2003 ASEAN BUSINESS AND INVESTMENT SUMMIT
5-7 October 2003, Bali, Indonesia
ASEAN’s efforts towards greater economic integration was given a deeper dimension with the successful convening of the inaugural ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ASEAN BIS) in Bali from 5th – 7th October 2003. Over 400 captains of industries from ASEAN and neighbouring countries attended the event. During the Summit, keynote addresses were made by 11 Heads
of Governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, China, Republic of Korea, Japan and India. Several Memorandums of Understanding were also signed between ASEAN organizations, and business networking was observed throughout the event. ASEAN BIS was organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) which was launched only in April 2003 in Jakarta.
When ASEAN Leaders established ASEAN-BAC at the Brunei Summit in 2001, mandating it to convene annual ASEAN Business and Investment Summits back-to-back with the official ASEAN Summit, it was in recognition of the important private sector role in truly integrating ASEAN in order to be more competitive.
ASEAN BAC was also mandated to provide private sector feedback on the implementation of ASEAN economic co-operation, and to identify priority areas for consideration by ASEAN Leaders.
On 7th October 2003, ASEAN BAC presented their first report to the ASEAN Leaders. The Leaders recommended that ASEAN BAC work with the ASEAN Governments to develop a vibrant and growing base of indigenous ASEAN companies, large and small, by leveraging on ASEAN’s abundant natural resources. The best of these companies will grow into ASEAN MNCs. This network of companies will help integrate ASEAN economies.
ASEAN BAC also observed that while ASEAN lacks many indigenous companies competitive at regional and global levels, ASEAN does not lack entrepreneurs. ASEAN BAC, in partnership with the ASEAN Governments, could help strengthen ASEAN’s business environment to grow competitive indigenous ASEAN companies. However, ASEAN Governments will need to (i) nuture the growth of ASEAN SMEs by establishing a conducive ASEAN business environment, (ii) promote and support their transformation into ASEAN MNCs capable of competing at regional and global levels, and (iii) create an ASEAN common market and promote ASEAN products, ASEAN brands, and the concept of “Made in ASEAN”.
ASEAN BAC also recognized that the key to success in building vibrant pan-ASEAN companies is action and implementation. For ASEAN to be a single market and production base, businesses need fast-track approvals and facilitation across ASEAN. ASEAN BAC’s vision is 10 Governments – Single implementation.
To realize this vision, an ASEAN Pioneer Projects Scheme was proposed, focusing initially on the two sectors of Tourism and Agriculture. This will cover any business project that originates from ASEAN companies involving two or more ASEAN economies. For the scheme to succeed, it requires the partnership of ASEAN Government Officials, ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN BAC.
ASEAN Leaders noted ASEAN BAC’s recommendations, and commended its Members for their effort. They agreed that in order for the scheme to succeed it will require involvement of specific government officials, with the mandate to work with ASEAN BAC. The ASEAN Leaders also requested ASEAN BAC to work out details for implementing the recommendations.
Consequently, several meetings have been planned by ASEAN BAC, commencing December 2003, to discuss the implementation plans for the recommendations.