5th ASEAN-EU Business Summit Press Conference, Manila

The Philippines is all set to host the upcoming 2017 ASEAN-EU Business Summit happening on March 10 at The Conrad Manila in Pasay City. This is the country’s first big business event following its appointment to the ASEAN Chairmanship in September of last year. The fifth staging of the ASEAN-EU Business Summit coincides with the momentous occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the 40th Anniversary of the ASEAN-EU relations. 2017 also serves as a banner year thanks to the on-going negotiations for EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

This year’s Business Summit aims to establish an even stronger relationship between the European Union and ASEAN, as well as strengthen the existing trade partnerships between the Philippines and the European Union. Since its inception in Indonesia in 2011, the Business Summit has become a formidable platform for business leaders, thought-leaders and policy makers to interact and discuss the key business and trade issues between the two regions.

At the forefront of this year’s ASEAN-EU Business Summit is a distinguished panel of notable names, led by EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen, BSP Governor Amando Tentangco Jr. and several other ASEAN Trade Ministers, together with some of the notable names in business, trade and government from around the ASEAN region.

The Summit will consist of a number of panel discussions focused on diverse topics such as finance in ASEAN, sustainable economic development and boosting regional trade. Topics that will be discussed during the summit include Financing the ASEAN’s prosperity: Sustaining economic development and protecting it; Developing a world class automotive industry in the ASEAN and enhancing road safety; CSR and role of business in achieving sustainable development; Making the ASEAN more competitive – tackling NTBs and boosting regional trade; and The AEC – How can governments and businesses work together in bringing economic prosperity to all.

The 2017 ASEAN- EU Business Summit is jointly organized by the EU-ASEAN Business Council, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), with the support of the EU-Philippines Business Network and co-funding from the European Union. The summit is expected to gather over 200 attendees representing EU and ASEAN countries, local and regional heads of multinational corporations and businesses and NGOs for the Summit.

Speaking at the public launch of the Summit, the EU-ASEAN Business Council Executive Director, Chris Humphrey, said: “The EU remains the number one source of FDI to ASEAN and the region’s second largest trading partner. As a result, this Summit takes on added significance as a platform for the exchange of ideas on how to further deepen and extend the trading and investment relationship between these two complimentary regions.”

Florian Gottein, the Executive Director of ECCP, added: “2017 is an important and key year both for EU-ASEAN relations and EU-Philippine relations. We expect good progress to be made on the FTA this year, being the 40th Anniversary of EU-ASEAN dialogues. Progressing on FTAs between the EU and the ASEAN region will be key to expanding trade and investment.”

Meanwhile EU ambassador Franz Jessen said: “this is an important anniversary year for the EU and ASEAN. The strength of our institutions is sometimes taken for granted: The EU is the world’s largest economy and trading partner and we benefit a great deal from our trade. But we also realize that trade is more than that, it is also a vehicle for promoting values: We can shape globalization, rather than merely submitting to it, or letting others shape it for us. This Summit is an example of EU-ASEAN partnership and leadership in the world.”

Joey Concepcion, Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council also adds: “As we celebrate a milestone year for ASEAN, the ASEAN-EU Summit will be a good platform to discuss and share the progressive business and investment relationship of ASEAN & EU regions. Moving forward, the program can serve as an opportunity to further widen and deepen our economic engagement with the EU community.

This year’s Business Summit is also kindly supported by PRU Life UK, JTI, Swift Financial Messaging Services, Bosch, DHL and Invest KL Malaysia.

Full press conference handout can be found here.