Stronger ASEAN business engagement critical to Australia’s future economic prosperity

05 March 2024

The Business Council is calling for a greater level of investment and collaboration between Southeast Asian countries, to boost economic growth, as regional business leaders meet in Melbourne today to take part in ASEAN.

Business Council Chief Executive Bran Black said there was extraordinary economic potential in Southeast Asia with a population of 660 million and a GDP of $3.2 trillion (USD).

“There are significant economic opportunities for Australian businesses to access on our doorstep right across Southeast Asia and we want this meeting to boost connections and deliver more jobs,” Mr Black said.

“Australia needs to build deeper business relationships with ASEAN countries and that’s why it is so important the Government implements Nicholas Moore’s plan.

“The BCA looks forward to playing a bigger role across our region, facilitating more business-to-business engagements that increase trade and employment opportunities and the Summit’s CEO Forum is integral.

“It is also vital we use these partnerships to strengthen our supply chains across the region, particularly as we transition to clean energy and net zero.” 

Mr Black said it was important to strengthen people-to-people links between ASEAN countries and the BCA would partner with the Australian Government for the Placements and Internships Pilot Program for Young Professionals.

“This program will bring together young business executives from Australian and Southeast Asian businesses to participate in secondments and I am delighted our members, including King & Wood Mallesons, Woodside, HSBC Australia, UNSW and Seek, are taking part in this important program.”

“This initiative is positioned to offer tangible opportunities for in-market work experiences, fostering the development of business skills, awareness, and connections between Southeast Asia and Australia.”

The ASEAN-Australia Special Summit CEO Forum will bring together 100 business leaders from Australia and ASEAN Member states to strengthen economic and business-to-business relationships.

This year marks 50 years since Australia became ASEAN’s first external partner.


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