Latest ASEAN news

The Rise Of Southeast Asia’s Start-Up Scene

The Airbnb of luxury luggage, Uber for home massage, and blockchain for pets are just a few recent examples of start-up ideas that make you wonder if the world has run out of bigger dreams to pursue. Indeed, the aggregator business model has disrupted almost any industry, with at least half a dozen companies now competing in every relatively big niche from flower delivery to private jet hailing. The popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain then gave birth to another wave of start-ups applying these trendy technologies to just about any area of business. And the rise of telework during the COVID-19 pandemic now brought life to yet another generation of start-ups offering various technologies for improved remote collaboration: those copying Zoom (GoToMeeting), Slack (PukkaTeam), Dropbox (Box and Cloudera) or covering very niche user needs like scheduling a team lunch for a hybrid-working team (Lunch Train).

This makes some observers wonder if Silicon Valley is running out of big ideas. Entrepreneurs seem to hunt for the next niche market where the cookie-cut technological concepts have not been applied yet, unavoidably framing their pitch into a “we are X for Y” pattern. Bold product innovations now seem to be the prerogative of tech giants, while the destiny of start-ups is to supply big players with small process innovations that would be acquired together with the whole company. While this trend might seem like an indication of Silicon Valley’s declining innovativeness, in fact, it is not. Innovation does not necessarily need to completely change the way humans interact with computers, as Doug Engelbart’s ideas - personal computer, hypertext, word processing, teleconferencing, mouse, to name but a few - did.

To pass as “business innovation,” a new product or process needs to differ significantly from what was previously produced by the firm, in its own market, or in the entire world, as Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the main goalkeeper for measuring innovation on the country level, puts it. Simply put, the same idea applied in a new industry or geographical location can bring significant disruption and thus lead to substantial business growth if it solves real people's problems. When evaluating a start-up pitch, it takes extra effort to judge the idea not by its uniqueness but by its appropriateness to a new market in which it is applied.

In fact, old ideas could potentially yield even better results than in the market they were originally implemented in when brought to the geographies not spoiled with technological improvements. Perhaps, the most prominent “not spoiled” region like this is now in Southeast Asia. Its start-up scene outperformed all other emerging markets in 2020 by raising US$8.2 billion. What’s more, it continues to show a great performance in 2021 as well, setting a record year by raising US$6 billion of venture capitalist (VC) funding in the first quarter alone. The growth of the digital economy in Southeast Asia provides fertile grounds for ventures.

On the one hand, the population is still coming online. In 2020, over 40 million users in six major markets hit the web for the first time, which is 10 percent of all the Internet users in the region. They are not fully covered with the technological solutions mature users are used to, like mobile banking, delivery services, and e-commerce. On the other hand, the population is increasingly willing to pay. According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG)’s 2018 estimates, up to 10 percent of the citizens in the major Southeast Asia economies belonged to what consultancy dubbed “mass-affluent class.” And by 2030, their share in the region might grow up to 21 percent. These 136 million digitally-savvy and premium product-oriented consumers are expected to further drive the demand in the region, along with the projected 350 million middle-income consumers. Combining these two factors provides plenty of opportunities, and there are already many start-ups capturing them. Does this mean that cookie-cutter solutions are enough for these markets? Not really. What you actually need to do is to look at the proven models somewhere else, on the one hand, and analyze the real problems of users in the region on the other hand. And finally, use the former for solving the latter.

In some cases, a slight adaptation of the solution already implemented somewhere else would work. For example, Southeast Asia e-commerce leader Lazada was actually inspired by Amazon, with the initial goal articulated as “becoming the Amazon of Southeast Asia” by riding on the wave of increasing Internet penetration and demand for e-commerce services. Tiki, another e-commerce player in the region, was not only called the “Vietnamese Amazon,” but also started the business as an online bookseller, just like Amazon did. In other cases, a unique user pain might inspire a completely new solution. For example, the Indonesian grocery delivery service Sayurbox got its business idea from observing tens of thousands of small-scale farmers spread across 17,000 islands in the country struggling without tech-savvy logistics solutions. Whereas PayMaya created its mobile banking app specifically for the Philippines market to solve the problems of the unbanked population in the country, which still makes up two-thirds of the nation despite the increasing number of smartphone users. 

