Faced with the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on regional and global economies, including interruptions to supply chains, ASEAN countries are making greater efforts to recover
and improve their responsiveness to future risks, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has said.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh
He told the Vietnam News Agency on May 6 that 2020 is a special year for Vietnam as it holds the ASEAN Chairmanship, but COVID-19 has significantly hampered trade, investment, production, and cooperation in all countries, including ASEAN members.
He also noted that the outbreak has interrupted supply chains in, for example, China and the Republic of Korea (RoK), which are major suppliers of materials for industries hit hard by the coronavirus, such as textiles and garments, leather and footwear, wood and wooden products, and electronics. This has subsequently affected production and exports throughout ASEAN.
As the ASEAN Chair, Vietnam has proactively made adjustments in response to the outbreak, Anh said.
On February 14, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued the ASEAN Chairman’s Statement on the ASEAN Collective Response to the Outbreak of COVID-19. The ASEAN economic ministers’ meeting, the ASEAN-Japan economic ministers’ meeting and, most recently, the ASEAN and ASEAN+3 Summits devised initiatives and issued statements.
All share the same target of effectively responding to the pandemic and gradually recovering economies, trade, and cooperation frameworks in ASEAN and between the bloc and its partners, Anh added.
The ministry recently held a number of phone discussions with officials from Japan, the RoK, Singapore, and many other partners to discuss cooperation and priorities that require continued implementation.
Anh had a phone discussion with ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi on May 6 to look into economic recovery and supply chain maintenance.
The two sides focused on major issues to prepare for a joint initiative from ASEAN and Japanese economic ministers and a joint statement on COVID-19 response. They also talked about preparations for joint initiatives between ASEAN ministers and their counterparts in partner countries like Japan, the RoK, and China to cope with the pandemic and revive economic links between the bloc and partners, he noted.
The minister added that he and the ASEAN chief also exchanged views on the implementation of ASEAN and ASEAN+3 leaders’ directions at the summits on COVID-19 held on April 14.
They also discussed common efforts by the ASEAN Chair and the ASEAN Secretariat to reach consensus on action plans and integrate joint initiatives with various channels and sectors so as to effectively revitalise the economies of Vietnam, other members of the bloc, and the world.
Many weaknesses in ASEAN economies have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Regional countries are, however, making substantial efforts to adopt new policies to boost connectivity between the bloc and partner nations, thus restructuring supply chains and ensuring a swift and effective response to new risks in the future, Anh said./.VNA