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Businesses hope for more Korean investments in Singapore, ASEAN companies
BUSAN, South Korea: The inaugural ASEAN-ROK Business Council Meeting was held in Busan, South Korea on Wednesday (Dec 10) with the aim of boosting co-operation between the private sectors, ASEAN and South Korea. Singapore business representatives at the event said they hope to attract more South Korean businesses to invest in Singapore and ASEAN companies. Said Mr Lawrence Leow, honorary treasurer of the Singapore Business Federation: "For us, what we want is to be able to attract the higher value partners from Korea." He also hopes to see more joint ventures between Singapore and South Korean companies. Some 70 representatives from business and economic organisations attended the meeting, discussing how Korea can help elevate the knowledge of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), through methods such as technology transfer. The meeting concluded with the ASEAN-ROK Business Council pledging to develop research programmes and explore ways to utilise the ASEAN-Korea FTA to strengthen the growth of SMEs. The next meeting will likely be hosted by 2015 ASEAN Chair Malaysia. The meeting was held in association with the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other ASEAN leaders will meet South Korean President Park Geun-hye. - CNA/ek

Source taken from: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/businesses-hope-for-more/1522828.html
Singapore is country with most SME-friendly government
SINGAPORE: The Republic has a government that is the world's friendliest in the eyes of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), according to a report by two global accounting bodies. This is due to the high level of support provided to SMEs, particularly in the area of providing grants and tax benefits for training purposes, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) said in their Global SME Performance Review for 2013/1014. Companies surveyed in the report also ranked Singapore highly in terms of availability of capital, but the Republic scored relatively poorly in terms of profitable opportunities. Besides Singapore, the two other countries that ranked highly in terms of government support were the United Arab Emirates and the UK. Ms Leong Soo Yee, the head of ACCA Singapore, said SMEs' access to finance in Singapore has improved over the years. "Of particular significance are the various financial and fiscal incentives provided by the government to help SMEs enhance their productivity, lower their operating costs and develop plans for internationalisation," she said. According to ACCA and IMA, SMEs around the world have become more confident about prospects in the 12 months to mid-2014, after lagging behind the broader economy in 2012 and early 2013. - CNA/cy

Source taken from: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore-is-country-with/1452392.html
Japan Prepares Stimulus After Unexpectedly Tumbling to Recession
Japan signaled it will pull together a stimulus program to shore up the world’s third-largest economy after it slumped into a fourth recession since 2008. Economy Minister Akira Amari told reporters in Tokyo today that there’s a high chance of a package being needed. Etsuro Honda, an adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said that a 3 trillion yen ($26 billion) program was appropriate and should go to childcare and other measures to directly help households. Abe returned to Japan today from attending a Group of 20 summit in Australia where leaders pledged to take steps to boost global growth. Hours before his arrival, a government report showed gross domestic product shrank a second straight quarter in July-to-September as consumers and companies struggled to cope with the lingering hit of a sales-tax rise.

Source taken from : http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-17/japan-prepares-stimulus-after-unexpectedly-tumbling-to-recession.html
China and Australia sign free-trade deal
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — China and Australia have signed a preliminary deal after almost a decade of free-trade negotiations that will give Australia's service industry unsurpassed access to the Chinese market and Australian agriculture advantages over competitors from the United States, Canada and the European Union. Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing Monday by Australian and Chinese trade ministers of a declaration of intent which officially concluded negotiations that began in 2005. Xi earlier told Australia's Parliament that China was committed to peaceful development and resolution of territorial disputes. Trade Minister Andrew Robb says the pact would be signed next year and take effect as early as March if it is endorsed by the Australian Parliament.

Source taken from http://news.yahoo.com/china-australia-sign-free-trade-deal-075731652--finance.html
Govt Announces Increase in Baby Bonus and Paternity Leave
Amid concerns of a fast-aging population, low fertility rates (just 1.2 in 2011) and an influx of foreign labour, the Singapore government has recently unveiled a set of initiatives to encourage couples to get married and have more children. Chief among these include an increase in a baby cash bonus - up $2,000 to $6,000 for the first two births, and a similar increase to $8,000 for the next two births. Another perk is the creation of a $3,000 CPF Medisave account for each Singaporean baby, while there's also good news for would-be fathers: the legislation of a one-week paternity leave. This enhanced marriage and parenthood package was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean ahead of the Punggol East by-election on 26 January 2013.