Ministers eye tech as key to recovery

Ministers eye tech as key to recovery

Asean economic ministers have agreed to develop the region's digital economy to accelerate the post-Covid pandemic recovery, says Deputy Commerce Minister Sansern Samalapa.

Mr Sansern was speaking after the Asean Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting, which was held remotely on Sept 8-9.

The ministers discussed guidelines to revive the bloc's economy after the pandemic, he said, adding they also followed up on the implementation of integration under the AEC Blueprint 2025 -- which was adopted back in 2015.

The success of the blueprint would contribute to regional trade expansion and investments while removing obstacles to trade, he said.

Mr Sansern said ministers resolved to push Asean to adopt a sustainable digital economy model that can help the region re-emerge from the pandemic faster and stronger.

The digitalisation of Asean's economy will see the bloc embrace various plans designed to aid recovery.

It will also see the bloc proceed with e-commerce agreements which will allow small- and medium-sized enterprises from each country reach out to more consumers.

In addition, Mr Sanserm said Asean's list of essential goods -- which are exempted or subjected to lower trade tariffs -- will be expanded by 107 items to include more farm and food products, bringing the number to 257.

The AEM meeting stressed the role of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership pact in revitalising trade and investments.

The pact is expected to be put in place next year and Asean members will make preparations to meet the deadline.

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