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Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry


Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Arsjad Rasjid: Prudent Measures Needed to Harness Economic Potential and Investment in ASEAN

The Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), Arsjad Rasjid, emphasized the necessity of cautious steps and careful planning in harnessing the business potential within the trade and investment sectors across Southeast Asian nations.

Indonesia, the Chair of ASEAN-BAC for 2023, has laid a solid foundation that can serve as a reference for countries in Southeast Asia, in order to attract investments aimed at realizing ASEAN's role as an economic growth hub through the private sector.

"Southeast Asia has indeed demonstrated immense potential. In 2023, the growth of the region's gross domestic product has become more robust and has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The heads of state we are engaged with also acknowledged the tangible measures undertaken by ASEAN-BAC," stated Arsjad during the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting and Related Meetings at Hotel Padma Semarang, Central Java.

During the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting and Related Meetings, the ASEAN-BAC delegation engaged in consultations and discussions with the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM). This largely being the developments pertaining to the 5 priority issues and 8 legacy projects initiated by ASEAN-BAC.

"Consultations with the AEM centered around the implementation of the ASEAN Vision 2045. We also discussed solutions to foster economic relations among ASEAN member states, as well as with ASEAN partner countries. Additionally, we explored initiatives to enhance ASEAN's economic integration towards a regional economy that is inclusive, innovative, resilient, and transformative through the ASEAN Business Network (ABN)," stated Arsjad, accompanied by ASEAN-BAC representatives from each ASEAN member state. This also included policy managers and legacy leads from ASEAN-BAC Indonesia.

It was noted that under Indonesia's leadership, ASEAN-BAC has conducted roadshows to ASEAN member countries and external partners, including: The United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and China.

"We assured leaders and entrepreneurs that ASEAN must be taken into account due to its robust economic fundamentals, positioning ASEAN as a global investment haven," stressed Bernardino Vega, Alternate Chair of ASEAN-BAC.

Southeast Asia holds significant potential and promising business opportunities in several sectors, including but not limited to:agriculture and food, digital economy, private-public healthcare, driving the growth of the ASEAN electric vehicle trading ecosystem, electric vehicle ecosystems, carbon market mobilization, and regional QR payment systems.

In 2010, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Southeast Asia was approximately USD 23 billion. This figure surged to USD 47 billion in 2021.

Moreover, Southeast Asia possesses a notable advantage in the form of abundant natural energy resources to meet global energy demands. Furthermore, ASEAN's digital economy is projected to experience significant growth, expanding from USD $194 billion in 2022 to USD $330 billion in 2025.

"I assure you that the advantages of ASEAN are tangible and proven. The businesses we've fostered also offer clear prospects for growth," Arsjad explained.

The ASEAN-BAC delegation also held several other meetings, one of which discussed the ASEAN Tariff Finder. This is an online platform designed to assist traders in maximizing the benefits from completed or enhanced Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Trade In Goods Agreement (ATIGA), ASEAN+1 FTAs, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and bilateral FTAs completed by ASEAN member countries.

In addition, several bilateral meetings were also conducted with various government stakeholders, including Alfredo Espinosa Pascual, Philippines Secretary of Trade and Industry; Nigel Paul Huddleston, a Member of the British Parliament who also serves as Minister of State for International Trade; Gan Kim Yong, Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry; and Nguyen Hong Dien, Vietnam Minister of Industry and Trade.

98th ASEAN-BAC Meeting and 22nd Joint Business Council Meeting

Previously, the ASEAN-BAC delegation conducted the 98th ASEAN-BAC Meeting and the 22nd Joint Business Council (JBC) Meeting on August 18, 2023.

During this meeting, the entire ASEAN-BAC delegation from all ASEAN countries, along with the Joint Business Council (JBC) representatives from ASEAN partner countries, convened to prepare for the engagement with the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM). In this meeting, the leaders of the working groups provided progress reports on the 5 priority issues and 8 legacy projects undertaken by ASEAN-BAC, as well as the preparations for the ASEAN-BAC Summit Week 2023, which will take place in two weeks.

"The ASEAN-BAC Summit Week 2023 comprises a series of events scheduled from 1 - 8 September 2023. On 3 - 4 September 2023, the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit will be held, along with the ASEAN Business Awards on 4 September 2023. Subsequently , various other events will follow, such as the ASEAN Fintech Roundtable and ASEAN-BAC Roundtables Meeting from 5 - 6 September 2023, and the Indonesia Sustainability Forum on 7 - 8 September 2023," Arsjad stated.


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Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry