UKABC organised a business engagement programme to the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand led by our Chair, Baroness Neville-Rolfe. The aim of the programme was to impress upon ASEAN stakeholders the growing UK business engagement with ASEAN and explore areas of collaboration. Participating in the Summit together with UKABC were senior figures from the Department for International Trade, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and UK business.
The theme of the Summit was ‘Empowering ASEAN 4.0’ and featured Heads of State, senior business figures and thought leaders. Over 1000 delegates heard sessions discussing the key issues facing the region with a focus on how to prepare the region for the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand in his keynote remarks highlighted the importance of digital transformation of the region. He stressed for a ‘Digital ASEAN’ the necessary digital infrastructure with a digital-literate workforce is needed. This was a major theme of the programme and reflected the increasing concern of the SE Asian leaders in dealing with the extent and pace of technological change facing their economies.
The issue of shared prosperity and ensuring equitable distribution of growth was echoed by other speakers such as Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad who highlighted the importance of collaboration and inclusive growth in his remarks.
As part of the UKABC’s contribution to the success of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, we were delighted to arrange for a young coder to speak at the Summit. Femi Owolade-Coombes, a 13-year-old from South London, gave a keynote address on coding and inclusiveness.
On the side lines of the two-day Summit, UKABC, DIT and FCO met with Dato Erywan Yusof, Minister of Foreign Affairs II, Brunei; Agus Suparmanto, Minister of Trade for Indonesia and Ramon Lopez, Secretary of Trade and Investment, Philippines to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to the region and explore areas of mutual interest.
In addition, UKABC also met with numerous business leaders including Dr. Vu Tien Loc, Chair of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Chair of ABIS 2021, where we explored how we can support the business aims for Vietnam’s Chair of ASEAN in 2021.
Prior to the Summit, the UKABC programme included a meeting with Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, a signing ceremony of a Letter of Intent on ASEAN Regional Digital Trade Transformation and a ASEAN-UK Business Reception that featured a keynote by the ASEAN Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Rillo.
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