ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea Vow To Boost Regional Trade

The economy ministers of the ASEAN nations as well as China, Japan, and South Korea pledged on 4 June to work on mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19 through enhanced regional trade and support for the supply chains and businesses.

The ministers of the so-called ‘ASEAN plus three’ group acknowledged that they need to intensify cooperation to address the economic disruptions on the regional supply chains and financial markets.

“The Ministers reaffirm the importance of keeping the markets open for trade and investment to strengthen the resiliency and sustainability of regional supply chains and maintain necessary flow of goods and services,” the group said in a statement.

ASEAN and its key regional trade partners also vowed to continue addressing non-tariff barriers to trade, especially those that impede the smooth flow of goods and services in supply chains.

ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea will also look to support businesses in the region, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the vulnerable economic sectors. The ASEAN+3 economy ministers encourage businesses in the region to use digitalization and the digital economy as much as possible to overcome the challenges stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Ministers will work together to restore economic growth in the region by enhancing regional trade and economic cooperation through, among others, addressing trade barriers, promotion of trade and investment, and expansion of the fields of cooperation,” the ASEAN+3 economy ministers said.

“They remain committed to the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement in 2020, and working together to resolve India’s outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way, as mandated in the Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) issued in 2019 as part of efforts to achieve a higher level of regional economic integration,” the group said.