EU-ASEAN Debate Singapore

To promote greater understanding of the benefits of regional economic integration, the European Union Delegation in Singapore held a debate on Wednesday April 15 at INSEAD Asia Campus. The debate brought together academics, business leaders, the diplomatic community and government organisations to discuss issues around regional integration. The debate was very timely given that ASEAN is about to launch the AEC later this year and the ASEAN Heads of Government meet later this month. The motion for debate was “this house believes that for the true benefits of economic integration you need enforceable multilateral agreements”.

Following a lively debate, the majority of the audience agreed with the motion that enforceable multilateral agreements are important. Issues raised included that enforceability is important for the creation a certain business environment that encourages investment, harmonisation of rules and regulations that promote intra-regional trade and commerce, and the upgrading of national enforcement mechanisms.

The EU Ambassador to Singapore, Dr Michael Pulch, said:

“Both the European Union and ASEAN have a rich experience of regional integration. Enforceability of multilateral agreements is an important issue that, in the context of the EU, is an essential pillar of regional integration. Without it the EU regional integration process would not have resulted in a genuine single market. As a single market the European Union is the world’s largest economic bloc, and is the largest single source of foreign direct investment into ASEAN”.

Panellist at the event and executive director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, Chris Humphrey added:

“2015 is an important year for ASEAN as it progresses towards the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community. This is an important milestone and is just the beginning of a deeper regional integration process. Regional integration is important for businesses, and businesses would welcome further integration underpinned by enforceable multilateral agreements. This provides certainty for businesses to make long term investment decisions, and would encourage further FDI into the region. The EU is already ASEAN’s largest source of FDI and its second largest trading partner, and ASEAN would be an even more attractive place to do business if steps are taken to integrate the economies and markets of the region”.

The debate is part of a series of debates exploring issues of regional integration taking place across the capital cities of ASEAN. The debates are organised by the EU’s Public Diplomacy and Outreach (EU-PDO) programme.

The Singapore debate was moderated by Channel NewsAsia present Teymoor Nabili and the debaters consisted of:

  1. Antonio Delorenzo, Director, Payments Markets, SWIFT
  2. Chris Humphrey, Executive Director, EU-ASEAN Business Council
  3. Ambassador K. Kesavapany, Distinguished Affiliate Fellow, Asia Research Institute, NUS
  4. Andreas List, Senior Coordinator for ASEAN, EU Delegation to Indonesia and Brunei
  5. Ambassador Jørgen Ørstrøm Møller, Senior Research Fellow, ISEAS
  6. Raymond Yee, Vice President, Customs and Regulatory Affairs, DHL
Published On: April 15, 2015|