Singapore hosted the 6th Annual 2018 ASEAN-EU Business Summit on March 2 at The Grand Hyatt on Orchard Road. This was the country’s first time hosting the event and follows its appointment to the ASEAN Chairmanship last year. This year’s Business Summit aims to build on the strong relationship between the European Union and ASEAN, as well as discuss issues related to expansion of existing trade partnerships between ASEAN and the European Union organisations and companies, and developments with the ASEAN Economic Community. Since its inception in Indonesia in 2011, the Business Summit has become a leading platform for business leaders, thought-leaders and policy makers to interact and discuss the key business and trade issues between the two regions.
The ASEAN-EU Business Summit drew together a distinguished panel of speakers and attendees drawn from the government and business community. Opening Remarks was given by Donald Kanak, Chairman of the EU-ASEAN Business Council and H.E. Francisco Fontan, EU Ambassador to ASEAN, followed by H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister (Trade) at the Ministry of Trade & Industry, Singapore and Cecilia Malmström – EU Trade Commissioner, who participated in a conversation on stage with Lin Xueling, Channel News Asia. The EU-ABC was also honoured to have ASEAN Secretary-General H,E. Lim Jock Hoi give a keynote address at the start of the Summit
The full day session consisted also of a Regional Ministerial panel and four plenary sessions.
Closing remarks were given by Barbara Plinkert – EU Ambassador to Singapore, and Stefano Poli – Chairman, European Chamber of Commerce Singapore.
Speaking at the launch of the Summit, the EU-ASEAN Business Council Chairman Don Kanak said: “The EU remains the number one source of Foreign Direct Investment to ASEAN, with an increase of 46% in 2016, and is the region’s second largest trading partner. This Summit highlights the importance of the ASEAN-EU relationship, and reflects the spirit of collaboration between Europe and ASEAN, both business and government. We see shared optimism for the future and shared interest in further progress of the AEC and in sustainable and inclusive growth.“
Stefano Poli, chairman of EuroCham, added: “2018 is an important and exciting year for EU-ASEAN relations. The conclusion of ASEAN-EU ‘Plan of Action’ paves the way for two blocs to develop their relationship further. We expect to see great progress on FTAs between Europe and the region, which is key to expanding trade and investment in the region.”
Meanwhile Teo Siong Seng, Chairman SBF said: “The EU is the world’s largest economy. Building on our strong relationship with the EU will help Singapore and ASEAN reach greater heights. This Summit allows representatives from both sides, both government and industry, to come together to discuss ideas and deal with the roadblocks, while deepening the partnership between both regions.”
Dr Robert Yap, chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council adds: “With the prospect of the region-to-region Free Trade Agreement (FTAs) and more bilateral FTAs with Europe on the horizon, ASEAN would have more opportunities to optimise and enhance its trade relations with the EU. ”
This year’s Business Summit is kindly supported by Prudential, Swift, Bosch, BMW Group, DBS, Mundipharma and UPS.
To see more photos: ASEAN-EU Business Summit photos album.