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  • Writer's pictureThe Trade Council of Denmark

Ambassador briefing on export perspectives in Southeast Asia

On 28 November 2023, the Ambassadors of the Danish Embassies in Southeast Asia organised a briefing for members of Green Denmark in Southeast Asia on regional export perspectives. Present were the Ambassadors of Denmark to Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam.

The purpose of the briefing was to provide a high-level overview of local market trends, regional collaboration and strategic focus areas at the different Embassies in Southeast Asia. Each of the Ambassadors presented economic outlooks and near-term business opportunities for Danish companies in their respective countries.

Jon Thorgaard, Ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia, provided insights into regional collaboration and Thailand. A transition towards more sustainability depends on how Thailand and its new prime minister manage to deliver on the country’s economic promises that is influenced by several initiatives such as the free trade agreement, the tourism sector, and the distribution of subsidises to the citizens. In Thailand, the green agenda is on the rise as the country set a new goal for carbon neutrality by 2050. Furthermore, Thailand expects a double in the capacity of solar and wind power by 2036 alongside big investments in biomasses and bio fuel. However, the energy sector is currently dependent on fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and gas, which calls for more renewable energy. Another relevant perspective is Thailand’s food and agricultural sector, which is not energy efficient and therefore they have a potential for improvement by using solutions from Danish companies.

Following this, Nicolai Prytz, Ambassador of Denmark to Vietnam, detailed how Vietnam experiences a fast-growing economy and a stable political system. Moreover, with a large population of young people, the country has a competitive workforce. However, Vietnam also has some weaknesses in terms of corruption and bureaucracy with anti-corruption campaigns in full effect. In terms of market opportunities for Danish companies, there is a big potential since Vietnam has a fast growing middle class. The green transition is also developing as Vietnam recently launched a master plan with bold commitments for renewable energy. The overall frameworks are in place and the market is now awaiting concrete implementation. In terms of energy efficiency, there is a growing demand but the challenge is that conventional energy is cheap in Vietnam.

The next speaker in line was Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin, Ambassador of Denmark to the Philippines, and he presented how the Philippines also has a young population that is growing fast. Furthermore, the country has the highest growth rate in the region and is bound to be the next trillion-dollar economy creating many opportunities for Danish companies in the Philippines. Nonetheless, there are some challenges in Philippines when it comes to low productivity caused by protectionist policies and a governance challenge because the courts are not efficient. In the Philippines, there are six prime sectors: maritime, defence, energy, agriculture, digitization, sustainability. With a newly elected president that is pro green energy, a renewable transition is happening and there are now many opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

After this, Sandra Jensen Landi, Ambassador of Denmark to Singapore & Brunei, outlined how Singapore is the outlier in the region because the driving force and the challenges are different. There is political stability in Singapore and the wealth has flooded into the country the last couple of years following the promotion of family offices. Many companies are coming into Singapore as there are no corruption and it is an English speaking country with not many competitors in the region. Furthermore, the maritime sector is huge in Singapore with many Danish companies present but the green transition of the maritime sector is a big challenge. Singapore is currently focused on testing ammonia and hydrogen as new green fuels in the maritime sector. Due to Singapore’s dependence on gas from Indonesia and Malaysia, energy efficiency is a big agenda especially in the construction sector since the country has no access to green energy as of now.

The last speaker, Sten Frimodt Nielsen, Ambassador of Denmark to Indonesia, presented how Indonesia is not playing a role on the international scene when looking at the size of the country and its population. At the moment, there are geopolitical rivalry but Indonesia does not want to take a part in it. Instead, the country wants to be on good terms with all countries and commit to being neutral. Furthermore, Indonesia wants to be a part of OECD and thereby looks to bring prosperity to the country. Several challenges are present in Indonesia with a prestige project of creating a new capital but there is no financing for it now. Another challenge is that Indonesia is not realising its potential in attracting foreign investments. With access to nature resources such as coal, nickel, gas and oil, Indonesia is still dependent on fossil fuels. Nevertheless, Indonesia is committed to entering the green transition with the help from Denmark.

The meeting concluded with Danish companies discussing ways Embassies could facilitate new business opportunities in the region.

Are you interested in supporting Southeast Asia's green transition? Reach out to our Trade Councils in the region:

Mark Perry, Head of Trade, Danish Embassy in Singapore 


Ole Lindholm, Head of Section, Commercial Affairs, Danish Embassy in Thailand


Troels Jakobsen, Head of Section, Commercial Counsellor, Danish Embassy in Vietnam


Reza Dadufalza Goyeneche, Senior Commercial Officer, Danish Embassy in Philippines


Jacob Kahl Jepsen, Commercial Counsellor, Danish Embassy in Indonesia


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