67th CACCI Council Meeting
and Asia Business Forum
8-10 December 2003, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1. Members of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and
Industry (CACCI), the biggest grouping of the region’s business sectors, gathered in
Kuala Lumpur on 8-10 December 2003 for the 67th CACCI Council Meeting and Asia
Business Forum to discuss issues of current concern to Asian businessmen. Some
200 representatives from the national chambers of commerce and industry of
Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia,
Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the
Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Vietnam attended the two-day
meeting. This year’s gathering was hosted by the National Chamber of Commerce
and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM).
2. CACCI is a regional organization of apex chambers of commerce and industry
and business associations, representing the interest of more than three million
business enterprises in Asia. It serves as a forum for promoting the vital role of the
businessmen in the region, increasing regional business interaction, and enhancing
regional economic growth. Towards this end, CACCI has been holding annual
meetings and biennial Conferences to enable its members to exchange views on
current developments and issues deemed to have a significant impact on the
3. For this year’s event, the NCCIM designed a program aimed at making the
Kuala Lumpur meeting an occasion not only to discuss CACCI policy matters but also
to raise partnership and cooperation among its members to a higher level. An Asia
Business Forum was organized under the theme “Linking Businesses in Asia:
The Way Forward” to provide an opportunity for delegates to address business
issues of mutual interest and explore possible areas of cooperation and joint business
ventures. Given the many uncertainties faced by the region’s markets brought about
by a host of factors (e.g., the global economic downturn, the threat of terrorist attacks,
the war in Iraq and the outbreak of SARS, among others), CACCI members believed it
has become imperative for businessmen in the region to close ranks and rely more on
each other for sustained growth.
4. Her Excellency the Honourable YB Dato Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of
International Trade and Industry of Malaysia, delivered the Keynote Address during the
Opening Ceremony of the Asia Business Forum. In her address, Minister Rafidah
called on the business sector to make decisions pragmatically, taking a longer-term
view of their investments and business operations. She stressed that business must
not be made victims of international politics, or of any political agenda, particularly
where such politics is divisive and unilateral. She also urged the regional business
community to draw up its own strategies and programs so that the spin-offs and the
benefits from government-initiated measures can materialize. She pointed out that the
various market-driven initiatives and programs of government should serve as the
mechanisms for intra-regional business networking and alliances at all levels such as
the SMEs and the larger corporate entities. The business community in the region
must strategize to benefit from complementary strengths and economies of scale, as
well as cross-border, inter and intra industry collaboration in areas such as R&D and
technology development. She said there are areas in which competition must give
way to mutually benefiting collaboration and joint efforts in order to succeed in larger
regional global markets.
5. In his Welcome Remarks, Dato Seri Abdul Rahman Maidin, President of
NCCIM, said the Asia Business Forum presented an opportune time for CACCI
members and the wider community in Asia Pacific to discuss issues and solutions
relating to the future trade, business and investment environment. For this reason, he
said the Asia Business Forum carried the theme of “Linking Businesses in Asia: The
Way Forward,” in recognition of the importance of promoting cooperation and
solidarity among the different business communities of Asia Pacific.
6. In his Opening Statement, CACCI President K. K. Modi, referring to the
inconclusive meeting of WTO Ministers in Cancun, said that one immediate
consequence of the continued disagreement between developed and developing
countries over a range of trade issues, is the further acceleration of the already rapid
proliferation of preferential arrangements/free trade agreements. He stressed that
when a nation signs a commitment to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), it is just a way
to inject spark in its economy. If these arrangements can reduce trade barriers and
promise growth, then they can create new opportunities for companies exporting to
the region and for foreign direct investment. He added that whether for successfully
negotiating the FTAs or for realizing the potential benefits of the multilateral
negotiations, a strong, vibrant and competitive economy is a must. It is only through
liberalizing one’s own markets backed by a strong and sustained internal reforms that
a country will get a chance to enter into bilaterals and FTAs with partners of their own
7. In his Remarks, Dr. Jeffrey L. S. Koo, Honorary President of CACCI cited
Minister Rafidah for the central role she has played in finding solutions to pressing
trade and investments not only of Malaysia but of the region as well. He praised the
Minister for her significant contributions in the government’s efforts to transform
Malaysia into one of the most dynamic, prosperous and vibrant economies of the
region. Dr Koo re-affirmed CACCI’s commitment to help promote the region’s
economic growth and to the re-establishment of Asia’s standing as the world’s most
dynamic region. He assured that CACCI would remain a strong voice in regional
affairs, that it would continue to strengthen its partnership with government, and that it
would strive to be a dynamic vehicle for fruitful exchange of opportunities among
businessmen in the region.
8. Eminent personalities and experts were invited to share their insights on three
major topics of the Business Forum. Session One focused on “Deepening Regional
Integration and Cooperation and Prospects for an Asia Free Trade Area.”
