South Korea

2014 Trade and Investment Profile


One of the most dynamic countries in the world, South Korea has emerged from a chaotic history, and has rightfully ascended the ladder to become a world power. Bordering North Korea in the south and separated from China and Japan by the Sea of Japan, Yellow Sea and Korea Strait, South Korea is an active participant in what is one of Asia’s most historically volatile areas.

The country has shown remarkable resilience by shuttering its stricken past to become one of Asia’s most stable democracies. Its citizens enjoy one of the highest levels of political freedom and social rights – a stark contrast to the rigid and totalitarian regime of its neighbor North Korea. South Korea’s transition from poverty to riches is one of modern civilization’s most inspirational stories.

The economic ascent over the past four decades, thanks mainly to rapid industrialisation and the government’s pro-business policies, has inspired many less-developed countries around the world to adopt South Korea’s model of growth that enabled Korea to emerge as the third largest economy in Asia and to be counted among the “Asian Tigers” such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan.

The small, open economy of just 50 million people managed to build some of the most coveted global brands, emerging as the twelfth largest economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of over $20,000.  South Korea also enjoys the distinction of having clocked five consecutive decades of growth above 5%.

Following the lead of Japan, the first Asian economy to become fully industrialized, South Korea began making slow, but steady steps forward. Industry accounts for 40% of the economy’s GDP, while services contribute nearly 58% and agriculture a minuscule 3%. From having a GDP per capita income comparable to some of the impoverished Asian and African nations in the 1960s, South Korea leapfrogged to enter the trillion dollar club of global economies in 2004. The export-oriented economy’s dream run was interrupted briefly by the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 and the global financial crisis of 2008-09.

However, Koreans have also proved themselves to be resilient in the face of adversity both during the Asian financial crisis and the global financial crisis. The economy’s open financial system made it particularly vulnerable to the churn in the global markets, yet the recovery was equally commendable as the country expanded by 6% in 2010.

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Disclaimer: The information and materials contained in this document have been prepared for information purposes only and are general in nature. The information contained in this document is based on material compiled from data considered to be reliable at the time of publication. However information and opinions expressed in this document should not be construed as final consideration for any business and investment decision making. Sarmat Research Partners Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any losses whether direct or indirect as a result of using this information.


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Singapore

2014 Trade and Investment Profile


Situated on the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, this multi-cultural city with lights, pubs and money also charms tourists with its corners of ancient temples, slivers of history and imposing colonialism. Known for its clinical neatness and stringent rules, the Republic of Singapore is a haven for tourists and business people alike.

More than a century of serving the commercial interests of its coloniser, the British Empire transformed the little island into a bustling port and a key trading entrepot in South East Asia.  Shipyards, markets, churches and other infrastructure changing the sleepy seaport into a commercial city.

Since Singapore separated from the Malaysian Federation in 1965 rapid modernisation and industrialisation has given rise to this island-nation’s highly successful free-market economy which boasts the highest per-capita GDP in South East Asia and the world’s No: 2 ranking in global competitiveness.

For a country which originally made its name as a trade entrepot, exports are crucial to its growth. Thanks to the investor-friendly and export-oriented policies adopted by the government after Singapore’s independence, growth averaged 8% per annum between 1960 and 1999. The country’s geographic location also helped Singapore emerge as the one of the busiest ports in the world, giving the likes of Rotterdam and Hong Kong a run for their money. The complete lack of natural resources such as energy and food prompted Singapore to focus on its export-import sector. The significant feature of the country’s exports is its re-exports wherein the firms and industries operating in the country import raw materials and processes them before re-exporting.

As the economy expanded, the demand for more value-added services also grew. Singapore has emerged as the fourth-largest offshore financial center in the world, thanks to the open, welcoming investment culture, low taxes, and the ease of setting up a business which attracted multinational banks and financial institutions in droves.

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Disclaimer: The information and materials contained in this document have been prepared for information purposes only and are general in nature. The information contained in this document is based on material compiled from data considered to be reliable at the time of publication. However information and opinions expressed in this document should not be construed as final consideration for any business and investment decision making. Sarmat Research Partners Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any losses whether direct or indirect as a result of using this information.


