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|The ASEAN Economic Ministers gathered in Danang|
In a joint statement, the ASEAN Economic Ministers expressed concerns over the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19), which has affected the lives of peoples as well as economies around the world.
They emphasised the “importance of ASEAN solidarity and the spirit of a cohesive and responsive ASEAN community in facing the outbreak of COVID-19 and similar challenges”.
|The ASEAN Economic Ministers stressed the importance of solidarity and a cohesive and responsive community spirit in facing the COVID-19 outbreak|
All members recognised the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on the economy, particularly including but not limited to the travel and tourism, manufacturing, retail, and other service sectors, as well as the disruption of supply chains and the financial markets.
The regional leaders emphasised the urgent need for concerted efforts to avoid further adverse impacts in the global economy brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The statement proclaimed that counter-measure restrictions on cross-border movements should be based on public health considerations and should not unnecessarily restrict trade within the region.
All members also agreed to take a collective course of action to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 and resolved to remain committed to keeping the ASEAN market open for trade and investment as well as strengthen regional information sharing and co-ordination and collaboration efforts in responding to the economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The actions aim to establish close rapport with industry stakeholders to instil confidence in Southeast Asia as a trade and investment hub and tourism destination in the region and leverage technologies and digital trade to allow businesses, especially the micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to continue operations amidst the COVID-19 outbreak
Besides, the ministers also vowed to strengthen long-term supply chain resilience and sustainability, by means including the promotion of better transparency, agility, diversification and, in particular, the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC).
Leaders affirmed to enhance ASEAN economic co-operation with external and development partners to include initiatives aimed at strengthening regional supply chains to make them more resilient and less vulnerable to internal and external shocks.
The statement sets out to build on existing trade facilitation platforms in the ASEAN, such as the ASEAN Single Window (ASW), to promote and support supply chain connectivity and refrain from actions that can create unnecessary inflationary pressures or adversely impact on food security in the region, and endeavour to ensure the availability of basic goods and commodities.
The ASEAN should also take measures to continue addressing non-tariff barriers, particularly those that impede the smooth flow of goods and services in supply chains and refrain from imposing new and unnecessary non-tariff measures.