Speaking at the event, ASEAN Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi said the mid-term review is meant to assess progress in the first five years of the blueprint implementation. The lessons learned and recommendations from the MTR will inform ASEAN Economic integration towards 2025 and beyond.

Photo: baoquocte

According to him, there are three key takeaways from this MTR. First, good progress was made in the AEC, but it is not enough. ASEAN must accelerate the implementation, focusing on quality and high impact measures and those that deliver the benefits to the people, especially the vulnerables. Due attention must be also given to ensure the implementation of AEC key agreements, address cross cutting issues and strengthen cross sectoral and cross pillar coordination.

Second, next face of the ASEAN economic integration is taking place in a different context. Compared to when the AEC blueprint was adopted in 2015, addressing issues like climate change, digital transformation, and incorporating inclusive and sustainability considerations are becoming more urgent, amidst a more uncertain global, geopolitical and economic landscape.

Third, the AEC must remain open and engaged to reflect what businesses, workers and consumers experience in the region. Therefore, ASEAN need to strengthen integration, monitoring to better identify implementation gaps and evaluate progress objectively. Cooperation and partnership are a prerequisite in addressing these challenges together, especially those that go beyond borders.

Hailing the MTR as another proud milestone for ASEAN and for the ASEAN Economic Community, EU Ambassador to ASEAN Igor Driesman said both the EU and ASEAN have enjoyed a long-standing friendship, actually 44 years now, which has grown stronger into a steadfast strategic partnership. The EU has given support to the ASEAN Economic Community and the economic integration agenda for many years.

The European diplomat affirmed that the EU will continue supporting AEC building based on MTR’s recommendations,  notably in pursuing phase two of the ASEAN Economic integration journey until 2025. Recommendations such as the need to strengthen coordination, monitoring and evaluation mechanism to advance the AEC agenda and its diversity, to deepen sectoral cooperation, and to further strengthen stakeholder consultation and engagement.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, for his part, lauded the ASEAN Secretariat for its great efforts and hard work in completing an insightful and comprehensive report of the AEC blueprint 2025 which provides the whole picture of its implementation.

He said ASEAN needs to work more to further enhance intra-bloc trade, and hoped that the report will be analysed thoroughly by ASEAN member states, with a view to building specific work plans to effectively complete the remaining goals set out in the AEC blueprint 2025.

Source: VNA