ASEAN needs more economic integration to ensure a strong recovery after Covid-19: Chan Chun Sing, Economy News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – ASEAN countries should continue to foster closer economic ties within the group and beyond, placing the region at the forefront of global recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, the minister said on Thursday Singaporean Trade and Industry Officer, Chan Chun Sing. ).

While closer integration has been a long-standing priority for ASEAN, more can be done to tackle non-tariff barriers and harmonize the regulatory environment – especially in the rapidly developing digital economy, a he said at the 8th Asean-EU Business Summit at the Fullerton Hotel.

“Greater integration will present businesses and investors with a more compelling proposition even as global production supply and value chains are reshaped and reorganized in the post-pandemic world,” he said.

While the United States and China – the world’s two largest economies – may have internal and bilateral issues to resolve, the rest of the world, including ASEAN and the European Union, must continue to defend and update the global security and economy architecture, he said. “Global leadership cannot be the sole responsibility or the burden of the two largest economies. “

Earlier, EU Ambassador to ASEAN Igor Driesmans, speaking virtually as a panelist, said the two groups shared belief in a rules-based, multilateral global trading system .

He said the EU had deepened its relations with the Asean region over the years, resulting in the recent bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with Singapore and Vietnam, and that it was working on another ALE, with Indonesia.

“We will continue to seek more FTAs ​​in the region and move towards a region-to-region FTA between the EU and ASEAN. For us, this is a priority,” Driesmans said.

Mr Don Kanak, President of the EU-Asean Business Council who organized the event, said Asean must remove remaining trade barriers in the region and present itself as a unified market to take advantage of global developments. towards more resilient supply chains.

He said that the 2020 Consulting Firms Sentiment Survey showed that more than 50% of European companies see ASEAN as the region with the best opportunities to relocate and expand their operations. “It is a window of opportunity for Asean to accelerate its recovery”,

Chan said Singapore looks forward to continuing to work with the EU on a region-to-region FTA.

He said beyond the FTAs ​​with Singapore and Vietnam that entered into force this year, there were many areas with potential for deeper collaboration with the EU and its business community, including healthcare, digitization and sustainable development.

The minister said the ASEAN digital integration framework – developed during the group’s Singapore presidency in 2018 – provides a model for a single regional digital economy and can be used to strengthen connectivity with the EU through common digital platforms and standards.

“A digital economy agreement with the EU will be a key step towards the digital connection of the EU and ASEAN,” Chan said.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a video message that the Asean region is a very important political and economic partner for the EU.

The EU is ASEAN’s third largest trading partner, one of the biggest investors and the biggest development donor in the region, he said.

“We share a similar vision of open markets, the importance of a rules-based multilateral order and the value of regional cooperation. We must build on this common vision and even closer cooperation,” said M. Dombrovskis.

About Michael G. Walter

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