Opportunities are abundant for businesses looking to enter markets of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) if they tap into regional agreements and are brought to the meeting tables of ASEAN, the Managing Director of the Asia branch of international regulatory and policy consultancy EAS Strategic Advice has said.
Speaking at a lunch briefing for members of the Europe-ASEAN Business Alliance last week, Pushpanathan Sundram, who is also the former Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN involved in developing the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint and several key trade agreements, said that planning investment and operations around sector specific consultations with ministers and being well-informed about regional trade agreements underway are key to a successful business strategy.
“Businesses should work towards a two-track three-dimension engagement strategy with ASEAN to help build an optimum marketing environment in the region,” he said. “It is important for the private sector to engage on national and regional levels, and at the political, policy and technical dimensions.”
“Private-public sector collaboration enables all stakeholders to be clear on the progress and activities of the ASEAN Economic Community,” he continued, “and for those developing regulation in ASEAN to have the input and perspective of the private sector, which is crucial to the successful economic integration of the region.”
ASEAN is in the process of developing measures to address non-tariff barriers, customs cooperation and standards harmonization to encourage greater investment flows into the region.
Sundram highlighted key trade agreements under implementation and discussions that businesses should be aware of when planning strategies, including the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement, the five free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea, India and Australia and New Zealand as one single undertaking, and commitments to further build the trade and investment relationship between ASEAN and the US as well as the EU.
To assist businesses in maximizing the opportunities in the region, Sundram will host a workshop on 18 October in Singapore advising on the do’s and don’ts for effective cooperation with governments in ASEAN.
Titled ‘Engaging with ASEAN’, the workshop will give an explanation of how ASEAN works, its organisational structure, key agreements and plans, including the ASEAN Charter, community blueprints and other new Community agreements.
It will also cover the progress towards the implementation of its Economic Community to be established in 2015, and the processes of engagement with ASEAN at the political, policy and technical levels.