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ASIAN (H)

SinoCorrugated IndiaCorr Expo 2019

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Dates: 
Sep 05, 2019Sep 07, 2019

Venue: 
India expo Centre Greater Noida

Location address: 
Plot No. 25,27,28,29, KnowledgePark-||, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201306, India

Country: 
India

Organizer: 
Reed Manch Exhibitions Pvt Ltd

Show URL: 
www.indiacorrexpo.com

Major exhibits: 

Corrugated box making machinery
Printing and lamination machines
Testing Equipment
Adhesives
Inks
Ancillary equipment
Kraft paper
Softwares

Show banner: 

ONE INDUSTRY, ONE SHOW!
IndiaCorr Expo is the leading global event serving the entire value chain of the corrugated packaging industry. It is the India edition of the world’s leading show—SinoCorrugated that takes place in China every year. The objective of the show is to cater manufacturers, buyers and users of corrugated packaging and allied technologies. The show is scheduled to be held from 05-06-07 September 2019 at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, Delhi-NCR, India. With over 250+ exhibitors offering end-to-end solutions from both Indian & International brands. This exhibition has always been the most coveted show for corrugated packaging industry addressing the needs of corrugated box manufacturer, converters, designers for corrugated box & related packaging, industry consultants, printers, converters and end-users. IndiaCorr Expo with its concurrent shows, India Folding Carton 2019, India Flexography Expo 2019 and ICCMA Congress, is a benchmark among all packaging exhibitions in India with largest ever Indian and international participation.

Show Contact
Title: 

Sale Executive

Name: 
Vaishali Arya

Telephone: 

(91) 9911335153

E-mail: 

vaishali.arya@reedmanch.com

Mailing address: 

D – 2, Unit no. 3, 4 & 5, 1st Floor, Southern Park Building, Saket District Center

City / State / Province: 
Saket, New Delhi – 110017

Country: 
India



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ASIAN (H)

India Folding Carton 2019

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Dates: 
Sep 05, 2019Sep 07, 2019

Venue: 
India expo Centre Greater Noida

Location address: 
Plot No. 25,27,28,29, KnowledgePark-||, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201306, India

Country: 
India

Organizer: 
Reed Manch Exhibitions

Show URL: 
www.indiafoldingcarton.com

Major exhibits: 

Paper Bag Manufacturing Equipments | Software | Testing Equipments | Paper | Ancillary Equipments| Printers- Digital, Offset, Flexographic | Lamination Solutions | Inks and Other Consumables

Show banner: 

India Folding Carton, your gateway to the world of carton and box making industry is coming on 05-06-07 September 2019 at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, Delhi-NCR, India . The event will bring in industry leaders who want to be abreast of the most recent technology, innovation and progress. It covers the whole of the carton and paper industry and gives exhibitors and visitors a wide range of opportunities for making new business contacts and developing existing customer relations. With its higher scale effect, the exhibition highlights the one-stop solution combined purchasing, technology, information, trade, and education across the entire folding carton industry chain. As a dedicated and focused event, India Folding Carton 2019 is the international meeting point where manufacturers and dealers of pre-press equipments, carton making machinery, printing machinery, post-print equipments, designing software solutions and raw materials providers connect and close business deals.

India Folding Carton will be co-located with IndiaCorr Expo – SinoCorrugated 2019 will help folding carton manufacturers to evaluate feasibility of business expansion to the corrugated market; who will also meet with the R & D and procurement decision makers to enlarge networks and to catch business opportunities.

Show Contact
Title: 

Sale Executive

Name: 
Vaishali Arya

Telephone: 

(91) 9911335153

E-mail: 

vaishali.arya@reedmanch.com

Mailing address: 

Reed Manch Exhibitions Pvt Ltd D2 Unit no 3 4 & 5 1st Floor Southern Park Building Saket District Center Saket New Delhi

City / State / Province: 
Delhi, India

Country: 
India



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ASIAN (H)

Can Thailand’s junta manage the election’s outcome?

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Author: James Ockey, University of Canterbury

For Thailand’s junta, the 2019 election is to be carefully managed so that the government can return to power with enhanced legitimacy, both among its own people and the international community. Yet the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) may have miscalculated its ability to control the elections effectively and so enhance its legitimacy.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha talks with a man as he visits Lumphini Park ahead of the general election, in Bangkok, Thailand, 20 March 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun).

The constitution and electoral laws were carefully designed to disadvantage the two large parties, Pheu Thai and the Democrats. Meanwhile, the junta leaders are allowed to appoint the 250 senators who will join with elected MPs to choose the prime minister. The constitution also allowed junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha to be nominated for prime minister without membership in a party. This gives him greater flexibility in seeking the additional 126 elected MPs whose support is necessary for him to remain in his current position.

