The ASEAN economic ministers reviewed the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Council (AEC) Blueprint 2025 and discussed ways to enhance cooperation during the 20th AEC meeting held virtually on October 18.
The meeting was chaired by Bruneian economic minister Dr Amin Abdullah and attended by Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, ASEAN Economic Council members, ASEAN digital ministers and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi.
The virtual conference discussed priority economic deliverables and the “Cross-Pillar Initiative” for Brunei’s ASEAN chairmanship, the ASEAN Digital Transformation Agenda to accelerate the region’s economic recovery, digital economy integration and other related issues.
During the meeting, the Lao delegation, led by commerce minister Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, who is the AEC Council Minister for Laos, contributed some suggestions for the report on the mid-term review (MTR) of the AEC Blueprint 2025.
Some of the areas covered are investment promotion and facilitation, improvements to guidelines for AEC annual priorities, and the work plan for the monitoring mechanism for implementing the ASEAN Economic Agreements, and development of a work plan to implement the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce.
“Along the lines of these achievements, there is still a considerable number of recommendations that have not yet been implemented. Therefore, I would like to suggest these recommendations to effectively and efficiently implement the recommendations of the mid-term review of the AEC Blueprint 2025,” Khampheng said in his speech.
During the meeting, the Lao delegation suggested that sectoral bodies should expedite discussions to implement the recommendations, particularly on global value chains and on taking steps towards more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development in the ASEAN region.
The Lao officials also consulted AEC council ministers and suggested that coordination between ASEAN sectoral bodies should be enhances and increased to ensure quality and successful implementation of the MTR recommendations in a timely manner.
The AEC Council discussed the development of the ASEAN Community Post-2025 Vision in line with the commencement of the post-2025 visioning process in 2022. They also discussed and exchanged views on megatrends and emerging challenges, and provided guidance to the AEC Sectoral Bodies.
In addition, the AEC Council heard and approved the preparation of related documents under the ASEAN Economic Pillar to be presented at the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits set to be held during October 26-28.
At the same meeting, some documents related to strengthening the ASEAN’s economic recovery, digital economy integration and cooperation on micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) were included in discussions for the upcoming summit.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK