RHTLaw Taylor Wessing ASEAN Summit 2016 featured in Channel NewsAsia article titled "Important to strengthen SMEs as ASEAN Economic Community takes shape: Ong Keng Yong" The article was first published in Channel NewsAsia on 4 August 2016. Important to strengthen SMEs as ASEAN Economic Community takes shape: Ong Keng Yong Source: Channel NewsAsia Date: 4 Aug 2016 Author: Calvin Hui SINGAPORE: As the ASEAN Economic Community continues to take shape, it is important to strengthen SMEs, Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large Ong Keng Yong said on Thursday (Aug 4). Currently, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) comprise almost all of private enterprises across the ASEAN region, but only account for around 10 to 30 per cent of total exports. Speaking as a keynote speaker at the ASEAN Summit 2016, organised by RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, Mr Ong acknowledged that progress in ASEAN economic integration has been "quite impressive". However, he added that there are various challenges facing SMEs. These include a relatively lower level of labour productivity when compared to the United States, access to finance, a reluctance to internationalise and look beyond national borders, as well as cumbersome business requirements for SMEs. Mr Ong, who is also a former ASEAN Secretary-general, highlighted several recommendations to meet these challenges, including elevating the ASEAN SME Advisory Board to the level of ASEAN SME Ministers Meeting. This will mean more attention is paid to SMEs, which is separate from the ASEAN Trade Ministers grouping. He also suggested providing more support services to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs, as well as ensuring a systematic and flexible approach towards financing and capital. Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the event, Mr Teng Theng Dar, who is the chairman of Barterfli Holdings, said the AEC represents a market of 630 million people for Singapore. He added that the private sector should take a more proactive approach towards realising the vision of the AEC.
RHT Holdings CEO Jayaprakash Jagateesan was ranked as “30 people to watch in the business of law in Asia in 2016” in an Asia Law Portal article. The article mentioned that “Jagateesan, as CEO, is responsible for helping the firm navigate through the increasingly more competitive Singapore and greater Asia legal market with this listed, blended services offer.” The 2016 instalment of 30 people to watch in the business law of Asia was built upon last year’s list and determined by readers who identified key people in the region they felt were and will be integral to growth and change. The article also discussed how 2016 will see the Asia-Pacific legal market grow in size as local markets and the needs of clients expand. To read the full article, please visit Asia Law Portal’s website.