ASEAN businesses emphasise stronger private sector engagement in AEC 2025

The ASEAN Business Club and regional companies have again expressed support for the ASEAN Economic Community 2025 Vision to realise a highly integrated community with a people-centred agenda. However their welcome to news of the strengthening of the private sector’s role in the next ten years of ASEAN Economic Community building is tempered by reservations: 

Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, President of the ASEAN Business Club, Dato' Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister for International Trade and Industry of Malaysia and Pongpiti Ektheinchai, Head of International Relations of the Stock Exchange of Thailand

A SPECIAL DIALOGUE focused on the ASEAN Economic Community 2025, jointly organised by the ASEAN Business Club, the CIMB ASEAN Research Institute and Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry, attracted over 150 multinationals, regional businesses and media to MITI Tower, Kuala Lumpur on 24 May.

Four panelists introduced discussions on the efforts and challenges in strengthening the private sector's role in the AEC 2025 Vision. In the coming decade, ASEAN has committed to institutionalise within each body a consultative process with lead private sector associations and business councils to support the implementation of various sectors. ASEAN has identified four prioritised sectors, namely retail (including e-commerce), agri-food, healthcare and logistics for the removal of non-tariff barriers.

"Private sector engagement with leaders and ministers in the past has seen insufficient progress in the removal non-tariff barriers," said Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, President of the ASEAN Business Club.

"The next phase must focus on tangible outcome, with the private sector working through ASEAN bodies from the bottom up as well. We call for the inclusion of private sector experts in the ASEAN policy making process,” 

At the dialogue, Minister for International Trade and Industry of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Mustapa Mohamed presented key priorities of the AEC 2025 Blueprint which was released during Malaysia’s chairmanship year in 2015.

“The AEC is still a work in progress. There is an urgent need for us to transform ASEAN’s working mechanism and deepen economic integration. We have to be guided by a broader vision of a more inclusive ASEAN. This successor document outlines the strategic measures to be undertaken which will ensure ASEAN becomes a highly integrated and remains a cohesive economy, accords priority towards enhancing economic connectivity, promotes innovation and inclusive growth, and to continue to strengthen linkages with trading partners, regional and international economic groupings,” said the minister.

According to Dato Sri’ Mustapa, ASEAN will release the detailed action plan of the AEC Blueprint 2025 by the end of this year. The expeditious implementation of the new AEC Blueprint measures will be critical in ASEAN’s efforts to remain a hub for global economic activities.

Also speaking at the forum was Pongpiti Ektheinchai, Head of International Relations of the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

As at February 2016, the ASEAN Exchanges has US$2 trillion combined market capitalisation of over 4,000 companies from seven exchanges of six ASEAN countries. The ASEAN Exchanges’ implementation pillars are to promote and market ASEAN as an asset class, and to enhance connectivity by linking all ASEAN Exchanges through the ASEAN Trading Link

In the near future, it plans to organize ASEAN road shows in major financial cities to promote intra-ASEAN-listed companies through research, as well as working with leading index provider to promote regional products.