II. Lifting-The-Barriers Roundtables

ABC Forum has a special focus on identifying bottlenecks and barriers hindering free trade of prioritised sectors in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

The event convenes around six sector-based “Lifting-the-Barriers Roundtables” with vertical emphasis on issues specific to the selected sectors. The roundtables serve as a platform for different stakeholders to deliberate on the future of their sector and our ASEAN region as a whole. Participants of this discussion include regulators, private sector leaders, service providers, manufacturers, academics and many more. The selection of discussants aimed to provide a well rounded and truly reflective debate.








Fulfilling the Financing Needs of the ASEAN Underserved and SMEs

Financial services and capital markets have a crucial role to play in the development of the ASEAN economy as well as for regional integration. The impressive financial services and capital markets of some of the ASEAN Member States could be the stepping stone on which ASEAN can build its financial integration.

By having an integrated financial and capital market, ASEAN could improve its efficiency of capital allocation, increase intra-ASEAN investment as well as foreign investment. In such an integrated market, companies could raise capital across the region, investors could invest freely across borders, and banks could enter and operate in each member state. With only a few months left before the establishment of the AEC, financial services and capital markets still have substantial barriers left to dismantle.

Issues discussed

  1. Benefit from a regional P2P financing platform across ASEAN
  2. Cost-efficient and effective mechanism to facilitate P2P investments, fund disbursement
  3. and collection across the region
  4. Recommendations into a credit rating framework which would represent the credit worthiness of lenders on the platform
  5. Contribution from the traditional financial institutions to the start-up and eventual operations of this platform
  6. Regulatory frameworks requirement in order to make this work regionally.

Sector Chair
Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, Chairman CIMB Group

Sector speakers

  1. Ms. Josephine, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State
  2. Piyush Gupta, Chief Executive Officer & Director, DBS Bank
  3. Cezar Consing, President & CEO, Bank of The Philippine Islands
  4. Than Nyein, Senior Consultant, KBZ Myanmar & Former Governor of Central, Bank of Myanmar

Research Partner
Chin Wei Min, Asia Pacific Managing Director for Capital Market Industry, Accenture








LTBI retail

Retail Innovation revolutionize the industry

This year the roundtable on the retail sector will focus on retail innovation. Over the last years, most ASEAN countries have aimed towards achieving retail modernity, catching up with more advanced geographies. To transition from followers to leaders in the retail space, there is now a unique opportunity for countries to embrace innovation. Driving innovation in the retail sector is expected to benefit all stakeholders.

Consumers would enjoy an improved retail experience, a broader menu of products (e.g. from across ASEAN), better products and lower prices. Industry players -retailers, manufacturers and innovation providers- would strengthen their offering and grow, giving some of them the scale to expand across the region.

Each ASEAN country would benefit from a more dynamic retail industry to reach their growth and development targets. Finally, higher GDP and regional homogeneity in the retail space would help drive ASEAN integration.

Issues discussed

  1.  Landscape and current status of retail innovation opportunities in the region.
  2. Potential barriers to the development of retail innovation in ASEAN and the role of key stakeholders in overcoming them.
  3. Improvement on the implementation areas on Non-Tariff Measures (NTM) and Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB) that continue to be imposed for legitimate reason.
  4. Using innovative retail technology to simplify the management process.
  5. Enhanced technology skills and knowledge for the retailers and customers.

Sector Chair
Candice Ong, Managing Director, Zalora Southeast Asia

Sector speakers

  1. Datuk Dr. Rebecca Sta Maria Secretary General for Trade, Ministry of International Trade & Industry, Malaysia (MITI)
  2. Tony Collingridge, Director of Trade & Investment for Malaysia, UK Trade Investment (UKTI)
  3. Teruyuki Kawabe, Manager, Global Retail Solutions Division, NEC Corporations

Research Partner
Olivier Gergele, Principal, AT Kearney Geir Olsen, Partner, AT Kearney

 AT Kearney











Removing barriers into ASEAN Tourism

Tourism is an increasingly important driver of economic prosperity and social progress. It is estimated that the tourism sector accounts for about 9.8% of GDP and employment worldwide.

Tourist arrivals in ASEAN in 2014 reached over 100 million, and the potential of tourism in the region is enormous. ASEAN aims to promote the region as an attractive, multi-faceted single destination. Increasing integration in the tourism sector would strengthen cooperation among the region’s various tourism industries, resulting in more total tourist arrivals and increased intra-ASEAN travel. Coordinated efforts on the regional level are also more likely to increase the quality of tourism, including social and environmental awareness.

Issues discussed

  1. The main barriers faced in ASEAN tourism and challenges going forward 5-10 years, which fall on the following categories, Regulations and Policy framework; Infrastructure and Ideal Business Environment; and Human Resources Development and Exchange.
  2. Challenges on the current single ASEAN visa for Inbound Travellers
  3. Infrastructure issue on the cross border Connectivity & Confirmation that will need marketing of ASEAN as a single tourist destination and greater participation from private sector to invest in developing intra-structure in smaller cities with high tourism potential.
  4. ASEAN must actively improving protection of natural and cultural heritage assets and becoming more responsive to climate change.
  5. Efforts from the public private partnership to boost the tourism industry
  6. Naming convention of the branding for ASEAN tourism

Sector Chair
Aileen Clemente, President, ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA)

Sector speakers

  1. Allen Law, Chief Executive Officer, Park Hotel Group
  2. Dennis Law, Executive Officer & General Manager Global Inbound Division, JTB APHQ
  3. Ludwig Rieder, Consultant, ASEAN Stratergic Tourism Plan (ATSP)

Research Partner
Aileen Clemente, President, ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA)













Single aviation authority for ASEAN

As a component of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, the Single Aviation Market (ASEAN-SAM or Open Skies Policy) came into effect on 1 January.

