Thursday, October 31, 2019
Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanavisit chaired the 18th AEC Council meeting. Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Jurin said that the meeting commended and acknowledged the progress made on a set of 13 economic plans referred to as "priority economic deliverables" proposed by Thailand as chair of ASEAN.
Economic affairs are one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community. In the past year, Thailand has developed strategies to boost ASEAN's economic growth in three aspects: embracing the fourth industrial revolution, pushing forward connectivity and promoting sustainable development. Specifically, it includes 13 "priority economic deliverables":
1. The ASEAN digital integration framework;
2. The ASEAN innovation roadmap;
3. The guidelines for the development of skilled labor for the fourth industrial revolution, including training a high-quality workforce to accommodate jobs where more machines and innovative technologies are applied;
4. The ASEAN declaration on industrial transformation to Industry 4.0;
5. The digitization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), such as developing online commerce;
6. ASEAN Single Window. It aims to facilitate the import and export between ASEAN countries through the adoption of electronic system and reduce cumbersome and repetitive procedures to make trade unimpeded within the region;
7. The local currency settlement framework between ASEAN countries. Thanks to the efforts of the Bank of Thailand and related commercial banks, three pairs of countries have now achieved this goal, that is, Thailand and the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, and Thailand and Malaysia;
8. The implementation of public-private partnership (PPP) model, so that the private sector has the opportunity to participate in infrastructure investment;
9. ASEAN gastronomy tourism master plan. By promoting cooperation among ASEAN countries in gastronomy tourism, it aims at boosting tourism through food;
10.The conclusion of the RCEP negotiations by the end of this year.
11. The settlement of the illegal unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) issues in ASEAN to promote sustainable development of ASEAN fisheries;
12. The roadmap for ASEAN sustainable capital market. The company's sustainability goals, such as the environment protection, will be taken into account, when the government approves the listing of companies.
13. The signing of cooperation agreements on the establishment of a biofuel center among universities in ASEAN countries.
Mr. Jurin said that progress has been made on the 13 economic plans proposed by Thailand as ASEAN's rotating chair at the ASEAN Summit, and Thailand has confidence to complete these tasks by the end of this year. "Next year, Vietnam will be the chair od ASEAN. We are looking forward to plans Vietnam will push forward," said Mr. Jurin.
An agreement aimed at improving the 2004 ASEAN Protocol on Enhanced Dispute Settlement Mechanism was also signed at the AEC Council meeting. The improved mechanism will provide greater clarity in the settlement of economy-related disputes among ASEAN members.
Mr. Jurin said that the AEC Council meeting would be the last ASEAN economic ministers' meeting chaired by Thailand during the term as chair of ASEAN. In the wake of the AEC Council meeting, Thai Prime Minister Praytchan-o-cha will preside over the ASEAN Summit.
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