Asia Foundation Releases Report on Regional Economic Cooperation: Making AEC work for SMEs

Bangkok, June 19, 2014 — The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) and The Asia Foundation have released a report presenting the key outcomes from the one-day Regional Economic Cooperation Forum on “Making ASEAN Economic Community Work for SMEs” which was held on March 28, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The key outcomes report provides an overview of the forum, including the role that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the challenges they encounter, the key messages from the keynote speech by Dr. Sok Siphana and the four panel discussions, and the key findings and actions resulting from the forum.

Dr. Sok Siphana, Principal at Sok Siphana & Associates and Advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia, said that SMEs need to look at regional opportunities and that reducing Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and domestic regulations are key. He advised the SME audience that identifying local partners in the supply chain and networking in the form of cultural affiliation to form trade relationships is important for SMEs looking to expand into new markets.

Throughout the four panel discussions focusing on AEC trade and investment, SME development and success stories from women entrepreneurs in ASEAN countries, participants gained important information that increased their knowledge of the AEC and enhanced their interests in doing business in the ASEAN market.

Key findings and proposed actions were identified to stimulate further interests among public and private stakeholders in regards to the role government agencies and the business community can play in achieving AEC 2015’s vision and the development of SMEs within this context. Some of the proposed actions include setting up a fully operational database of NTBs for AEC and standardization of licensing and business registration permits. It was also noted that key government agencies can act as facilitators and an information source for SMEs in many development aspects.

To read the full report, click here.

Read more about the Foundation and its work in Economic Development.

Related programs: Inclusive Economic Growth

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