Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The ASEAN Regional Business Council (RBC) has been launched in Hà Nội with the aim of promoting public-private cooperation on the most pressing issues facing Southeast Asia.
The announcement was made at the World Economic Forum on Mekong Region (WEF Mekong) which is taking place this afternoon.
RBC is made up of 25 ASEAN companies and 30 global companies, including big names such as Việt Nam’s VinaCapital Group, Malaysia’s AirAsia, Philippines’ SM Investments Corporation and Thailand’s PTT Public Company.
“Overcoming some of the biggest challenges in ASEAN depends on business and government working together. We want RBC to help present the voice of business to the government so that we can collectively deliver positive impact in the region and ensure that the hundreds of millions of young people across ASEAN have the brightest possible future,” Nazir Razak, chairman of Malaysia’s CIMB Group Holdings and also chairman of the newly-established council, said.
One of its key priorities is to lift non-tariff barriers which are still rampant across ASEAN, despite the official establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community late last year.
“Trade barriers have come down significantly, close to zero in most cases, but there are so many non-tariff barriers across ASEAN. We will work on these barriers by engaging the government and different sectors,” Razak told Việt Nam News.
Another key action plan is to promote small and medium-sized enterprises through various programmes, including a mentoring programme, which will hopefully be launched in the next few months, according to the chairman.
“We expect to give SMEs or smaller companies opportunities to invite us, the bigger ones, to be sort of a mentor for their businesses through this programme,” he said.
The council will also focus on other issues, such as building infrastructure, promoting cross-border trade and investment in ASEAN, developing a digital economy and examining the future of jobs and industry in the region.
RBC members will actively contribute towards highlighting ASEAN’s accomplishment at the 2017 WEF Annual Meeting in Davos next year, in celebration of ASEAN’s 50th anniversary of establishment.
WEF Mekong is organised for the first time at Việt Nam’s initiative to promote the region’s potential to the international business community. It brings together 180 leading representatives from major multinationals, large ASEAN and Asia-Pacific companies, academia and civil society. It is organised alongside the 8th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Việt Nam Summit and the 7th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy Summit. — VNS