The United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Asia last week announced the launch of two programmes that will deliver a total of $43 million in funding to support low carbon transitions and economic reform in the Asean region.
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The $24 million Economic Reform Programme will enable inclusive economic growth by promoting fairer business environments and underdeveloped financial markets.
In addition, the $19 million Carbon Energy Programme will enable partners to work with UK expertise in tackling urgent low carbon transitions domestically.
Both programmes will be delivered through the UK’s Prosperity Fund. The announcements were made following a meeting between the UK’s Minister of State for Asia, Mark Field, and Dato Lim Jock Hoi, the Asean Secretary General, as part of his two-day visit to the UK.
During the visit the Minister for Asia and the Secretary General discussed areas of focus for potential future co-operation, including fintech and green finance, the development of smart cities, cybersecurity, education, and increased defence co-operation.
Mr Field said, “UK investment in Southeast Asia exceeds our investment in China and India combined, and with Asean businesses collectively ranking as the third largest Asian investor in the UK, it isn’t hard to see why developing our relationship is a priority.
“That is why the UK will be opening our new British Mission to Asean in Jakarta, and why the Secretary General and I discussed strengthening our relationship further,” Mr Field said.
On his two-day visit to London, the Asean Secretary General met a number of UK Ministers, including Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, and engaged with UK business, reflecting the UK and Asean’s many areas of shared interest.
In 2016, UK-Southeast Asia trade was worth $42 billion and two-way investment stock between the UK and Asean countries was at least $54.8 billion.
That year, total UK exports to Asean were at $17.7 billion, more than double those to India.
In 2016, the UK imported $24.3 billion worth of goods from Asean nations and $30 billion in Foreign Direct Investment flowed from the UK into Asean nations.