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Papua New Guinea

2014 Trade and Investment Profile


Formally, the Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) welcomes foreign investment and on paper, the country has a liberal investment regime. In practice, reality is more complicated, PNG is rich in gold, oil, gas, copper, silver, and timber, and is home to abundant fisheries. The government has recently placed a priority on the downstream processing of these assets to drive economic growth. Strong macroeconomic management, until recently, had created the longest uninterrupted period of economic growth since the country’s independence in 1975.

Large investments to date have been concentrated in the minerals and petroleum sectors. While Exxon Mobil PNG’s US$19 billion PNG liquefied natural gas (PNG LNG) investment has been the most notable, other investments in communications, construction, and real estate, for example, have given significant impetus and created spillovers into other sectors. These investments have supported growth in formal employment, creating shortages of skilled labor.

The government supports developments in the tourism sector, and believes that the country has huge untapped potential in this area. The government gives preference to foreign investment proposals to develop renewable resources including forests, fisheries, and agricultural commodities.

The PNG government has created additional opportunities for PNG business owners and to protect certain industries from foreign investment. PNG’s largest taxpaying company, Ok Tedi Mining was expropriated in 2014 to remove foreign leadership and ensure that assets were directly benefiting the people of PNG.

Challenges to investment include weak enforcement of contracts, inconsistent government policies, corruption, crime, inadequate infrastructure (including unreliable power), underdeveloped private markets, and extremely high commodity and internet costs. Recruitment and retention of skilled workers is also an impediment to doing business in PNG.

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Disclaimer: The information and materials contained in this document have been prepared for information purposes only and are general in nature. The information contained in this document is based on material compiled from data considered to be reliable at the time of publication. However information and opinions expressed in this document should not be construed as final consideration for any business and investment decision making. Sarmat Research Partners Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any losses whether direct or indirect as a result of using this information.


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Philippines

2014 Trade and Investment Profile


The Philippines is among the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia, with upgrades to sovereign investment ratings confirming improvements in the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals. The Government has defined its development objectives as driving rapid but inclusive economic growth, accelerating employment on a massive scale, and reducing poverty.

The economy has weathered global economic and financial downturns better than its regional peers due to minimal exposure to troubled international securities, lower dependence on exports, relatively resilient domestic consumption, large remittances from four- to five-million overseas Filipino workers, and a rapidly expanding business process outsourcing industry.

Long term challenges include reforming governance and the judicial system, building infrastructure, improving regulatory predictability, and the ease of doing business, attracting higher levels of local and foreign investments.

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Disclaimer: The information and materials contained in this document have been prepared for information purposes only and are general in nature. The information contained in this document is based on material compiled from data considered to be reliable at the time of publication. However information and opinions expressed in this document should not be construed as final consideration for any business and investment decision making. Sarmat Research Partners Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any losses whether direct or indirect as a result of using this information.


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Pakistan

2014 Trade and Investment Profile


Pakistan has important strategic endowments and development potential. The country is located at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, China and the Middle East and is thus at the fulcrum of a regional market with a vast population, large and diverse resources, and untapped potential for trade. The increasing proportion of Pakistan’s working-age population provides the country with a potential demographic dividend but also with the critical challenge to provide adequate services and increase employment.

Pakistan faces significant economic, governance and security challenges to achieve durable development outcomes. The persistence of conflict in the border areas and security challenges throughout the country is a reality that affects all aspects of life in Pakistan and impedes development. A range of governance and business environment indicators suggest that deep improvements in governance are needed to unleash Pakistan’s growth potential.

Helped by cheap international oil prices and steady implementation of its reforms program, the economy has showed resilience. Despite political uncertainty in 2014 and the September 2014 floods in Punjab that affected agricultural crops, macroeconomic indicators have improved during 2015.

Pakistan’s economic growth is showing signs of sustained recovery despite persistent energy constraints. Growth is attributed to performance in agriculture (cotton, wheat and rice) and services, boosted by road transportation, the telecom industry, finance and insurance.

Growth of large-scale manufacturing was positive but below last year and arising from strong performance of pharmaceuticals, electronics, automobiles, iron and steel. Nevertheless energy constraints and weak external demand continue to pose challenge for this sector.

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Disclaimer: The information and materials contained in this document have been prepared for information purposes only and are general in nature. The information contained in this document is based on material compiled from data considered to be reliable at the time of publication. However information and opinions expressed in this document should not be construed as final consideration for any business and investment decision making. Sarmat Research Partners Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any losses whether direct or indirect as a result of using this information.


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