Labuan Bajo, Indonesia
May 10, 2023

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and his fellow Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered in a meeting with the representatives of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) at the Meruorah Komodo Convention Center in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia.

As the 42nd ASEAN Chair, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia opened the discussions and engaged the Council to strengthen collaborative efforts in ensuring ASEAN remains to be the global epicentrum of growth given its enormous economic potential.

“Our economic growth is almost always higher than the global average, demographic bonus and the number of the middle class that continues to rise, reaching 65 percent in 2030. Let us work together even closer to develop a shared agenda to ensure that this region remains the epicentrum of growth,” President Widodo said before the ASEAN Leaders and members of the ASEAN-BAC.

Chairman Arsjad Rasjid, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Chairman and ASEAN-BAC 2023, had been conducting roadshows within ASEAN to discuss policy priorities aimed at enhancing economic and trade cooperation among Member States.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual, who joined President Marcos Jr. in the meeting, shared the challenges identified by the ASEAN-BAC, as well as the proposed projects to be initiated in trying to address these. The suggested proposals included digital transformation that would empower micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through a digital lending platform, equitable access to clean energy by creating an ASEAN net zero hub, promoting ASEAN healthcare markets, strengthening food security through an inclusive loop model for agriculture products and building an ASEAN business identity, among others.

Serving as Philippine Representatives to the ASEAN-BAC are Jose Ma. ‘Joey’ Concepcion III (Go Negosyo resident mentor and head of the Jobs Committee, Private Sector Advisory Council or PSAC) and George Barcelon (President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry or PCCI).

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council is a private sector initiative established in 2003. Composed of prominent business leaders from ASEAN countries, the Council provides recommendations and guidance to ASEAN Leaders on how to enhance economic cooperation, integration and business opportunities within the region.

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