UK, ASEAN Vow To Deepen Trade Ties, Strengthen Supply Chains

The UK and ASEAN decided to deepen economic relations, strengthen the UK-ASEAN supply chains, and strengthen economic resilience at the first UK-ASEAN Economic Dialogue held on 26 August.

The virtual meeting – chaired by UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss – was attended by economic ministers and officials from the ten ASEAN member states as well as the ASEAN Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi, the Department for International Trade said in a statement.

The UK and the ASEAN regional bloc are determined to strengthen bilateral trade in goods and services, which is currently nearly £42 billion, and to explore opportunities for collaboration that support job creation and connectivity.

“We reaffirm our commitment to free trade within the international rules-based system, noting that this is vital to economic recovery and future growth,” the joint UK-ASEAN statement said.

The UK and ASEAN pledged to work together to strengthen ASEAN-UK supply chains by assessing the resilience of trade between ASEAN and UK firms and identifying ways to further strengthen these supply chains.

The UK will also aim to deepen its digital partnership with ASEAN through its Digital Trade Network and by funding a new UK-ASEAN Digital Business Challenge, exploring how tech Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) can deliver solutions to tough business challenges.

The UK will continue to work closely with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) to design a private sector-led regional digital trade connectivity roadmap.

In its commitment to help ASEAN with a science-based clean recovery, the UK will provide technical assistance to develop green financial systems and energy efficiency across the region through the £15-million Prosperity Fund ASEAN Low Carbon Energy Programme and £12-million global Green Recovery Challenge Fund.