Singapore played host to the 2nd ASEAN Business Club (ABC) Forum, Sep 8-9, 2014, which was attended by over 300 CEOs and senior business leaders throughout the South East Asia region.
This year’s forum included a new focus on the Food & Beverage Sector thanks to input from joint research partners, FIA and the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance (AFBA). This sector-focussed dialogue was led by Pushpanathan Sundram, special Advisor to AFBA, Hendro Poedjono, FIA Lead Representative for AFBA and Sunny Koh, AFBA Chairman for Singapore, who all participated in the Food and Beverage Roundtable.
The Agri-Food sector is the largest employer in ASEAN and has immense potential for further growth. For this reason, the sector was identified by ASEAN leaders as a priority sector for accelerated integration as part of the original Roadmap for AEC2015.
Inconsistent regulatory frameworks across ASEAN member states serve as technical barriers to trade and, despite efforts to harmonise these standards, little progress has been made. The private sector can play a critical role in supporting the integration process, through partnerships, technical assistance and capacity-building.
Addressing technical barriers to trade (TBT) is at the forefront of this challenge – by harmonizing standards and developing a Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), these barriers can be lifted to achieve a freer flow of trade. This will contribute to higher economic growth, higher employment and access to greater choice of safe and nutritious food for consumers, wherever they live in the ASEAN region.
The food industry, through AFBA, will continue to work with apex partners such as the ASEAN Business Club and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council to promote the principles of good regulatory practice and achieve further alleviation of non-tariff barriers.
The ASEAN Business Club, led by Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of Air Asia, has successfully positioned itself as a forceful voice of change on behalf of the private sector in ASEAN and is committed to accelerating integration efforts towards an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC2015).
ASEAN Economic Community – The Way Forward for Food, Food Industry Asia