While writing a favourable constitution and electoral laws proved possible, managing the campaign process is much more difficult. Yet strong efforts are being made. Elections are under the purview of the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT). PNet, an NGO that independently monitors the election process, recently awarded the ECT an ‘F’ grade for its performance, stating that it ‘has failed to demonstrate it is not under undue political influence’.

So far, the ETC has decided that a government handout to the elderly and the poor just prior to the beginning of campaigning did not violate election laws and that the pro-government Phalang Pracharat Party (PPRP) had not accepted illegal donations at a fundraiser. Most recently, it ruled that the prime minister could actively campaign with the party that nominated him (a step too far even for Prayut himself, who instead has chosen to follow the party on the campaign trail).

In contrast, in the case of the anti-government Thai Raksa Chart party, the ECT recommended dissolution without following its own procedures in a rush to judgement. The Constitutional Court would later follow that recommendation.

In January and February, I interviewed candidates from a range of parties, in all four regions of Thailand. None expressed any faith in the ECT. Candidates of pro-regime parties thought the ECT was ineffective. Candidates of anti-regime parties not only questioned the ECT’s capability, but also feared that it was focused on identifying any small violation of the law that would justify banning opposition candidates and parties.

Opposition parties also have to defend themselves from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The NBTC sought to shut down the opposition-oriented Voice TV for 15 days during the election, only to see the decision reversed by the courts. Other threats have come from criminal investigations, with leaders of the Future Forward party charged under the Computer Crime Act.

Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, attempts to manage the outcome of the election appear to have created a backlash against the regime. Recent polling done by the Nation newspaper shows the PPRP winning just 62 of 350 constituency seats, with the anti-regime Pheu Thai party winning 136. A recent rally of the PPRP in Korat drew just a few hundred supporters, leaving thousands of empty seats.

Perhaps more interesting are the results of a recent King Prajadhipok Institute poll, which indicate that 96 per cent of eligible voters intend to vote. One would not expect that level of enthusiasm if voters were happy with the government and the status quo.

Political parties also seem to be reacting to anti-government sentiment. The Democrat party, which is likely to win the second most seats after Pheu Thai, recently announced that it would not support the return of Prayut as prime minister. The Democrat Party had previously been deliberately ambiguous regarding its stance. It also set conditions for potential pro- and anti-government coalition partners.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Bhum Jai Thai (BJT) party leader Anuthin Charnvirakul stated that the party will wait for the outcome of the election before finalising its stance, so that it can take into account the voice of the people. BJT has long been considered to be firmly on the government side. Answering this way, even as a campaign tactic, indicates concerns with being seen as too firmly on the side of the junta.

Despite these indications of very limited support for the government, it is expected that the junta will continue to manage the outcome. In the interviews I conducted in January and February, academics and candidates suggested that the junta will expend resources to convince both small parties and individual MPs to join the pro-government side after the election, ensuring support will go well beyond the elected members of the PPRP.

One leading member of a large party noted that the ECT has 60 days to certify the results of the election. They raised concerns that during that period anti-government parties might be dissolved to ensure the junta remains in power.

While Prayut is likely to return to power, it will not be with the clear mandate he seeks. The manipulation of the elections to ensure his return is more likely to result in a decline in legitimacy and support at home, although even a manipulated election may help relieve international pressure to return to democracy. Under such circumstances, concerns about future government stability are likely to remain.

James Ockey is Associate Professor at the School of Language, Social and Political Sciences, University of Canterbury.



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HISPANIC (H

New Massachusetts Bills Propose Telehealth Insurance Coverage, Practice Standards

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MassHealth

Momentum and support continues to build for telehealth commercial coverage laws across the United States, designed to ensure that covered members of health insurance plans can enjoy the full scope of their medical benefits – whether in-person or virtually.  Last summer, the Massachusetts Legislature considered a sweeping telehealth bill that would have instituted certain requirements for insurance coverage.  (Read our critique of that bill here.)  Although the 2018 legislative session ended before the proposed legislation was approved, Massachusetts legislators recently filed five new telehealth bills for consideration.

Listed below are four of the proposed bills that directly compete with each other, so it will be important to monitor their progress through committees and reconciliation:

  • HB 1002: An Act Expanding Access to Telemedicine Services;
  • HB 1001: An Act Relative to Behavioral Health Telemedicine;
  • HB 991: An Act Advancing and Expanding Access to Telemedicine Services; and
  • HB 1095: An Act Enhancing Access to Telemedicine Services.

Each of the four bills require certain groups or divisions to provide coverage for telemedicine services under varying conditions. Just like the language contained in the 2018 legislation, these new bills state that insurers may “not decline to provide coverage for health care services solely on the basis that those services were delivered by way of telemedicine by a contracted health care provider if: (i) the health care services are covered by way of in-person consultation or delivery; and (ii) the health care services may be appropriately provided through the use of telemedicine.”

