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INDIA: New Indian Codes for Criminal Law and Procedure to Come into Force on 1st July 2024


New Indian Codes for Criminal Law and Procedure to Come into Force on 1st July 2024


The Indian government now chose 1st July 2024 as the date on which the three new Indian codes on criminal law (Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023), law of criminal procedure (Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023), and on evidence (Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023) shall come into force.

Some of the new rules on criminal procedure now include rendering forensic investigation mandatory for all crimes punishable with seven years of imprisonment or more. If there is no prospect of apprehending a suspect in the near future, a criminal trial can also be held in absence.

Evidence now also explicitly includes digital and other electronic records, and oral evidence may also be given electronically. Further, in a joint trial against several suspects for the same offence, the confession of one suspect will be treated as a confession against all. It is clarified that this also applies if the other suspect(s) are absent from the trial. It remains to be seen how the courts will prevent the confessing suspect from shifting most of the blame to the absent ones.

Your contact person in India: Dr. Jörg Schendel

Suman Khaitan & Co.

W-13, West Wing, Greater Kailash Part-II
Delhi 110048, Indien

CELL         +91 97 11 08 04 03
TEL +91 11 49 50 15 00
FAX +91 11 49 50 15 99


PHILIPPINES: Internet Transactions Act within the Philippines are being regulated by a new Act


Internet Transactions Act within the Philippines are being regulated by a new Act


The Philippine Internet Transactions Act (“ITA”), known as Republic Act No. 11967, was enacted by the end of 2023. Several key provisions aim at fostering a robust e-commerce environment in the Philippines.

The Act aims to build trust between online consumers and merchants, promote competition, secure internet transactions, uphold intellectual property rights, ensure product safety and standards, and observe environmental sustainability. It applies to business-to-business and business-to-consumer internet transactions within the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) mandate, covering transactions where at least one party is in the Philippines or using the Philippine market. It excludes online media content and consumer-to-consumer transactions.

The ITA acknowledges the importance of data privacy, though the specific provisions on this aspect likely refer to existing data privacy laws in the Philippines.

Under the DTI, the E-Commerce Bureau will be established. This bureau is responsible for policy formulation, compliance monitoring, regulatory gap identification, consumer and business complaint management, and e-commerce sector growth promotion. This includes formulating and implementing e-commerce policies, plans, and programs, monitoring and ensuring compliance with the Act, enforcing registration of digital platforms and online merchants, developing consumer education programs, and collaborating with other government agencies for policy development and enforcement.

A database will be established for government and consumer access, containing information about digital platforms, e-marketplaces, e-retailers, and online merchants.

The Act has extra-territorial application for e-commerce entities targeting the Philippine market and aims to provide equal treatment for online and offline commercial activities. The DTI will have regulatory jurisdiction over e-commerce activities.

Specific obligations are outlined for e-marketplaces, digital platforms, and online merchants regarding consumer safety, data privacy, transparent transactional information, and redress mechanisms. It also establishes guidelines for handling and resolving online transaction disputes and introduces a “blacklist” for non-compliant online businesses. Digital Platforms are obliged to distinguish between commercial and non-commercial activities, provide a redress mechanism, maintain updated lists of e-commerce accounts, safeguard consumer data privacy, and adhere to information security standards. The law encourages a fair and competitive e-commerce environment. It emphasizes consumer rights like fair and transparent transactions, clear product descriptions, and a right to return defective items. It also prohibits the sale of unsafe or illegal goods and services.

Consumers on the other side are expected to exercise reasonable care during online transactions and must refrain from canceling confirmed orders once paid (except for specific cases). The law also mandates effective channels for consumers to report issues.

The ITA prioritizes consumer rights. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of online consumers, digital platforms, e-marketplaces, e-retailers, and online merchants. In comparison with European legal standards the Philippine Internet Transactions Act (ITA) of 2023 show some similarities:

Both the ITA and European regulations prioritize consumer protection in online transactions. This includes ensuring clear product information, fair contract terms, and strong redress mechanisms for consumer complaints. The EU achieves this through directives like the Directive on unfair contract terms for consumers and the Directive on the sale of goods. Both legal frameworks establish mechanisms for resolving online transaction disputes. The ITA mentions this but likely relies on existing Philippine laws. In the EU, the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform provides a platform for such resolutions. Both the ITA and EU regulations aim to make online transactions safe. The ITA achieves this through vendor registration and prohibiting the sale of illegal goods. The EU accomplishes this through product safety regulations and directives targeting specific areas like toys.

Both legal frameworks however show differences: The ITA acknowledges data privacy but defers to existing Philippine data privacy laws. The EU has a more comprehensive approach with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which imposes stricter data protection obligations on businesses. The ITA has a broader reach, potentially applying to foreign businesses with "minimum contacts" in the Philippines. The EU regulations generally apply to businesses established in the EU or offering goods/services to EU consumers. The ITA establishes a dedicated government body to oversee the e-commerce sector. The EU relies on existing regulatory bodies within member states for e-commerce oversight.