But more often than not, the approach can be blended. The two largest and most-awaited IPOs in Southeast Asia this year - Grab and GoTo - are both coming from the companies that started off as an Uber-type ride-hailing platform, developed into a Chinese super-app- type ecosystem, and all along were devoted to solving the problems of their local customers and partners on the ground. While there is no simple recipe for winning Southeast Asia markets, reapplying simple solutions from somewhere else should not be shied away from. Product usage, and subsequently business growth, comes when your idea solves the real user pain. And whether this idea is a globally unique one or another application of the “we are X for Y” pattern - does not matter.

Source: The ASEAN Post

The ASEAN Access network is looking for new partners!

We’re growing!

ASEAN Access is looking for public or private organizations, in ASEAN and beyond, that support and contribute to internationalization of businesses and who would like to collaborate with ASEAN Access as a Network Partner.

As an international network, ASEAN Access supports SMEs with market entry, by offering trade information, a Service Providers directory connecting users to hands-on market entry support, country and sector briefs, and a comprehensive pan-ASEAN events calendar. We are also launching our ASEAN Access MATCH platform, which will become the centre of our virtual matchmaking and market information events, knowledge workshops, and many other events that help businesses internationalise. 

How can you as a Network Partners collaborate with ASEAN Access?

  • Help businesses grow, by organising information, training and matchmaking events
  • Help inform businesses, by publishing relevant news, business and trade events
  • Help us grow, by directing visitors to ASEAN Access by promoting the portal.

What you get in return?

  • You can use the MATCH platform free of charge* for unlimited events of your choice
  • You can use our intranet for more matchmaking activities and join our internal communication
  • You will build your professional network in ASEAN and beyond
  • You can promote your own events in the events calendar
  • You can choose which news and articles ASEAN Access visitors should be reading
  • You will be part of the official ASEAN business support network and can help direct its growth.

*PS! The usual starting cost for similar matchmaking and virtual event platforms on the market is USD $960 per event, you’ll get to use ours for free!


Please email us at [email protected] and let us know you are interested. You will be directed to your national contact point who can give you more information. If you already know one of the national contact points of ASEAN Access, you can contact them directly.

ASEAN Business Awards 2021 is open for applications

Applications for outstanding regional enterprises are open for this year’s ASEAN Business Awards (ABA).

Brunei’s ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) – the country’s private sector representative to ASEAN – will be organising ABA this year as part of the Sultanate’s ASEAN chairmanship.

The ceremonial awarding will take place virtually on November 10. Each year has seen ABA award multiple winners from different countries in most categories.

ABA will feature eight main categories: Priority Integration Sectors, SME Excellence, Women Entrepreneur, Young Entrepreneur, Friends of ASEAN, Inclusive Business, Skills Development and Brunei Special Award: Emerging Social Enterprise. 

The deadline for application is October 14, with the exception of the Inclusive Business award which must be submitted to Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) by September 13. Application forms and further details are available on Brunei ASEAN-BAC website.

Date of Release: 7 September 2021

Read the full article here.



Indonesia seeks to roll out carbon tax in April 2022

The Indonesian Government is seeking to impose a carbon tax of Rp30 per kilogram of carbon dioxide equivalent (C02e) on emissions surpassing a designated cap from April 1, 2022, the Finance Minister has said.

“The carbon tax begin to take effect on April 1, 2022, but still it (the government) follows the carbon roadmap related to climate change,” Sri Mulyani Indrawati said at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

The Law on Harmonizing Tax Regulation (UU HPP) deals with the imposition of carbon tax aimed at restoring the environment.

The carbon tax is part of Indonesia’s commitment to lower carbon emissions by 29 percent on its own and 41 percent through international support by 2030 in accordance with the target of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), the minister noted.

