Realising the ASEAN Economic Community: Views from Business and Non-Governmental Sectors


AEC Panel Discussion


The ASEAN Community was inaugurated on 31 December 2015, marking a major milestone in the regional organisation’s history. Understandably so, it was the economic component of the Community that garnered the most attention.  In fact, expectations were high in the run-up to the historic proclamation.  The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) still have a long way to go toward achieving its goals of “free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital.” While tariffs have been lowered, and in a range of products, removed entirely, AEC continues to grapple with issues such as simplifying customs procedure, harmonising standards, poor connectivity and narrowing the development gap. ASEAN has also been criticised with its top-down approach and limited consultation with the private sector and stakeholders.  This seminar will examine existing ASEAN mechanisms for government-private engagement and consultation. It will also discuss the experiences of European multinationals in doing business in the region and analyse their engagement strategies with the public sector.


Chris Humphrey is the Executive Director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council. A business development and government relations professional with more than a decade of experience running business units throughout Asia, Chris began his varied professional career as a UK Civil Servant where he was Private Secretary to a Minister and an Air Services Trade Negotiator covering the Asia Pacific Region. Chris then moved to the private sector, working initially in the government and external relations teams at two British airlines before moving to Shanghai, China with Virgin Atlantic, where he headed up the airline’s China operation and oversaw the rapid expansion of their business in China. After a short spell in Hong Kong with Virgin, Chris then joined a UK-based security and defence group where he led their Asia-Pacific team for over five years and was instrumental in them getting contracts with the Japanese and Singapore Governments and also with SOEs in China.

Alexander C. Chandra is an Associate Fellow at the Habibie Centre, Jakarta (ASEAN Studies Program). Prior to joining the Habibie Centre, Alex was the Executive Director of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (A-BAC), an official private sector body of ASEAN. Chandra has obtained his PhD in Southeast Asian Studies, with a specialisation in political economy of ASEAN integration, from the University of Hull, UK, in 2004. His key interests are the political economy of Southeast and East Asian regionalism, international trade, democratic governance and the role of civil-society in policy-making.

Sanchita Basu Das is ISEAS Fellow and Lead Researcher (Economics) at the ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS). She also serves as the Coordinator for the Singapore APEC Study Centre and Co-Editor of the Journal of Southeast Asian Economies. Prior to joining ISEAS in 2005, she was an economist in the private sector involved in infrastructure consulting, manufacturing and banking. Sanchita holds an MBA from the National University of Singapore, and an MA from the Delhi School of Economics, India. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in International Political Economy at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She has authored and edited numerous books and book chapters, policy papers and opinion articles. Her research interests include – economic regionalism in ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific Region; international trade; and economic development issues like connectivity.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 16 May 2016.


May 17 2016


10:00 am - 12:00 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 1 & 2