The Philippine ITA shares core principles with European legal standards regarding consumer protection and safe transactions. However, the EU has a more robust data privacy framework and a more established system for regulating online businesses across member states. In contrast, the Philippine ITA focuses more narrowly on e-commerce transactions, aiming to foster a trustworthy online marketplace, protect consumers, and encourage the growth of digital commerce within the country.

Your point of contact in the Philippines: Lutz Kaiser

Villanueva Gabionza & Dy Law Offices

20th/F Corporate Center
139 Valero St., Salcedo Village
Makati City 1227, Philippines

CELL      +63 995 985 4957
TEL        +63 2 8813 3351
FAX       +63 2 8816 6741


THAILAND: Thailand requires e-platforms to report revenue from business operators


Thailand: Thailand requires e-platforms to report revenue from business operators


The Thai Ministry of Revenue (RD) has issued a notice requiring e-platforms to report their revenue from business operators on their platform. With this information, the RD aims to track entrepreneurs' income from the sale of goods and services through electronic platforms to enable accurate and efficient tax collection. The notice, which was issued on December 27, 2023, came into force on January 1, 2024.

According to the notice, electronic platforms are required to create a "special account" containing information on the revenue generated by each entrepreneur on their platform and submit it to the tax authority via the Ministry's electronic reporting system within 150 days of the end of the tax year.

The notification defines "electronic platforms" as entities that mediate between traders (i.e. sellers of goods or providers of services via the electronic platform) and consumers in order to facilitate electronic transactions between the parties. This includes, for example, operators of online marketplaces, ride-hailing providers, food suppliers and so on.

This reporting requirement applies to electronic platforms registered in Thailand that have (or previously had, as of the effective date of reporting) an annual turnover of more than THB 1 billion (approx. USD 28.5 million), with the exception of electronic platforms regulated by the Bank of Thailand or the Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission, such as payment service providers and cryptocurrency exchanges. Electronic platforms may engage a third party to prepare and submit the required special account information to the RD on their behalf.

Your point of contact in Thailand: Dr. Andreas Respondek

Respondek & Fan Ltd

United Center, 39th Floor, Suite 3904 B
323 Silom Road
Bangkok 10500, Thailand

CELL     +66 89 896 4048
TEL       +66 2 635 5498
FAX       +66 2 635 5499


VIETNAM: Global Minimum Tax


Global MinimumTax


On 1 January 2024, Resolution 107/2023/QH15 (Resolution 107), implementing the global minimum tax in Vietnam, came into effect. The Vietnamese National Assembly adopted Resolution 107 on 29 November 2023, thus reacting to a consensus of 140 nations on the implementation of a global reform of international corporate taxation (OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS – Base Erosion and Profit Shifting). Main purpose of this reform is to tackle tax avoidance, improve the coherence of international tax rules, ensure a more transparent tax environment and address the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy.

At the heart of Resolution 107 is the introduction of a minimum tax rate of 15% (corporate income tax, CIT). This rate shall however only apply to multinational enterprises with an annual consolidated turnover of 750 Mio. Euro in at least two of the previous four years. Vietnamese tax authorities estimate that approx. 112 companies will fulfil these requirements and expect an additional tax income of approx. 600 Mio. USD.

Although the standard corporate income tax rate in Vietnam amounts to 20%, foreign investors are frequently benefitting from tax reductions and exemptions, for example for production set ups in an Industrial Zone. Thus, the introduction of a minimum tax rate of 15% will affect certain foreign investors. Samsung Vietnam, for instance, the largest foreign investment in Vietnam (whose product exports have a significant impact on Vietnam's trade balance), allegedly benefited from effective corporate income tax rates ranging from 5.1% to 6.2% nationwide in 2019.

Tax exemptions and reductions are or have been an essential part of the incentive package granted to foreign investors. In view of the imminent diminishment of these incentives, it is not surprising that Vietnam is now also discussing further regulations to determine how the expected additional tax revenue is to be used in order to maintain Vietnam's attractiveness as an investment location for foreign investors. Similar to discussions in other Asian countries, distributions as part of investment promotion measures have been the topic of public discussion. A draft has already been submitted to the legislature, but the legislative process has not yet been completed and it remains to be seen what other incentives the Vietnamese legislator intends to set in order to ensure Vietnam's attractiveness as an investment location (foreign investment is responsible for around 70% of Vietnam's export volume).

Your point of contact in Vietnam: Christian Brendel

Brendel & Associates Law Co., Ltd.

D&D Tower, 10th Floor
458 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Ward 2, District 3
Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt, Vietnam

CELL     +84 98 978 4791
TEL       +84 28 3911 2008
FAX       +84 28 3911 2010