On December 4th/2019 over 20 participants followed our invitation to join the 3rd German-Malaysian Roundtable (GMRT) in Hamburg. Again, the venues of Rödl+Partner formed a great surrounding for this event.
This time, ASEAN as a whole and especially the role of Malaysia as a hub and gateway to the ASEAN market stood in focus of presentations and discussions. The Southeast Asian community ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) is becoming increasingly important for European companies as a regional alternative or an addition to China and India. ASEAN has now concluded several free trade agreements, including with China and India. The EU is currently negotiating bilateral agreements with individual member states.
Malaysia set the course for international economic relations early on and in 1967 was one of the 6 ASEAN founding members. Malaysia has also double taxation agreements in more than 70 countries and with Germany since 1979. Since 1995 Malaysia has also been a member of the WTO. Due to the favorable working conditions and the advantageous geographical location, Malaysia established itself as an ideal production location, i.a. in ship technology with approx. 120 shipyards or the electrical industry, in which Malaysia is the world leader in microchip and solar cell production. The welcome words of our host, Mr. Maik Wiesner of Rödl & Partner dealt with a legal emergency case when expanding abroad: What happens in a dispute and which location of jurisdiction to choose? Protection for advance payments, Swiss rules, arbitration clauses; in short how to find the individual well-being solution.
Niels Wolters from MIDA followed with a lecture on Malaysia as a gateway to Southeast Asia for German companies. Germany has been the first business partner for Malaysia since the 19th century and Germany is, from all European countries, the largest investor and most important trading partner for Malaysia. A practical case followed by Lars Büßinger, sales and application manager at HPMT Deutschland GmbH, who gave us insights into the daily business of a Malaysian company in Germany. HPMT produces cutting tools in Malaysia, for which Germany is the largest sales market worldwide. These are e.g. used in medical technology, aviation industry and automotive. He spoke about intercultural challenges for solutions to shorten the response time in corporate communication, logistics and that advertising and warehouse availability are linked. Markus Schlüter, attorney at Rödl & Partner, afterwards spoke about trade in services in Malaysia and ASEAN - Current developments in AEC and EU free trade agreements. The participants learned about investment agreements, e.g. Indonesia versus Malaysia and various agreements that have been implemented to different degrees.
Gerrit Stroomann, Managing Director of Expandeers global network in Hamburg and Managing Partner of Expandeers (Southeast Asia) in Kuala Lumpur concluded with pointing out the potential of Malaysia and the ASEAN countries for German SMEs and an outlook of what to expect in the future.The event ended with in-depth discussions and networking with very tasty catering of Rödl + Partner. We would like to thank all sponsors and participants, as well as the speakers Mr. Nils Wolters, Markus Schlüter, Gerrit Stroomann, Lars Büßinger and our partners OAV, MIDA, MATRADE, IHK Malaysia and our host, Rödl Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH, for their support and good cooperation.