SINGAPORE - Singapore will host the upcoming annual Asean-EU Business Summit on March 2, 2018, and it will coincide with the Asean Economic Ministers' meeting with the European Union (EU) trade commissioner, said the EU-Asean Business Council (EU-ABC), the European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (EuroCham), and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) in a joint release on Tuesday (Dec 12) .
Now in its sixth iteration, the summit will feature addresses by senior government and business figures from both Singapore and the EU, and will also be addressed by a ministerial panel consisting of several Asean economic ministers.
The summit's programme will include: advancing the Asean Economic Community, driving more FDI (foreign direct investment) from the EU to Asean, ensuring sustainable development across Asean with high rates of urbanisation, and establishing a digital economy in Asean.
This is the first time the summit is held in Singapore, which inherits the Asean chairmanship next year.
Describing the summit as coming at a "key time" for the region, the EU-ABC's chairman Donald Kanak said that European business optimism for Asean "is at an all-time high", with an overwhelmingly positive sentiment towards the growth prospects for the region.
"With the prospect of a region-to-region FTA (free trade agreement), and more bilateral FTAs between the EU and Asean, we can only see an already very strong trade and investment relationship getting even stronger," he said.
Stefano Poli, president of EuroCham Singapore, added they were anticipating a "very high level" of participation at the summit from regional ministers and from European and Asean businesses.
Robert Yap, chairman of the Asean Business Advisory Council, said: "2018 marks a new phase of relationship between Asean and EU with the conclusion of Asean-EU Plan of Action, which paves the way ahead for Asean and EU.
"The Asean-EU Business Summit remains a key platform connecting businesses across the two regions, and at the same time, provide recommendations to enhance business environment in Asean," he added.
EU-ABC has been described as the primary voice for European business within the Asean region. Its membership consists of large European multinational corporations (MNCs) and the nine European Chambers of Commerce from around South-east Asia, and was established to help promote the interests of European businesses operating within Asean.