The EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) today met the ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, at their meeting in Chiang Rai, Thailand, for a regular dialogue session aimed at exchanging information and ideas on how the private sector can play a greater role in helping the region achieve its objectives of sustainable and equitable economic development. The EU-ABC informed the Ministers and Governors of its overall theme for 2019 of “helping ASEAN achieve a safer, healthier and more prosperous future” and also made several key policy recommendations in that regard.
In line with ASEAN’s 2019 theme of ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability’, the EU-ABC, which is the regional voice for European business in ASEAN, suggested ways in which ASEAN could advance the use of sustainable finance tools to help the region meet global sustainability development goals whilst maintaining or enhancing regional growth rates; help plug the infrastructure finance gap in Southeast Asia; and, provide more equitable access to financial services and trade and investment across the region.
Commenting on the meeting, Mr Donald Kanak, Chairman of the EU-ABC, said:
“Europe remains a key partner of ASEAN, and European businesses are leading employers and investors in Southeast Asia. Businesses want to work closely with the governments of the region to help them build safer, healthier and more prosperous futures for their citizens. This means achieving economic growth which is inclusive and sustainable, both environmentally and financially. This is possible if the public and private sectors work towards common goals and understanding. We were grateful for the opportunity to exchange views today.”
Mr Kanak added: “Europe remains the number one source of FDI for ASEAN, and the region’s second largest trading partner. Part of the focus of the discussion today was about how to enhance that relationship further by making ASEAN even more attractive for European businesses going forward. European businesses are strongly committed to ASEAN’s success, and dialogues such as the one today demonstrate that commitment.”
The EU-ABC also presented their newly launched insurance sector report on digital growth and sustainable development entitled, “Advancing Insurance: Digital Growth & Sustainable Development”.
The report focuses on the contribution that the insurance sector makes through innovation and investment towards long-term sustainable growth in ASEAN. This sector also continues to foster the development of the digital economy in ASEAN markets amidst the increasing digitisation of the business and regulatory environment.
Commenting on the EU-ABC’s recommendations set out in the paper, Mr Donald Kanak, Chairman of the EU-ABC, said:
“The EU-ABC is dedicated to helping ASEAN realize a safer, healthier and more prosperous future. The insurance industry can play a bigger role in helping ASEAN achieve a more resilient society by making a significant contribution to the population’s savings, investment, and insurance needs.
“ASEAN has to fund both the growing and the greying. On one hand, ASEAN needs around US$3 trillion in infrastructure investment between 2016 and 2030. On the other hand, ASEAN countries are aging rapidly with the population in those aged 65 and above growing during from 2015 to 2050 by 161% in Thailand to 320% in Cambodia. Mobilizing domestic savings by growing the insurance and pension sector is probably the best way for countries to meet both needs at the same time.
“European insurers are deeply committed to the ASEAN region and want to continue strong public-private cooperation to develop the industry for the benefit of ASEAN’s citizens, helping safeguard their financial future.”
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