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SBF to roll out more ASEAN-centric programmes in support of Singapore’s role as Chair of ASEAN BAC and ASEAN in 2018

  • More Singapore companies keen to expand further in ASEAN
  • SBF hopes to bring more business opportunities to its members through its enhanced ASEAN activities

17 January 2018 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) will roll out more ASEAN-focused business engagement and development activities in 2018 as Singapore takes over as Chair of ASEAN.

Kicking off SBF’s ASEAN efforts is the ASEAN Outlook Conference on 17 January 2018 graced by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of National Development, Dr Koh Poh Koon. The Conference presented perspectives on ASEAN’s market outlook as well as insights from prominent business leaders on trends and opportunities in ASEAN.

The Conference will be followed by a Networking Night event, where Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Mr Lim Hng Kiang is the Guest-of-Honour. Minister Lim will witness the handover of the chairmanship of ASEAN Business Advisory Council from the Philippines to Singapore, and chairmanship of the East Asia Business Council from Thailand to Singapore.

Against the backdrop of brightening global growth prospects, ASEAN shows strong growth potential and is poised to become an important economic region. The ASEAN Free Trade Area offers Singapore companies access to ASEAN’s market of 630 million people. In SBF’s latest National Business Survey 2017/2018, three in four companies have an active presence in South East Asia but still require assistance with understanding the region and overcoming key challenges. Half of the companies surveyed were keen to expand further into ASEAN.

Expressing SBF’s commitment to help Singapore companies tap into ASEAN’s growth potential, SBF CEO Mr Ho Meng Kit said, “According to the National Business Survey 2017/2018, the top six most popular countries for expansion are all ASEAN countries. Our survey also found some challenges businesses face in expanding to ASEAN, such as knowledge gaps in compliance, regulations and standards. To address these gaps and promote expansion into ASEAN, SBF will level up our capabilities for internationalisation. This includes working in collaboration with the Government as well as our trade associations and chambers to provide businesses in-market support, expand their overseas networks, and help them better understand and make use of Singapore’s network of Free Trade Agreements. We will also be leveraging on the presence of ASEAN officials who are here for meetings to advocate for better rules for businesses. For example, SBF partnered the Ministry of Trade and Industry to organise an e-Commerce workshop on 16 January 2018 to seek feedback from the business community. The workshop drew more than 100 participants and provided specific inputs how e-Commerce can be better facilitated in ASEAN.”

Several other key activities are being planned in 2018 by SBF, who is also secretariat to Singapore’s representatives to the ASEAN Business Advisory Council. These include seminars on digitalisation and young entrepreneurs, as well as organising the ASEAN Business Awards that recognise the best businesses across ASEAN. In addition to SBF’s business missions to ASEAN, trade shows and market-specific seminars, SBF will hold special events to engage ASEAN government leaders and bring together Singapore businesses and their ASEAN counterparts.

SBF’s series of ASEAN-focused business activities will culminate in the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in November. A premier annual forum of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, it will bring together business and government leaders, industry professionals and experts to examine ASEAN’s investment opportunities, issues and directions. The Summit aims to further the interests of ASEAN and achieving the goals of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 by collective discussions and collaborative efforts.

Speech by Minister of Trade & Industry (Trade) Mr Lim Hng Kiang

Speech by Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development Dr Koh Poh Koon

Speech by Dr Robert Yap at the ASEAN Outlook Conference

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