Senior economic officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met in Indonesia with calls for unity and cooperation to assert the region’s influence on the global economy.
“ASEAN is now at the center of the global economy. As a single market and production base, economic activities have gravitated towards our region from research and development, product development, manufacturing, innovation, and even the development of creative and digital economy,” Department of Trade and Industry assistant secretary for trade policy group Allan Gepty said Friday.
The 10-member economic bloc convened senior officials on Jan. 16 to 17, 2023 in Semarang, Indonesia under the theme of “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth.”
Indonesia takes on the chairmanship of ASEAN for 2023, with a focus on initiatives towards recovery, digital transformation and sustainability. The group will push for 16 priority economic deliverables that cut across the ASEAN Economic Community.
As country coordinator for Japan, the Philippines led the discussion at the special Senior Economic Officials Meeting-Ministry of Economy, Trade and Investment on Jan. 16, 2023 to discuss the celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan economic relations this year.
The meeting centered on the “Future Design and Action Plan of an Innovative Sustainable ASEAN-Japan Economic Partnership” and the private-sector led “ASEAN-Japan Co-Creation Vision” which aims to implement initiatives on supply chain resilience, MSME development, among others.
“For ASEAN and Japan, we have to ensure that our strong economic ties are further deepened and remain resilient amidst evolving economic and geo-political developments,” Gepty said.
The Future Design and Action Plan is envisioned to serve as the roadmap of ASEAN-Japan economic relations in the succeeding years to develop a society that is “safe, prosperous, and free through fair and mutually beneficial economic co-creation based on trust”.
Officials at the sidelines of the SEOM 1/54 meeting also convened the inaugural gathering of the focal group for global value chains, which serves as a platform to advance ASEAN’s work on GVCs and monitor and evaluate overall progress of ASEAN’s GVC-related work.
Philippine commercial attaché from the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre in Jakarta Jeremiah Reyes reiterated the Philippines’ support to existing ASEAN Work Plan for Enhancing GVC Agenda 2016-2025.
“ASEAN agreed to upgrade the work plan and ensure that it remains aligned with ASEAN’s efforts and initiatives amidst the emerging issues and trends, such as geo-political and geo-economic changes in the region resulting in the reorganization and diversification of supply chains, acceleration of digitalization, and sustainability trends, particularly the development of circular economy,” he said.
The SEOM 1/54 and related meetings convened as a follow-up to the 54th AEM Meeting in September 2022 and to finalize the economic deliverables to be endorsed by ministers ahead of 29th AEM Retreat in March 2023.