elsewhere? The same applies to the funding with debt. Also, instead of providing loans, would it perhaps be better to consider to rent equipment to the Asian investment? Thirdly, does the investor have intellectual property rights and will these be used to charge royalties to users of the intellectual property? Tax treaties play an important role for all these questions. Equally important is the interaction of taxes between the tax liability in the investor’s country and that in the country of the investment: will the foreign investor be able to avoid being taxed twice on the same income? In recent years, Asia is showing a clear trend of countries introducing anti-abuse measures to avoid tax treaty shopping. Examples are China, India, Japan, Korea and Indonesia. In order to be successful with tax planning, care must be taken that the investment structure addresses the anti-abuse concerns.
  • Mr. JP Montfort will summarize global trends in regulatory compliance and key issues for legal counsels. The EU “REACH” legislation, adopted in 2006, is the most comprehensive chemical legislation in the world. It has its full effect on any company producing or trading in the EU. But it also inspires other countries to revamp their chemical legislation. Korean and Taiwan are the first countries having adopted legislation largely inspired from EU-REACH. Other countries are to follow suit. This forces companies to devote more resources and adopt strategies to ensure global compliance and business continuity. When should legal counsel be involved?
  • We will have a discussion on the set-up and regularity of the Round Table event and future topics for the GC Forum.

Session 2: Industry Briefing 

The regulatory and business environment in the Asia-Pacific region is rapidly changing, and two major movements have specific implications for the chemical industry.

The first movement is the emergence of new chemical regulations, as described above. The second is the rise of mega-free trade agreements (FTAs) in the Asian region.

The Singapore Chemical Industry Council, together with Mayer Brown, is organising a 2-hour industry briefing to provide updates on developments in these two areas. The discussion will cover:

(a) Regulatory Update

  • Latest development in Korea and Taiwan REACH
  • Comparison with EU REACH and use of EU REACH dossiers
  • Legal implication including CBI protection

(b) Impact of Two Mega-FTAs in Asia on Chemical Companies

Although news of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been dominating the headlines, it is two significant mega-free trade agreement (FTA) developments in Asia that will transform the regional economic architecture and pose supply chain optimization challenges for business.

The first, the ASEAN Economic Community, is the latest milestone in the economic integration of the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The second, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), involves the ASEAN countries and Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. With negotiations targeted to substantially conclude in 2015, the RCEP is expected to liberalize trade and promote economic integration among these 16 countries. The RCEP also will create opportunities for supply chain optimization in Asia and realization of intra-regional investment opportunities.

Sydney Mintzer and Nikolay Mizulin will discuss these two mega-FTAs and address the risks and opportunities they present to chemical companies in Asia.

Date & Time
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Registration
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. General Counsel Forum
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Industry Briefing
Light lunch refreshments will be served.

Singapore Chemical Industry Council Limited
8 Jurong Town Hall,
#25-04,The JTC Summit
Singapore 609434

For enquiries, please contact Andalib Karim: | +65 6327 0253