PRESS RELEASE 27-29 April 2017. Manila, Philippines
Left to right: Anangga Roosdiono, Dr. Robert Yap, George Barcelon, Teresita Sy-Coson, Jose Ma. A. Concepcion III, H.E. Gen (Ret) Prayut Chan-o-cha, Arin Jira, Moe Kyaw, Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Robert Yap Min Choy, Dr. Doan Duy Khuong, Dato Ramesh Kodammal, Lisa Ibrahim, Douglas Foo.
“Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All”
The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) held its 70th Meeting in the City of Dreams, Parañaque City, Manila last 27-29 April 2017 under the banner of Prosperity for All as its 2017 theme. ASEAN-BAC was created by the ASEAN Leaders in 2003 to serve as the “Voice of Business” to put together and champion private-sector concerns and feedback to boost ASEAN's efforts towards faster and more inclusive economic integration.
ASEAN-BAC continued to drill down to ensure private sector participation in supporting priority integration sectors and in addressing key cross cutting reforms. The Council was pleased to invite and partner with the Food Industry Asia who presented key issues focused on Food Security and Nourishment and Health. The same engagement was accorded to the ASEAN Tourism Association or ASEANTA as the lead champion for Tourism. Their short list of issues shall serve as inputs to the Council’s Report to Ministers and Leaders and will be amplified in the specific policy consultative working groups for processing. The ASEAN CSR Network likewise provided the update on Inclusive Finance for ASEAN MSMEs Handbook project which is targeted to be launched in September during the AEM Meeting. In support of these collaborations are events lined up for the year such as the Inclusive Business Summit and ASEAN Business Awards in September 6, and the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in November 12 – 13 on the side of the ASEAN Leaders Summit with Dialogue Partners.
The highlight of the Council’s activities was the Prosperity for All Summit held on following day on April 28 at the Grand Ballroom of City of Dreams. Two Heads of States graced the Summit with H.E. Dato' Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia giving the Opening Keynote while H.E. Gen (Ret) Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand delivered the closing keynote. H.E Leni Robredo, Vice President, Republic of the Philippines was also present to give her Luncheon Keynote.
27-29 April 2017. Manila, Philippines
ASEAN-BAC Chair Jose Concepcion said in his Welcome Remarks “Ten years ago, my father was the chairman of ASEAN-BAC. Ten years after, I find myself in the same position as chairman of the ASEAN-BAC which is an honor for me. Under the Philippine chairmanship, the goal is to help prepare more and more micro and small entrepreneurs access the new regional supply chain. As you all know MSME development is close to my heart.”
Under the sub-theme, “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in trade, services and agriculture,” the summit was designed to pursue genuine and inclusive growth and prosperity for the ASEAN peoples especially those within the poverty line. There were 5 sessions consisting of panellists from government, private sector experts and business leaders who shared their valuable insights in coming up with an enabling ecosystem where MSMEs can easily access finance, markets, innovation and mentorship. At the end of the Summit, ASEAN-BAC announced the forthcoming launch of AMEN or the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) by November. It aims to provide a private-public partnership platform where mentors and world class teaching modules for MSME empowerment can be developed and actively shared among ASEAN member states (AMS).
The Council also had the opportunity to engage with the with AustCham ASEAN, Australia-ASEAN Business Council and the representatives from the Australian Government to conduct the first Exclusive Dialogue between ASEAN-BAC and the Australian dialogue partners. Joint collaboration in promoting Young Entrepreneurs, Women in Business and Energy were discussed. ASEAN-BAC was also invited to hold it’s first 2018 meeting in Sydney on the side of the Special ASEAN Australia Summit. Second, the ASEAN India Business Council was also invited for an exclusive dialogue who updated the Council on key developments in relation to the Regional Economic Cooperation and Partnership or RCEP and other possible undertakings with major Indian companies in ASEAN to promote connectivity.
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DTI pushes for inclusive, innovation-led growth in ASEAN
The Philippines, as one of the founding members of ASEAN, takes pride in hosting this year’s regional meet, which has the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” Given that the organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, we are also fortunate that we’ve been provided with an opportunity to strategically champion our advocacies within the region.
On top of our agenda is steering the ASEAN to full economic integration through greater trade and investment among our fellow ASEAN Member States.
Despite concerns that our country would lose in terms of trade or employment opportunities because of the ASEAN integration, the Philippines is actually well positioned to take advantage of it. Among our country’s many strengths, we have our robust economic performance, improving competitiveness, and a huge supply of English-speaking workforce.
The integration will likewise provide an opportunity for Philippine industries and services to become a major player in the ASEAN region, even as it offers a bigger market for Philippine businesses.
Through our chairship, we also wish to reach the conclusion for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that will link the ASEAN–an economic powerhouse with a market of 600 million people–to its six Dialogue Partners. This would create an even bigger market of 3.5 billion people.
What does this all mean for the average Filipino? For consumers, this means more variety of goods and services at cheaper prices. For producers, this means cheaper prices of imports–which translates to more competitive prices for their products. For investors, this means having a single production base, even with the ASEAN’s diversity with regard to capital, expertise, labor, and resources.
Of course, we cannot forget our micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs), who are at the front and center of our current trade agenda. For them, integration means Philippine products and services having easier access to the larger markets of the ASEAN and RCEP, while also heightening their competitiveness.
Yours truly will serve as the chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting even as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) chairs the ASEAN Committee on Business and Investment Promotion (CBIP). The latter committee will engage the international business community, the government, and other parties, as well as organize business and investment-related activities.
Last January 24, DTI officially unveiled business programs and events that will complement the Philippines’ priorities under the AEC pillar. These are regulatory coherence; micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs); innovation; and women and youth.
Among the thematic priorities developed by the Philippines for its ASEAN 2017 hosting, DTI’s priority agenda of “inclusive, innovation-led growth” is poised to champion the MSME mandate in the ASEAN through the following strategic measures: (1) increasing trade and investment; (2) integrating MSMEs in the digital economy; and (3) developing an innovation-driven economy.
In these endeavors, all of you, our partners, can help the government promote the Philippine hosting of ASEAN, as well as the ASEAN identity, to the greater number of Filipinos.
Through the following strategic measures: (1) increasing trade and investment; (2) integrating micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the digital economy; and (3) developing an innovation-driven economy, the Philippines is poised to champion the MSME mandate in the ASEAN.
ASEAN continues to be one of the brightest spots for investments as now the 6th largest economy in the world with a combined GDP of about 2.3 trillion dollars. It is projected to be the fourth largest economy by 2050.
WATCH: DTI ASEAN Launch