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On August 22 2013, the Ministry of Commerce announced that the State Council of China had approved the establishment of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Area (SHFTA) with the intention of formally establishing the area by the end of September 2013. The SHFTA will create potential investment opportunities for foreign investors across industry sectors in China. International companies should monitor its evolution and consider taking advantage of favourable investment conditions as they arise.
Earlier this week the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee released a discussion paper, Crowd Sourced Equity Funding.
Australia has a new federal Government, but we may yet face another year or so of uncertainty in the carbon arena as the Coalition Government seeks to deliver on its carbon policy commitments. One of the Coalition Government's key election promises is the abolition of the outgoing Labor Government's Carbon Pricing Mechanism (CPM) by 1 July 2014 or sooner if possible. The Coalition intends to replace the CPM with its 'Direct Action Plan'.
Recent enforcement activity by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has highlighted the risks to electricity market participants who seek to manipulate energy markets for financial gain.
Last week, the Queensland Government took the first steps in its overhaul of building regulation by passing legislation to establish a new governance framework for the construction industry .
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has issued for consultation the first of three tranches of draft Guidelines for the new Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). This tranche provides guidance on APPs 1 to 5, some key concepts in the APPs and permitted health situations and permitted general situations.
Two cases in the UK and China have called into question the certainty of alternative dispute resolution outcomes for international traders. Both judgements highlight the impact varying legal frameworks have on dispute resolution mechanisms within the jurisdictions of Australia's trading partners.
The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) has recently been passed and, unless proclaimed earlier, its main provisions will commence on 1 July 2014. The Act will significantly change the existing governance and financial framework for around 195 Commonwealth entities and the approximately 300,000 individuals that work for them.
The government has released a discussion paper concerning the employee share scheme administrative and tax arrangements for start-up companies. This is the first major tax policy announcement for the ESS since the 2009 reforms and reflects the government's commitment to growing a robust start-up sector through a review of the regulatory regime.
A recent decision in the Victorian Supreme Court calls into question the enforceability of dispute resolution clauses in commercial contracts. The case serves as a warning to businesses when relying on the clause in future.
The government's formal response to the recommendations contained in the review of the Franchising Code of Conduct (Wein Report) confirmed that it, unconditionally, in part or in principle, accepts the vast majority of the recommended changes to the Code.
On 19 July 2013 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development released its much anticipated Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. The BEPS Action Plan sets out the actions required to counteract the methods of base erosion and profit shifting used by multinational companies, initially identified in its February 2013 report Addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.
On 30 June 2012, the 11th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress issued a new law, the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People's Republic of China. Effective from 1 July 2013, the law is a response to the drastic increase in personnel entering and exiting the country, and will aim to improve the enforcement of related administrative requirements.
The Australian Taxation Office has issued its annual compliance program, 'Compliance in focus 2013-14', setting out the areas it will focus on in its investigations and reviews throughout the coming year. The compliance program can help you determine the likelihood of being subject to scrutiny by the Australian Taxation Office.
ASIC has announced that this reporting season it will appraise the quality of analysis and information in operating and financial reviews. This is unsurprising given the regulator's increased emphasis over the past 12 months on improving the usefulness of OFRs to investors, which culminated in its March 2013 release of ASIC Regulatory Guide 247 Effective disclosure in an operating and financial review.
In a recent decision concerning the collapsed Great Southern Group, the New South Wales Court of Appeal has provided further guidance in relation to the operation of section 6 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1946. While the court's decision is useful for insurers and lawyers, section 6 remains problematic and ripe for change.
On 20 June 2013, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued Implementing Measures for Administrative License for Labour Dispatch to standardise and formalise the labour dispatch licensing regime in China. The measures came into effect on 1 July 2013 following a discussion draft issued on 19 May 2013.
The recently-passed Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) will significantly change the existing governance and financial framework for around 195 Commonwealth entities and the approximately 300,000 individuals who work for them. Unless proclaimed earlier, its main provisions will commence on 1 July 2014.
On 27 June 2013, Justice Brereton of the Supreme Court of New South Wales handed down his decision in the matter of Maiden Civil (P&E) Pty Ltd; Richard Albarran and Blair Alexander Pleash as receivers and managers of Maiden Civil (P&E) Pty Ltd & Ors v Queensland Excavation Services Pty Ltd & Ors. This is the first Australian case to give substantial consideration to the priority of competing security interests under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009. The decision is a seminal one for insolvency practitioners and financiers, clarifying key provisions and rules under the PPSA.
Car parks located in inner city Melbourne currently subject to a levy under the Congestion Levy Act 2005 (VIC) will from 1 January 2013 be subject to a higher levy which will apply to a greater number of car spaces.