In general, the bills require the following insurers to provide coverage for telehealth services:

  • The Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission;
  • Medicaid-managed care organizations in Massachusetts;
  • Individual, group blanket or general insurance policies;
  • Hospital service plan;
  • Medical service corporation;
  • Health maintenance organizations; and
  • Preferred provider arrangements.

HB 1095 is notable because it allows, but does not require, Medicaid managed care organizations in Massachusetts to cover services delivered via telemedicine. In contrast, HB 1001 (An Act Relative to Behavioral Health Telemedicine) requires insurers to cover only behavioral health services delivered via telemedicine.

Of the five new bills, HB 917 (An Act to Facilitate the Provision of Telehealth Services) is the distinct outlier. It would not require health insurance plans to cover telehealth services. Instead, it proposes definitions, practice standards, prescribing, and informed consent rules for telehealth services.

At this time, it is unclear which of the five bills will prevail (or perhaps a combination of them).  What is clear is that Massachusetts legislators continue to explore ways for policy to drive innovation in health technology, balancing patient safety and health insurance considerations.  We will continue to monitor Massachusetts for changes that affect or improve telemedicine opportunities in the state.

Want to learn more?

Join a deeper discussion of telehealth state law and policy issues at the American Telemedicine Association’s 2019 Annual Conference and Expo in New Orleans on April 14-16, 2019.  Read the current program agenda and register here.

For more information on telemedicine, telehealth, virtual care, remote patient monitoring, digital health, and other health innovations, including the team, publications, and representative experience, visit Foley’s Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team.



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ASIAN (H)

What’s next after the Trump–Kim summit?

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Author: Vu Minh Khuong, Lee Kuan Yew School, NUS

The 12 June Trump–Kim summit has turned something that was only recently unthinkable into a plausible future scenario: a completely denuclearised North Korea that is working rapidly towards global integration and economic development.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump listen to questions from the media during their one-on-one bilateral meeting at the second North Korea-US summit in the Metropole hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam 28 February 2019 (Photo: REUTERS/Leah Millis).

For a major change to take place in a country, three driving factors — receptivity, pressure and enablers — must reach certain critical levels. While none of these driving factors are currently very strong in North Korea, they have far surpassed any previously observed levels.

On its receptivity to change, just like China and Vietnam before their economic reforms, North Korea has learned the costly lesson that a command economy and economic isolation lead only to disappointing results, regardless of how much corrective effort is made internally. Moreover, the impressive success of China and Vietnam has proven that making decisive change through economic reforms and global integration is the only way for a country to not only survive but also prosper.

With regard to pressure, the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations since 2017 and the ‘maximum pressure’ approach adopted by the United States have had a severe economic impact on North Korea. The country is more isolated than ever before: it is losing its trade links even with its closest ally and faces the risk of falling into economic crisis.

And there are now unique factors enabling North Korea to enact change. On the diplomatic front, the proactive and sincere approach adopted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the unorthodox method used by US President Donald Trump have been highly effective in demonstrating to North Korea the advantages of changing course towards peace and global integration. On the economic front, globalisation, the digital revolution, the economic success of South Korea and the rise of Asia are all significant enablers that can help North Korea reap substantial benefits upon embracing reform.

Examining the summit in this light suggests that North Korea is entering a paradigm shift in its commitment to change. Profound change has become likely, but questions remain about how far and how smoothly this change will occur. The dynamics of this will depend on two major drivers: the North Korean leadership’s vision for their country’s future and the strategy and efforts that the United States and South Korea pursue in facilitating North Korea’s transformation.

Although Kim Jong-un’s vision for his country is still unclear, his apparent interest in learning about Singapore’s socioeconomic development success reveals early signs of his aspiration for North Korea’s future.

The way that the United States and South Korea coordinate in working with North Korea seems to have worked well so far. In particular, the ‘breakthrough’ approach adopted by Trump in engaging Kim has not only produced a ‘breakthrough’ symbolic outcome but has also formulated a productive platform for the United States, North Korea and South Korea to work together.

To encourage North Korea to do its best in implementing the Trump–Kim agreement, the United States and South Korea should effectively address the three strategic priorities that a communist country considers in making a major policy change: political stability, economic improvement (distinct from economic aid) and national pride. The foundation has already been laid for this endeavour: the impressive success of China and Vietnam, which were impoverished just a few decades ago at the beginning of their reform periods, has had a powerful impact on the thinking of North Korea’s leadership.

Creating a robust platform for all the involved parties to address any emerging concerns and to enhance mutual understanding and trust is vital. Respect, reciprocity and reliability should be the norms in building any partnership with North Korea. If North Korea offers to do something positive, the United States and South Korea should do a bit more in return. Kim Jong-un needs to build on his own confidence and enhance his people’s national pride in this early fragile stage of change. This approach is particularly effective for East Asian nations such as North Korea. To make changes in North Korea more robust, broad-based and predictable, the United States and South Korea should proactively engage the countries that can provide North Korea with inspiring and relevant experiences such as Singapore, China and Vietnam.

