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Legal market overview
Panama has enjoyed a remarkable economic boom over the past decade. Even in 2009, during the depths of the global recession, annual GDP growth refused to dip below 4%, and for the past few years it has been fluctuating between an impressive 8% and 10%. The country has successfully built on its foundation as a transport hub, thanks largely to its geographic location and of course the presence of the interoceanic canal, but also to the growth of its national airline, Copa Airlines. International businesses are increasingly viewing the country as a hub for the wider region, and this has been coupled with a boom in real estate, hospitality and tourism. Major government-led infrastructure projects, such as the expansion of the canal and the development of the Panama City Metro, have also helped spur on much of the activity in the country.
This has, of course, been to the significant benefit of the country’s leading law firms, such as full-service firms Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee, Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega, Galindo, Arias & López and Morgan & Morgan. Firms in the past saw much of their business revolve around ship registrations and financings, as well as Panama’s market for offshore corporate and structuring work; now they offer a broad selection of (primarily) US-educated lawyers with a well-tuned appreciation for what their international clients require from major financings and project financings, as well as cross-border M&A, and real estate construction and development projects. It has not all been plain sailing; most lawyers report that one of the staples of their practices – offshore work – is facing increased pressure from crackdowns in the US, the EU and elsewhere. Fortunately, increased activity in other areas appears to have more than made up for shortfalls on this front.
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The November 2015 issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article by SyCipLaw partner Hiyasmin H. Lapitan entitled “Foreign reinsurers and brokers.”
The November 2015 issue of the Asian Legal Business (ALB) Asia Edition includes an article by Ranajit Dam on the Philippine Competition Law entitled “Cartel Crackdown.” SyCipLaw partner Arlene M. Maneja was interviewed for the article, which is found on pages 46-47.
The October 2015 issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article by SyCipLaw partner Maria Jennifer Z. Barreto entitled “Mandatory tender offers.”
The Philippines section of The International Capital Markets Review 5th Edition contains an introduction to The Securities Regulation Code; The Securities and Exchange Commission; self-regulatory organizations, exchanges, clearing agencies and depositories; recent jurisprudence; developments affecting debt and equity offerings; developments affecting derivatives, securitizations and other structured products; cases and dispute settlement; relevant tax and insolvency law; other relevant laws and regulations; other strategic considerations; and outlook and conclusions, among others. The section was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Maria Teresa D. Mercado-Ferrer, senior associate Joan Mae S. To, and associate Earla Kahlila Mikhaila C. Langit.
The first set of commissioners to constitute the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has just been appointed. The PCC, a five member body created by the Philippine Competition Act (passed into law in July 21, 2015), is mandated to implement the national competition policy. Vested with a broad range of powers, it can conduct administrative inquiries, institute civil or criminal proceedings before the courts, and review proposed mergers and acquisitions.
The Philippine section of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Trade Marks 2015 was contributed by SyCipLaw partners Enrique T. Manuel and Vida M. Panganiban-Alindogan. Mr. Manuel heads the firm’s Intellectual Property department. The chapter includes information on relevant authorities and legislation, trade mark application, absolute and relative grounds for refusal, opposition, registration and registrable transactions, revocation, invalidity, trade mark enforcement, defenses to infringement, relief, appeal, border control measures, other related rights, domain names, and current developments.
SyCipLaw acted as counsel to the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) in relation to its Php24 Billion project financing Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1). Around Php8.7 Billion of the total loan amount is allotted to the rehabilitation of the existing LRT1 system and Php15.3 Billion to the 11.7 km extension of LRT1 to Bacoor, Cavite.
The December 2015 issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article entitled “Foreign in personam summonses.” The article was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Ramon G. Songco and associate Jenny Jean B. Domino.
The October 2015 edition of the Asian Legal Business (ALB) Asia Edition includes a regional update article entitled “Right-of-Way Issues Delay Vital Infrastructure Projects” by SyCipLaw partner Vicente D. Gerochi IV and associate Arvin Kristopher A. Razon. The article is found on page 17.
The November 2015 edition of the Asian Insurance Review includes a spotlight on the Philippines article entitled “Philippine local standards made applicable to non-resident foreign reinsurers” by SyCipLaw partner Hiyasmin H. Lapitan.
Benefits-Plaza offers an Employee Benefits platform for administration and communication relating to insurable employment conditions. By using this platform, insurers and brokers achieve efficiency, time and cost savings. Regardless of where the insured schemes are hosted, all arrangements can be managed in the platform, such as all types of pension schemes, group disability, absenteeism, accidents and medical expenses. Benefits-Plaza has years of experience and built up a strong position with leading clients, including Avéro Achmea, Allianz, Aegon, Delta Lloyd and Zwitserleven.- AKD
Employers ought not to rely on the rules of intestate succession but instead prepare a will. The law firm GRP Rainer has extensive experience in business succession planning.
Partner Emma Pitcher is quoted in World Intellectual Property Review’s (WIPR) feature about the “Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact Findings” report released by the OECD and the European Union Intellectual Property Office.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the Bundeskartellamt, has brought a close to the so-called “Schienenfall” (rail case) and imposed a fine amounting to millions of euros on a rail company for illegal price-fixing agreements.
The new regulation concerning European Union trade marks is set to come into force on March 23, 2016. What has hitherto been known as a Community trade mark will then become a European Union trade mark.
Kinanis Opens New Office in Shanghai China
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the communications network linking physical objects and allowing them to exchange information without the need for human intervention. It is expected that many new businesses will be set up to create and use IoT technology, introducing new companies to the telecommunications industry, alongside the many and varied existing participants.
Chambers & Partners has published the latest edition of its guide this month, and we are pleased to announce that Karanović & Nikolić has once again been included in its list of the best legal practices in the world.
RSPP and VEGAS LEX have discussed the consequences of the planned compulsory licensing of pharmaceuticals in the context of growing competition, antitrust regulation and other restrictions in the regulation of intellectual property rights at a roundtable with the participation of FAS Russia.
In a recent statement to the press, the Slovenian Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, labelled the Serbian spas as great tourism potentials and 'undiscovered gems', before continuing to declare Slovenian interest for investing in them. According to him, this investment would not be purely financial, as it would also include the investment of Slovenian industry know-how in the process of developing and upgrading the spa offer in Serbia, as a response to emerging health trends and increasing spa vacation demands.