The tax will be imposed in stages and adjusted to carbon trading as part of the green economy roadmap to minimize the impact on businesses while lowering carbon emissions, she said.

“The basic notion is our acknowledgement that carbon has economic value so we will impose carbon tax through cap and tax trade mechanism,” Vice Finance Minister Suahasil Nazara said.

In the first stage in 2021, the government will develop a carbon trade mechanism and from 2022 to 2024, it will apply the tax to coal-fueled power plants (PLTU), based on the cap and tax mechanism, he informed.

From 2025 and beyond, carbon trade will be done fully and the carbon tax sector will be expanded in stages, in keeping with the sector’s preparedness, he added.



Source: Antara News

Reporter: Astrid Faidlatul H, Suharto

Editor: Rahmad Nasution

Original published date: 08 October, 2021


Read full article here.

ASEAN for Business Bulletin Sept 2021: Non-Tariff Measures Cost-Effectiveness Toolkit

Non-tariff measures (NTMs) have long been the region's persistent issue that caused foreign sourcing to be more costly and time-consuming.

At the recent 53rd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting, ASEAN Ministers and Government Officials endorsed the NTMs Cost-Effectiveness Toolkit to support ASEAN Member States in addressing and reviewing these NTMS. Learn more about NTM Toolkit in the latest ASEAN for Business Bimonthly Bulletin.

States must raise hydrogen investment to help reach net zero - IEA

Governments need to step up investment in hydrogen production and storage chains to help cut net emissions to zero, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday.

States and private investors had so far only come up with about a quarter of the $1,200 billion needed by 2030 to develop and deploy hydrogen and make it part of global net zero strategies, the Paris-based organization said.

Efforts should be directed on getting hydrogen into more sectors and developing technologies to make it cheaper to produce with renewables, its report added.

Hydrogen is light, storable and energy-dense, and produces no direct emissions of pollutants or greenhouse gases when used as a fuel. But the cost of production, and worries over how it is produced, have been a barrier to expanded use. Hydrogen produced with renewable supplies can cost between two to seven times as much as producing it from natural gas without carbon capture, the report said. New technologies and economies of scale could help close the gap, it added.

"Almost all hydrogen produced today comes from fossil fuels without carbon capture, resulting in close to 900 million tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the combined CO2 emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia," the IEA said.

Global capacity of electrolyzers, which produce hydrogen from water using electricity, doubled over the past five years, and nearly 400 projects are under development or in early stages of development, the report said.

These projects should put hydrogen supply at 8 million tons per year by 2030, up from the less than 50,000 tons in 2021. But that was still a tenth of what was needed by 2030 to reach net zero emissions by 2050, they said.

Nearly all hydrogen consumption was in the refining and industrial sectors in 2020, the report said. But it could also play a major role in chemicals, steel, transport and aviation - all sectors where emission reduction is currently a challenge.

Government policies currently focus on production but need to incorporate consumption in new sectors to foster the construction of the necessary storage, transmission and charging facilities, the report said.

Currently 17 governments have hydrogen strategies, and more than 20 others have announced they are developing plans, up from three countries in 2019, the agency said.

Source: The Jakarta Post

Author: Forrest Crellin

Original published date: 04 October, 2021


Read full article here.

Indonesia Reinstates Temporary Tax Breaks for Small-car Sales

Indonesia has reinstated a temporary luxury-tax break on sales of smaller cars as the concession helped boost demand for vehicles, the Finance Ministry said on Friday. The tax break, which had expired in August, will now be available till the end of the year, the ministry said in a statement. Japanese brands such as Toyota, Daihatsu, Mitsubishi and Honda dominate Indonesia's domestic car market, Southeast Asia's biggest. Indonesia's biggest listed car distributors are Astra International and Indomobil Sukses Internasional. Sedans and two-wheel drive cars with engine capacity under 1,500 cc will now be exempt from luxury tax until the year-end. The ministry did not provide an estimate of revenue loss from the tax break. The government introduced the tax break in March to incentivize car purchases, which had been hit by an economic slowdown due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It was initially due to expire in June, but was extended until end-August. Auto production rose 49 percent in January-July on a yearly basis, not just for domestic market but also exports, the ministry said. Monthly domestic sales have also recovered, with more than 83,000 units sold in August, close to pre-pandemic levels.

