On September 18, ASEAN and U.S. officials looked into the implementation of bilateral economic cooperation activities under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiative between the two sides for 2021 - 2022, along with the US’ technical support under the ASEAN – U.S. Connect and the ASEAN - USAID Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade, and E-Commerce (IGNITE) programs. They also approved the TIFA and E3 work programs for 2022 - 2023.

The ASEAN - E.U. economic ministers' consultation in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on September 1

As a leading trade partner of the U.S. in the region, Vietnam said it has made active contribution to the implementation of the ASEAN – U.S. initiatives. It also called on the U.S. to cooperate with the bloc more strongly in the spheres matching their potential such as energy transition and digital transformation.

At another consultation, economic ministers of ASEAN and the E.U. discussed the possibility of cooperation activities in the fields benefiting both sides like supply chain connectivity, e-commerce, green technology and services. They adopted a trade and investment work program for 2022 - 2023.

Meanwhile, ASEAN and Japan scrutinized the implementation of the ASEAN - Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and economic partnership activities within such frameworks as the ASEAN - Japan Economic Resilience Action Plan and the two sides’ 10-year Strategic Economic Cooperation Road-map. They also talked new proposals for next year submitted by Japan.

Officials of ASEAN, Australia, and New Zealand discussed negotiations on the upgrade of the ASEAN - Australia - New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANFTA) to ensure that after upgraded, this deal will continue creating added value for the parties’ trade, investment, and business ties.

They agreed to make utmost efforts to basically finalize the negotiations in 2022 and also recognized the implementation of the economic cooperation support program under the AANFTA.

Vietnam stressed the importance of upgrading the contents that will generate practical added value to all parties to help consolidate regional supply chain, boost post-pandemic economic recovery, and promote sustainable development.

In addition, ministers also met representatives of the ASEAN - Japan, ASEAN – E.U., ASEAN – U.K., ASEAN – U.S., and ASEAN - New Zealand business councils, along with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to talk cooperation activities and give recommendations to foster trade, investment, and economic rebound.

On September 17, economic ministers of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members gathered to discuss the recent regional and global economic situation and forecasts for 2023.

They shared information about economic recovery measures and the enforcement of existing free trade agreements (FTAs) between ASEAN and partners like the RCEP, the ASEAN - China Free Trade Area, and the FTA and investment agreement between the bloc and Hong Kong. They also talked the progress of negotiations on an FTA between ASEAN and Canada.

Besides, consultations also took place between ASEAN and China, Canada, the three Northeast Asian countries (China, Japan, the Republic of Korea), Hong Kong (China), and the East Asia Business Council.

Source: VNA