The fourth AVID Thought Leadership Forum (TLF) held last July 30 at the Asian Institute of Management Conference Center highlights the opportunities and challenges brought upon by the ASEAN integration in 2015.

With the theme, "Come Unity, Setting Directions for one ASEAN," the fourth TLF discussed the benefits of having the gates opened to a wider and more vibrant regional market and riding on the sustained growth that the country is currently enjoying.

The forum featured a panel of experts led by Dr. Cielito Habito, Chief of Party, USAID’s Trade Related Technical Assistance for Development (TRADE) Project, and Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba. Dr. Federico Macaranas, Faculty of the Asian Institute of Management and Maria Fe Perez-Agudo, President of AVID, also shared their thoughts about the issue.

One of the topics discussed is "defining new directions for corporate strategy in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)," a game changer for all its member nations. In this new and highly liberalized environment, the speakers tackled on what directions Philippine business must take to maximize the benefits of AEC. The speakers also talked about the mindset that the business sector should embrace to emerge as winners in this new landscape.

"The AEC is changing the game for Philippine business and it’s time for us in the automotive industry to take stock, step up, and move as one, establish a policy environment and incentives structure that are synchronized with regional and global developments; push for a level playing field for the entire industry; and ultimately, uphold consumer welfare," said Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, AVID President.

Another topic discussed during the forum was "building the right niche for the Philippine auto industry in the ASEAN Economic Community," which was an analysis of the regional and global competitiveness of the Philippine auto industry and the proposed attitude and policy shifts the industry can undertake to drive growth within the AEC. Of note is the focus on the need to build a more vigorous small and medium enterprises (SME) sector in the Philippines to strengthen the link between the automotive assembly sector. Moreover, it tackeld that the AEC can offer wider access and crate new boundaries for trade and investments.

The forum also had a video presentation featuring interview clips from Dr. Ramon L. Clarete, Dean, UP School of Economics; Prof. Nestor O. Rañeses, Director, UP Institute of Small Scale Industries; Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran, Department of Finance; Guillermo M. Luz, Co-Chairman, National Competitiveness Council; and Dir. Jerry T. Clavesillas, DTI - Bureau of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development.