ASEAN Urged To Collaborate With Private Sector
24 May 2021
ASEAN needs to collaborate with the private sector for greater and more sustainable progress of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as part of the move for the region to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, said the grouping’s secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi.
He said digitalisation and sustainability were critical to the recovery efforts in the next phase of economic integration.
“In fact, the recently launched mid-term review report of the AEC Blueprint 2025 highlights the need for ASEAN to embrace and adapt to new developments, which include digitalisation and sustainability.
“Moreover, these two high areas have become strategic thrusts for ASEAN to develop its 13 priority economic deliverables under the Brunei chairmanship this year,” he said during a session at the five-day ASEAN-Japan Business Week virtual conference which began Monday.
Regarding digitalisation, Lim said ASEAN had put forward a strong digital agenda through the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025 and the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework Action Plan 2025 to build a secure and open high-quality digital infrastructure, develop digital skills and formulate digital regulations in the region.
On sustainability and green growth, he noted ASEAN, through the financial regulators and central banks, had been continuously working on initiatives and promoting sustainable financing of the ASEAN Green/ Sustainability Bond Standards as well as a roadmap for sustainable capital market and the report of promotion of sustainable finance in the region.
“But to be successful, our efforts need to be supported by everyone and I do not think that ASEAN governments can do it alone. Instead, we need to support the various stakeholders in the region, particularly our business community,” said Lim.
He added that ASEAN needed Japanese business continuity by maximising cross-border productive activities as well as taking advantage of supply chain relocation to the ASEAN region.
“These are needed to restore consumers’ confidence and maintain market stability in the region. We also need the business community to assist in restoring the supply chain and trade connectivity by leveraging on digital technology.
“One possibility is for the companies to invest more on e-commerce platforms to enable fast and secure cross-border movement of goods as well as services and the economic recovery and job creation after the pandemic,” noted Lim.
He called for the ASEAN business community to also focus on sustainable investments such as green infrastructure and other low carbon investments.
“To do this, it will be critical to get investment decisions derived from strengthening private and public finance focused on green growth and mobilising all available forms of financing tools for the sustainable future of the ASEAN region,” added Lim.
ASEAN-Japan Business Week is an online event hosted by multiple organisations from ASEAN and Japan.