More cohesive action by Asean needed to battle Covid-19


  • Economy
  • Friday, 22 May 2020

In a statement yesterday, Asean-BAC chairman Dr Doan Duy Khuong said support needs to be given from a special business advisory board, to ensure private sector stability.

PETALING JAYA: The Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) is calling for more cohesive and responsive collective action by Asean member states in their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement yesterday, Asean-BAC chairman Dr Doan Duy Khuong said support needs to be given from a special business advisory board, to ensure private sector stability.

He said the focus needs to be on priority sectors such as travel, essential goods and related supply chains, medical services and digital tools.

“These are extraordinary and unprecedented times which we believe calls for urgent, extraordinary and unprecedented action from Asean.

“The time for Asean to prove its collective strength to mitigate the worst impacts of the on-going pandemic and ensure the long-term prosperity and wellness of its people through fast action is now.”

Doan noted that the pandemic continues to exact a huge toll on the region.

“Not just on those who have unfortunately suffered directly from Covid-19, but on all the communities, employees, and businesses throughout Asean.

“However, the pandemic also presents an opportunity to Asean to demonstrate that its ten-member states can work cohesively and responsively together, both to effectively contain the spread of the virus and to aim for the best possible post-pandemic economic recovery and thus ensuring that Asean can be greater than the sum of its constituent parts.”

He added, however, that an innovative, special commission needed to be set up as no country can overcome this pandemic alone.

“Bold and decisive steps are needed if Asean is to make the best possible economic recovery and remain a beacon for global trade.”

Doan said the special commission should consider making sweeping advances on the Asean Economic Community immediately, removing non-tariff barriers to trade and investment restrictions, and cutting bureaucracy. Launched in April 2003, the Asean-BAC was set up with the mandate to provide private sector feedback and guidance to boost Asean’s efforts towards economic integration.

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