Author : Gayatri Suroyo

Original Publish Date : September 17th 2021

Source : Jakarta Post

Read full article here.

What would a post-carbon supply chain look like?

Businesses worldwide are pushing for more sustainable practices. As the threat of climate change has worsened, it’s become clear that industry as a whole must move away from carbon emission-generating practices. This movement has significant implications for supply chains. Today’s supply chains are far from carbon-free. An organization’s supply chain often accounts for 90% of its greenhouse gas emissions when taking overall climate impacts into account. From diesel-powered trucks to natural gas-generated warehouse power, these networks rely heavily on fossil fuels. It can be hard to imagine supply chains without these resources, but it’s not impossible. Here’s what a post-carbon supply chain would look like and how companies could achieve it.

Electric Vehicles

The most obvious difference between today’s supply chains and a post-carbon one is their vehicles. Transportation accounts for 21% of total global emissions, and freight constitutes a considerable portion of that figure. Almost all trucks that move freight today use fossil fuels, but post-carbon transport will be electric. Electric trucks will likely be the first type of carbon-free vehicles to appear in supply chains. General Motors has already established goals to produce zero emissions, and electric road vehicles are increasingly common. Post-carbon supply chains will bring electrification to more than just trucks, though. Ships and airplanes will also be electric. Their longer routes will require more efficiency, so they may rely on technologies like fuel cells or solar power instead of batteries. Regardless of the specifics, every vehicle in the post-carbon supply chain will be electric.

Green Power Sources

While vehicles may be the easiest culprit to pinpoint, they’re not the only source of emissions. Supply chains consume a considerable amount of energy, most of which comes from fossil fuels. In fact, if 125 multinational companies increased their supply chain renewable energy by 20%, they would save more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions. In a post-carbon supply chain, all energy would come from renewable sources. That would likely mean using various technologies, as sustainable power has varying effectiveness in different applications. Solar, wind and hydroelectric power would all play a part in the transition to zero-carbon operations. A truly zero-carbon supply chain would also use renewables to generate power for its electric vehicles. Creating batteries or hydrogen for fuel cells requires energy, and this too must be green for supply chains to be truly sustainable.

Sustainable Sourcing

A more easily overlooked aspect of post-carbon supply chains is how sustainability plays into their corporate partnerships. A truly zero-emissions supply chain must ensure its suppliers are also carbon-free. Otherwise, it would still be investing in emissions-producing activity, albeit indirectly. Industrial sectors like manufacturing are responsible for 29.6% of total emissions in the U.S. If a supply chain moved products from a company with such a significant carbon footprint, one could hardly consider it carbon-free. In a truly post-carbon supply chain, all connected sources are also zero emissions. Ensuring these connections are sustainable requires a considerable amount of transparency. As such, post-carbon supply chains will require regular audits from involved parties to verify their sustainability. They’ll likely also employ technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) trackers and blockchains to keep operations transparent.

How Can the World Move Toward Post-Carbon Supply Chains?

These factors may seem like lofty goals right now. Today’s supply chains have a long way to go before they can say they’re truly carbon-free. Thankfully, however far-off these sustainability targets may seem, they are achievable. Companies can start acting now to move toward them. Recognizing the business incentives for removing carbon from the supply chain can help encourage further action. According to one study, 84% of global consumers are more likely to make purchase decisions based on a company’s sustainability practices. Similarly, 61% are willing to wait for longer delivery times if they know it’s better for the environment. Interest in sustainable supply chains will grow when more organizations realize these benefits. As this trend gains momentum, here are a few ways supply chains can start moving toward zero-carbon goals.

