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Asia expansion made easier with ‘how-to’ guides
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Asia expansion made easier with ‘how-to’ guides

Mukund Narayanamurti, Asialink Business

As the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement nears ratification, a government-backed centre at the University of Melbourne has launched a series of guides to assist law firms wanting to expand to Asia.

Asialink Business CEO Mukund Narayanamurti (pictured) said new opportunities are emerging for law firms in Asia as demand for high-quality, professional legal services grow and more free trade agreements are established.

“The China-Australia free trade agreement [ChAFTA – which is expected to be ratified soon] will benefit Australian law firms by permitting them to be the first foreign entrants that are able to establish commercial associations with Chinese law firms in China,” Mr Narayanamurti said.

“Specifically, this will occur in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone [SFTZ]: Australian firms will be allowed to offer Australian, Chinese and international legal services through a commercial presence, without restrictions on the location of clients."

Similarly, the free trade agreement with Korea (KAFTA), which entered into force in 2014, will give Australian law firms access to Korea’s legal consulting market for the first time.

“Within two years of KAFTA coming into force, Australian law firms will be permitted to enter into cooperative agreements with Korean law firms, and within five years, establish joint ventures and hire local lawyers,” Mr Narayanamurti said.

The Federal Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business, Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, launched the Asialink Business Country Starter Packs at a business forum in Melbourne last week.

Ms O’Dwyer said the coalition government recognises that many Australian businesses are actively seeking help to overcome challenges they face to do business in Asia and is confident the guides will be of assistance.

The Country Starter Packs are comprehensive ‘how-to’ guides that include practical case studies, up-to-date market insights and first-hand examples for businesses in all sectors of the economy, including the legal sector.

“The Country Starter Packs can provide Australian law firms with a highly practical and accessible tool for understanding Asian markets," Mr Narayanamurti said.

Initially Asialink Business has launched guides for China, Indonesia, Korea and Thailand that provide practical tips and information on how to set up a business, build relationships, understand local legal systems and culture, and they are available in hard and soft copy formats and as a shareable app.

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