PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with other Asean countries for the implementation of non-tariff measures on essential goods under the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening Asean Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (pic) represented Malaysia at the MoU signing at the Asean Economic Ministers Meeting yesterday.
It was held in conjunction with the 19th Asean Economic Community (AEC) Council Meeting as part of the virtual 37th Asean Summit.
In a statement, the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) said the MoU comprised 152 identified essential goods in the categories of food, medicines and medical appliances and devices, personal protective equipment and disinfectants.
“The MoU will ease the movement of these essential goods within the Asean region to ensure an unobstructed supply chain within the region, ” Miti said.
At the 19th AEC Council Meeting, the proposed Asean Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and its implementation plan was approved by the ministers and will be submitted for the Asean Leaders’ endorsement on Thursday.
The ACRF will serve as a guide to Asean to provide sustainable solutions for economic recovery.
“The ACRF will help us to intensify intra-Asean trade and investment as well as accelerate the region’s digital transformation to boost economy and improve societal well-being, post- Covid-19, ” Azmin said in the statement.
The meeting also discussed the Preliminary Report of the Mid-Term Review of the AEC Blueprint 2025 as presented by the Asean Secretariat and endorsed the 12 preliminary recommendations for implementation.
Matters related to the 4th Industrial Revolution and digital technology were also discussed.
“Malaysia is confident that the consolidated strategy will be able to provide a strategic framework for Asean’s work on the 4th Industrial Revolution by setting the agenda and direction for the coming years, ” Azmin said.
On the Asean e-Commerce Agreement, he said the implementation would bring systemic improvement and enhancement to the digital economy ecosystem as well as corroborative facilitation to the Asean cross-border goods and services trade.
In addition, Miti said Malaysia has expressed interest to implement economic cooperation with Switzerland, particularly in the areas of cybersecurity, MSME development, and addressing the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Azmin said that the recently established National 4IR and Digital Council would provide policy leadership on IR 4.0 and digitalisation as well as accelerate the growth of the economy.
“With regard to bilateral relations with Switzerland, Malaysia would also like to see enhancement of trade and investment relations in the near future, ” he added.