The future of ASEAN and the next steps towards realising the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015 goal will be a key focus at the upcoming ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2013 (ASEAN BIS 2013). Taking place in Brunei Darussalam, the Summit will be held alongside the ASEAN Economic Meeting from 19-22 August.

Attracting delegates from regional and global corporations, academics, government officials and thought leaders from across the region, this year’s Summit seeks to highlight the immediate challenges for the region, particularly with the financial and economic issues in Europe and the US. It also aims to address pertinent issues in relation to the well-being of the regional and global economy.

The Summit will also provide an opportunity for the private sector and the business community to highlight areas of concern needed to boost the region’s trade and investment and how economic growth can be sustained in view of the AEC goal.

Held annually since 2003, the ASEAN BIS serves as a significant platform promoting public and private partnerships in the region. It is organised by the ASEAN Business and Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) – the official channel through which the region’s private sector can provide contributions to ASEAN leaders and policy makers on the facilitation of the region’s economic cooperation and integration.

This year, the food industry – through the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance (AFBA) – has been invited to be part of the ASEAN BIS 2013 discussions. Recognised by the ASEAN BAC as the leading voice of the region’s food and beverage industry, AFBA will be working with the ASEAN BAC on a set of recommendations to increase the trade of food and beverages in ASEAN. These recommendations will then be presented to the ASEAN Economic Ministers for their consideration.

FIA Executive Director, Bev Postma, highlights the significance of this collaboration and how AFBA’s participation in the regional discussion represents the key roles that the food industry and the private sector have in helping to facilitate the implementation of the AEC.

“The industry recognises that in order to achieve the goals of the AEC, there is a need to accelerate the harmonisation of food standards, such as food labelling and product registration, to reduce unnecessary barriers to trade.

“The food industry’s participation in the ASEAN BIS 2013 is therefore critical as it allows for recommendations to be made to ASEAN leaders and policy makers on how trade in the industry can be improved. This is important given the food and beverage industry’s huge growth potential,” she said.

Over the four days, high-level leaders including ASEAN economic and trade ministers, as well as CEOs and presidents of key industries, will be speaking and discussing on a number of other key topics including:

  • ASEAN 2015 – Turning Vision Into Reality: Where Are We At?
  • Levelling The Playing Field: The Next Steps For ASEAN
  • RCEP - The Road To Growth And Prosperity
  • Accelerating ASEAN Connectivity - Linkages For Growth
  • Food For Thought - Securing Food Supply For A Sustainable Future 
  • Moving Ahead Together - What Next? Where Do We Go From Here?
The Summit will also feature a keynote presentation by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the “Economic Outlook and Structural Policy Challenges in ASEAN”.

“The ASEAN BIS 2013 will serve as a great platform for the food industry and the business community to engage with ASEAN leaders and policy makers on enhancing ASEAN’s regional competitiveness and investment attractiveness. It also provides the opportunity for the sector to participate and engage in relevant discussions on the future of ASEAN and the AEC goal alongside various stakeholders; and such engagement is key in the facilitation of the region’s economic integration,” Ms Postma said.

Interested participants can find more information on the ASEAN BIS 2013 and register for the Summit here

An opportunity also exists for interested companies to sponsor this valuable event. The sponsorship form can be downloaded here .

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