SBF Focus on Growth Opportunities in ASEAN Economic Community 2015
28 May 2014 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) is organising an SME Business Forum to bring together leading corporate movers and public sector decision makers for a dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of the realisation of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
The AEC is the goal of regional economic integration by 2015. It envisages the following key characteristics:
- A single market and production base
- A highly competitive economic region
- A region of equitable economic development, and
- A region fully integrated into the global economy
With a growing population of more than 620 million people and an average annual economic growth rate of 6.5%, ASEAN has firmly established itself as the third pillar of an emerging Asia helmed by China, India, Japan and South Korea as Asia’s economic giants. Growth prospects of the 10 ASEAN countries are expected to improve from 2015 onwards as a result of the planned economic integration. AEC will usher in a regional free market in goods and services, with harmonised rules for investment and liberalisation of capital and movement of skilled manpower.
The AEC is a game changer that will enable businesses in ASEAN to collectively gain economies of scale that they would otherwise not enjoy as a single country in the region. It is already beginning to transform the economic and business landscapes in each of the ASEAN markets.
Mr Lawrence Leow, Honorary Treasurer of SBF and Chairman of the SBF-led SME Committee (SMEC) said “AEC 2015 potentially opens up a whole new economic space for Singapore companies. Yet many, especially SMEs, are not aware or do not understand its impact on their businesses. It is imperative for them to be ready to deal with the challenges and opportunities. This forum will also provide a platform for views and feedback on critical business issues to be tackled in the wake of AEC 2015”.
Dr Robert Yap, Chairman and CEO of YCH Group, Chairman of ASEAN Business Advisory Council Singapore and Vice Chairman of SBF, said “As AEC gains momentum, I urge our local enterprises to invest some time to understand and exploit the diverse opportunities shaping up in the region. As Asia’s rising gem with ample and untapped resources, ASEAN offers a sustainable economic platform for continued growth and prosperity, particularly through the collective efforts of our ASEAN Brand Champions.”
Mr Ted Tan, Deputy Chief Executive of SPRING Singapore, said “ASEAN will emerge as a stronger regional economic community with the realisation of AEC. To tap on the opportunities presented, Singapore SMEs will need to continue to upgrade themselves to compete both regionally and globally. Singapore SMEs can tap on available government assistance to equip themselves with the necessary capabilities. SPRING will continue to work closely with our partners and other agencies, such as SBF and IE Singapore, to reach out to more SMEs and support them to leverage opportunities offered by AEC”.