Discussions addressed ongoing efforts to further strengthen the integration of the
region’s economies through increased intra-regional trade and investment. The
speakers included Dato’ Syed Amin Aljeffri, Vice President of NCCIM and Managing
Partner of M.G.I. Aljeffri & Co.; Mr. Kazunori Iizuka, Executive Vice President of
Japan External Trade Organization; and Mr. Yussuf Abdullah Harun, Vice President
of CACCI and Chairman of Southeast Bank Ltd.; and Tan Sri Dato Ajit Singh, former
Secretary General of ASEAN, served as Session Chairman.
9. Session Two dwelt on “Corporate Strategies to Rebuild Asia’s
Competitiveness”. Delegates exchanged views on appropriate strategies that
businesses in the region could adopt amidst uncertainties faced by the region as a
result of continuing threat of terrorism, the Iraq War, the SARS outbreak, and the
global downturn. The speakers included Mr. Hermawan Kartajaya, Founder and
President of MarkPlus & Co and President of Asia Pacific Marketing Federation;
Tengku Tan Sri Dr. Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, Chairman, ASEAN BAC Malaysia and
CEO of Proton Bhd.; and Mr. Peter Steele, President of Wellington Regional
Chamber of Commerce. Dato’ Francis Huang, NCCIM Treasurer and CEO of Amoy
Canning Corporation (Malaya) Bhd. chaired the session.
10. Session Three considered “Case Studies on Successful Companies.”
Discussion during this session focused on company success stories that would
hopefully provide lessons to CACCI members on how they could make their own
businesses succeed and inspire them to set higher goals. The speakers included: Mr.
Theodore Huang, Chairman of TECO Electric and Machinery Co., Ltd. and
Chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (CNAIC);
and Mr. Ramesh Kodammal, Managing Director of GoldTrex Group. Mr. Iman Taufik,
Vice President of CACCI and Founder and President of PT Gunanusa Utama
Fabricators, acted as chairman of the session.
11. The Council, which is the organization’s governing body, also discussed
internal policy matters and reviewed the status of its various projects and activities as
outlined in its 2002-2004 Work Program adopted by the administration of the
incumbent President Mr. K. K. Modi from India. Among the decisions made were the
a. Admission of New Members – CACCI formally admitted 10 new
members: seven as Regular Special Members and three as Lifetime
Special Members. These included the following:
Regular Special Members:
Cambodia – TCM Engineering Co. Ltd.
STP International (Cambodia0 Public Co. Ltd.
Chhun Hong Import-Export and Transport Pte. Ltd.
Sokimex Cambodia Investment Co., Ltd.
Mongolia - Anod Bank
“Taij Trade” Co. Ltd.
Lifetime Special Members:
Cambodia - Men Sarun Import Export Co. Ltd.
Mongolia - MCS Holding
Tuushin Co. Ltd.
b. New Membership Category – CACCI agreed to create a new special
membership category for SMEs and micro enterprises. SME members
would be charged US$100 in annual dues while micro enterprise
members would be required to pay US$50 annually.
c. New CACCI Activities – CACCI agreed to undertake a number of new
activities, including the following:
i. Acceleration and expansion of CACCI training programs on
best trading practices and productiivity improvement. These
training programs are to be conducted in cooperation with
regional and international organizations such as the
International Trade Center and the Asian Productivity
ii. Inclusion of How-to training Programs in CACCI meetings to
cover best practices in running a successful business,
particularly in the area of management, production, accounting
and finance, marketing and promotion, and trading.
iii. Building up of SME Assistance Centres in the local chambers
that cater to the information and assistance needs of SMEs in
iv. Introduction of the Collateralized Loan Obligation and the
Collateralized Bond Obligation (CLO/CBO) Financing Scheme
as an additional source of funding for SMEs in CACCI member
v. Establishment of the Asian Council on Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) and the Asian Chemical
Council as a new Product and Service Councils, which serve
as the grassroots vehicle for regional cooperation.
d. CACCI Committee on SME Development – The CACCI Committee on
SME Development also agreed to pursue the following activities in
i. Promoting the creation of an SME Financial Institution at
national level tat would fund SME activiries;
ii. Promoting linkages between large companies and SMEs
iii. Promoting cooperative formation among SMEs by region and
iv. Conducting a survey to identify and address current SME
issues in each CACCI member country
v. Promoting exchange programs for young entrepreneurs
e. New Roles for CACCI Vice Presidents – The CACCI Council agreed to
designate specific roles for each of the four CACCI Vice Presidents.
One Vice President would be responsible for membership and
training; another for development of Product and Service
Councils; the third one for policy advocacy; and the fourth one for
liaison with other regional and international organizations.
12. The Council agreed to hold the 68th CACCI Council Meeting in May 2004 in
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
as host. The exact dates and venue of the meeting will be decided later in consultation
with the host chamber, CACCI officers and the Secretariat.
13. The Council also voted to hold the 20th CACCI Biennial Conference in New
Delhi, India in October or November 2004. New set of CACCI office bearers who will
serve the 2004-2006 term will be elected during next year’s Conference.
14. The delegates expressed their deep appreciation to the National Chamber of
Commerce and Industry of Malaysia for successfully hosting the 67th CACCI
Council Meeting and Asia Business Forum. They also thanked the officers and staff of
the Chamber for their warm hospitality and for the excellent arrangements made for