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  • ASEAN Conference 2015 looks at growth opportunities in an integrated ASEAN

ASEAN Conference 2015 looks at growth opportunities in an integrated ASEAN

  • Progress of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and impact of an integrated ASEAN on businesses will be discussed
  • Businesses can leverage opportunities and strengths of member ASEAN countries to build a successful regional strategy

20 May 2015 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF), together with founding partners United Overseas Bank (UOB), Rajah & Tann, RSM Chio Lim, strategic partners International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Spring Singapore and KADIN Indonesia, are organising the ASEAN Conference 2015. Themed “Growth Opportunities in an Integrated ASEAN”, it aims to look at the opportunities and challenges arising from the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) this year.

Held at the Raffles City Convention Centre, the conference is graced by Guest of Honour, Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore. Special remarks will also be delivered by Dr Sofyan A. Djalil, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Indonesia and Dato’ Sri Idris Jala, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and CEO of PEMANDU, Malaysia.

Bringing together key decision makers from both the private and public sectors, ASEAN Conference 2015 will present a macroeconomic outlook of ASEAN, as well as policy updates pertaining to AEC 2015. Panel discussions will also highlight business insights into operating an effective hub in ASEAN and opportunities in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

As a region, ASEAN has a growing population of over 620 million people and make up the third largest combined GDP in Asia at US$2.3 trillion in 2013. ASEAN is also the second fastest growing economy in Asia after China.
From 2002 to 2012, ASEAN grew at an average rate of 6% compared to the global average of 4%.1 This year, ASEAN’s economic performance is projected to improve to 5.1%, above the 3.5% global growth projection².
The goal of the AEC is regional economic integration by 2015. It envisages a highly competitive economic region with a single market and production base, a region of equitable economic development and one that is fully integrated with the global economy. There has been good progress towards the formation of AEC. Coupled with the bullish growth prospects in key Southeast Asian markets such as Indonesia and the Philippines, SMEs can tap into the wealth of trade and investment opportunities, while increasing their competitiveness arising from the abundant local resources and lower manufacturing costs.

To help SMEs capitalise on the opportunities resulting from the AEC, the government will be committing more resources to assist businesses. Through this conference, participants will also be updated on the progress of the AEC, learn how their businesses can benefit from growth opportunities in ASEAN and be apprised of the risks, business and legal issues in the region. In addition, there will be a dedicated panel session on the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), where the panellists will be sharing on the growth potential for local companies in the GMS and how they can tap on the opportunities there.

Mr Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer of SBF, said “According to SBF’s National Business Survey 2014/15, eight out of top 10 markets of interest are in ASEAN. As Asia’s second fastest growing economy, ASEAN has huge growth potential and we urge businesses to tap into the diverse growth and investment opportunities that are shaping up in the region. Through this conference, we also hope to reach out to more Singapore companies that are keen to gain access to new or growing markets in ASEAN. Mr Ho added “More importantly, the onset of AEC at the end of 2015 does not signify the end of ASEAN’s integration efforts, but the beginning of another journey where Singapore will actively participate towards creating a more integrated and conducive post-2015 global trading and investment environment”.  

Mr Teo Eng Cheong, Chief Executive Officer, IE Singapore, said, “The integration of 10 diverse economies for AEC is complex and takes time. The AEC will eventually increase the overall competitiveness and productivity of ASEAN with freer flows of goods and services. Singapore companies should recognise each country is in a different stage of economic development and be prepared to manage different challenges within each country. But the region’s sound fundamentals - a young, large population, abundant natural resources as well as an emerging middle class - will propel it forward as a manufacturing and consumerism hub. Singapore companies need to adopt a long-term, pan-Southeast Asia perspective and diversify operations across markets to maximise competitive advantages.”

1 Speech by Minister For Trade And Industry Lim Hng Kiang at the Financial Times ASEAN Economic Summit On 12 November 2014
² 21st ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat, 28 February 2015, Kota Bharu, Malaysia.

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