KUALA LUMPUR: ASEAN’s sectoral bodies must continue to work together to speed up the completion of the remaining initiatives under the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), given the rising uncertainties in the current global economic environment.
During his intervention at the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings in Siem Reap, Cambodia today, Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali also expressed Malaysia’s support for the recommendation to explore the expansion of ACRF’s scope.
He said the lessons learnt during its implementation will significantly aid in the formulation of a resilient ASEAN Post-2025 Vision agenda.
According to a statement from the ministry, Mohamed Azmin had also stressed the paramount importance of capacity building for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as initiatives that would bring real and direct benefits to the people, particularly the youth, including job creation and value-add for local enterprises and industries.
Stressing the importance of enhancing supply chain security, the minister also proposed the introduction of a regional stockpile initiative, where each country would keep a national stockpile of critical products that the particular country has a comparative advantage relative to other trading partners.
“I believe this will go a long way towards ensuring that our regional supply chain and connectivity remain strong in facing future crises,” he said.
Given the paramount importance of supply chain resilience, he said it is imperative and timely to review the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), so as to withstand future shocks and challenges as well as cater to the ever-changing business needs.
“The proposed revision and upgrading of ATIGA must be forward-looking, comprehensive and more responsive to global and regional development to include new challenges such as green technology and digital economy,” he said.
He added that the improved ATIGA must be relevant to private sectors and businesses in order for the real benefits of such advancement to be enjoyed by the people, particularly the MSMEs and the youth. – Bernama