The ASEAN Secretariat held the First ASEAN Economic Community Dialogue on 8 October to seek a more proactive two-way communication with the private sector on matters related to the ASEAN Economic Community.
The dialogue, themed “Strengthening ASEAN-Driven Public-Private Engagement”, was organised by the Secretariat’s Enterprise and Stakeholder Engagement Division. It brought together representatives from the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) as the apex private sector body of ASEAN, eight regional business councils, and the ASEAN Secretariat.
ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi, in his opening remarks, emphasised the importance of the Dialogue and underlined that closer engagement between ASEAN and the private sector will bring about effective measures and policies that will encourage business expansion and growth in the region. Dato Lim further highlighted that to sustain and deepen this engagement, ASEAN would like the private sector to commit fully to the ASEAN Economic Community by assisting in some of the immediate priorities in the region, namely skills development and entrepreneurship especially among the youth, infrastructure investment, and market integration.
ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community Aladdin D. Rillo briefed the dialogue participants on the key outcomes of the 50th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings. The dialogue also included a panel discussion on digital economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in ASEAN with speakers from A.T. Kearney, Google, GO-PAY, and Frost & Sullivan.
The key highlight of the discussion was on how ASEAN can progress further in the area of upskilling and retraining the workforces and micro, small, and medium enterprises to embrace digital economy and 4IR, e-payment to enhance financial inclusion, and regulatory framework to enhance data flow and protection. The plenary was followed by breakout discussions on various topics related to current AEC initiatives.