1. Global economic confidence rebounds to highest level since 2009 despite trade war risks
2. Malaysia among 59 countries given visa-free access to Hainan Island
3. Clinical Research Malaysia forms two global partnerships
4. Toyota hunts for world’s best street artists and athletes
5. Deloitte International Tax Symposium puts the spotlight on the impact of anti-BEPS measures on businesses
6. Rackspace Ranked #9 of the 2018 Best Workplaces in Asia by Great Place to Work®

Global economic confidence rebounds to highest level since 2009 despite trade war risks
The latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) released today found that global economic confidence is at its highest level in years, with strong growth since the start of 2017. Economic confidence is at its highest since the first GECS survey was issued assessing Q1 2009. GECS is the largest regular economic survey of accountants around the world, in terms of both the number of respondents and the range of economic variables it monitors. The new survey found that confidence in North America rebounded strongly in the first quarter of 2018, with 38% feeling more confident about the future, compared with just 26% who were less confident. While confidence in China fell again for a second successive quarter, it is still at the fourth highest level since 2009. ‘The outlook for the global economy is as good as it has been for some time,’ said Narayanan Vaidyanathan, Head of Business Insights at ACCA. ‘The continued rising confidence, led by North America, is also benefitting other key trading economies such as Africa and South Asia. Despite the political uncertainties caused by Brexit, confidence in the UK and Western Europe also remains strong.’ Raef Lawson, IMA vice president of research and policy, cautioned that the biggest risk to the overall outlook is the possibility of a trade war between the United States and China, given proposed measures including tariffs, which could escalate tension and impact other regions globally. If this does not occur, the global economy likely would see another year of strong growth.

Malaysia among 59 countries given visa-free access to Hainan Island
The Ministry of Public Security of China and the State Immigration Administration announced that Malaysia is among 59 countries to enjoy a 30-day visa-free access to Hainan Island from 1 May 2018. Other countries include Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, Australia, United States and United Arab Emirates. Sanya Tourism Development Commission in a statement said the new policy aims to support the island’s reform and opening-up initiatives. Under the new policy, groups or individuals from these countries will have to book their tours through travel agencies registered in Hainan Province and approved by the China National Tourism Administration. Sanya – also known as Hawaii of China, is located at the southernmost city of Hainan island with its rich culture and sensational attractions. Tourists can also walk along the shores and meet indigenous people in the nearby jungles.

Clinical Research Malaysia forms two global partnerships
The Health Ministry’s partner, Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two research organisations to establish strategic partnerships in clinical research, focusing on cancer, as well as a full range of therapeutic areas. The cooperation involves integrated laboratory services provider, Hematogenix and Australia’s independent contract research organisation, Novotech. Director-general of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this collaboration set an important milestone for the Health Ministry as it has sparked interest among local doctors and clinical researchers. “Malaysia can expect to attract more global clinical trials into the country, upscale the Malaysian medical talents and bring in more investments into the nation’s economy. “The Ministry of Health will continue to learn from our partners and hopefully, adding value to the services by bringing our ecosystem to them,” he told reporters after the inking of the MoU.

Toyota hunts for world’s best street artists and athletes
Toyota Motor Corporation has introduced the Universal Street Games – bringing the streets to the international stage with a global hunt for the world’s best street musicians, dancers and athletes. The Games is a four-month competition where artists and athletes record, upload and vote on entries via social media and the Universal Street Games´ website or application. The entries and votes from all over the world will close on April 30. On May 1, the top 10 voted performers from each category will be chosen as one of the nine finalists. The nine finalists (three from each category) and three voters will win a trip of a lifetime across the to the Universal Street Games´ at the X Games Minneapolis 2018, Minnesota. From July 15 to 21, the finalists will travel around the United States to develop their final performance, while creating one performance by all nine of them as an integration of music, dance and sports — all the efforts will be spotlighted at the final stage.

Deloitte International Tax Symposium puts the spotlight on the impact of anti-BEPS measures on businesses
Deloitte Malaysia will be hosting its inaugural International Tax Symposium inPetaling Jaya on 3 May 2018. Themed ‘Navigating the new landscape confidently’, the one-day event will bring together Deloitte as well as external tax experts to deliver a comprehensive overview on the anti-Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) measures introduced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “International tax reform is gathering momentum globally and the amount of information that business leaders must digest in order to fully understand the impact on their organisations can be overwhelming. As leaders in the field of tax, we see a need for a one-stop platform where CFOs and tax specialists can keep themselves informed and updated to manage the changes that may have massive implications on their business operations,” said Sim Kwang Gek, Mergers & Acquisitions Tax Leader of Deloitte Malaysia.

Rackspace Ranked #9 of the 2018 Best Workplaces in Asia by Great Place to Work®
Curiosity is just one reason employees love working at Rackspace®. There are many others, according to research and consulting firm, Great Place to Work®’s Best Workplaces in Asia 2018 list, released this week. Rackspace ranked 9th on this year’s Best Workplaces in Asia. More than 1,465,366 employees participated in the survey studies in 9 Asia-region countries where Great Place to Work is represented. According to Great Place to Work, “A great place to work is one in which employees no matter who they are and what they do for the organization are having a consistently positive experience of trusting their leaders, enjoying the people they work with, and having pride in what they do. It is an honor for Rackspace to be recognized by their employees as an organization that fosters respect, trust and fairness.” says Reinhard Waldinger, Managing Director, Rackspace International.