Improve Visibility

The first step in moving away from carbon is improving supply chain visibility. Companies can’t effectively become more sustainable if they don’t know the extent of their current unsustainable practices. Audits and studies can reveal where carbon emissions come from in a supply chain, guiding further action. Organizations must also ensure their emissions monitoring is an ongoing process. Without continuous checking, they won’t be able to tell how different actions impact their overall goals. Periodic audits and implementing IoT sensors to track carbon emissions can ensure ongoing transparency. In that spirit, supply chains should start improving visibility between partners. Asking for suppliers to offer proof of their sustainability initiatives will encourage broader action and help reduce emissions on all fronts.

Invest in Green Technologies

Some aspects of the post-carbon supply chain, like electric vehicles, aren’t applicable right now. While options may be limited today, more investment in these technologies will speed their development, making sustainability more viable quicker. Many companies have already begun to invest in green technologies. Maserati has invested more than $867 million to refurbish its production hub to produce electric cars. As more money flows into these innovations, efficient, low-cost, carbon-free technologies will become available sooner, aiding a faster transition. Green energy is a technology, not a resource. As such, it will only become cheaper and more efficient over time. Consequently, while some of these technologies may not be viable business choices now, they will be eventually, especially with more funding.


Since supply chains are so interconnected, it will take increased collaboration to push them away from carbon. Decarbonization is also a considerable undertaking. The transition will be far easier and faster if companies can work together toward a common goal. Collaboration can mitigate the financial burden of decarbonization. Similarly, it can help some companies overcome any qualms they may have about the risks of going green. Climate action experts highlight that shared responsibility translates into reduced risk, at least in people’s perception of it. In addition to collaborating with other related companies, supply chains can partner with environmental organizations. They can help show where improvements can be made, guiding more effective action.

Supply Chains Must Become More Sustainable

Supply chains are essential to virtually every industry, and they often produce some of the most emissions. As such, these operations must move away from fossil fuels as companies seek to become more sustainable.

The post-carbon supply chain seems like a lofty goal, but it’s attainable. When organizations realize these things are possible, they can start moving toward a better future.

Source: Global Trade Magazine

Cambodia: a new tax regulation risks cutting the power on e-commerce activity

Less than six months after introducing a sub-decree to push non-resident e-commerce firms to register for value-added tax (VAT) with the Cambodian tax authority, the government has upped the ante.

The two new e-commerce policies – a November 30, 2021 deadline for the companies to register with the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and a reverse charge VAT mechanism relating to business-to-business (B2B) transactions – signal the government’s seriousness in tightening tax measures.

For both policies, the penalties for failing to comply are severe, involving the termination of service and fines, demonstrating the authority’s frustration in trying to get the companies to obey the law.

A statement issued by MoC last week revealed how foreign companies or branches, sole proprietors and businesses that operate e-commerce platforms in Cambodia had yet to apply for e-commerce permit or license despite numerous workshops and training.

Going by the terse tone of the statement, these platforms are likely to see an end to their operation starting December 1 this year, said Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications secretary of state So Visothy.

“The firms who provide e-commerce business activities in Cambodia have to comply with the law and regulation. If they fail to comply or do not pay tax to the government, it is illegal for them to operate in Cambodia.

“[They] are subject to legal action by MoC or Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). We have the right to cooperate with the authorities to close down the illegal business operation,” he told The Post via a social messaging app.

The growth of the e-commerce market has been exponential reflecting the Kingdom’s economic growth and lower middle income status.

In addition, the number of e-commerce players, both big and small, have mushroomed in the past one year, with many taking to social media platforms to solicit for business and promote service.

This year, the World Bank forecasts gross domestic product per capita to be $1,606, rising 2.6 per cent after dipping last year. With that, disposable income has expanded to 464,000 riel ($113) in 2017, according to market and consumer data research firm Statista Inc.

For full article, please read here


Author: Sangeetha Amarthalingam

Source: The Phnom Penh Post

Publication date: 30 September 2021

Philippines: CITEM kicks off first digital food expo

A year before the pandemic hit in 2019, the Philippine agri-food sector turned in a strong showing, accounting for an estimated P6.1-T to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The same year also saw the sector employ 42.7% of the national workforce.

