On 4th of May, the Chamber of Commerce, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry of the Economy and the Embassy of Luxembourg in Bangkok, organised the 3rd edition of ASEAN Day.
The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) represents today a strong regional organisation, the world’s third fastest growing economy, immediately behind India and China. The economic size of the 10 ASEAN member countries i.e. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, outpaced BRIC countries Brazil and Russia, and will compare to the size of India’s economy in the coming years.
The opening plenary began with Cindy Tereba, Director International Affairs of the Chamber of Commerce, who started with the dictum of the past editions: “We work better, when we work together!”.
ASEAN is a giant with huge opportunities. Not only for the well-known Luxembourg financial center, but for many other sectors, like health tech, renewable energies, automotive, space, IT, startups as well as in the fields of research and academic exchanges; where Luxembourg is successful and where synergies can be considered and explored.
Looking at the trade figures and the increasing presence of Luxembourg companies in the region, trade volumes between Luxembourg and ASEAN countries have more than doubled between 2012 and 2020, raising from € 2.9 billion to € 7.4 billion in goods and services during this period.
H.E. Mr. Phoukhong Sisoulath, Ambassador of Laos, on behalf of the ASEAN Brussels Committee, then took the floor to say a few words about the long-standing relations between Europe and ASEAN countries. The latest figures show that ASEAN is the world’s eighth largest economy in the world with some 640 million consumers. The countries as a group are the EU's third largest trading partner outside Europe, after the US and China, with more than €189.47 billion of trade in goods in 2020. The EU is by far the largest investor in ASEAN countries.
Mr. Jean-Paul Senninger, Ambassador of Luxembourg to Bangkok, went on to outline the role of Luxembourg as a dynamic connector inside the EU and with Asia, supporting sustainable development and a greenery recovery.
Indeed, Luxembourg has welcomed the conclusion of the EU-Free Trade Agreements with Singapore and Vietnam and is committed to successful and swift conclusion of the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Indonesia, with the aim of facilitating new market access, increasing trade and investment, and promoting sustainable development.
The morning programme continued with a panel moderated by Mr Jean-Philippe Boever, who gave the floor to the 10 ASEAN Ambassadors in order to have an overview on business opportunities and innovation in each country, while also sharing updates on ASEAN’s regional economic integration.
The first session ended with the "business clinics" involving the 10 ASEAN Embassies during which Luxembourgish companies had the opportunity to present their future projects and receive important information on the different markets.
The afternoon session, dedicated to the ASEAN representatives, started with a presentation on the potential avenues for collaboration between ASEAN countries and Luxinnovation. Thereafter, the Ministry of the Economy gave valuable insights into Luxembourg’s logistics industry. Research Luxembourg, a joint initiative of the main actors in Luxembourg public research, presented the opportunities for scientific cooperation between Luxembourg and ASEAN.
To round up the day, a panel with key stakeholders from Luxembourg, Luxembourg for Finance, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the European Investment Bank focused on one of the most promising fields of cooperation between Europe and Southeast Asia: green, sustainable and inclusive finance. More and more projects will be done in this region, financed by “Green Bonds”.
A networking cocktail offered by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce ended the ASEAN Day 2022, a unique platform for ASEAN countries and companies to explore business opportunities.