Notes from the ASEAN Summit in Brunei

Director of Corporate Affairs Charlie Humphreys with HE Lim Hong Hin

Director of Corporate Affairs Charlie Humphreys with HE Lim Hong Hin

Notes from the ASEAN Summit in Brunei

27/08/13

By Charlie Humphreys

Last week I travelled to Brunei to attend the first Joint Consultation Meeting of ASEAN Business Councils and the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit. Asia House was invited to Brunei on the recommendation of HE Dr. Lim Hong Hin. This is due to our close cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN London Committee and ongoing commitment to bring more ASEAN-focused programming to our members.

ASEAN Business Advisory Council is the new official forum for the private sector to engage with and communicate with ASEAN. In front of a dozen regional ASEAN business councils, I presented reflections from our members on ASEAN issues to be raised with the ASEAN Economic Ministers and the ASEAN Secretariat. This was an opportunity for Asia House to share perspectives from our corporate members, and as the only UK representative, that of the UK corporate world, with an influential group of global business organisations from North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.

The discussion concluded that ASEAN BAC should coordinate the different ASEAN Business Councils and organisations to channel the perspectives of the global private sector into the ASEAN integration process. We agreed that each organisation would have the opportunity to take on specific sectors: Asia House was selected to focus on the professional and financial services, as these are two of the UK’s strongest sectors.

The ASEAN Business & Investment Summit followed the ASEAN BAC. The three-day summit was a chance to bring together representatives from the public and private sectors, industry organisations, as well as leading executives from the ASEAN region and dialogue partners. The overarching theme of discussion was that of the ASEAN Economic Community, due to be realised by 2015.

I was able to learn first-hand about the issues that businesses operating in ASEAN face and meet the key players who are involved in finding solutions to these challenges. I was able to engage with decision makers from all over the world, in many different sectors, on behalf of our corporate members. The attendees were a genuine Who’s Who of ASEAN business and policy, including the Sultan of Brunei, government ministers from the US, India and Russia, as well as a number of leading regional business figures.  It was also great to catch up with past guests of Asia House, including HE Le Luong Minh and HE Dr Lim Hong Hin.

Attending the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit was an exceptional chance to represent our corporate members to influential figures in Southeast Asia. This experience will help us in the Business & Policy team develop more innovative and current programming for our corporate members and expand our network in the region.

Charlie.Humphreys@asiahouse.co.uk