The High-Level Task Force on ASEAN Economic Integration convened the 37th meeting in Hanoi on February 12-13, proposing some important recommendations and cooperation activities for the bloc's economic integration.
The event saw the presence of deputy economic ministers of the member countries and an ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General. The Vietnamese delegation was led by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, who is also head of the Government's negotiation delegation on economy and international trade.
Regarding intra-bloc economic integration, the meeting carried out a mid-term review of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 amid complex developments and uncertainties in the global and regional economy. Basing on discussion results, they proposed recommendations to ASEAN ministers and leaders to help achieve the blueprint's targets.
Participants discussed a general strategy for the bloc in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a legal document management system in ASEAN, and the priorities in the grouping's economic pillar for 2020 suggested by Vietnam, which is holding the ASEAN chairmanship for 2020.
To enhance economic, trade and investment partnerships with the bloc's partners, the meeting also scrutinised some relevant issues such as approaches to new free trade agreement (FTA) partners, and the negotiation process of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
At the event, Vietnam's contributions, especially those related to ASEAN's economic priorities for 2020, were highly valued by other countries and considered a basis for promoting comprehensive economic cooperation among the member nations.
Officials also looked into Vietnam's proposal about a new and harmonious approach to the bloc's negotiations on FTAs, especially the RCEP, amid complex developments in the world and emerging protectionism in some places.
The meeting reaffirmed ASEAN's commitment to maintaining the driving forces for boosting regional trade and investment through stepping up talks on the FTAs of the association. Among the FTAs, the highest priorities will be given to accelerating the negotiation on a practical RCEP for all relevant countries.
The recommendations at this event will be submitted to the 26th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Retreat in Da Nang city this March. Final outcomes will be reported to ASEAN leaders one month later.
Source: China ASEAN Business Council