"This meeting comes in a timely manner for ASEAN, as we are in our final sprint in achieving an ASEAN Community by 2015," said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when delivering his speech at the first meeting of the ASEAN-EU Business Summit in Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta, today (5 / 5).
"The EU has more experience in addressing various issues of economic integration and integrating community among nations. ASEAN has, and will continue learning from EU’s experience " He added.
ASEAN-EU Business Summit was one of a series of preparatory meeting of the 18th ASEAN Summit, on 7-8 May 2011. The meeting attended by several Indonesian Ministers, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gutch, ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, Ambassadors, and business sectors from ASEAN and EU.
This meeting shall form into a discussion forum for private sectors actors on both sides. The goal is to create discussion between theses private sector actors and policy makers. The meeting is expected to improve business-to-business dialogue and increase awareness towrads business and investment opportunities in ASEAN and EU. "When leaders, captains of industry actors, private sectors across ASEAN and the European Union come together like this, I believe that great things will happen," added the President.
This meeting is expected to provide a leadership role in changing the paradigm of how economic policy is formulated.
“I look forward to receiving your concrete recommendations for win-win policy initiatives. Recommendations that would boost region-to-region cooperation.," said President SBY closing his remarks. “So let this Summit be your chance to play a role in changing the paradigm on which economic policies are made. To turn the tide of events in favour of both our regions”
Growth engine in ASEAN
The meeting was officially opened by ASEAN Secretary General, Surin Pitsuwan, expressed his appreciation to all parties involved in organizing the first meeting of the ASEAN-EU Business Summit. "This meeting is expected to be the inspiration for similar meetings in the future to bolster cooperation between the two regions" he said.
Surin explainsthat ASEAN Economic development has been increasing in various sectors, in which Indonesia has,became one of the main regional engine for growth. This business assembly is a testiment of the leadership role the world has entrust Indonesia. "This is an exciting time for ASEAN and Indonesia," he explained.
Starting the meeting, the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Minister described the closeness of relations between ASEAN and EU, where both parties have developedmutual partnership. "This meeting will be a stepping stone for the improvement of economic cooperation for mutual benefit (win-win approach)," he said.
Meanwhile, Karel De Gutch stressed that this meeting is a process that should have been done long ago, observing the close cooperation fostered by both parties. He explains how business of the European Union has strong interest in the ASEAN region because of the high dynamic. "In specifics regarding the target of achieving the ASEAN Community by 2015, we expect this meeting to provide input to explore the economic potential of both regions"he said.
ASEAN-EU Business Summit
Meeting of the first ASEAN-EU Business Summit is an implementation of the 9th meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Consultations (AEM) and EU Trade Commissioner in Danang-Viet Nam, August 27 2010. This meeting is a co-operation between the Government of Indonesia with the European Union Representative in Indonesia, ASEAN Secretariat, Indonesian ABAC, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, and representative from European Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia (English, German, French, and Dutch).
Currently, EU is the second largest trading partner and the biggest investor in ASEAN. On the other hand, ASEAN is the fifth largest economic partner for the EU. The relationship between the two regions has also increased rapidly with the current high level of inter-community relations. It is estimated that about 7 million Europeans visits ASEAN each year. "This will also serve as a great time to start discussion to further improve economic relationships between ASEAN-EU through the respected economic integration agreement" said SBY.
This meeting is expected to contribute in the improvement of business networking and raises awareness on the trade and investment potential in ASEAN and EU. In addition, it is expected to help identify opportunities and constraints to market access in both region to improve trade relations and cooperation in the future.
The meeting will result in a set of recommendations and policy advice for the ASEAN Governments and the European Commission to improve trade and investment facilities between the two parties.