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|At the meeting of the Committee on Economic Matters on September 9 (Photo: VNA)|
Hanoi – An official of the Vietnamese National Assembly has suggested continuing to review and perfect the legal framework to promote trade facilitation to ensure uninterrupted circulation of goods and supply chains in the ASEAN region.
Nguyen Manh Tien, Vice Chairman of the NA’s Committee for Foreign Affairs and Head of the Vietnamese NA’s Delegation, made the suggestion at a virtual meeting of the Committee on Economic Matters of the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41) on September 9. The meeting focused on the topic “The Role of Parliaments in Promoting ASEAN Cohesiveness and Economic Recovery post-COVID 19”.
Tien said over the past several months, ASEAN countries have taken their own measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic as well as respond to the economic impacts of the pandemic. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is not just a medical crisis, but a crisis for the growth when international trade and supply chains are disrupted.
Facing this situation, the Vietnamese delegation was deeply concerned about the great losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in ASEAN countries, he said, adding that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a great hindrance to the economies of ASEAN countries as well as their internal and external trade activities.
Therefore, the economic integration in promoting economic growth and recovery of ASEAN member countries and the good implementation of digital economic activities will be of profound importance, playing an important role in strengthening ASEAN economic integration as well as ASEAN’s readiness to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In that spirit, Tien recommended the ASEAN community to unify to implement a series of breakthrough and feasible solutions, which are:
Firstly, promoting accelerated exchange of information relating to tourism and health and other necessary measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic; promoting the safety in travelling, applying safety standards and medical procedures to facilitate cross-border movement of ASEAN citizens, and adhering to international health and safety standards as well as commitments under relevant Agreements among ASEAN member countries;
Secondly, studying the concept of "travel bubble" between "green countries" as a preliminary initiative in the process of reopening the border, forming safe travel zones within ASEAN and proposing to issue reference guidelines to all ASEAN member countries without prejudice to commitments under the relevant agreements among ASEAN member countries;
Thirdly, continuing to review and perfect the legal framework to promote trade facilitation, to ensure uninterrupted circulation of goods and supply chains in the region; building open, sustainable and responsible investment policies in the region; ensuring food security and agricultural value chains; increasing the use of renewable energy; proceeding to build a circular economy;
Fourthly, speeding up the ratification of regional trade agreements and treaties; prioritising efforts to finalise negotiations and sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by 2020; strengthening capacity, participation and strengthening parliamentary oversight of the implementation of trade and investment commitments within the regional and international frameworks, considering it as a key tool to promote broader economic linkages within the ASEAN Community and between ASEAN and other partners.
Fifthly, enhancing the development of digital infrastructure, digital connectivity, digital data security, digital knowledge and skills connecting ASEAN member countries to develop the digital economy; sharing information and experiences to handle challenges facing e-commerce platforms; taking advantage of the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to overcome the disadvantages of economic lockdown and social distancing in the COVID-19 pandemic and remaining competitiveness in the digital economy era.
Sixthly, building regional connectivity infrastructure, enhancing transport connectivity and the need to strengthen cooperation in the Mekong sub-region and other ASEAN subregions, especially on environmental protection, smart agriculture development and sustainable management of transboundary natural resources to ensure food, water and energy security in the subregions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the meeting, delegates spoke highly of the Vietnamese National Assembly’s efforts to hold the 41st General Assembly of AIPA via a teleconference as the COVID-19 pandemic is raging in the region and the world.
They discussed measures to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 while fine-tuning legal frameworks to promote economic recovery when the pandemic is put under control.
The participants affirmed the importance of economic connectivity, including maintaining supply chains, in promoting ASEAN member nations’ economic growth and comprehensive recovery.
They also called for cooperation among AIPA member parliaments in building new legal frameworks to institutionalise national preparedness and response mechanisms against COVID-19 and future pandemics.
A Resolution on the Role of Parliaments in Promoting ASEAN Cohesiveness and Economic Recovery Post-COVID-19 was approved at the end of the meeting.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) now comprises 10 members, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.