Positive response to Asean-BAC proposals

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KUALA LUMPUR: The response from Asean economic ministers on the major proposals submitted by Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) has been positive, especially in key areas concerning small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Asean-BAC chairman Tan Sri Munir Majid said the leaders found the 11 proposals from the private sector comprehensive and encouraging.

The proposals, to be uploaded to the Asean BAC website today, relate to the stimulation of intra-Asean trade. “It is clear that the leaders are not only very keen, but concerned about the position of the SMEs, especially on how much emphasis should be given to them and how best we can work further and share experiences on SMEs. “While the Philippines president has underlined this as priority, the Thai prime minister has said that Thailand is all for Asean and will take steps to remove non-tariff barriers and other measures to improve trade and investments in the region,” Munir told reporters after presenting Asean-BAC’s papers to the Asean leaders on Sunday. He said the council was working on the post-2015 Asean vision and hoped to complete its work by the end of August to incorporate its ideas in the forthcoming summit in November.

The Asean-BAC stated that it would put SMEs on the priority list due to the significant contribution to the economy. Munir said over 96% of enterprises in Asean were SMEs, which accounted for up to 85% of domestic employment.