ASEAN bolsters talks with UK, Russia for potential economic cooperation plans

Auramon Supthaweethum, Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

In an attempt to further drive economic cooperation, Southeast Asia, through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is accelerating its dialogue with the United Kingdom and Russia. This information was released by Auramon Supthaweethum, the head of the Trade Negotiations Department.

A senior official from the department, Duangarthit Nidhi-u-tai, was sent to represent the region at the 4th ASEAN-UK, 15th ASEAN-Russia, and 31st ASEAN-Europe senior economic officials’ meetings. These meetings were instrumental in tracking the development of economic, trade, and investment cooperation plans and preparing for the forthcoming ministerial-level talks set for August.

At the ASEAN-UK senior economic official dialogue, the focus was on examining the advancement of cooperation initiatives for 2022-23. The economic cooperation partnerships touched on various areas such as market access, supply chain connectivity in the ASEAN-UK context, digital innovation, and the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Additionally, undertakings to foster public-private partnerships, financial services, and sustainable growth were also on the agenda. Findings from these discussions will be put forth to the ASEAN-UK economic ministers for their review in August.

The ASEAN-Russia senior economic officials meeting entailed discussions around ASEAN-Russia trade and investment collaboration strategies and the financial cooperation design involving ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Commission.

Key undertakings incorporated preparatory reports on the digitalisation of MSMEs and an e-commerce cooperation roundtable due this month. There were also several high-level policy dialogues, official meetings, and digital transformation seminars that transpired in the past year.

The progress made on the ASEAN-Russia cooperation plan will be delivered in a report at the ASEAN-Russia economic ministers’ meeting this month.

Auramon stated that in the ASEAN-Europe trade commissioner’s meeting, there were detailed discussions surrounding economic, trade and investment collaboration strategies, along with measures under the ASEAN-EU trade and investment cooperation programme. The three main areas of focus were the digital economy, environmentally-friendly technologies and establishing sustainable, efficient supply chains reported Bangkok Post.

The joint working group on ASEAN-EU trade and investment has been pivotal in providing a platform for the exchange of information, rules and best practices between the two regions. The progress made on the ASEAN-EU cooperation scheme, designed for 2022-23, and the preparation of the 2024-25 project, will be delivered for approval at the ASEAN-EU economic ministers’ meeting this month.

Furthermore, EU-supported projects in ASEAN were also discussed in the meeting, including sustainable connections between the EU and ASEAN. These aim to encourage infrastructure investment, spanning across areas such as energy, transport, trade, a greener and more efficient supply chain, tertiary and community-level digital education, competition and intellectual property rights. The EU-ASEAN green startup project that enhances cooperation and enforces international accordances on climate, environment and biodiversity, was also tabled in the economic cooperation dialogue.

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