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Business efforts to help enhance ASEAN economic integration
FORMED by the ASEAN Leaders in 2003, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) is the official business platform that provides private sector feedback and guidance to boost ASEAN efforts towards economic integration, identifies priority areas for consideration by the ASEAN leaders, as well as advocate relevant policy recommendations. The feedback is shared with ASEAN leaders during the annual ASEAN Summit.
ASEAN-BAC aims to drive vision and action by the business community through the theme of "Building Tomorrow, Connecting Today". It is a rallying call to members of the 10-nation grouping to be forward-looking in the adoption of innovation towards building a resilient ASEAN.
The theme also signifies the will to take immediate action to work cohesively towards building ASEAN's future.
With support from the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Singapore's national secretariat for ASEAN-BAC, various activities have been rolled out to share business insights and discuss key trends impacting businesses in ASEAN.
In the ASEAN Outlook Conference held in January 2018, ASEAN-BAC chair and co-chairmen shared their views on the ASEAN economy and business leaders provided insights on business operations and success stories in expanding into ASEAN.
In June, the Digitise ASEAN Conference discussed the impact of digitalisation on ASEAN's business landscape. The discussion revolved around Human Capital for digitalisation, and the impact of digitalisation on sectors such as healthcare, supply chain and banking.
The ASEAN Business Awards, inaugurated 11 years ago by Singapore, recognises outstanding enterprises that have contributed significantly to ASEAN's growth.
This year, a new award category called the ASEAN Business Family Award was included to promote the indispensable role family businesses play in the global economy and to recognise outstanding multi-generational family businesses that have made significant impact in the ASEAN region.
Winners of the awards are role models for the business community. Nominations for the ASEAN Business Awards close on Aug 31, with the award ceremony to be held on Nov 12, 2018.
On Nov 12 and 13, ASEAN-BAC will be organising the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS), the premier annual business event which will be held in conjunction with the ASEAN Summit. It is the platform for thought leadership sharing by key policymakers and top business leaders on current issues facing ASEAN's business and investment environment.
It also provides opportunities for the business community to engage ASEAN heads of state, business leaders, entrepreneurs and key decision makers.
ABIS will cover key topics such as smart cities, digitalisation, women in business, young entrepreneurs, sustainability and family businesses. Companies may also wish to showcase their products and services to the participants of ABIS through the exhibition on the sidelines of the seminar.
To enhance ASEAN economic integration, ASEAN-BAC rolls out at least one legacy project each year.
This year it is "SGConnect" (Smart Growth Connect). The intent of SGConnect is to foster and support the successful urbanisation in ASEAN, by developing a modern supply chain to enable a highly efficient flow of goods to drive city consumption and allow cities to grow without growing pains.
This legacy project aims to enable smart, symbiotic and sustainable growth for inclusive progress and prosperity across this heterogeneous region.
ASEAN-BAC is a platform to help ASEAN businesses, including those from Singapore, navigate through the diversity in our region. Singapore businesses are encouraged to grab this opportunity to participate in ASEAN-BAC activities for their expansion into the region.
Individuals who are interested to contribute to ASEAN's economic integration are also encouraged to reach out to SBF. Collectively, we will make a difference towards building an integrated ASEAN.
- The writer is chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council