In the new normal that changed our lives and livelihoods forever, The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM)  tries to recapture the same momentum for one of our country’s most lucrative export sectors.

This is made possible through the first-ever digital iteration of its banner sourcing event for Philippine food, the IFEX Digital Expo 2021, from 23-25 September 2021.

“One of the many things that the pandemic brought forth is the need to connect—now more than ever. COVID-19 changed the way we at CITEM worked, especially with heightened activity online. With borderless communication at our disposal, we present through this expo how we can conduct the business of food in the new normal,” CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan shares.

Leveraging its access to advanced digital tools, CITEM stages the IFEX Digital Expo 2021 to provide an avenue for Philippine food brands and businesses to showcase homegrown food products and ingredients to a wider audience.

Themed “Salu-salo,” IFEX Digital Expo brings together business owners, restaurateurs, hoteliers, farmers, food manufacturers and distributors, retailers, culinary professionals and foodies. The event serves as a medium for strengthening the food community through storytelling, knowledge sharing, and creating dialogue. This year’s show features over 200 exhibitors from all over the country. There are also invited industry experts from global organizations and local government agencies who will share their knowledge and insights on trends, opportunities, and techniques related to food. Networking and business-to-business matching sessions will also be part of the online event’s features.

A Three-Day Digital Celebration of Philippine Food

One of the highlights of the IFEX Digital Expo is the launch of two online platforms and, developed by CITEM. will be the website of the banner brand for all of CITEM’s events and initiatives for the Philippine food sector. Meanwhile, will serve as the agency’s new promotion and lead generation platform for the country’s food export industry.

Expo delegates can look forward to a wide array of Philippine food product categories, including fine food and specialties, biscuits and confectionery, organic and natural food items and ingredients, and snacks and crispy savory food products.

In addition to the informative discussions, the expo is set to excite the palate through happy hour sessions such as coffee brewing. Take in the rich aromas and flavors of Philippine coffee on Day 1. Savor mouthwatering dishes as Chef Angelo Guison explores the flavorful gifts of coconut, from tree to plate, in Coco Pop on Day 2. Distinguish craft from draft with the Craft Beer Association of the Philippines and Philippine craft kings beer connoisseur Jazel Paraiso, as you sample a beer set and learn about beer-food pairing on Day 3.

Source From a Wide Array of Products at the Expo Section

The IFEX Digital Expo 2021 brings you an all-new digital sourcing experience through its Expo section on Hopin. Browse through a catalog of flavors harnessed from the Philippines’ distinct terroir and by Philippine food companies from all over the archipelago. In the three-day expo, you can also initiate business with food brands, export enablers, and business support organizations.

The IFEX Digital Expo 2021 is organized with the help of RAPID Growth, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Export Marketing Bureau-Halal (EMB-Halal), Philippine Coconut Authority, and DTI Regional Offices.

The Philippines: PH continues as ‘innovation achiever’ for third straight year in the annual Global Innovation Index; ranks 51st among 132 economies

Makati City – Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines remains among the world’s most innovative economies. The Global Innovation Index (GII) 2021 ranks the country at 51st out of 132 countries, as it sustains its status as an “innovation achiever” for the third consecutive year.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez emphasized that through the country’s Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S), “We have focused our efforts in strengthening national and regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems by forging government-industry-academe collaboration, enabling a strong business and policy environment, and upskilling our creative talent pool. Our experience validates the strong potential of innovation to catalyze job creation, upgrade industrial competitiveness, and attract high-value investments.”

The GII 2021 noted that the Philippines continues to perform better in innovation outputs than innovation inputs. Among its innovation output strengths are in high-tech exports (ranked first in the world), utility models by origin (eighth), creative goods exports (as % of total trade, 10th globally), and ICT services exports (as % of total trade, 13th globally). For innovation inputs, the country’s strengths are in high-tech imports (first), firms offering formal training (eighth), and trade, diversification, and market scale (21st).

