LABUAN BAJO, INDONESIAPresident Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. along with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual and other ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) joined on Wednesday the ASEAN Leader’s Interface with Representatives of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC). During the engagement, Secretary Pascual emphasized the important role that the private sector plays in advancing the goals and objectives of ASEAN.

“I would like to reiterate the commitment of the Philippine government to working with the private sector in advancing ASEAN’s goals and objectives. We express support and look forward to working with the ASEAN-BAC in the implementation of eight (8) legacy projects identified during the 29th AEM Retreat in March this year. Likewise, in terms of food security, we hope to work with you in empowering MSMEs and farmers through knowledge transfer and in turn, be able to provide affordable and accessible goods to Filipino consumers,” he said.

In support of Indonesia’s theme for their ASEAN Chairmanship this year, “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”, the Indonesian Chair of the ASEAN-BAC came up with eight (8) legacy projects spread across five (5) priorities such as: (1) Digital Transformation; (2) Sustainable Development; (3) Health Resilience; (4) Food Security; and (5) Trade and Investment Facilitation.

Secretary Pascual also took the opportunity to thank the members of the ASEAN-BAC for extending its support on the Philippines’ proposal to establish the ASEAN Creative Economy Working Group (ACEWG). “The creation of a private sector counterpart to champion creative economy is welcomed and will complement the proposed ACEWG under the ASEAN Economic Pillar given the growing economic contributions of the sector in the region,” he mentioned.

The ASEAN-BAC has also urged ASEAN Leaders to implement policies that would improve the investment climate within the region and will facilitate the smooth flow of essential and sustainable goods, services, and professionals for ASEAN companies. Likewise, the Council intends to work on empowering MSMEs so they can maximize the benefits of deepening regional economic integration.

From the Philippines’ side, Mr. Jose Ma. A. Conception, Mr. George T. Barcelon, and Mr. Michael G. Tan served as members of the ASEAN-BAC.*

Date of release: 11 May 2023