Economic ministers from ASEAN member countries reviewed the implementation of economic initiatives in 2020 at a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

The 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM-52) was chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.

Delegates also looked at Covid-19 and the region’s response, including its ability to roll out a comprehensive recovery plan, and exchanged views on recommendations submitted by the special group in charge of ASEAN’s economic integration.

Preparations for dialogues with partners and regional businesses were also on the agenda.

Ministers approved documents submitted by senior ASEAN economic officials, including the ASEAN digital integration index and terms of reference on the connectivity of ASEAN innovative centres, which are among 13 priority initiatives raised by Vietnam as ASEAN Chair this year.

The remaining initiatives it proposed are still under consultation and are expected to be completed within the year, as scheduled.

Other matters debated included the upcoming negotiations over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which is set to be signed later this year, and the implementation of the Blueprint 2025 of the ASEAN Economic Committee.

The bloc’s economic relations with partners such as China, Russia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, the US, Hong Kong (China), Australia, New Zealand and the EU were also tabled for discussion.

Despite the complexity of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam has made every effort to proceed with ASEAN meetings in order to maintain economic cooperation frameworks and promote trade, investment, connectivity and innovation.

The country has proposed and engaged in regional initiatives to push ahead with economic recovery post-pandemic while maintaining regional and global production and supply chains.