5 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS risk paths under digital transformation is crucial for enterprises in various countries, emphasising the need for GCs to develop risk management strategies in the new digital era. In China, there’s a saying that “opportunity coexists with challenge.” The evolving regulatory landscape in Asia indeed presents challenges for GCs but also offers opportunities to demonstrate their expertise in navigating complex legal and compliance challenges. Proactive monitoring, interpretation, and mitigation of legal and regulatory risks are essential. GCs should conduct analysis of the legal and regulatory risks faced by specific countries and regions, labelling each risk according to the probability of occurrence and consequences. Short-term and long-term risk mitigation plans should be developed based on this labelling system and reviewed periodically. Traditional risk management in many companies has been arbitrary, often reactive rather than proactive. However, risk management should not rely on intuition or wait for risks to materialise. A proactive approach is necessary for managing and preventing risks. GCs, in coordination with other stakeholders, can provide strategic guidance to their organisations, enabling them to seize opportunities while effectively managing complex legal and regulatory risks in the region. In conclusion, the role of GCs in 2024 will be more crucial than ever. As proactive risk managers, they will be at the forefront of guiding their organisations through the intricate web of legal and regulatory challenges, leveraging opportunities, and ensuring sustainable growth in the dynamic Asian market. DANIEL CHOO, Asia Pacific general counsel, Bruker Singapore One of the main challenges in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is navigating the complex geopolitical landscape while adhering to evolving legal norms, particularly in areas like compliance, data privacy/ protection, export control, and AI regulation. APAC’s varied legal systems and regulatory complexities demand an in-depth understanding of each country’s legal nuances. Crucial areas of attention include staying current with new legislation, such as China’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), India’s Digital Personal Data Protection Act, and AI-specific rules, with a particular emphasis on laws involving crossborder data transfer. Additionally, awareness of laws with extraterritorial implications is crucial. The realm of export control is tightening, requiring the legal team’s guidance to maintain compliance in business transactions. Our approach is rooted in proactive risk evaluation and mitigation, encompassing consistent training and updates for both the legal department and key business units, alongside the development of comprehensive compliance frameworks. This proactive, knowledgeable stance empowers the legal team to adeptly tackle these complexities, ensuring our operations comply with both regional and international regulations, thereby protecting our organisation’s interests in the APAC region. JASMINE KARIMI, APAC assistant general counsel & regional counsel, FMC Corporation The VUCA world we live in is marred by increasing risks and no region is spared. The biggest risks I see are in the: – Continuously evolving regulatory landscape, with new laws and amendments being introduced, making compliance a moving target. especially as regulators are now also focused on securities, anti-money laundering efforts, cybersecurity, digital economies, data governance, and more. – New geopolitical climate is forcing us to act globally but survive locally and be agile and pivot at a moment’s notice. – A surge in cyber-attacks and data breaches is no longer a remote risk but one which all organisations need to be cognizant of. – Unknown impact from generative AI and how best to harness it within organisations. Some mitigation steps that we continue to take are: – Balancing between full compliance against the risk of enforcement, juggling country/region prioritisation and type of risk against budget allocations. – Staying plugged into industry trends, speaking with peers to gauge where we sit, benchmarking our efforts, and cascading that internally with leadership to engage more proactively and less reactively. – Leveraging legal ops to generate operational efficiency, thereby allowing the team bandwidth for more business partnering vs conventional legal work. – Instilling deeper growth mindset and agility within the team to be ready to pivot as needed. – Having robust contingency and response plans in place in the event of cyber-attacks and data breaches. – Ensuring that the guardrails around use of Generative AI are realistic and shifting while not running afoul of regulations or our compliance obligations.