EU-ASEAN Business Council Publishes Reports to Support Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship

Makes Recommendations Aimed at Improving ASEAN's Attractiveness and Supporting Sustainable Economic Development


SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 26 March
2020 - Supporting Vietnam's Chairmanship Theme of a Cohesive and
Responsive ASEAN, the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) has today published two
papers to enhance ASEAN's competitiveness and attractiveness for increased
trade and investment.  The EU-ABC is
issuing these reports at the time of the 6th ASEAN Finance Ministers and
Central Bank Governors Meeting in Vietnam, to encourage concrete actions to
help ASEAN improve its resilience to economic shock waves, and achieve its
objectives for trade and investment.

"Financing ASEAN's
ways in which sustainable finance can support ASEAN's ability to meet its
Sustainable Development Goals. "ASEAN
Competitiveness and Trade Facilitation"
discusses how intra-ASEAN trade is
crucial in promoting a cohesive and integrated region and better positioning
the region as a trade and investment destination going forward.

Commenting on the launch of the papers, Chris
Humphrey Executive Director of the EU-ABC, said:  "The recommendations in the reports are
especially timely given the current challenges to the global economy.  ASEAN has taken concrete measures towards its' own economic
integration agenda. But more needs to be done to strengthen ASEAN's position in
global supply chains.  At times like
these, ASEAN can act collectively to advance development for the benefit of its
talented citizens, and improve competitiveness. 
We hope that our publications will serve as food for thought among ASEAN
leaders, and help bring the very best efforts of European businesses to
facilitate long-term, sustainable investment in the region, and support the
vision of ASEAN leaders of a more secure, prosperous and inclusive future."

EU-ABC Chairman Donald Kanak said
: "Over the past decade GDP growth and FDI have been strong. For the region to
maintain its strong position in the global economy, and achieve sustainable and
equitable economic development, it must attract quality investment, technology
and skills and more actively remove non-tariff barriers to trade and
investment.  This is key to higher
value-added jobs and avoiding the middle-income trap, an issue with which
emerging economies in the region are grappling. The EU-ABC hopes that these
publications will not only support, but advance ASEAN's long term economic and
social agenda."

Tony Cripps, CEO, HSBC Singapore commented:
"The changes to our environment are very real, very immediate and affecting all
of us. This is particularly the case in Southeast Asia. The path to change is
not easy and banks have a very clear role to play.  Encouragingly, investor appetite for green
and sustainable financing products is growing. 
However, the market is still sub-scale, held back by a lack of
investible projects. Injecting new urgency into the actions of governments and
businesses across ASEAN is now a priority. Failure to act now could severely
dent the region's growth opportunity"

The EU-ABC continues to
encourage the removal of trade and investment barriers to achieve the full
benefits of ASEAN integration and promote growth of key sectors such as healthcare,
the Digital Economy and quality financial services.

In summary the two papers
from the EU-ABC are:

1) Financing ASEAN's Future: Developing Cohesive
& Responsive Policies for Sustainable Finance:
Rising costs associated with climate
change continue to impact populations and GDP across ASEAN. The financial
sector specifically can play a critical role in directing investments to help
cope with these environmental and socio-economic challenges. The Council
encourages shifting funds towards investments that meet the socio-economic and
environmental needs of emerging economies while not locking in carbon emissions
for decades. Measures to support this key sector are put forward in the paper.

2) ASEAN Competitiveness & Trade
Facilitation: A Time For Action:
There is a growing urgency for ASEAN
to realise the vision of the AEC by removing NTBs and trading more with itself.
This paper puts forward several recommendations aimed at advancing the AEC
faster, and supporting the developments of MSMEs whilst boosting ASEAN

About the EU-ASEAN Business Council

The EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) is the primary and sole voice
for European business covering all of the ASEAN region.

It is recognised by the European Commission and the ASEAN
Secretariat and is an accredited entity under Annex 2 of the ASEAN Charter.
Independent of both bodies, the Council has been established to help promote
the interests of European businesses operating within ASEAN and to advocate for
changes in policies and regulations which would help promote trade and
investment between Europe and the ASEAN region. The Council works on a
sectorial and cross-industry basis to help improve the investment and trading
conditions for European Businesses in the ASEAN region through influencing
policy and decision makers throughout the region and in the EU, as well as
acting as a platform for the exchange of information and ideas amongst its
members and regional players within the ASEAN region.

The EU-ABC's membership consists of large European Multi-National
Corporations and the nine European Chambers of Commerce from around Southeast
Asia.  The EU-ABC represents a diverse
range of European industries cutting across almost every commercial sphere from
car manufacturing through to financial services and including Fast Moving
Consumer Goods and high-end electronics and communications.  Our members all have a common interest in
enhancing trade, commerce and investment between Europe and ASEAN.

The Executive Director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council is Mr Chris
Humphrey, and its Chairman is Mr Donald Kanak. The Council is led by an elected
Board consisting of corporate leaders representing a range of important
industry sectors and representatives of the European Chambers of Commerce.

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