In any circumstances, North Korea will be an exciting case of change and transformation in the years to come. Although the risks and challenges remain substantial, it is likely that the world has entered a new era in which a major security threat is averted and a once-closed nation will undergo profound change.

Vu Minh Khuong is Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.



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ASIAN (H)

Investing in care key to boosting economic growth

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Authors: Elizabeth Hill, Marian Baird and Michele Ford, University of Sydney

The need to increase women’s labour market participation and economic security is on the ‘to do’ list of most governments and major global institutions. By 2025, global GDP could increase by 26 per cent — US$28 trillion — if women participated in paid work to the same extent as men.

Women take part in a women-only financial seminar named Kinyu Joshi (Finance Women) in Tokyo, Japan, 4 October 2018 (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato).

But if this goal is achieved, who will look after the children, the elderly, the disabled and ill? Although both women and men participate in care, global estimates show that women assume responsibility for around three-quarters of all unpaid domestic and community labour.

Tensions between women’s participation in paid work and unpaid care work are especially acute in Asia and the Pacific. In this region, women perform more than four times as much unpaid labour as men. Managing this unpaid workload makes it difficult for women to increase participation in paid employment at a level commensurate with their increasing levels of education and training.

Home to over half the world’s population, the Asia Pacific is diverse and changing rapidly, with economic growth delivering new opportunities for women. Hundreds of millions of young rural women have been drawn into factory work, English-speaking women are employed in call centres and back-office processing centres, and highly educated women are engaged by local and global firms in the full range of professional services. This changing employment landscape, alongside other social and economic changes, has significant implications for households and for the care work traditionally performed by women.

Data from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar reveal some of the key points that must be addressed if women’s participation in paid work is to increase. In all four countries women’s labour-force participation remains below men’s, even though it has increased steadily since 2000. High rates of informal employment, common to the region, mean that most women in paid work remain beyond the purview of labour laws and have little or no access to critical social protections like paid maternity leave.

Even when women are formally employed and covered by workplace laws, problems with implementation are pervasive and leave black letter law impotent in the daily lives of many women workers. The gender pay gap, limited access to career progression and associated underrepresentation in senior management roles weaken many women’s attachment to the labour market.

Demand for care is also intensifying. Despite falling fertility rates, care for children remains a pressing issue in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar. Rapidly ageing populations also raise the demand for care services. Between 6 and 10 per cent of the population in all four countries is projected to be over 65 years of age by 2026.

Governments are vital in delivering social services to help households reconcile their work and care responsibilities. Currently most Southeast Asian governments report low public expenditure on such essential care infrastructure as public childcare, aged care services, age or disability support pensions and maternity leave.

Governments are beginning to pay attention to these issues, but Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam still spend less than the regional average on these services. Yet recent International Labour Office calculations show that even low-income countries can afford the cost of social protection for the most vulnerable citizens.

Inadequate government provision of social services infrastructure leaves millions of households across Southeast Asia reliant on low-paid, unregulated and mostly female domestic labour. The unregulated nature of this work leaves many care workers vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. The long hours associated with many of these jobs makes it difficult for these women workers to manage their own care responsibilities. Decent jobs for informal and formal domestic care workers will be essential in making sure that all women are able to reconcile their work and care duties.

Investment in care infrastructure must be part of the workforce participation agenda. Official efforts to improve economic empowerment and security for women requires unpaid care work to be recognised, reduced and redistributed. This will require considerable expenditure on essential care infrastructure and may challenge small and low-income countries in Southeast Asia. But failure to build gender equitable workplace and public care infrastructure will leave global calls for an increase in women’s labour market participation floundering.

Care infrastructure includes legislated workplace policies that allow for family and community care, publicly funded formal care services, and decent work and wages for the care workforce.

While care work is essential to the gender equality equation, it is rarely included in standard prescriptions for increasing women’s economic participation. This is partly because women’s unpaid household labour is not included in GDP, leaving care work invisible to policymakers. But the significant gains to national prosperity and well-being attached to women’s increased economic participation make this an urgent issue.

Workplace and public policy design that promotes recognition and redistribution of care between men and women is essential for gender equality at work and in the home. If women are to take up their rightful place in the region’s workplaces, men will have to step up and take on additional care work. Generating a global understanding that care roles can and should be shared between men and women can act as the first step towards more gender-equal work and care.

Elizabeth Hill is Associate Professor of Political Economy at the University of Sydney.

Marian Baird is Professor of Gender and Employment Relations at the University of Sydney.

Michele Ford is Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Sydney.

This article is abridged from a version that appears in the latest issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly, ‘Investing in Women‘.



