23 January 2019, House of Lords
The UK-ASEAN Business Council hosted a Gala Dinner in Honour of the ASEAN Secretary-General, Dato Lim Jock Hoi. Guests included Rt Hon. Mark Field MP, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, ASEAN Heads of Missions in the UK, Prime Minister’s Trade Envoys, Members of Parliament and the House of Lords, think tanks and the business community with a strong presence in Southeast Asia.
The Gala Dinner was kindly sponsored by Accenture, Prudential and Shell.
Martin Hatfull, Chair of the UKABC, highlighted the importance of the evening in his opening remarks noting that the UK is serious about our relationship with ASEAN and looks forward to our future together.
In his address, Minister Field, who has visited all ten ASEAN countries, said the reason for the high level of engagement with ASEAN is because without a shadow of a doubt this century is going to be the Asian century.
Southeast Asia is not only already an engine of global growth but is also home to more UK investments than China and India combined.
Minister Field noted ‘There is huge potential in the future UK-ASEAN partnership. One such area is the digital economy. Building on current projects such as the FinTech Bridge in Singapore, the UK is well placed to work throughout ASEAN to develop and sustain a vibrant digital economy. Digital Catapult the UK’s leading advanced digital innovation centre is already exploring ways to support UK start-ups to reach ASEAN.
Sustainable economic development and climate change are also important priorities for any future partnership. That’s why it gives me great pleasure to announce this evening we shall be funding two new multi-million pound programmes supporting ASEAN’s goals on economic reforms and on low carbon energy.
The first initiative on economic reforms has three objectives:
- To strengthen the business environment through better protection of intellectual property and fairer competition.
- To enhance government and business transparency and compliance with international standards by promoting business integrity and strengthening the ability of authorities to tackle corruption and integrity.
- To broaden and deepen financial markets and promote financial inclusion through Fintech by supporting the development of capital markets, strengthening the capabilities of anti-money laundering authorities and raising accountancy standards.
The second of the initiatives is on climate change. We hope to accelerate the essential transition to low carbon energy in Southeast Asia. To provide technical policy and capacity building support. The aim above all is to draw upon the financial expertise of the City of London to encourage more green finance into energy infrastructure projects and other investments in the region. The programme also aims to help ASEAN Countries meet their emissions targets to cut costs to both consumers and businesses by improving energy efficiency. It should also, of course, encourage job opportunities and encourage new investments another win-win.’
Minister Field highlighted ‘These are just two of many strands of a broader portfolio of UK-ASEAN cooperation designed to provide inclusive and sustainable growth and to boost our already flourishing trade and investment relationship.’
Stressing the importance of the relationship, Minister Field said ‘I very much hope you will leave London as convinced as I am of the huge potential that lies ahead for the continuity and strengthening of the UK-ASEAN partnership. Please be in no doubt that we mean business in every sense of the word, we want to work with you to forge a dynamic partnership, a partnership at the people to people level, that will bring greater prosperity and security to all of the people that we represent in both ASEAN and here in the UK. A partnership for the 21st century and indeed beyond.’
In his remarks, Dato Lim expressed his thanks and gratitude to the UK-ASEAN Business Council for organising the dinner and to be with men and women who are ‘technically driving the British economy’. He said that the current dynamic developments in Europe and the UK could bring an impetus to ASEAN-UK relations to reach greater heights.
Dato Lim highlighted that ASEAN is committed to creating a sound and sustainable business environment in the region and would welcome any form of constructive engagement with the UK business community to better facilitate their interest in doing business in ASEAN. Dato Lim said, ‘I would like to personally encourage stronger collaboration between the UK-ASEAN Business Council and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), noting with appreciation the UKABC’s participation in the Joint Business Council mechanism under the ambit of the ASEAN-BAC.’
Dato Lim stressed three points ‘First, I would like to acknowledge the Department for International Trade’s “High-Value Campaign” in education that specifically focuses on technical and vocational education and training (TVET). You may be pleased to note our on-going work in engaging the private sector to develop TVET in ASEAN. I would strongly encourage the UKABC to collaborate with the ASEAN Secretariat’s Education, Youth and Sports Division (EYSD), and the Enterprise and Stakeholder Engagement Division (ESED) to explore how ASEAN and the UK can cooperate towards a shared objective in the field of education.’
He went on to say ‘Second, the ASEAN Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 has prioritized Sustainable Infrastructure as one of its five strategic areas. To move this forward, ASEAN is collaborating with the World Bank to establish an initial rolling priority pipeline of potential ASEAN infrastructure projects that are expected to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2019. I would like to invite the UKABC and the Department of International Trade to engage the ASEAN Secretariat’s ASEAN Connectivity Division (ACD) on possible partnerships to facilitate implementation of the MPAC 2025 and help ASEAN address the infrastructure financing gap, including the provision of capacity-building activities related to public-private partnerships (PPP).’
Dato Lim concluded by highlighting ‘Last but definitely not the least, is on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). As the world enters the age of the 4IR, it would be important for ASEAN to learn from the UK’s experience and business practices in managing disruptions to human capital, production changes, data management and associated security issues. I would like to suggest that we explore some avenues where the UK government and businesses can share information or offer capacity building to the ASEAN Member States and the business community in ASEAN on this global challenge.
Once again, I would like to thank you all for giving me this opportunity to be here with all of you tonight.’
The evening concluded with a toast to the growing UK-ASEAN relations.
Kindly sponsored by: