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Symposium: Updates on the ASEAN Economic Community

Thursday, 27 July 2017 — The one-day Symposium; ‘Updates on the ASEAN Economic Community’, invited policymakers, experts and representatives from the private sector to the Institute to give an update and share their experiences in regional economic cooperation and integration in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).


Dr. Tham Siew Yean, Senior ISEAS Fellow, moderator along with Mrs. Mastura Ahmad Mustafa of Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia and Mr. Douglas Foo, Member of ASEAN Business Advisory Council as speakers for the first session. (Source: ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute)

The first session – “AEC 2025: Progress and Prospects” – provided an update on AEC developments from both the perspectives of policymakers and businesses. The ten ASEAN countries are working collectively on issues of e-commerce, global value chains and good governance. They are also working on a better monitoring and evaluation mechanism and have agreed to publish a progress report every two to three years on rate of compliance and impact assessment.

Dr Francis Hutchinson, Senior Fellow and Coordinator of Regional Economic Studies Programme and Malaysia Studies Programme, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute with fellow speakers, Mr. Agil Faisal Bin Ahmad Fadzil, Chairman of Infinity Channel Sdn. Bhd.; Mr. Kenneth Hiew Wai Yoon, Group Chief Commercial Officer of PUC Bhd.; and Prof. Dr. Yuen Kah Hay, Executive Director, Hovid Bhd. (Source: ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute)

The second session – “Accessing and Benefiting from the ASEAN Market” – shared the experiences of business firms’ on how they entered the markets across ASEAN and their future expectations from ASEAN integration. Three speakers from Malaysia shared their thoughts on the challenges faced operating in different ASEAN countries.

Dr Cassey Lee, Senior Fellow and Co-Coordinator, Regional Economic Studies Programme, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute with fellow panellists, Dr. Malcolm Cook, ISEAS Senior Fellow, Dr. Yeo Lay Hwee, Director, EU Centre in Singapore and, Dr Sarah Yueting Tong, Senior Research Fellow, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore. (Source: ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute)

The third session – “Global Uncertainties and its Impact on the AEC” – discussed the impact of recent global events on the future of AEC. These included the Trump administration in the US, Brexit and the economic slowdown in China.


Moderating the final session, Ms. Sanchita Basu Das, Lead Researcher (Economics), ASEAN Studies Centre with panellists Ms. Christine Lim, General Manager, Chun Hoe Pte Ltd, Singapore and Ms. Shanti Shamdasani, President, ASEAN International Advocacy, Indonesia (Source: ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute)

The last session – “Singapore’s Engagement with the AEC” – presented views from the private sector on their perceptions of Singapore’s role in AEC. Singapore can act as a gateway for investments into the AEC while ASEAN member states provide the larger production and consumer base that Singapore needs.

The event was attended by 80 people, including diplomats, government officials, business leaders, academics and members of the media.