At a seminar on “Opportunities in a New Era of Enhanced Asean-Japan Partnership”, they agreed that the AEC would be the largest single market in the region and open opportunities to link its members to the rest of the world. That would challenge foreign interests to invest more in Asean.
The event yesterday was organised by Toshiba International Foundation (TIFO), the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), and Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) with support from Chula Global Network, Chulalongkorn University and Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo, Nation Multimedia Group and Asia News Network (ANN).
Anton H Gunawan, independent commissioner of Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri, said his country would see more FDI, especially from Japan, which would expand its investment in infrastructure and manufacturing. China will also invest more in Indonesia and Asean as a whole.
Steven CM Wong, deputy chief executive of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Malaysia, said the AEC would be a big boost to trade and investment between Asean and other countries as tariffs and non-tariff barriers are lowered.
Sunanta Kangvalkulkij, deputy director-general of the Thai Commerce Ministry’s Department of Trade Negotiations, said Asean had already signed five free-trade agreements, with China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Australia and New Zealand. This opened opportunities for trade and investment in Asean.
“The AEC has also reduced non-tariff barriers and border-trade obstacles to encourage more investment,” she said.
Masayasu Hosumi, president of Jetro Bangkok and chief representative for Asean and South Asia for the Japan External Trade Organisation, said the AEC would boost investment and trade between Asean and others countries. Asean is already a base for Japanese manufacturing.
Fukunari Kimura, chief economist of the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, said Asean would enter a new era when the AEC becomes effective late this year. FDI will expand in this region, including in infrastructure, manufacturing, and innovative products.
“The AEC has played and will play an important role in pursuing the development model. The key words in the AEC beyond 2015 should be ‘connectivity and innovation’,” he said.
Tin Maung Maung Than, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and a Myanmar national, said it would be important for Japan to invest in Asean so as to transfer technology and develop local labour skills.
Kalin Sarasin, secretary-general of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, who is also managing director of SCG Trading Co, said Japan had been investing in Thailand for a long time. Siam Cement Group has joint ventures with Japanese companies including Kubota.
He acknowledged that a benefit of joint investment with Japan was technology and knowledge transfer. This would be particularly useful to make the government’s “digital economy” hopes a reality.
Publication Date : 01-03-2015