Congratulatory Statement by H. E. Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the Transfer of ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairmanship Ceremony to Thailand


Congratulatory Statement by H. E. Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the Transfer of ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairmanship Ceremony to Thailand


                                  Congratulatory Statement by

                                     H. E. Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul

                                   Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

                                 Transfer of ASEAN Chairmanship Ceremony

                                  Monday 21 January 2019 19.30-19.35 hrs.

                                 Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel


1. Chairman of ASEAN BAC Thailand (Khun Arin Jira),

2. Chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry  and Banking (Khun Karin Sarasin),

3. Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (Khun Supant Mongkolsuthree),

4. Chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association (Dr. Predee Daochai),

5. Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the AEC (Dr. Aladdin D. Rillo),

6. Chairman of ASEAN BAC Singapore (Dr. Robert Yap),

7. Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

8. ASEAN BAC Members,

9. Distinguished Guests,

10. Ladies and Gentlemen,


At the outset, I wish to express my sincere congratulations to Dr. Yap, Khun Arin, and the ASEAN BAC for the good work that they have done in support of ASEAN’s Community building efforts.  I would also like to congratulate Singapore for last year’s achievements as ASEAN Chair. And I am indeed honoured to be here to witness the transfer of the ASEAN Chairmanship with all of you tonight.

ASEAN’s Founding Fathers shared the common vision of coming together to promote regional cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in Southeast Asia. They then penned the ASEAN, or Bangkok Declaration, giving birth to the Association. Each Member State, as Chair, took turns steering the Association through the years; and each Chairmanship added value to ASEAN.

Last year, Singapore put a focus on resilience and innovation.  This year, Thailand will focus on enhancing the strategic contribution that ASEAN can make to the international community – which is much-needed at a time of great change and uncertainty in the world, what with the disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR); rising competition; climate change; transnational crime; and erosion of trust in regionalism and multilateralism.  Hence, Thailand’s Chairmanship theme is “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.”

In response, therefore, to the challenges at hand, we must — among other things — promote a “Digital ASEAN.” This means that we aim to harness advances in technology for the benefit of our people; enhance the region’s competitiveness, including through promoting and supporting our MSMEs; reinforce cybersecurity; increase access to affordable innovation; and create a climate that fosters sustainable development and inclusion. We need to prepare ASEAN for the future, at least for the next 20 years.

We, therefore, commend the ASEAN BAC’s theme “Empowering ASEAN 4.0,” which indeed looks to the future. Your activities on digital infrastructure, digital connectivity, and the development of human resources and MSMEs can advance ASEAN’s development and prosperity, particularly as we prepare for the 4IR.  Your legacy project “ASEAN HumanEmpowerment and Development in 4IR” would benefit skilled labour across ASEAN. Your work on MSMEs makes an important contribution to inclusive economic growth, especially as you empower young and women entrepreneurs in the digital age. In addition, such work also complements the public sector’s efforts to put priority on the digitalization of micro enterprises in ASEAN.

In all of our undertakings, however, we must bear in mind the sustainability factor. Our development efforts must be sustainable and inclusive. In the long term, we all want to live in an ASEAN Community that leaves no one behind.  And we are on the right track. This year, we will establish seven ASEAN Centres in Thailand, covering a wide range of cooperative endeavours, with the “ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue” and the “ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation” as key drivers of sustainable development cooperation in our region.

So, “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability” and “Empowering ASEAN 4.0” go hand in hand. As we move forward to the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2019 and the 35th ASEAN Summit in November, we can create strategic value-added by engaging ASEAN with the world.

I wish you a successful year ahead. Let us work together in the spirit of ASEAN to realize an ASEAN Community that prospers, leaves no one behind, and looks to the future.

Thank you.