AEC meeting to discuss digital economy and sustainability for ASEAN

Picture courtesy of Commerce Ministry

The ASEAN Economic Council (AEC) meeting, set to take place in Jakarta, Indonesia, will be attended by Thai representatives, the objective being the discussion of the Digital Economic Framework Agreement (DEFA) progress. The upcoming 43rd ASEAN Summit’s preparations will also be a focal point in the discussions.

Director-General of the Department of Trade Negotiations, Auramon Supthaweethum, shared with the press that the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Commerce Ministry, Ekachat Seetavorarat, will represent Thailand at the AEC meeting today.

The AEC meeting attendees’ primary focus will be to establish guidelines for the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision, outlining a robust plan for the subsequent 20 years of ASEAN. The agenda includes strengthening ASEAN’s capacities and competitiveness across sectors, such as technology and regulations, and bridging the developmental chasm among ASEAN members, according to Auramon.

She also clarified that the AEC meeting would review its achievements thus far and strategise for the 43rd ASEAN Summit scheduled for September 5–7. The Defa progress, which envisions creating harmonised digital opportunities for the region, surpassing bilateral or multilateral Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs), will also be discussed, reported Bangkok Post.

The AEC meeting will also delve into the study result of the ASEAN DeEFA, establish negotiation frameworks, and prepare for DEFA’s leadership declaration, added Auramon.

Furthermore, the AEC meeting will explore sustainable development, the ASEAN strategy for carbon neutrality, and the ASEAN Blue Economy framework. The latter focuses on the sustainable governance, use, and conservation of oceans, seas, marine and coastal resources, and ecosystems for economic growth. This approach, while enhancing social equity and human well-being, is a pivotal mechanism for transitioning to a more eco-friendly model.

In anticipation of next week’s ASEAN Summit 2023, the AEC meeting will also evaluate the economic performance of the grouping this year. Auramon cited the total trade value of last year, which stood at US$12.4 billion, a growth of 12.4% from the preceding year.

Out of this, Thai exports to ASEAN constituted US$7.1 billion, and imports from ASEAN member states were US$5.2 billion. In the first seven months of this year, the total trade between Thailand and ASEAN reached US$6.7 billion, with exports worth US$3.8 billion and imports valued at US$2.9 billion.

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