Asia’s economic growth and progressive economic integration, alongside strengthened cross-border supply chains, remains intact at a moderate level.
Labuan Financial Services Authority (FSA) director-general Ahmad Hizzad Baharuddin said in line with regional economic expansion, investors were attracted to higher Asian assets and investment portfolios, whilst the number of high net worth individuals was rising.
This, he added, augured well with the centres positioning to focus on private clients’ wealth and trust business.
“Trade agreements aimed at lowering trade barriers and encouraging economic growth are getting more traction,” said Ahmad Hizzad in his keynote address at the Labuan International Financial Lecture Series 2016 today
He said the potential was now enhanced further by efforts to intensify the integration through the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, to advance multilateral trade.
Ahmad Hizzad said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) wass another mega-regional trade agreement in negotiation.
The 16 participating countries account for almost half of the world population and almost 30% of global gross domestic product.
“Not forgetting also the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement which brings immense opportunities. With increasing globalisation and technology advancement, the world is becoming seamless, resulting in it becoming more connected and interdependent.
“For industries, the free movement of goods and services, including capital movements, present opportunities.
“When presented in an era of high information accessibility, the new economy is likely to be characterised by digital technological gains and flow movements of unprecedented scale, scope and speed,” said Ahmad Hizzad.
He noted that in the process however, the future inevitably brings the attendant risks of rising dissatisfaction with claims of unfair competition and practices.
“This is especially so when nations and governments are slow in the transition to embrace the change, with limited resources to reign in leakages, and the damaging consequences of the rise of the industrious, including those unscrupulous parties benefitting from a more open world.
“It is for this reason, that parties also see the need to assist the government, with the rise in cyber-attacks on computer servers and recent leakage of information.
“This impinges on an individual’s privacy, a tenet much cherished and respected as a social value in the past. Depending on who are the owners are and users of this information, the outcome can be disastrous or beneficial”.
“But the eventual outcome is the same, as those leakages bring uncertainty and anxiety, with the notion of rising income inequality becoming mainstream,” Ahmad Hizzad said. – Bernama