The Myanmar Times 13 Nov 2017
Jusuf Kalla (right), Indonesia’s Vice President, is speaking at the ASEAN@50 Business Forum along with Boris Johnson MP (left), Foreign Secretary. Photo: UKABC
Jusuf Kalla (right), Indonesia’s Vice President, is speaking at the [email protected] Business Forum along with Boris Johnson MP (left), Foreign Secretary. Photo: UKABC

BRITAIN’s trade envoy named development and education as two key areas of collaboration between the country and ASEAN during [email protected] Business Forum, which was recently held in London and which marked the milestone of ASEAN’s founding. Brexit, together with the bloc’s anniversary, has sparked discussions among UK and Southeast Asian leaders about the future of the ASEAN-UK trade and investment relationship.

The forum was jointly hosted by the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC), the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia’s Vice President and Mark Field, UK Minister for Asia, both called for the UK-ASEAN relationship to be strengthened and to further accelerate trade and investments between the two regions. The Indonesian vice president was visiting the UK in mid-October before flying home on October 14.

The UK places great importance in ASEAN and wants to be a key partner in the next stage of its exciting future, according to Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade. Photo: UKABC

Richard Graham MP — the British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) — highlighted development and education as key areas for partnership.

The UK can be a partner for ASEAN in development, education, vocational training, and so much more.

– Richard Graham MP, asking businesses to think about what UK-ASEAN trading relationship they want.

Ross Hunter, executive director of the UK-ASEAN Business Council, told The Myanmar Times that ASEAN’s high growth markets will be major priorities for British businesses.

“Although the US and Western Europe are currently the UK’s largest export markets, it is predicted that by 2030, over half of the world’s trade will stem from Asia. Within Asia, ASEAN will become the world’s fourth largest economy. The challenge therefore is to ensure UK companies begin to look east and consider ASEAN’s high growth markets.

“We want to see UK exports to ASEAN go through the roof and investments from the UK’s household names continue to rise. UK companies will still focus on where their innovative solutions and ground breaking products will fit with ASEAN’s tremendous opportunities,” Mr Hunter said.

ASEAN-UK trade

Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, said that ASEAN markets present a huge opportunity for British investments as the UK is exiting from the EU.

ASEAN countries already have strong trading ties with the UK and, as we leave the EU, the region’s rapid growth presents a huge opportunity for British business to forge even closer ties with businesses across Southeast Asia.

– Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade

“As an international economic department we will support UK companies wanting to export to ASEAN markets, and will continue to encourage investment between the region and the UK,” Dr Fox noted.

He emphasised the deep relationship between Southeast Asian countries and the UK, and spoke of his desire to improve trade relations with the region as the UK leaves the European Union.

Currently, 15 percent of all ASEAN’s EU trade in goods and services is with the UK, and exports have risen rapidly to the likes of Singapore and Indonesia in recent years. The stock of UK FDI in both countries also increased by 8.3pc and 4.4pc respectively last year.

“With a population of more than half a billion people, and average economic growth of 5pc over the last decade, the region has immense potential for increasing trade and investment with the UK,” the DIT noted.


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