Driving commercial and political engagement between Asia, the Middle East and Europe

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  • Driving commercial and political engagement between Asia, the Middle East and Europe


    RCEP: Looking Beyond Ratification

    Accounting for nearly a third of the world’s population and almost 30 per cent of global GDP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), concluded in November 2020 and ratified on 1 January 2022, drew its 15 signatories from the Asia-Pacific into the world’s largest trading bloc. Initially conceived by ASEAN as a means of bringing its pre-existing regional trade partners together under a comprehensive economic agreement, RCEP is expected to add US$200 billion to global GDP annually by 2030.

    Following the ratification, this event will bring together experts from throughout the Asia-Pacific to consider the likely impact of RCEP on the region’s economy and its practical implications for businesses operating in the region. With many regional economies still plotting their recoveries from the impacts of COVID-19, RCEP represents an opportunity to leverage liberalised trade and supply chain optimisation while kick-starting the Asia-Pacific’s ailing economies.

    While questions remain about how all 15 signatories can ensure equitable influence within RCEP, the opportunities this agreement represents for businesses and the Asia-Pacific’s regional economy are clear. Against this backdrop, this event, produced in partnership with CKGSB, will look beyond ratification to consider how RCEP will change the economic and political landscape of the Asia-Pacific and how businesses can practically benefit from the agreement.


    For more information, please contact Olivia Rondonuwu, Programme Manager, at olivia.rondonuwu@asiahouse.co.uk



    KEYNOTE: Xiang Bing, Founding Dean, Professor of China Business and Globalization, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business

    Dr. Xiang Bing is the Founding Dean and Professor of China Business and Globalization at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB). Prior to joining CKGSB, Dr Xiang was a Professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, where he pioneered the school’s Executive MBA program. He was also one of the seven founding faculty members of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. Previously, Dr Xiang served on the faculty of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has served as an independent board member of a number of companies (including three Fortune Global 500 companies) listed in Hong Kong, Mainland China and the United States. He is a member of the International Advisory Council of Fundação Dom Cabral (FDC), a member of the Global Advisory Board of Yonsei School of Business in Korea, a member of the Advisory Board of Asia House in London and a Counsellor for One Young World Summit in Dublin. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for United Way Worldwide (US) from 2011-2017.

    Dr Xiang’s research interests include the reform of state-owned enterprises, innovation and the role of the private sector and economic disruption in China. He is a leading authority on China business, innovations in China, globalization of Chinese companies, China’s development models, global implications of China’s transformation, social innovation, economic disruption, China-US relations, global trade and investment systems and global governance. His writings and cases on these subjects are considered among the most influential in China.

    Jeremy Browne, former Minister of State for Asia Pacific, UK (Moderator) 

    Jeremy Browne was the British Minister of State for Asia Pacific, 2010-12. His portfolio in the Foreign Office also included responsibly for Latin America and overall relations with emerging powers. He also served as a Minister of State in the Home Office and spent ten years as a Member of the British Parliament (2005-15). Since then he has worked as an International Business Ambassador for Aberdeen Standard Investments and served as the City of London’s Special Representative to the EU, where he dealt with the impact of Brexit on UK-EU financial services. He currently works as a Senior Adviser to renewable energy investment firm Renewity.

    Anna Robeniol, Advisor to the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Economic Community

    Anna Maria Rosario Diaz Robeniol is the Advisor to the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Economic Community. She was previously Director for Market Integration, ASEAN Secretariat, and also served as Head of the External Economic Relations Division of the ASEAN Secretariat from 2018 to August 2020. Before re-joining the ASEAN Secretariat in 2018, Anna was the Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations at the Department of Trade and Industry, Philippines (2016-2018). During her tenure as Assistant Secretary, Anna was the Philippines’ chief negotiator for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other trade negotiations involving the Philippines. She was the country’s Senior Economic Officials Meeting (SEOM) lead and chaired the said meeting during the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017. She also co-Chaired the Joint Committee for the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Prior to that, Anna spent more than twelve years at the ASEAN Secretariat, during which she facilitated the completion of negotiations and signing of all the ASEAN Free Trade and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements. She also worked on RCEP until the launch of negotiations in 2012. Anna represented the ASEAN Secretariat in various regional and international forums and led the ASEAN Secretariat team in supporting the implementation of ASEAN FTAs.