“This means that we were able to produce more and higher-quality innovation outputs despite our limited innovation resources and pandemic-induced setbacks. This is reflected in the GII observation that the Philippines continues to be among the countries that perform above expectations given our current level of development,” remarked Secretary Lopez.

The GII 2021 further noted that the Philippines ranks fourth among the 34 lower middle-income group economies. It is 11th among the 17 economies in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania, with a performance that is above the regional average in two pillars, namely: business sophistication, and knowledge and technology outputs. More importantly, the country is among the TVIP economies (Turkey, Vietnam, India, and the Philippines), which are systematically catching up and have the potential to change the global innovation landscape for good.”

Pointing out the importance of the collaboration among government agencies and linking the country’s researchers/universities and industry with one another to build and cultivate the nation’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba said, “By making our ecosystem inclusive, nurturing a friendly business environment, and with government and the private sector providing the needed funds for research and development, we will be able to attract more investments, generate more and better-quality jobs, and produce higher-value products that would lead to better prices in the market for the benefit of our consumers.”

Secretary Lopez stressed, “We have seen that with the right collaborators, our country’s entrepreneurial and innovative people can boost and optimize their discovery potential and serve as a primary engine of economic development, especially amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As envisioned by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, this is the best way by which we can spur new enterprises, create more and better jobs, and build our industrial competitiveness towards a more comfortable life for all Filipinos.” 

The #GII2021 is available in this link and the Philippine country profile is available in this link. ♦

Date of Original Release: 21 September 2021

To see the original article, please click here.

The Philippines: DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez pushes for people-centered & inclusive growth in ASEAN Economic Ministers consultation

Manila—Trade Ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met with the United States Representative (USTR), Ambassador Katherine Tai, via video conference on 14 September 2021 for the AEM-USTR Consultations.

At the said engagement, ASEAN and US economic officials discussed current efforts undertaken to address the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed commitment to further accelerate recovery by ensuring that markets remain open for trade and investment, among others.

“On trade and investment policies, the Philippines believes that they must be people centered and should always promote inclusive growth. We have always adhered to this policy, and we will remain a strong mover of an open, free, fair, transparent, inclusive, rules based and non-discriminatory trading system,” said Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

The meeting endorsed the 2021-2022 ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) Work Plan that will include implementation of initiatives on digital trade and sustainable development, as well as further dialogue on safeguarding worker’s rights and the inclusion of environmental provisions in trade agreements.

According to Secretary Lopez, the U.S. is an important and strategic trading partner to ASEAN, and the [ASEAN-U.S.] TIFA has served as a key mechanism to reinforce economic relations and expand trade and investment opportunities in the post-pandemic recovery efforts.

“The Philippines views the rise of e-commerce and digital economy as catalysts for post pandemic recovery. Thus, it is important that rules and disciplines be entrenched in this area to ensure a predictable way of doing business online while protecting the rights of consumers.” Lopez added.

Ministers also engaged with the US-ASEAN Business Advisory Council (US-ABC) where both sides underscored the importance of the private sector in coming up with concrete initiatives to facilitate economic recovery.

The US-ABC discussed their recommendation paper titled, “Re-building ASEAN’s Economy in Post-Pandemic Era” which identifies timely initiatives where the private and public sector can work together to support ASEAN in implementing relevant initiatives, such as the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), Ha Noi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce.

The US-ABC also lauded the support and assistance provided by the DTI led by Secretary Lopez on the launching of the ASEAN SME Academy, a US-funded online training tool and information portal to develop globally competitive MSMEs.

“We appreciate the proposed initiatives of the US-ABC, particularly in advancing the region’s digital transformation agenda. Digital trade is indeed a key area that ASEAN should look into to ensure synergies between the private and the public sector, and to fast-track recovery of affected businesses and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). We will ensure the proposals are considered by the relevant sectoral bodies,” Secretary Lopez noted.

The AEM-USTR Consultations was convened at the sidelines of the 53rd AEM Meeting, which was held in view of the 38th ASEAN Leaders’ Summit and related summits to be held on 26-28 October 2021. ♦

Date of Original Release: 23 September 2021

To view the original article, please click here.