Digital ASEAN: Sustainable and Inclusive

9:17:00 AM | 11/16/2020

In the framework of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related summits, the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ASEAN BIS 2020) themed “Digital ASEAN: Sustainable and Inclusive” was held in Hanoi.

Commitment on joint effort in business support

ASEAN BIS 2020 was organized by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) in collaboration with other agencies. The event was attended by ASEAN leaders, partners and business leaders in the region, demonstrated the spirit of joint cooperation of governments and the private sector for a developed and prosperous ASEAN region.

Delivering a keynote speech to the summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasized that the current Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge to people all over the world as well as to economies as it has weakened the economy, impeded world trade, disrupted supply chains, prevented mobility of people, and caused business failures. ASEAN is also not immune to these adversities.

He added that “Some ASEAN member countries recently suffered from severe natural disasters, successive hurricanes, severe floods and landslides that caused many human deaths, destroyed properties and seriously affected ASEAN businesses.”

However, Prime Minister Phuc reaffirmed that, going against headwinds, the enlightened spirit of a self-reliant ASEAN endeavoring for “cohesive and responsive” cooperation in fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic and effectively recovering and developing the economy, with an overarching goal of ensuring people’s health and life while facilitating and serving businesses to promote their active and creative role in economic recovery and development.

He believed that ASEAN BIS 2020 will act as a focal point for leaders and policymakers to meet international organizations and leading businesses in the region. The summit will be a place to discuss, share experience and best practices to open up opportunities for cooperation and development towards sustainable and inclusive development.

“As the Chair of ASEAN 2020, Vietnam has taken many initiatives, together with other ASEAN countries and partners, to control the Covid-19 pandemic, to carry out the Recovery Plan, which includes facilitating mobility of experts, managers ad investors to ensure the uninterrupted operation of supply and distribution chains, production recovery, job creation, income for workers and support of troubled businesses.”

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s forecast in October 2020, Vietnam is to attain positive growth, which will expand by 2-3% in 2020. Vietnam is working hard to become a destination for many regional and global businesses and investors for cooperate for mutual success,” he emphasized.

Also at the meeting, Prime Minister Phuc affirmed that Vietnam is committed to working together with ASEAN members and ASEAN partners to have practical support programs for businesses in the region, especially in digital transformation, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), technology and employment futures in the region, and sustainable and inclusive development; working together to achieve a common goal of placing people and businesses at the heart of development; and at the same time, taking advantage of new opportunities from the shift of global supply chains and investment flows into the ASEAN region.

Actively turning risks into opportunities

Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said, this ASEAN Business Summit is an opportunity for leaders and the business community in the region to discuss together prospects of ASEAN economies in the coming time, share investment in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), foster digitally powered technology development, take care of people's lives so as to achieve green growth, good governance, sustainable and inclusive rapid development and leave no one behind.

In addition to joint relief and reconstruction programs, governments need to focus on measures to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), young businesses, women-owned enterprises and innovative startups which are most vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic but are also the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of ASEAN people and stars of hope of the digital economy and sustainable and inclusive development models. Necessary support measures for potential but troubled areas such as aviation, tourism, hospitability and restaurant should also be delivered immediately as they may create disruptive development boom after the pandemic.

He expressed his wish that efforts to foster integration and strengthen connectivity between ASEAN and dialogue partners even in the context of pandemic for ASEAN to play the central role of regional economic integration.

“VCCI and ASEAN Business Advisory Council have established the ASEAN Entrepreneurship Network. This is one concrete example to promote the ASEAN startup community. We hope the network receives your enthusiastic support from both ASEAN countries and the Dialogue Partner countries. Another example is the Opening of the ASEAN High Tech Logistics Supply at the Vinh Phuc Inland Clearance Depot Logistics Center,” said Dr. Loc.

Over the past five decades of development, ASEAN has become a dynamic and innovative economic community with more than 630 million people and a total GDP of US$3,100 billion (2019), becoming the 5th largest economy in the world. This achievement is built on the contributions of the business community, from large entities to MSMEs, young businesses, startups, and women-led businesses.

Along with effective cooperation mechanisms of the business community, such as the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) and the East Asia Business Council (EABC), businesses in the region have cooperated closely to include many important and practical recommendations with many new innovative ideas to ASEAN and ASEAN+3 leaders in order to make ASEAN a bright spot for growth, expand ASEAN's linkage with Northeast Asian countries in response to new circumstances and work together to overcome difficulties and challenges.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum