The remaining 14 of the 19 priority economic deliverables (PED) set by Cambodia for its ASEAN chairmanship in 2022 are all on track to be completed by the end of the year, thanks to the “strong support” from each member state of the Southeast Asian bloc, according to Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce and National Representative of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
The PEDs, under the AEC Pillar, were approved at the 28th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Retreat on March 16.
Speaking at a media briefing on September 18 at the 54th AEM Meeting in Siem Reap province, Sorasak said that “five of the nine [PEDs] under our purview have been successfully completed”.
He listed the PEDs as: “Work Programme to Support Implementation of the Framework for Circular Economy for the ASEAN Economic Community”; and “Policy Toolkit: Integrating Provisions Focused on Women Entrepreneurship in ASEAN MSME [micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprise] Policies”.
The other three were: “Launch Negotiations for an ASEAN Framework Agreement on Competition”; “Launch of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement [ATIGA] Upgrade Negotiation”; and “Protocol to Amend the ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons”. However, the minister noted that the protocol had yet to be signed.
Sorasak stressed that the completion of the 19 PEDs would provide a “strong foundation” for ASEAN to pursue the “four key strategic thrusts” under the AEC Pillar.
These four are: “Enhancing Digital Connectivity, Science and Technology”, “Narrowing the Development Gap for ASEAN’s Competitiveness”, “Promoting a More Integrated, Inclusive, Resilient and Competitive ASEAN” and “Strengthening Global ASEAN for Growth and Development”.
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Penn Sovicheat had told a press briefing on September 15 that the AEM welcomed the then-four completed PEDs.
“The ministers noted the progress made in the implementation of the other 2022 PEDs under the purview of the AEM and looked forward to their timely completion in 2022,” he said.
“The ASEAN economy expanded by 3.4 per cent in 2021 with growth driven by a strong rebound in consumption, investment and trade, supported by the successful rollout of vaccination programmes that enabled economies in the region to reopen domestically.
“As of mid-August 2022, the full dose vaccination rate in ASEAN has reached 69.0 per cent, while 30.5 per cent of the population has received booster shots. The meeting expressed optimism that the growth momentum would continue to 2022 and 2023, with growth forecast at 5.0 per cent and 5.2 per cent, respectively.
“The meeting also noted the strong rebound in ASEAN’s trade and investments in 2021 as merchandise trade, propelled by electrical products and fuels that grew by 21.5 per cent and 52.2 per cent, respectively, reached $3.3406 trillion in 2021, or a 25.2 per cent increase from the previous year.
“Meanwhile, investments reached $174.1 billion or a 42.3 per cent increase from the previous year, with robust expansion noted in the manufacturing, financial and insurance services sectors,” Sovicheat added.