Lanka should make more inroads to ASEAN - HSBC | Daily News

Lanka should make more inroads to ASEAN - HSBC

Sri Lanka - Singapore FTA, a stepping stone for this:

Sri Lanka exporters and enterprises need to make bigger inroads to the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which would soon be the among the four fastest growing regions in the world, HSBC’s Sri Lanka and the Maldives Wholesale Banking Head Stewart Rogers said.

Speaking at a special discussion yesterday, he said the ASEAN countries had a population of 625 million people and most importantly it has a 120 million middle class which is rapidly growing. “Sri Lanka should try to penetrate this region more aggressively as there is huge market especially for niche products.”

Rogers said that Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA which was signed recently can be stepping stone to enter this region.

He said the One Belt initiative launched by China too would create a huge opportunity for Sri Lanka as it is one of the countries identified along its route.

He also said that inter-regional travel in this block too is very high and one of the reasons for this is free visa on arrival policy among countries and also very good air connectivity.

“Sri Lanka Tourism too should also try to have a good marketing campaign especially to countries like Vietnam where there is a faster growing middle class that does extensive travel to the ASEAN region.”

HSBC’s Asia Pacific Commercial Banking Head,Tim Evens while endorsing this fact said the region is growing fast and they expect consumer spending to reach US$ 3 trillion by 2020.

“Consumer spending in the ASEAN economic powerhouse is forecast to rise to USD2.3 trillion by 2020, and with an estimated 57 million emerging middle class households, it remains a source of growth against a backdrop of uncertainty.’ The region is expected to invest around US$1 trillion on infrastructure development as well.

Country Head of Wholesale Banking, HSBC, Vietnam, Winfield W. Wong said Vietnam from a war ravaged country has now moved to one of the biggest manufacturing bases for Nokia, Samsung, LG and other similar companies.The country has not slowed down on in its agri exports as well. Vietnam today has 15 Free Trade Agreements and it attracted US$3.5 billion Foreign Direct investments in 2017. He also said that one of the biggest advantages for Vietnam is its younger work force.

Regional Head of Sales, Commercial Banking, Global Liquidity and Cash Management, Asia Pacific, HSBC, Vivek Deshpande, said that on-line money transfers are increasing in the ASEAN region and the growth of internet penetration mostly via mobile is the key to this. “People in the region prefer cashless transactions.”



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