Global Counsel’s work in Asia focuses on cross-border trade and investment issues between Asia and Europe. From the inception of the business, we have worked with Asian companies going global and with multinationals seeking to take advantage of the dynamic growth of Asia’s markets.

Drawing on the resources of our office in Singapore as well as the team in London, we have supported Asian corporates and investors to address market access challenges and to realise investment opportunities in Europe, and European and American multinationals to develop strategies in line with the political and policy realities in Asia. We work on long-term policy and reputational challenges, politically-driven events and on specific transactions.

Our clients have included multinationals, Asian family-owned businesses, state-owned companies, start-ups and funds.

Analysis & Blogs

Disappearing over the Horizon

11 Jan 2019

During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the UK yesterday, he and Theresa May were asked about the fate of Hitachi’s Horizon nuclear plant at Wylfa in Wales. Abe’s response, that they did not discuss it, did nothing to reduce anxiety about the multi-billion-pound project.

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Tea with Xi

19 Oct 2018

For a very powerful head of a huge and centrally controlled nation, President Xi Jinping of China has a remarkably relaxed air about him. He exudes composure, in public at least. In a receiving room of the Great Hall of the People, Xi welcomed a small UK group which I joined this week to commemorate the anniversary of the Icebreakers – strictly speaking post-revolutionary sanction breakers – a mission of business people who took Britain’s first trade mission to China in 1953.

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North American free trade - Trump edition

4 Oct 2018

The Trump administration’s revamped NAFTA (or USMCA, as we are being invited to call it) landed this week after a year or so of fraught negotiations with Mexico and Canada. If we discount the amendments to KORUS (The United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement) prompted by the US’s steel and aluminium tariffs earlier this year, it is the Trump administration’s first major trade agreement. It is certainly more than just a rebrand.

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The US-China trade dispute is like no other

10 Aug 2018

US trade policy under Donald Trump has become volatile, noisy and aggressive. This makes it hard to follow policy developments, let alone to understand what is driving them. But the key to understanding the dispute with China is to recognise it is quite different from the disputes the US has provoked with other countries.

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UK and Japan: Splitting the nuclear bill?

11 May 2018

Last week, UK prime minister, Theresa May, met with the CEO of Hitachi, Hiroaki Nakanishi, to discuss how to finance the new Horizon nuclear plant at Wylfa in Anglesey. The meeting went under the radar at the time, but what has become clear is that Hitachi and Japan are confronting the UK with a political and policy dilemma.

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Iran deal: If Trump pulls out, business gets drawn in

4 May 2018

Time is running out for the Iran nuclear deal. Trump’s self-imposed 12 May deadline, by which he wants to decide whether to continue waving sanctions lifted under the nuclear agreement, is just a week away. It appears increasingly unlikely that European proposals will prevent Trump from re-imposing sanctions.

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The other Trump trade war with China

17 Apr 2018

The Trump administration’s threat of 25% tariffs on $50bn of Chinese imports to the United States has inevitably dominated coverage of the President’s decision to escalate a long-standing irritation with Chinese approaches to US inward investment into a full-blown trade dispute.

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Xi opens the door at Boao

12 Apr 2018

Was it a rehash of old announcements or concessions that could prevent a trade war? These starkly different verdicts have been offered on President Xi’s plans to liberalise the Chinese economy, set out at the Boao forum this week. Was it a rehash of old announcements or concessions that could prevent a trade war? These starkly different verdicts have been offered on President Xi’s plans to liberalise the Chinese economy, set out at the Boao forum this week.

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Xi’s next term, or is it his last?

7 Mar 2018

At the China Entrepreneurs Conference in Yabuli last week (see my previous blog for reflections), the theme was 40 years of reform and opening up of China’s economy. Earlier in the week, news seeped out that China’s two-term leadership rule was about to be scrapped, allowing Xi Jinping to stay in power beyond 2023. Commentary flooded the international media, but participants at Yabuli were strangely silent on the issue. This led me to think about the role that political leadership has played in the transformation of China over the last 40 years, and what the Chinese think of their current leader.

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Yabuli: where Chinese businesses move and shake

5 Mar 2018

Most Davos regulars will not know of the town of Yabuli, a remote town in northern China closer to Vladivostok than Beijing. But, having spent much of last week trekking to and from Yabuli, I have realised both towns have something in common. I was there to attend the annual China Entrepreneurs Forum (think the World Economic Forum but with no politicians or NGOs). Yabuli has less of the old-world charm of the Swiss Alps, it is located in the province of Heilongjiang (think industrial rust-belt rather than cuckoo clocks) but both are high-end ski resorts, a long drive from the nearest airport and both events are full of rather self-congratulatory chatter.

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Foreign Investment: Rising Tides of Politics in Regulation

28 Feb 2018

Recent years have seen important global shifts in both the policy frameworks for screening inward foreign investment and the way in which they are applied. These shifts come against a backdrop of protectionist political rhetoric and anxieties about the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI)...

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Digital competition in India and Europe

6 Nov 2017

In New Delhi last week, I joined business and political leaders considering the prospects for the digital sectors in India and Europe. The differences and the similarities, in the outlook and the issues being confronted by policymakers in each market, are equally striking.

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EU-Japan FTA: a very political agreement?

6 Jul 2017

It is now expected that the EU and Japan will use this week’s G20 summit to announce a political agreement on an FTA between the two sides after four years of negotiating. This is certainly big news in the generally calm waters of global trade negotiations.

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Europe and China’s looming investment conflict

9 Mar 2017

If you want to understand the state of the EU-China economic relationship, then reading the analysis of China’s Manufacturing 2025 strategy by the European Chamber of Commerce in China is a great place to start. It does not bother with the usual, dry statistical analysis of export growth rates and bilateral deficits.

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Identity politics and the Jakarta Governor election

24 Feb 2017

The race for the governorship of Jakarta is almost over. The leadership of the capital is arguably the biggest job under the President and a platform for national leadership, and this race is setting the tone for national politics in important ways, so it is worth watching closely.

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Asia Team



Ying runs Global Counsel’s Asia team from its office in Singapore. Ying has a background in public policy, development and international relations.


Practice Lead, Climate & Sustainability

Elizabeth leads Global Counsel’s work on sustainability, natural resource policy, and agriculture.



Belma is a Director at Global Counsel. At Global Counsel, Belma works closely with the senior team to oversee client and research workflow, along with the identification, tracking and development of business development efforts.



Mollie is an Associate in Global Counsel’s Asia team. Mollie previously taught English in Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. At Global Counsel, Mollie assists teams with research and analysis.

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