ASEAN Business Club held a virtual ABC Dialogue with Ms. Natalie Black, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific with the title UK-ASEAN Trade and Investment: Emerging Opportunities and Outlook Post Brexit and COVID-19

13 OCTOBER 2020: The ASEAN Business Club (ABC) hosted a virtual webinar, the ABC Dialogue titled “UK-ASEAN Trade and Investment: Emerging Opportunities and Outlook Post Brexit and COVID-19” with Ms Natalie Black, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific. The session was moderated by Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, President of the ASEAN Business Club.

(In picture) Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, President of ASEAN Business Club

Ms. Black oversees all Department for International Trade (DIT) work in North-East Asia, South-East Asia and Australasia including growing the overall bilateral trade and investment relationship, improving market access for British companies including small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and developing finance and trade policy. She is a household name in the Britain’s public policy sector. Her previous roles held includes Deputy Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit, Director of the Internet Harms Unit and Director of the Office of Cyber Security, Cabinet Office.

(In picture) Ms Natalie Black, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific

The ABC Dialogue is a conversational series that aims to bring together leading business individuals in the region to discuss key areas of business and economic cooperation. It provides an avenue for ABC members to have global outreach and gain insights from major industry players within the region and beyond.

During this ABC Dialogue, it was put forward in relation to UK’s stance on conducting trade post-Brexit, UK is negotiating continuity agreements with Vietnam and Singapore to reflect arrangements with EU. The UK is also conducting trade reviews with ASEAN member states like Indonesia and Thailand by having G2G discussions on regional positioning of trade. Strong enthusiasm in joining the CPTPP has also been expressed by UK and developments with regards to RCEP is also being closely monitored.

It was also highlighted during the session that ASEAN is leading the charge in various trade policies by setting the bar high in terms of the quality of agreements and by setting good examples of how the future of multilateral trade should look like.

Clockwise from top-left: Ms Natalie Black, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific; Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, President of ASEAN Business Club; and Jukhee Hong, Executive Director of ASEAN Business Club

In relation to looking for opportunities and chances to collaborate, UK sees ASEAN as top of the list due to the potential areas of collaboration available and that there is matching supply and demand between both UK and ASEAN especially in the areas of technology, financial services, infrastructure and even niche areas such as agro-tech.

It was also discussed that the UK has been working hand in hand across the region with Ambassadors, High Commissioners and colleagues across ASEAN and now in light of the US-China tensions and COVID-19, it is even more important to cultivate and maintain such a close knit working relationship.

New paths that UK has been embarking on in terms of bilateral investments outside UK in industries such as agro-tech and digital technology was also commended during the session, while specific insights on the slowdown of UK’s economic recovery post COVID-19 and long-term impact of the UK’s departure from the EU on ASEAN’s trading relationship was also discussed, as the UK lacks a network of independent trading arrangements with ASEAN member states.

If you have any questions for Ms Natalie Black, you can send them to


About ASEAN Business Club

The ASEAN Business Club (ABC) is a fully private sector driven initiative of ASEAN’s leading businesses that came together in support of regional economic integration, while providing a platform for networking. Representing every key sector, ABC aims to support the efforts of governments in bringing down barriers of economic integration. ABC is a growing regional network that serves as a forum for knowledge sharing and advocacy. The ABC has established itself as a powerful platform for ASEAN’s businesses to engage with global and regional leaders.

ABC’s vision is ‘ASEAN: Open for Business’.