ASEAN ministers to strengthen regional supply chains, trade digitalisation (The Jakarta Post)

ASEAN economic ministers are committed to strengthening regional supply chains and improve trade digitalization to spur trade and investments, as well as cushion the impact of the ongoing health crisis, according to Indonesian Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto.

The commitment came after the 52nd ASEAN Economic Minister (AEM) meeting on Tuesday, in which ministers gathered virtually to discuss the impact of COVID-19 in the region’s economy, among other issues.

“Indonesia supports the ASEAN’s joint effort to face COVID-19, particularly the economic pillar through the strengthening of supply chains and utilization of digital technology in trade,” Indonesian Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said in a statement on Wednesday.

The ministers have also finalized an ASEAN Digital Integration Index, which maps the readiness for an integrated digital economy among ASEAN members. Meanwhile, the region’s top officials finalized the terms of reference for the establishment of the Network of Innovation Centers in ASEAN, which would connect innovation centers across the region to bolster the ecosystem for start-up development in the region.

Indonesia has recorded a 5.32 percent year-on-year economic contraction in the second quarter, the worst since 1998 financial crisis, as the components of economic activity fell significantly. Meanwhile, movement restrictions implemented in various countries have also hit international trade, with the World Trade Organizations (WTO) projecting global trade volumes to contract by between 13 percent and 32 percent at worst this year.

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The Jakarta Post

28 August 2020

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