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HISPANIC (H

Top Three Downstream Issues in Physician Private Equity Transactions

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Overpayment

We have posted previously in Healthcare Law Today related to physician private equity transactions, commonly called “recapitalizations.” Most of the discussions have been about the “who,” the “why” and the “how” of these transactions.  What we haven’t yet discussed are the issues that may arise following the closing of one of these transactions.  While the impact of the issues generally emerge post-closing, many can be addressed, or at least recognized, at the time the original transaction is negotiated. Following are three material issues that often surface:

1. Rollover Equity

As we’ve discussed in other blogs in Healthcare Law Today the sale of a so-called platform practice generally results in the selling physicians receiving both cash and equity in the recapitalized company (rollover equity).  Buyers demand that selling physicians retain a certain percentage of their sale proceeds in the form of rollover equity in order to ensure that the physicians have strong incentives to help grow the recapitalized business.

This equity has the potential to grow in value and provide the selling physicians with additional profitability from the original transaction so long as the physicians are afforded the opportunity to dispose of the equity. This puts pressure on the terms of the transfer and disposition of this equity. For example, both sides will want to consider the circumstances under which a physician can, or will be required to, sell back his or her equity and the price at which it will be sold. Common buy-sell events include death, disability, leaving the practice through retirement or otherwise, or breaching the operating agreement or a restrictive covenant.  Sales in certain adverse consequences will often result in some sort of reduction in purchase price below the fair market value of the equity; these prices and penalties need to be negotiated carefully.

In addition, well-counseled physicians should be allowed to participate in a subsequent sale of the company by their private equity partner.  Commonly called “tag along” and “drag along” provisions, these terms are negotiated during the original recapitalization transaction.  For example, physicians are generally afforded the right to “tag along” in a sale of equity by their private equity partner.  Note, however, that as purchase price multiples have risen and as the possibility of fund-to-fund sales has increased in certain instances, physicians are being required to roll over, a second time, a certain portion their rollover equity in post-recapitalization sales.  Conversely, private equity sponsors generally have the ability to “drag” their physicians partners along in an equity sale; in this case, care should be taken to ensure that the physicians have the right to participate in the sale on substantially the same terms as the sponsor.

2. Capital Calls and Dilution (Bolt Ons)

Physician recapitalization strategies don’t end with the acquisition of the platform practice; quite to the contrary. These businesses grow through the acquisition of additional practices that are often referred to as “bolt on” acquisitions. Such a growth plan requires capital. Generally, it is expected that a combination of debt and cash flow will provide the capital necessary to buy these bolt on practices.  However, things don’t always go according to plan. In those instances, the equity holders are asked to contribute capital to the recapitalized company in order to provide the funds necessary to grow the business.

Standard provisions in recapitalization documents include terms related to the ability of the governing body of the recapitalized company to issue calls for capital. Well advised physician equity holders will seek preemptive rights that allow them to invest new money as well, so as to avoid dilution, subject to certain exceptions. Preemptive rights are valuable, but they come with a price. Exercising these rights requires the equity holders taking advantage of these rights to pay fair market value for new equity.  Preemptive rights, however, can be both a blessing and a curse. Physician investors don’t always expect that they will need to dip into their own reserves to avoid being diluted, but it happens. Candid discussion of growth plans, capitalization requirements and alternatives is advised during the course of negotiations.

3. Tax Issues 

Depending upon how the original physician practice was treated from a tax perspective, there may be tax consequences upon the later disposition of equity in the recapitalized practice by the original physician owners.  For example, if the practice was a subchapter S corporation for tax purposes, it is often necessary that the physician investors (assuming there is more than one) hold their rollover equity in an equity holding company.  Meaning, the physicians own stock in the equity holding company and the equity holding company owns the rollover equity in the recapitalized practice, that also elects S corporation status. This is done to avoid the recognition of built-in gains on the rollover equity. However, when any of the physician equity holders exits the practice and sells his or her equity in the holding company, a tax will be triggered at that time, and this tax is borne by all physician investors, whether or not they have sold any equity. In that instance, it is necessary that the physician owners structure their arrangement to require any exiting physician investor to pay the taxes incurred by the remaining physician investors so as to avoid an unfair, and unexpected tax result.

Physician recapitalization transactions are complicated and much time and effort is spent on structuring the sale of the practice. However, care should be taken to better appreciate the downstream impact of the terms of the original transaction.

For more information about Foley’s Transactional Health Care Practice, visit Foley.com.



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ASIAN (H)

The Philippines’ dilemma over Chinese capital

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Authors: Aaron Francis Chan and Alvin Camba

Since the end of the commodity boom, Asia’s developing countries must keep up with domestic growth expectations and regional competition by securing foreign direct investment (FDI) and directing it into major infrastructure projects. These development pressures are rising alongside increasingly available Chinese capital, while non-Chinese multinational firms have, relatively speaking, lost their appetites for overseas investment.

