SBF gears up for Singapore’s role as Chair of ASEAN BAC and ASEAN in 2018
28 April 2016 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Singapore’s secretariat for the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC), organised a Welcome Networking Dinner today for its members and business leaders from ASEAN and ASEAN+1 partner economies. Gracing the event as Guest of Honour was Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Mr Lim Hng Kiang, who delivered the keynote address.
Also present were Singapore’s three members in ASEAN BAC – Dr Robert Yap, Executive Chairman of YCH Group, Mr Douglas Foo, Founder and Chairman of Sakae Holdings Ltd and President of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, and Mr Robert Yap Min Choy, Deputy Chairman and Executive Director of Y3 Technologies.
Dr Robert Yap, Singapore Council Member of ASEAN BAC and Executive Chairman of YCH Group, emphasised that “the year 2016 will be an important landmark for Singapore’s participation in ASEAN and the ASEAN Economic Community. By the time Singapore assumes the chairmanship of ASEAN and ASEAN BAC in 2018, my greatest hope is that companies in ASEAN including Singapore companies will be benefitting from the establishment of a single production and market base of well over 700 million population of which almost 50% will be in the middle-income bracket. ASEAN-BAC Singapore’s hosting of the E-Commerce Roundtable together with EABC and SBF signifies our recognition of the critical integrative role that E-Commerce plays in bringing the vision of AEC 2015 into reality”.
Mr Ho Meng Kit, SBF CEO, said, “From the findings of the SBF National Business Survey 2015-16, eight of the top 10 markets that SBF member companies would like to venture overseas into are in ASEAN. As the apex business chamber, SBF continues to encourage and help businesses, particularly SMEs, recognise and tap into the growth opportunities across ASEAN, all within a three-hour flying radius from Singapore. At international platforms such as the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, SBF serves as the national secretariat, helping to champion Singapore businesses' trade investment and industrial interests.”
Mr Steven Cranwell, Managing Director and Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC Singapore, said, “ASEAN presents a significant opportunity for corporate growth particularly for trade, services and FDI. ASEAN trade is on course to double to USD2.8 trillion by 2025, fuelling a doubling of its middle class to 120 million. This will unlock the potential of the services sector which is the highest GDP producer for the top six ASEAN countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia Philippines and Thailand. Moreover, an integrated ASEAN presents a huge potential for Singapore. HSBC research forecasts an additional 9.5 per cent aggregate lift to Singapore GDP by 2030 from the implementation of the AEC's blueprint – more than any other market in the bloc.”
“But integration will not happen as a matter of course. The key is to link economies by making trade, capital and payments more seamless across borders. Both Singapore and its banking industry have a strong role to play. As a regional leader Singapore’s finance community can drive integration in areas like payments innovation, funds management and securities markets across the region and beyond,” Mr Cranwell said.
The ASEAN-BAC Welcome Networking Dinner, supported by HSBC Singapore and SingEx, is one of two events marking the start of SBF’s efforts for 2018, the year Singapore assumes the role of Chair of ASEAN-BAC and ASEAN. The other event is an e-commerce roundtable held on 27 April 2016 at Singapore Expo.
Jointly organised by ASEAN BAC and the East Asia Business Council (EABC), the roundtable discussed the importance of e-commerce in helping to better integrate ASEAN’s different markets and facilitate the formation of a common market in Southeast Asia. The event brought together speakers from Alibaba, Zalora, ReeBonz, Hitachi, IBM, Numoni, among others, to exchange experiences and insights on the latest and upcoming trends in the dynamic e-commerce landscape across Southeast Asia and East Asia.
Between 27 April and 29 April 2016, ASEAN BAC will convene its 67th Meeting as well as dialogue sessions with various ASEAN+1 joint business councils, such as the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council and EABC.
Mr Aloysius Arlando, CEO of SingEx noted that “Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria, managed by SingEx Venues, is honoured to play host to the high profile ASEAN-BAC meeting as the venue sponsor. As a well-established international exhibition and convention centre for trade and business events we are pleased to be associated with this meeting as the venue partner of choice. Being a key player in the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions (MICE) industry, SingEx looks forward to having the opportunity in playing a catalytic role to collaborate with ASEAN members in organising trade and business events by leveraging on the emerging growth opportunities in ASEAN”.
Several key activities are being planned for Singapore’s chairmanship of ASEAN-BAC in 2018. One of the key activity platforms being planned by SBF is the organisation of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS). ABIS 2018 will bring over 600 corporate participants from Singapore, ASEAN and the various ASEAN+1 partner markets such as Australia, China, EU, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States of America. Another commemorative platform being considered for 2018 is the ASEAN Young SME Business Summit which will focus on building stronger links between the young entrepreneurial, SME communities in ASEAN member economies.