The United Kingdom and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has launched the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UK-ABC) to further promote trade and investment between the two sides.

The council will be based in London and will work in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce across the ASEAN region to provide support for UK business interests in the region, the ASEAN secretariat said on Nov. 3.

The establishment of UK-ABC provides another avenue for UK businesses to explore, develop and deepen their business in ASEAN, it added.

Addressing the launch ceremony, Vince Cable, UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, affirmed that the establishment of the UK-ASEAN Business Council would develop business operations, especially small and medium enterprises, and accelerate them to involve ASEAN economic development.

The UK Government wants to see a major lift in all levels of trade with high growth markets – particularly in ASEAN – and expects the council to deliver benefits to leading UK companies seeking to enter or already active in the region, he said.

Sundram Pushpanathan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, welcomed the establishment of the UK-ASEAN Business Council, making a commitment to work with it to create a better appreciation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) for UK businesses and to promote and facilitate trade and investment between ASEAN and the UK .

According to ASEAN statistics, two-way trade between ASEAN and the UK stood at 28.34 billion USD in 2010, up 23 percent year-on-year./.