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U.S. Business Community Expresses Support for Singapore’s Future Economy Initiatives and 2018 ASEAN Chairmanship

(Singapore) - From May 8-9, the US-ASEAN Business Council led a delegation of 15 U.S. companies on an annual business mission to Singapore. The purpose of the mission was to explore how U.S. firms can help the Government of Singapore achieve the goals of two signature government initiatives – the Smart Nation initiative and implementing the recommendations of last year’s Committee on the Future Economy. The delegation encouraged the Government to pursue tax and regulatory reform that is pro-growth and promotes innovation, experimentation, and regular stakeholder consultative engagement. The delegation also encouraged the Government to improve the utilization of data across priority future economy and Smart Nation sectors, as well as expand the use of innovative technologies across these sectors. In addition, the delegation sought to increase engagement with the Government on human capital development initiatives.

The delegation was received by senior government officials, including:

    Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), H.E. S Iswaran;
    Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence, H.E. Ong Ye Kung;
    Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, H.E. Lawrence Wong;
    Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Manpower & Foreign Affairs, H.E. Josephine Teo.

The mission was led by Mr. Alexander Feldman, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council; Ambassador Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council; and Mr. Karl Cox, Chair of the Council’s Singapore Committee and Vice President of Global Public Affairs for Oracle.

“With the release of the Committee on the Future Economy’s (CFE) report and recommendations earlier this year, Singapore is in the early stages of setting itself on a path to better reap the benefits of emerging global megatrends, particularly those associated with the digital economy,” Singapore Committee Chair Mr. Cox said, speaking on behalf of the Council. “Singapore is a country that has consistently been at the forefront of technological change, as shown by its Smart Nation initiative. Rather than shy away from it, Singapore has always sought to adapt to it and figure out how it could benefit the broader populace and the economy. The U.S. private sector is excited at the prospect of helping Singapore confront and adapt to the trends that are shaping the future economy, trends that are blurring the lines between traditional industries. It is for this reason that I am very pleased with the diverse range of industries that are represented on the mission this year. Such a range allows us to have a more comprehensive discussion on how the blurring of these lines ultimately helps lead to the type of cross-sector innovation that will define the future economy.”

"This is an important year for our business mission to Singapore,” said Mr. Feldman. “It happens as ASEAN celebrates its 50th Anniversary and only months before Singapore takes the ASEAN Chairmanship. It also comes just several months after the Council submitted a set of recommendations to the CFE. We intended for the recommendations to both inform the CFE's deliberations and serve as a basis for continued engagement with the Government of Singapore. We were excited to see that the CFE’s final report incorporated, at least in part, 11 of the Council’s total 29 recommendations, including eight of our key recommendations. A number of our discussions this year focused on U.S. private sector contributions to human capital development and lifelong learning initiatives in Singapore which are set to help fill the skills gap for future economy sectors in which our members participate. We were also excited to discuss how the Government will implement one of the key themes of the CFE's report – ensuring increased connectivity. Singapore’s efforts to help work with key players to make more large scale infrastructure projects bankable in Singapore and throughout ASEAN will help to ensure the regions significant projects are financed.“

Over the course of mission, the delegation also met with Dr. Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education; Mr. Pang Kin Keong, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport; Mr. Tan Shau En, Assistant Chief Executive (Commercialisation) at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore; Mr. Liong Sing Chiong, Assistant Managing Director (Development & International) at the Monetary Authority of Singapore; Mr. Kelvin Wong, Assistant Managing Director, Cluster Group Enterprise, New Businesses, Contact Singapore, Human Capital and Resource Development at the Singapore Economic Development Board; and Charge d’Affaires. ad interim, Ms. Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath.

Companies participating in the mission included 3M, Airbnb, Chevron, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Emerson, MasterCard, Oracle, Philip Morris International, Qualcomm, Rio Tinto, Time Warner, Uber, UPS, and Visa.


For over 30 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's 150+ membership generates over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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