Dear Members

This morning, Saturday 3 June, 2017, AusCham’s President, Ms Chau Ta, is in Singapore for the launch of AustCham ASEAN of which AusCham Vietnam is a founding member. AustCham ASEAN will be formally launched by the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Please see below the official press release. The Australian newspaper has run a story in its paper this morning titled Business backed for push into ASEAN region by Dennis Shanahan.

*** For photos of event, click here.


Embargoed until: Friday 2 June, 2017 10pm (Singapore time)

Australian business has a new body for engaging in ASEAN

The Australian Chambers of Commerce and Business Councils across ASEAN are pleased to announce the official launch of AustCham ASEAN.

Recognising the need to improve information flows on Australian business activity in ASEAN, seven officially registered Australian chambers and business councils from across ASEAN have come together to establish the Australia-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce (AustCham ASEAN) as an umbrella organization for advocacy on issues impacting Australian business operating in ASEAN. AustCham ASEAN was officially launched by the Australian Prime Minister, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, in Singapore on Saturday June 3.

An annual survey of Australian businesses operating in ASEAN will be conducted by AustCham ASEAN, and is being supported by the Australian government through an Australia ASEAN Council (AAC) grant of A$50,000.

AustCham ASEAN has been formed as a registered Society in Singapore with the following foundation members:

  • Indonesia – Indonesia Australia Business Council,
  • Lao PDR – The Australia Chamber of Commerce Lao PDR,
  • Malaysia – Malaysia-Australia Business Council,
  • Philippines – The Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (Philippines) Inc,
  • Singapore – Australian Chamber of Commerce, Singapore ,
  • Thailand – Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce,
  • Vietnam – The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam

It is expected that organizations from the remaining three ASEAN countries will join shortly. AustCham ASEAN has also been officially accredited as an ASEAN Plus 1 Business Council by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

The inaugural office bearers are:

  • President – Fraser Thompson (Australian Chamber of Commerce, Singapore)
  • Senior Vice-President – Chris Ward (The Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (Philippines) Inc)
  • Vice-President – Brenton Mauriello (Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce)

AustCham ASEAN will focus on three main activities:

  1. Informing Australian business on regional integration developments and the business landscape;
  2. Explaining the contribution of Australian business to ASEAN markets; and
  3. Advocating for policies, rules and regulations that support Australian business activities in ASEAN

ASEAN is the 6th largest economy in the world and the 2nd largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) recipient. With a proud history of engagement with ASEAN, Australia recognises the importance of the ASEAN community and its role in facilitating trade and diplomatic relationships. ASEAN is one of Australia’s leading trade partners and Australian distributers of goods and services have a deep engagement with the region.

The 2016 survey of Australian firms conducted by the Australian chambers and business councils in ASEAN confirmed that the ASEAN Economic Community and regional integration is important for Australian firms to invest and operate in the region. Over half of Australian businesses surveyed indicated that regional integration was one of the key reasons for them to trade and invest in ASEAN – this was the second most important driver after the growing consuming class. However, the survey also indicated a number of gaps currently inhibiting the operations of Australian firms in the region. Survey respondents indicated a range of challenges they encounter in doing business in ASEAN, from non-tariff measures to infrastructure bottlenecks to restrictions on service offerings. In addition, more than half of Australian firms surveyed indicated that they wanted more information to properly understand what ASEAN regional integration could mean for their business.

2017 and 2018 will be major opportunities for Australian business engagement in ASEAN. 2017 represents the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, and in 2018, the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit will be convened in Sydney. Through its activities, AustCham ASEAN will enable a greater flow of information between Australian business and ASEAN leaders.

“Building closer ties with ASEAN is of great strategic and economic importance to Australia. With a proud history of substantive engagement since becoming ASEAN’s first dialogue partner over forty years ago, Australia recognises ASEAN’s important role in facilitating trade, regional economic integration and enormous potential for further economic growth. I believe the activities of AustCham ASEAN to represent the Australian business community in the region will further strengthen the relationship between ASEAN and Australia.”
Ms Jane Duke, Australia’s Ambassador to ASEAN.

Fraser Thompson, inaugural President of AustCham ASEAN, commented that “ASEAN is currently the 6th largest economy in the world and represents a major opportunity for Australian busineses. While many Australian firms are already active in the region, our hope is that AustCham ASEAN can support better engagement in the region by informing Australian businesses on developments in regional integration, and helping advocate on their behalf to address some of their challenges.”



Annette Tilbrook | Honorary Secretary of AustCham ASEAN
Mob: +65 9786 1772

Fraser Thompson | President of AustCham ASEAN