July 20, 2020

EuroCham speaks at the ASEAN Forum on Sub-Regional Development

On the 14th of July 2020 in Hanoi, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised the ASEAN Forum on Sub-regional Development: Converging Mekong Sub-regional Co-operation with ASEAN goals. This is the first time that the forum was organised via video-conference, with representatives of ASEAN SOM leaders, ASEAN international research institutes and representatives of development partners (the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, United States, China, and New Zealand) as well as international organisations (Mekong River Commission, United Nations, Asia Development Bank, and World Bank).
 

ASEAN Forum on Sub-regional Development

 
On behalf of EuroCham and its one thousand members, Vice Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet participated in the panel discussion: Sub-regional Economic Corridors – Building Blocks for ASEAN Regional Connectivity. The EU is ASEAN’s second-largest trading partner after China and by far the largest investor. Therefore, strengthening trade relations with ASEAN remains a key priority for the EU, said Mr. Bouflet. A strong legal framework is needed to protect trade and investment. The EVFTA, which has just been ratified by both the EU Parliament and the Vietnam National Assembly, and which will enter into force in the 1st of August, promises to bring opportunities for establishing Vietnam’s status as an economic and development frontrunner within the rising development of ASEAN region. He also discussed how we can better leverage the FTAs in ASEAN and beyond.
 

Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet and other representatives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ADB at the forum

 
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, who chaired the forum, stressed the strategic role of the Mekong sub-region, saying the development of a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Mekong region would help to consolidate ASEAN’s position in the regional architecture and build the ASEAN community. Vietnam, as ASEAN Chair 2020, will continue its close coordination with other ASEAN member countries and partner countries to promote the multi-field, multi-partner, and multi-level approach, for a united, resilient and responsive ASEAN. It is no coincidence that the sub-region is becoming more geographically and strategically important given the rapid proliferation of numerous cooperation frameworks and initiatives with various stakeholders. ASEAN, therefore, needs to uphold its collective leadership in maintaining its central role in the evolving sub-regional architecture, and in forging and shaping the vision for closer and broader cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
 

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung delivering a speech at the forum

 
    
After 25 years of economic integration, ASEAN has become one of the most vibrant and dynamic economies in the world, said Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh. However, he pointed out that, besides the success that has been achieved, we cannot ignore the fact that we are living in an unpredictably changing world, where the rule-based multilateral trading system is facing challenge, and the COVID-19 pandemic is widely spreading.
 
In this context, he emphasized that it is very important for ASEAN and all the sub-regional partners to keep implementing the existing commitments under respective frameworks, especially those relating to trade and investment facilitation so as to secure smooth operation of regional supply chains and promotion of digital economy development.
 

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh delivering an opening remarks

 
Within the framework of the forum, policy makers, businesses and academia discussed efficient plans and concrete measures to facilitate greater bond between ASEAN and its sub-regional cooperation mechanisms with the aim to strengthen the ASEAN regional connectivity and promote prosperity and sustainable development for all parties.

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