ASEAN-SAM will increase regional and domestic connectivity, integrate production networks and enhance regional trade by allowing airlines from ASEAN member states to fly freely throughout the region.

The air transport sector is currently facing challenges such as increased congestion and lacking infrastructure, due to rising demand. ASEAN integration in the air transport sector could help address these challenges, as well as improve the region’s negotiation position with other unified markets such as the EU. However, for ASEAN to truly achieve open skies there are still some policy barriers to overcome.

Issues discussed

  1. Proposal to create a common ASEAN regulator to oversee technical matters.
  2. Identify the specific areas or disciplines of technical regulation that the mutual recognition process can cover
  3. Significant barriers to ownership and control of airlines in ASEAN.
  4. Encourage more investment in infrastructure and human capital in aviation industry.
  5. Market access for ASEAN member states’ carriers into each other’s market is currently limited.

Sector Chair
Aireen Omar, Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia Bhd

Sector speakers

  1. Barathan Pasupathi, Chief Executive Officer, Jetstar Asia
  2. Brendan Sobie, Chief Analyst, Centre for Aviation (CAPA)
  3. Vinoop Goel, Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Airport, Passenger, Cargo & Security, International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Research Partner
Dr.Alan Khee-Jin Tan, Professor, National University of Singapore Law School

NUS law












Closing the commitment gap in ASEAN’s healthcare

Healthcare spending is growing rapidly in ASEAN, giving rise to numerous opportunities for medical services providers, pharmaceutical companies, health insurers and other companies involved in healthcare.

Regional cooperation in the healthcare sector is necessary from a socioeconomic perspective due to the disparities of the domestic healthcare sectors, as well as the increase of highly infectious diseases. Healthcare integration has achieved some milestones, such as eliminating tariff rates for healthcare goods and the signing of mutual recognition agreements (MRAs). Further integration however faces several barriers, including policy barriers such as foreign equity restrictions and regulatory gaps.

Issues discussed

  1. Wide disparities between countries, in terms of the quality, accessibility and affordability in healthcare across the region.
  2. Talent issues like disparity in range of competencies and capabilities, varying education standards results in different skills base.
  3. Sociocultural issues like limited buying-in by industry stakeholders.
  4. Language barrier to relate to patients and professionals for ASEAN
  5. Enhanced the public private cooperation in healthcare
  6. Create business platform to bridge the gap between medical society and industry society as well as domestic business and regional and international business.

Sector Chair
M.Shanti Shamdasani, Regional Director – Governtment & Policy Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Southeast Asia

Sector speakers

  1. Datin Paduka Siti Sa’diah, Director, KPJ Healthcare
  2. Dr. Roger P.Tong-An, Chief Executive Officer President , Kidar Realty Corp & Phillipines Nurses Association
  3. Dr.H. Krishna Kumar President, Malaysian Malaysia Association
  4. Kazumi Nishikawa. Special Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan
  5. Sherene Azura, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council

Research Partner
Rhenu Buller, Senior Vice President, Healthcare, Frost & Sullivan Nitin Dixit, Industry Manager, Healthcare, Frost & Sullivan, Asia Pacific











Funding ASEAN booming infrastructure sector

Despite substantial investments in the region’s physical infrastructure over the last decade, there is still a huge infrastructure need for ASEAN to accommodate expected GDP growth. The diversity of ASEAN countries and the development gap between members complicate the building of regional infrastructure as they are in many cases – such as with highways, railways and power – based on national networks.

Financing infrastructure development is a challenge for the region as many of the ASEAN countries face fiscal constraints, resulting in lower public investment. The private sector has often been reluctant to participate in infrastructure investments due to unclear allocation of risk and returns. Solving these issues to increase infrastructure development is crucial for ASEAN as the lack of infrastructure could hamper long-term economic growth.

Issues discussed

  1. Challenges in attracting investments to develop and finance infrastructure, particularly from the private sector.
  2. Financial gaps between spending of and potential demand for infrastructure are different across the region.
  3. Barriers such as the gap between infrastructure demand and supply, poor regulatory system and market issues in emerging economies and short supply of well-structured projects
  4. Public sector needs to improve regulatory system and enforcement, with focus on enhancing efficiency, streamlining the process, and having rationale objectives.
  5. Private sector should invest in capacity building and technology transfer especially for local experts/partners.

Sector Chair
Billy Wong, Regional Executive, Southeast Asia, AECOM Technology Corporation

Sector speakers

  1. Chew Seng Kok, Managing Director, ZICO Holdings Inc
  2. Mike Nikkel, Managing Director, China-ASEAN Investment Corporation Fund
  3. Clive Kerner, Chief Executive Officer, Clifford Capital Pte Ltd
  4. Yasushi Iwata, General Manager, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  5. Anu Sahai, Founding Director, ASEAN Private Equity& Venture Capital Association
  6. Dr.Guanghua Wan, Directorm Research Asian Development Bank Institute

Research Partner
Dr. Fauziah Zen, Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)






















Broadcast Partner Bloomberg

Media Partner Oxford Business Group China Daily

supporting partner Endeavor