PHNOM PENH: The 28th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Retreat was held virtually over 16-17 March, Chaired by Cambodian Minister of Commerce, Pan Sorasak, and with the attendance of the Economic Ministers from all ASEAN member states. During the meeting, the ministers agreed on chartering the ASEAN regional work plan for 2022, which sets priorities towards expediting regional economic recovery, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ASEAN Economic Ministers all agreed to explore further ways to strengthen supply chains in the region, in order to boost economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and effectively respond to ongoing supply chain disruptions.
Negotiations to upgrade the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) were also discussed, with the goal of maximizing the potential of intra-ASEAN trade, and deepening economic integration. The intention of upgrading ATIGA includes addressing non-tariff barriers to facilitate trade, promoting more transparency, facilitating further participation of ASEAN member states in global and regional supply chains, and responding to various emerging issues, such as the digitalization and green economies.
Overall, the meeting called for deeper cooperation between ASEAN member states in the digital and green economies, recognizing the importance of positioning Southeast Asia for the future.
The Cambodian Minister of Commerce, Pan Sorasak, said following the conclusion of the meeting that the ASEAN Economic Ministers expressed full and unanimous support in approving the 19 Priority Economic Deliverables (PEDs) proposed by Cambodia as the 2022 ASEAN Chair, as well as for the annual priorities of the Inter-Sectoral Working Group under the ASEAN member states.