Protestors display placards during a rally by leftwing activists outside the Chinese Consulate to protest Beijing's continued reclamation activities in the South China Sea, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, 10 February 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro).

A combination of high political risk and relatively low return deters most from investing in critical job-creating sectors, leaving Asia’s developing nations with few options when Chinese capital comes calling. They must find ways to better harness the opportunities presented by Chinese capital while preparing for the potential risks.

The wealthier members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development are strengthening institutional responses to cope with the flow of Chinese capital overseas. Since the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative, the traditionally open investment regimes of most Western economies are taking on a more protectionist cast.

Australia and New Zealand now judge foreign investment by net benefit assessments, weighing up a project’s contribution to the economy against expectations of technology transfer and potential national security risks. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is receiving renewed attention over fears of technology theft and economic espionage. In the European Union, politicians and bureaucrats are discussing a common foreign investment framework across member states.

The Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines (HHIC-Phil) bankruptcy is emblematic of these wider issues faced by developing economies. When HHIC-Phil declared bankruptcy in January 2019, it triggered the largest corporate default in Philippine history and a slow-burning crisis for the Philippine government over the uncertain future of the firm’s Subic Bay shipyard.

Few details have emerged on the financial state of HHIC-Phil, but the Philippine central bank reassured the country that HHIC-Phil’s debt comprised 0.24 per cent of total gross domestic loans. Its Philippine creditors have already agreed to work on a restructuring plan that will trade existing debt for equity in a new managing entity. But government alarm at the thousands of potential layoffs is prompting conversations about selling the assets to Chinese investors, or even nationalisation.

The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry confirms reports that two Chinese firms — one state-owned — are expressing interest, fanning fears that the country could be selling critical infrastructure to an unfriendly, if not malign, actor. Retired Philippine Vice Admiral Alexander Pama called the bankruptcy ‘a very significant national security issue’. And Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana publicly implied the possibility of nationalisation to keep the shipyard, and its prize location near a deep water port, in Philippine hands.

But instead of leaving the Philippines more vulnerable to Chinese strategic influence, an orderly and transparent sale of HHIC-Phil’s industrial assets that includes only private bidders — Chinese or Western — better serves Philippine interests. It would secure local employment and ensure the long-term economic viability of the country’s shipbuilding industry.

There are important distinctions between types of Chinese capital. Chinese private capital, which mainly comes as FDI or venture capital, is driven mostly by commercial considerations. Chinese state-backed capital, typically channelled through the FDI of major state-owned enterprises, construction contracts or concessional finance, is motivated more by political concerns.

Since the 2013 inauguration of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has ramped up overseas lending through institutions like the China Export-Import Bank (Chexim). Such lending relies on government concessional loans or preferential buyer’s credit to court foreign governments into using Chinese firms for construction contracts on infrastructure projects. The development impact of Chinese capital varies by project and by country. Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port is an infamous case, where Chexim financing for the US$1 billion project led to the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) seizing the port.

Chinese state-backed capital for Philippine ports can generate high levels of debt or create tensions over sovereignty, as seen in the controversy over CHEC’s proposals for port development in Cebu and Davao. But HHIC-Phil is an entirely different case. Any potential buyer would either take on the firm’s existing obligations or share equity with its creditors, depending on the final restructuring plan. This shields Philippine taxpayers from taking on any debt through the resolution process.

Despite Pama’s warning, HHIC-Phil’s shipyard appears valuable mainly for its industrial equipment. It is not, by any objective standard, critical infrastructure like energy or telecommunications.

The buyer would still have to lease the land from the Philippine government, giving the Philippines bargaining power over future operations. These safeguards are possible precisely because a HHIC-Phil sale would welcome Chinese private capital, but not Chinese state-backed capital and its attendant risks.

The Philippine government should harness Chinese private capital inflows to generate employment, transfer knowledge, and improve capacity in key sectors like manufacturing, services, and other commercial sectors. Developing stronger institutional mechanisms to engage with the politically-riskier Chinese state-backed capital is needed in the meantime.

The Philippines is not alone among developing economies in facing acute pressure to protect its national security while competing for the economic opportunities of foreign investment. The open and transparent sale of HHIC-Phil’s industrial assets to all private bidders would allow the Philippine government to capitalise on this opportunity and fulfil its economic and national security goals.

Aaron Francis Chan was previously Assistant Vice President covering Philippine clients at ING Bank N.V., as well as Economic Advisor for the British Embassy in Manila. He holds a MSc in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics.

Alvin Camba is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University. He works on Chinese capital, development and elite competition in Southeast Asia.



