It has been a busy month in ASEAN, and the Council continues to focus on advancing our members’ businesses in the region. I am pleased to report that as a result of our efforts several issues important to our members have been resolved in the last few weeks (see Advocacy below for full details).
Vice President of the United States Mike Pence is visiting Jakarta as I write this newsletter and is the first senior member of the Trump Administration to visit ASEAN. According to press reports, the Vice President announced that President Trump would in fact attend the ASEAN, the East Asia and the APEC Summits in the Philippines and in Vietnam in November. This has been a major policy goal of the Council with the new Administration and it is great to see the Vice President’s reported statement.
In 2015, one of the Philippines’ largest banks made a big push to get directly involved in promoting local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With a consortium of partners that specialize in the different aspects of setting up and maintaining an online business, the bank launched a traveling convention designed not just to advocate for the potential of technology and e-commerce, but to take actual SMEs online, in effect launching their digital presence in the span of one day.
Domestic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should regard tech-driven innovations and digitisation as a guiding development trend when integrating into the global production and value chain.
Nguyễn Hoa Cương, deputy director of the Enterprise Development Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, made this remark at a seminar themed “Digitising the Vietnamese Economy: Empowering SMEs for the Global Market” held yesterday in Hà Nội.
The event, organised by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) and the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), attracted 180 SMEs operating in many business sectors. They heard experts from multinational companies discussing new policies, experiences, tools and solutions to enhance SMEs’ capacity in exploiting the potential of the growing digital economy, so that they can participate more effectively in the global supply chain.
MANILA – Southeast Asian nations should work on removing non-tariff barriers, in the face of growing protectionism in the US, a trade group official said Friday.
“More trade means more investment and it means more technology transfer. There are a lot of incentives for ASEAN to move ahead with these trade facilitation measures,” said Michael Michalak, senior vice president and regional managing director of the US-ASEAN Business Council.
“All of those things are gonna help speed up trade, making it bigger, faster, cheaper and more secure,” he said. – ANC, Market Edge, April 7, 2017
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s economic fundamentals and location in the region makes it a ‘valuable business location’ in Asia for a wide range of US companies said the US-ASEAN Business Council regional managing director Michael Michalak.
“In our meetings with both government officials and business leaders, we get clear signals that Malaysia values its economic relationship with the US.
“It is also committed to continuing both domestic reforms and trade policy initiatives to increase trade and investment flows between our two countries,” he said.
The delegation is pushing Malaysia to play a leading role in the Asean Economic Community (AEC), make reforms in line with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement commitments and to pursue regional trade initiatives such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
(Kuala Lumpur) - From March 27-29, the US-ASEAN Business Council led a delegation of 21 U.S Companies on an annual business mission to Malaysia. The purpose of the mission was to continue building the relationship and dialogue between U.S. businesses and the Government of Malaysia and strengthen an ongoing two-way channel on economic policy priorities and opportunities. The delegation encouraged the government to continue to play a leading role in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), make reforms in line with Malaysia’s previous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) commitments, and to pursue regional trade initiatives such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
March has been another successful month at the Council.
We just completed our Vietnam Business Mission with 30 member companies in attendance. The mission spanned three full days and included a full hour meeting with the Prime Minister Phuc where each member company on the mission was able to address their issues directly to the Prime Minister. Vietnam remains committed to expanding the overall relationship with the United States especially around trade, investment and the economy.
Our Vietnam mission was followed up by another event in the Council’s stellar SME training program, the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs, held this time in Yangon, Myanmar with a focus on Digital Tools for SMEs in the Agriculture and Tourism sectors.
Indonesia Update| March 23, 2017
Authors: Kim Yaeger, Artha Sirait, Ian Saccomanno and Steve Prawiromaruto LOOKING AHEAD
Thailand Update | March 23, 2017
Authors: Matt Solomon, Timotheos Tan LOOKING AHEAD
April 21 - Washington, DC: Roundtable with H.E. Apisak Tantivorawong, Thai Minister of Finance