FIA Council to play a positive role in shaping ASEAN’s economic future

HONG KONG– The importance of regulatory harmonisation in Asia was driven home to food industry leaders in Hong Kong this month, where Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Mr. S Pushpanathan addressed a special High-Level Meeting hosted by the FIA Coordinating Council.

Focusing on food security and ASEAN’s harmonisation agenda, Mr. Pushpanathan used his after dinner speech to make a compelling case for greater regulatory harmonisation in Asia and heightened cooperation between the public and private sectors.

“By working together through public-private partnerships, governments and the corporate sector can achieve mutual win-wins that benefit civil society,” Mr. Pushpanathan said. “Business can provide knowledge, expertise and investment, while government can create a climate conducive to growth and development.”

To that end, ASEAN is pushing for development of a regulatory framework in Asia that would create common standards for issues such as food safety and labelling. Harmonised standards would benefit governments, the industry and consumers, by reducing regulatory complexity and enhancing regional coordination.

“We were honoured to welcome such a dynamic keynote speaker to our first High Level Meeting in Hong Kong,” said FIA Executive Director Bev Postma. “Our members and guests were pleased to see that ASEAN’s goals closely match those of the food industry, namely: Creating a better climate for economic growth, enhancing food security, and harnessing the power of the private sector to assist government in accomplishing crucial social goals.  Regulatory convergence is a top priority for FIA, and we hope to support ASEAN as it works toward this important goal.”

The High Level meeting and Mr. Pushpanathan’s keynote speech were highlights of a two-day event in Hong Kong that brought together senior business leaders from sixteen of the region’s leading food companies.  The event, which took place at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, was chaired by FIA President Mr Pradeep Pant, President, Kraft Foods, Asia Pacific and co-hosted by Ms Umran Beba, President, PepsiCo Asia Pacific.