AFBA Elects New Leadership to Enhance Economic Growth in ASEAN

Leaders from the national food and beverage associations in ASEAN met last week at the ASEAN Food & Beverage Alliance (AFBA) Executive Board Meeting and elected a new President and Deputy President. Mr L. Krishnan, AFBA Chair for Malaysia, was elected as the new President and Mr Adhi Lukman, AFBA Chair for Indonesia, as Deputy President.

Demonstrating a strong and united front, leaders from the national food associations in ASEAN met last week to enhance AFBA’s commitment to support ASEAN integration by addressing knowledge gaps in food issues and providing regulatory, technical and market information to stakeholders. With agri-food trade as one of the priority sectors for ASEAN, AFBA remains committed in the drive towards the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015.

AFBA country chairs representing Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, as well as regional food industry representatives were present during this important meeting. The national association leaders acknowledged the importance of this year as the AEC is expected to come to fruition on 31 Dec 2015 under the Chairmanship of Malaysia. Towards this goal, AFBA hopes to strengthen its engagement with the ASEAN committees responsible for the agri-food sector trade, specifically in facilitating regulatory convergence and harmonisation of standards. The Chairmen agreed that it is important for AFBA to enhance its presence and credibility as a trusted partner within the ASEAN committee framework and other regional bodies in creating a prosperous economy for this region.

The AFBA Chairmen highlighted the importance of regulatory convergence as well as working towards a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on specific set of food guidelines and standards. Harmonisation of nutrition labelling was identified as one of AFBA’s priority towards achieving the goals of the AEC for the food sector. It was also highlighted that AFBA will focus on the importance of supporting capacity and capability building for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the food industry, specifically in food safety, including Halal.

Newly elected AFBA President Mr L. Krishnan, supporting the commitments made by the Alliance, said “AFBA is in a position to have better engagement and alignment with the ASEAN committees in realising the harmonisation agenda. In order to effectively tackle Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) issues, harmonisation of members’ regulations and by MRAs is going to be vital. We pledge our full support to the Malaysian government, as the ASEAN Chair in 2015, towards this end”.

Mr Adhi Lukman, newly elected AFBA Deputy President, said “As we align ASEAN’s success to regional standards and goals, AFBA will also focus on supporting and building capacity amongst SMEs in the region. Together with all the AFBA country chairs, we are hopeful that we can create a wholesome and prosperous ASEAN Economic Community by the end of this year”.

As the voice of the food and beverage industry in ASEAN, AFBA has a shared vision for the full harmonisation of food standards between the ASEAN Member States, starting with MRAs. In this regard, AFBA is confident that the ASEAN food and beverage sector will be able to deliver wholesome and safe foods products for the citizens in this region, and beyond.

For more news and information about the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance (AFBA), please visit the AFBA website

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