SINGAPORE – Even as the governments of Asean follow economic cooperation, businesses have to do their part to encourage such moves by receiving more domestic competition in return for access to markets in other countries, said Chief Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, Monday (November 12).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day Asean Business and Investment Summit, it extended the benefits of economic openness, which reduces business barriers and costs.
"Our markets are more integrated and open, and the most comprehensive business rules and business environments are for foreign investment, the more the dog grows, and the more we will all benefit, "he said.
But while he wants to expand abroad, PM Lee said, businesses are not always supportive of opening their own domestic markets into a foreign competition.
They can lobby governments to set regulations or keep the industries closed to defend themselves, he says.
"But after the benefit of the integration of Asean and open and related economies, our businesses should be prepared to adapt and receive more competition in their home markets, in return for more access to markets in other Asean countries."
PM Lee talked to around 1,000 policy makers and business leaders attending the summit, organized annually by the Asean Business Advice Council (ABAC) at the top of the main summit of Asean.
These meetings appoint the chairmanship of Singapore in Asean, before being transferred to Thailand.
On Monday, PM Lee noted that ABAC is working to improve physical and digital co-ordination in the region, such as technology to improve supply chains and logistics.
It also encouraged businesses to take full advantage of the council's recommendations on digital transformation and expand their regional footprint.
"Asean has a great potential, but its realization depends on whether we choose to become more integrated, and work precisely towards this goal in a world where there is a breakthrough of hypocrisy political pressure, "he said.