    Gita Wirjawan, Former Minister of Trade, Indonesia

    Gita Wirjawan is an Indonesian entrepreneur, investment banker, and philanthropist. He is also the Chairman of ANCORA Group, an Indonesian business group with interests in private equity investing, natural resources, real estate, and sports which he founded in 2008. As a businessman, Wirjawan has held key positions including the Vice President of Citibank Indonesia in 1997, the Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs, Singapore in 2000, and the Senior Country Officer and President Director of JP Morgan Indonesia in 2004-2008. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono appointed Wirjawan as Chairman of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BPKM) in 2009. Afterwards, in 2011, he became the Minister of Trade of Indonesia. One of his biggest accomplishments in this role was as Chairman of the Ninth Word Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, held in Bali in December 2012. He chaired 159 WTO member countries in consenting a set of policies to ease international trade barriers. In October 2014, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono awarded him Bintang Mahaputra Adipradana in recognition of his extraordinary contribution as a cabinet member to his respective field, benefitting the country and the nation.

    Tao Zhigang, Associate Dean for MBA Program, Executive Academic Director for Business Scholars Program, Professor of Strategy and Economics, CKGSB

    Tao Zhigang is Professor of Strategy and Economics at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. He taught at University of Hong Kong from 1998 to 2021, and at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology from 1992 to 1998. Professor Tao received his B.Sc. in management science from Fudan University in 1986, and PhD in economics from Princeton University in 1992. He has published in various economics and management journals, and his work has been widely cited.

    Tetsuya Watanabe, Vice-President, Research Institute of Economy Trade, and Industry

    Tetsuya Watanabe is Vice President at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) and Visiting Professor at Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo. In his capacity at RIETI, he hosts the RIETI Global Intelligence Series where he discusses and analyses, with experts from the US, the EU and Asia, the geopolitical tensions, global trade governance, climate change challenges, digital transformation and regional integration in Asia. He joined RIETI in 2020 after over three decades of a career as a trade policy maker and negotiator in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), where he served as Director General for the Trade Policy. During his career at METI he worked on a wide range of bilateral, regional and multilateral trade negotiations and initiatives, including the WTO Joint Statement Initiatives on E-Commerce, the Trilateral Trade Ministers Meetings, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the Japan-US Trade Agreement and the Japan-UK Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. He also served as the Chief Counsellor at the Government Headquarter for the Trans Pacific Partnership at the Cabinet Secretariat.

    Shinta Kamdani, CEO of Sintesa Group

    As Owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Sintesa Group, Shinta is responsible for the management and expansion of the Group’s business interests in Indonesia. The Sintesa Group is an Indonesian group with 16 subsidiaries, which operate in the Property, Energy, Industrial Products, and Consumer Products sectors.

    As a businesswoman, Shinta is involved in numerous business and social activities, including as the Vice Chairwoman of Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN Indonesia) and Employers’ Association of Indonesia (APINDO), Executive Board of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), as well as President of Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD) and Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE), Founder of Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN), and the Member of APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Indonesia. She is also has chosen by the United Nations as one of 30 global corporate leaders to join the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD Alliance). Shinta is one of the co-chairs of the B20 Action Council on Women in Business.

    Andrew Sheng, former Central Banker, HKMA & Bank Negara Malaysia

    Andrew Sheng is a distinguished fellow at Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong, chief adviser to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, and a former board member of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the sovereign wealth fund of Malaysia. He also served as an adviser to the UN Environment Program Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System. Mr. Sheng also serves as a member of the International Advisory Council of the China Investment Corporation, the China Development Bank, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and Honorary Member of the Trustees of Bank Indonesia Institute. Previously, he served as chairman of the Securities & Futures Commission of Hong Kong and as a central banker at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and at Bank Negara Malaysia. Andrew has also worked at the World Bank. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Malaya and at the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management. Mr. Sheng is the author of From Asian to Global Financial Crisis: An Asian Regulator’s View of Unfettered Finance in the 1990s and 2000s.

    Dr Robert Yap, Executive Chairman, YCH Group and President of Singapore National Employers Federation

    Dr Robert Yap is the Executive Chairman of YCH Group, Singapore’s leading end-to-end supply chain management company with operations across the Asia-Pacific. Over the last four decades, Dr  Yap has played a pivotal role in the logistics and supply chain field. Besides Y3 Technologies, a leading supply chain solutions company, he also founded and currently chairs YCH’s corporate venture fund, Supply Chain Angels; and Asia’s premier supply chain nerve centre for supply chain excellence, Supply Chain City; and is also the Emeritus Chairman of Supply Chain Asia.

    Recognised for his visionary leadership, Yap contributes as an advisor on numerous local and international platforms. He is the President of the Singapore National Employers Federation, as well as the Singapore Chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and Malaysia-Singapore Business Council, respectively. He also contributes to the Future Economy Council, Payments Council, the newly formed National Jobs Council, and the Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council (SJCC) as well as the Joint Implementation Committee overseeing the Government-to-Government project in Chongqing, China.

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    • Date
      13 January 2022
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