ASEAN Business Club: Launch of Lifting-The-Barriers Reports

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The ASEAN Business Club (ABC) and CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) jointly launched the third set of Lifting-The-Barriers (LTB) Reports today in Kuala Lumpur, held alongside the 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.

The LTB reports were launched by the Chair of ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting 2015, Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, the Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia. Speaking at the launch, he said he welcomes the input from the private sector, as it is one of the priorities of ASEAN to push for the business sector to play a more proactive role in economic integration.

“For 3 years, ASEAN Business Club and CIMB ASEAN Research Institute have been producing the Lifting-The-Barriers reports with a structured approach to address the challenges in ASEAN economic integration. We, the policy makers, have found it to be a useful reference,” said Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed.

Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, President of the ASEAN Business Club, said the proposals in the report are constructive but a number of the recommendations have become repetitive, which is a reflection of the slow progress in the process of lifting the barriers. ABC will continue to take up the proposals identified in the proposals with ASEAN officials post-2015 in order to establish a more meaningful place for the private sector in the Asean economic integration process.

“The ABC seeks optimality as well as strategic progress in the establishment of the AEC. These reports and the effort help to put our case forward. Some of the sectors covered in these reports – such as capital and financial markets – are critical to real economic integration. Finance is the lifeblood of the economy. It is the enabler. Therefore there is some concentration on this sector because it will drive all the other sectors as well in the integration of the ASEAN economy – making it that single economy with those great prospects of size and growth”, said Dr. Munir.

The launch marks the third set of white papers published by ABC and CARI. The six major sectors that are being highlighted this year were 1) Air Transportation, 2) Financial Services & Capital Markets, 3) Tourism, 4) Healthcare, 5) Retail and 6) Infrastructure.

The 2015 reports were jointly produced with the contribution of independent research partners namely Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore for Air Transportation; Accenture for Financial Services and Capital Market; ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) for Tourism; A.T. Kearney for Retail; Frost & Sullivan for Healthcare, and Economic Research Institute on ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) for Infrastructure.

Since it was launched in 2013, the Lifting-the-barriers Initiative has yielded 19 reports to date, covering 12 clusters of key sectors in ASEAN.

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