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ASIAN (H)

US–China commercial espionage will crush prospects for technology cooperation

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Author: Sourabh Gupta, ICAS

Technology has become a new battlefield in US–China relations. But it could also be an arena for immense cooperative possibility if the framework underpinning two-way technology flows is fair, equitable and reciprocal. There should be no space to secure under-handed advantages via cyber-enabled intellectual property (IP) theft. Fair competition and technology cooperation are two sides of the same coin.

A man types into a keyboard during the Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, 29 July 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Steve Marcus).

In this regard, the course of US–China trade and investment relations in the decade ahead could well hinge upon two events set just hours apart at the turn of November 2018.

On 1 November, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the establishment of a China Initiative within the Department of Justice to combat Chinese economic espionage.

US accusations of China’s state-linked, cyber-enabled economic theft are as long-standing as China’s ‘indigenous innovation’ plans, starting with the 2005 Medium-and-Long Term Science and Technology Development Plan. In the early 2010s, an unprecedented wave of top-dollar outbound investments into firms in the United States and Europe was accompanied by a less-virtuous endeavour to gain unauthorised access to commercially-valuable proprietary information — including trade secrets — in a number of high-value manufacturing sectors.

To put a stop to this theft, former US president Barrack Obama extracted a commitment from President Xi in September 2015 that China would refrain from cyber-enabled IP theft for commercial advantage.

Judging that the 2015 commitment was not being honoured, Sessions and his successors have — since 1 November 2018 — brought a string of trade-secret theft cases against Chinese state-linked and private actors. The most recent case concerns Huawei’s alleged conspiracy to steal T-Mobile USA’s intellectual property.

Mere hours before Sessions announced the China Initiative, Donald Trump placed a call to Xi Jinping after a months-long hiatus, kicking-off the most productive phase of negotiations since US­–China trade tensions erupted in March 2018.

China wants to perpetuate a symbiotic high-technology trade and investment relationship with the United States. The dynamism of China’s domestic innovation system is based in large part on US-owned core technologies. That Washington’s foreign acquisitions and export control rules do not exclude Chinese innovators from acquiring these technologies abroad or working them at home is the key driver of President Xi’s readiness to level China’s tilted foreign investment regime and facilitate fair and reciprocal access for US businesses in the 90-day trade truce talks.

Both sides formally continue to treat these two tracks — law enforcement and negotiation — separately.

While this separation may be true as a matter of form, the two are intertwined. The indictments, and targeted embargoes imposed subsequently, against Chinese technology companies under the China Initiative could well cancel out the technology-sharing privileges that flow from a successful 90-day truce talks agreement. Effectively, that which Donald Trump allows on one hand, his Justice Department could just as easily take away with the other (even if Trump nominally enjoys the legal authority to override the Department).

In early November 2018, the US Justice Department charged Fujian Jinhua, a state-owned memory chip manufacturer and prospective national champion, with trade-secrets theft. The Commerce Department simultaneously imposed an embargo on US sales of software components to the company. Lacking access to critical imports, the company stands today on the brink of a production shut-down. Although latest reports suggest that a bilaterally negotiated effort may rehabilitate Fujian Jinhua, the threatened crippling of the company foreshadows the intertwining of negotiation and law enforcement that will characterise US–China high-technology interactions in the years ahead.

The Fujian Jinhua example is also a cautionary tale of the blowback that Chinese businesses could suffer from suspicions — and aspersions — of illicit state-enabled commercial gain. The less China resorts to such cyber-linked tactics and the more liberal and reciprocal its foreign investment and mergers and acquisitions regime become, the more likely that US administrations will continue to draw their ‘national security’ perimeter narrowly and facilitate the two-way intercourse in these civilian cutting-edge and foundational technologies.

The US law enforcement-on-steroids strategy against China’s technology theft is not without its risks.

A jury in 2017 dismissed T-Mobile USA’s allegation in the aforementioned Huawei civil case that the Chinese company’s actions were ‘wilful and malicious’. Now, the Justice Department intends to make those charges stick in a criminal case where the required burden of evidence is higher.

As late as spring 2018, the US State Department — the agency monitoring Beijing’s compliance with the 2015 Obama–Xi cyber commitments — had not cited any specific violation. With the trade war now underway, the Justice Department slaps a new Chinese trade theft case every other day, in turn inviting charges of politicisation. It is not sufficient to conclude that because players ‘associated’ were involved that the Chinese government too was involved; state intent and action must be shown.

It is also somewhat hypocritical for Washington to sermonise against state-linked actions intended to produce a commercial gain at a time when the full weight of the government has been thrown behind an orchestrated, and failing, campaign to skew private markets by discouraging whole countries — not just companies — from embracing Huawei’s 5G telecoms equipment.

At the end of the day, the bottom line is immutable: China’s state-linked cyber espionage for commercial gain must absolutely end. A rupture in the US–China trade, investment and IP relationship is too dear a price to pay for its continuance.

Sourabh Gupta is Senior Fellow at the Institute for China–America Studies in Washington, DC.



