Summit addresses the impact of ASEAN integration on international companies

03 Sep 2015

The fourth ASEAN-EU Business Summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on 23 August 2015.

Rick Perdian from the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue participated in a panel discussion focusing on the agricultural and food sectors, presenting key findings from the Centre's recently published Risk Dialogue Series on food safety. He is one of the coauthors of the report, along with Jingdong Chen, a member of Swiss Re's legal team in Beijing.

The report provides a comparative analysis of the food safety legal and regulatory schemes in six major markets – China, EU, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US – and their impact on insurance buying behavior. Additionally, it looks at the ASEAN Food Safety Network, founded in 2003, whose goal is to bring together "national focal points" from each of the member states on best practice and food safety regimes. Three of the Asian countries, China, Japan and South Korea, reviewed in the report play a key role in the development of ASEAN policy through the ASEAN+3 process providing expertise and guidance to the ASEAN secretariat and the member states.

Clarence Wong, Swiss Re's Chief Economist and Head ER&C for Asia, spoke on the economic outlook for the ASEAN community post integration. He addressed the top global financial risks that pose headwinds for growth in ASEAN. Within the region, he noted that the main concerns are the unexpectedly slow recovery of trade, the need to raise more foreign direct investment to boost growth and productivity, as well as structural changes necessary to improve long-term competitiveness and enable sustainable growth. Wong concluded with an overview of developments in the Asian re/insurance sector, noting the positive correlation between insurance penetration and GDP per capita that portends well for the future of the industry in the region.

Malaysia is the ASEAN chair for 2015 with the theme of its ASEAN Chairmanship being "Our People, Our Community, Our Vision." The Summit was jointly organized by the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and the EU-ASEAN Business Council, of which Swiss Re is a member. It was held in conjunction with the 47th ASEAN Economic Minsters' meeting on the prior day, with the ministers in attendance for the concluding plenary session of the Summit.