Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh informed the press on the outcomes of two special virtual meetings of ASEAN on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic that Vietnam hosted on June 4, as Chair of the ASEAN in 2020.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh
The Special ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) and the Special ASEAN Plus Three Economic Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19 response were held to implement the instructions of ASEAN leaders made in the Joint Statement of the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on April 14.
Minister Anh said the two meetings have achieved important outcomes on cooperation to cope with and contain the pandemic in the region, contributing to the world’s COVID-19 fight.
The special AEM meeting looked into the possibility of establishing a public-private cooperation mechanism between the economic ministers and the business community in order to quickly address arising problems, thus creating the best possible conditions for trade and investment in the region.
The ministers reached consensus on ASEAN continuing to work closely together to maintain and work toward restoring supply chains in the region, making it the top priority in economic cooperation in the region in the time ahead.
They shared updates on the epidemic situation in ASEAN countries along with their prevention and control plans as well as ASEAN collaboration to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic on the population of each country and the region.
As Chair of ASEAN in 2020, Vietnam chaired and coordinated with other ASEAN members to build the Hanoi Plan of Action on strengthening ASEAN economic cooperation and enhancing supply chain connection to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding the special ASEAN Plus Three Economic Ministers’ Meeting, Minister Anh said ASEAN countries and the three partners of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea adopted a joint statement on mitigating the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, the meeting reached high consensus on plans of action and orientations of cooperation in the time ahead to tackle the consequences of the pandemic and stem its spread while promoting economic development, leaving no country or community in ASEAN behind.
“The ministers affirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to develop complicatedly, and there are many forecasts that the pandemic is likely to return at the end of the year,” Anh said, adding that therefore, all ministers of ASEAN and ASEAN+3 agreed upon the highest goal of effectively fighting the pandemic while coordinating closely to restore the economy of their respective countries.
The countries concurred to focus on intra-bloc cooperation, create highly-competitive areas to attract investment, restructure their economies, develop open markets and limit both tariff and non-tariff measures, he said.
Minister Anh noted that the ministers also committed to not setting up any new technical barriers to facilitate economic recovery in the bloc.
Regional ministers seek ways to facilitate ASEAN trade
Economic ministers from ASEAN member nations convened an online meeting on June 4 to implement instructions from ASEAN leaders made at the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 on April 14.
Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, which holds the ASEAN Chairmanship 2020, chaired the meeting.
The ministers approved the Hanoi Action Plan, which aims to enhance economic cooperation within the bloc and connect supply chains amid the changing circumstances in the region caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The action plan was built on the basis of a joint statement from ASEAN economic ministers, which was proposed by Vietnam and adopted at the ASEAN Economic Ministers Retreat in March.
It includes concrete measures to reboot ASEAN’s economy, such as maintaining commitments to market opening to ensure food security and enhancing the capacity for recovery and sustainability in regional supply chains.
Apart from avoiding new and unnecessary non-tariff measures, the bloc will also build a platform to facilitate regional trade and promote and support supply chain connectivity.
It will also optimise technologies and digital commerce to assist enterprises, especially micro-small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The approval of the action plan demonstrates the role of the ASEAN Community in responding and adapting to COVID-19 as well as Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020.
The ministers also looked into joint statements issued by business advisory councils, including the ASEAN Business Advisory Council./.VNA