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ASIAN (H)

Investing in women in Asia

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Author: Editorial Board, ANU

East Asia’s economic rise was initially built largely on the back of a female labour force. Both the more prosperous countries in Northeast Asia and the developing countries in Southeast Asia need to once again unleash and engage the female labour force to sustain prosperity and development.

Women practice Shivkalin Yudha Kala, a Maharashtrian martial art, on the eve of International Women's Day at a ground on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, 7 March 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas).

The rapid rise of East Asia lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and economic catch up was relatively equal and inclusive — initially even for women as it drew women out of households and agriculture, into the paid workforce. The take-off point for many countries in their path to modernisation and industrialisation was associated with opening up to trade and investment and specialising in their comparative advantage: industries that used lots of low-skilled labour. Women filled factories, starting from Japan to fuel its post war growth, and many countries in East Asia emulated its growth model. Bangladesh is among the latest.

Women may have laid some of the foundations for industrialisation and urbanisation in East Asia, but they have not shared equally in all its benefits as industrialisation has progressed. Gender-wage gaps remain significant and the burdens of household care still largely fall upon women. The consequences are many. Fertility has declined dramatically, for example, as women opt out of marriage for unencumbered participation in the workforce.

Investing in women is both morally the right thing to do to fix this inequality and is a policy choice critical for delivering more inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. It’s a challenge that Southeast Asian economies share with advanced market economies, despite the region’s impressive achievement of above-average growth rates in a global context.

As in other parts of the world, gender gaps in education are closing and the pool of female talent is growing, yet women face significant barriers to participating in the economy, particularly in carrying the double burden of work and care. Women in Southeast Asia are over-represented in vulnerable, informal and insecure work, restricting them and their communities from the opportunities and benefits of decent work.

In Northeast Asia and the more advanced economies in the region, female labour force participation rates and fertility rates are low compared to countries with similar levels of income elsewhere in the world. Women make the choice between work and having children and a larger proportion choose work and opt out of marriage and having children. Nor do men get the support in the workplace necessary to take on some of the child raising load.

This week we launch the latest issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly on the economic and social questions that affect gender equality and economic growth in East Asia.

With rising expectations for change, the gender moment is here. High-level political commitments, scandals and media interest across the world and the region are spurring action, with governments, business and communities searching for social and economic solutions that benefit women and men. But this momentum needs to be harnessed for interventions that work.

The essays in EAFQ suggests research and evidence-based solutions such as the expansion of child care programs, changes that make it easier for men to share in household care and institutional changes that facilitate women’s participation at all levels in the work place.

There will also be consequences for reproduction rates, since without different expectations of both sexes in the workplace, and more equal contributions by men and women at home, it is likely that fertility rates in East Asia will remain very low.

As Mary Brinton explains in this week’s lead essay, ‘Japan was the first in the region to experience birth rates below population-replacement level, dipping below two children per woman in the late 1970s’.

South Korea now has the lowest fertility rate in the OECD at only 1.32 children per woman. Singapore and Taiwan have even lower fertility rates. China’s fertility rate at around 1.6 is low for a country that is yet to reach incomes comparable to its high-income Asian neighbours, and the birth rate dropped significantly last year — even after the relaxing of the one-child policy.

A low fertility rate means a shrinking population without large-scale immigration, something to which few Asian countries have committed. A shrinking population isn’t a problem in itself but ageing societies present major social, economic and political challenges. Japan’s working age population peaked in the late 1990s and its total population peaked roughly 10 years ago. The share of the old age population is increasingly rapidly in Japan. China’s working age population has peaked and its total population is projected to start to shrink in a decade’s time. Japan, South Korea and others at least face the challenges of an ageing society when they’re already rich.

Brinton explains that Japan and South Korea’s ‘demographic crises have brought into sharp relief the difficulties that married women face in trying to manage responsibilities in the workplace and at home. Gender inequality is extremely high in both of these spheres in the two countries.’ Societies where there is more gender equality in the workplace and in the household tend to have higher fertility rates and female labour force participation. Japanese or Korean married women on average do 80 to 90 per cent of housework and childcare. Flexible work arrangements for women help but real change won’t occur until it becomes the social norm for men to share equally in the housework and childcare.

Fertility rates in many countries remain lower than replacement. But with fewer workers supporting the growing population of elderly, it makes little sense economically, socially or morally to keep barriers in place that constrain the equal participation of women in the workforce.

The solutions to the issue of gender equality that might work require urgent but patient and comprehensive economic, institutional and social change based on evidence and a growing body of research that supports it. The effect of success will be profound: on fairness and on sustaining prosperity.

The Asian Review essays in the EAFQ includes an analysis of India’s upcoming elections and a thought-provoking essay on the fracture that digital technologies have opened in the governance of global commerce.

The EAF Editorial Board is located in the Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University.



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