PETALING JAYA: The Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) has reiterated its call for the establishment of a special commission for a safer Asean and a faster recovery from the human and economic ravages of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
It has identified six short term priority measures to send the strongest signal that Asean is cohesive and responsive at this most trying of times, including full involvement of the private sector in protecting lives and restarting the economy.
Included in the six short term priority measures are recommendations by businesses, united in its position in support of increasing the mass testing of Covid-19 within the region; eliminating non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and minimising non-tariff measures (NTMs); customs automation and streamlining; concluding the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) within a short time frame; easing the flow of essential goods and services intra-Asean and also the inclusion of the private sector in government discussions within the region, including Asean-BAC and its partners.
The Asean-BAC presented this to the Asean Economic Ministers yesterday who met in a special session.
It was also underlined that Asean should already decide to work together now to ensure regional reach for the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available instead of tripping each other to go to the head of the queue and thereby leaving some member states deprived and singularly exposed.
The 2020 chair of Asean-BAC Doan Duy Khuong said the business sector fully supported Asean governments in their efforts to make their countries safe and to restart their economies.
“Its proposal to set up the special commission is to ensure urgent and coordinated action in those efforts in a world where both the supply and demand sides of the economy have been crushed and where protectionist measures continue to rise, ” he said in a statement. CIMB Asean Research Institute (CARI) chairman Tan Sri Munir Majid, who is also a Asean-BAC council member, said the performance of a better integrated regional economy in Asean and East Asia has become critical in the recovery process.
“Asean has to hang together if it is not to hang separately, ” he said.
The Asean-BAC presentation to the economic ministers, supported by 20 business councils and associations from across the world and other business associations, is the first release of over 300 recommendations that will be further refined by CARI to be put forward in the effort to protect and restart the Asean economy.