The Second ASEAN Business Forum took place in the Hague on June 24, organized by the Royal Thai Embassy in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, VNO-NCW, and MKB. The forum brought together several businesses interested in expanding into ASEAN countries as well as governmental representations, and business organizations that work cooperatively in contributing to a «soft landing» for companies that arrive at ASEAN.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia. The ASEAN are creating a single market. Together they are in the top 10 economies of the world from GDP perspective.
The presentations brought information on the last developments in ASEAN countries regarding economic developments, workforce (competitive) market focus, purchasing power (steadily increasing), and possibilities for cooperation.
There were break out sessions focusing on Connectivity, Innovation, and Sustainability.
The HCH, represented by Freek van Eijk, moderated the Sustainability session. During this session, water management, waste management and agro-food and biomass were identified as opportunities. Waste management was the main topic in the discussion, with a «low-hanging fruit» identified as separate waste management of the organic waste stream and solutions for plastics/packaging. Countries in the region are also looking into smart farming, biobased solutions, and water resources management. There are growing awareness and strategic investments in research and innovation for sustainability. Public-Private Cooperation and long-term investments were identified as key to develop further these actions.
ASEAN presented itself as a promising region for investments and partnerships, and very interested in facilitating European companies expanding to the region.