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ASEAN businesses urged to further promote cooperation

VIETNAM, September 4 -  

JAKARTA —  Governments and businesses from ASEAN countries needed to cooperate more closely, effectively and substantively to promote the role of businesses in promoting growth and creating breakthroughs for the bloc. 

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính delivered this statement at the 2023 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ASEAN BIS) which took place in Jakarta, Indonesia on Monday. 

PM Chính said countries should work together to improve institutions through standardising and harmonising investment and business regulations in ASEAN, simplifying procedures by digital transformation and promptly removing the businesses' problems.

Governments and the business communities should team up to develop strategic infrastructure, including transport and energy infrastructures, and smart infrastructure such as digital platforms and innovation hubs. 

They should also strengthen infrastructure connectivity among countries, create connectivity of the whole region and facilitate the public-private cooperation model to promote their strength and resources, he said. 

At the same time, governments and enterprises needed to work together to build high-quality human resources, especially in digital transformation, green transformation, and high technology with common standards on training and mutual recognition among diploma systems.

"This is the key to improving labour productivity and competitiveness of the bloc," PM Chính said. 

During the event, he encouraged the firms to take the lead in innovation, and comply with the laws in addition to building business culture, contributing to developing the national cultural identity of each country and supporting each other in production and business to grow together.

He also called on foreign investors to come to Việt Nam to invest in the country with the motto of harmonious interests and shared risks. 

The PM said he believed that ASEAN and business communities would catch up with new trends, effectively respond to challenges, and ensure a balance between the goal of recovering growth in the short term and ensuring sustainable development in the long term, taking full advantage of new development opportunities, bringing practical benefits to the bloc, its people and businesses.

In his speech, PM Chính said ASEAN boasts an open and extensive economic landscape with a network of eight Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), including the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and seven others with key partners.

Notably, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement establishes a free trade region encompassing 30 per cent of the world's population with over 688 million people and 32 per cent of global GDP, amounting to over US$3.6 trillion in 2022.

In addition, numerous new initiatives have been launched to enable ASEAN to optimise opportunities arising from emerging development trends such as the establishment of the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement, the Framework for a Circular Economy, the Blue Economy Framework, and the ASEAN Strategy for Carbon Neutrality, along with negotiations to upgrade the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement and its FTAs with China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India, among others.

He added that ASEAN was also a bright spot in economic growth, with a growth rate of 5.6 per cent in 2022. The bloc's growth was forecast to reach 4.5 per cent this year, higher than that of the group of developed countries. 

The intra-bloc trade was valued at over $856 billion, accounting for about 22 per cent of ASEAN’s total trade revenue, he said, adding that the group has effectively coped with challenges in energy security and food security, and combated the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a reliable partner and an active, responsible member, Việt Nam would continue to closely coordinate with Indonesia and other ASEAN countries in an effort to build a united, self-resilient, and developed ASEAN, helping to maintain an environment of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world, the PM pledged.  

Held within the framework of the ASEAN Summit, ASEAN BIS is Southeast Asia's largest annual business-related forum, with the participation of leaders of ASEAN member countries, partner countries, ministers, senior officials, policymakers and major business leaders of ASEAN and the world.

With the theme: "Innovating Towards Greater Inclusivity", the event focuses on discussing five main topics including digital transformation, sustainable development, health resilience, food security and trade and investment facilitation.  — VNS