With the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) amid a post-pandemic economic recovery and growing digital economy, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, highlighted the importance of inter-regional cooperation with the European Union (EU).
During his closing remarks at the 10th ASEAN-EU Business Summit in Brussels, the President gave the summit’s delegates and audience a glimpse of what ASEAN is currently working on in terms of the emerging digital technologies.
He said that negotiations are ongoing on the Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap (BSBR) which is ASEAN Digital Transformation Agenda to Accelerate ASEAN’s Economic Recovery and Digital Economy Integration.
“The roadmap lays out the immediate and short- to medium-term plans that ASEAN can take up to transform the ASEAN region into a leading digital economy,” he shared.
Marcos added that there are now a total of 10 measures made up by 26 Action Items under the BSBR which culminates in the commencement of negotiations for the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA).
“On digital technologies, ASEAN recognized the need for cohesive strategy for ASEAN to build a resilient foundation for the region’s growing digital economy towards a leading digital economy,” the Chief Executive said.
But it does not escape him that EU should play a pivotal role in ASEAN’s continuous progress post-pandemic as he noted how the regional bloc will continue engaging with EU “on ongoing economic competitiveness and competition initiatives.”
In particular, Marcos noted the ASEAN-EU Trade and Investment Work Programme 2022-2023, which was endorsed by the ASEAN economic ministers and EU representatives during the 18th ASEAN Economic Ministers – EU Trade Commissioner Consultations held last September 2022.
The ASEAN-EU Trade and Investment Work Programme of 2022-2023 will provide the ASEAN and EU with a framework “that will serve as a platform to enhance economic cooperation in addressing new emerging challenges and seeing new opportunities for trade and investment amongst Member States and Countries.”
Digital innovation, among others, was also part of the EU Strategy Connecting Europe and Asia and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025, which was discussed in the ASEAN-EU Joint Ministerial Statement on Connectivity 2020 issued by the foreign ministers and EU, as well as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission at the 23rd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting last December 2020.
The initiative, Marcos said, affirms the commitment between ASEAN and the EU to further boost connectivity through the implementation of key strategies that will focus on digital innovation, sustainable infrastructure, seamless logistics, regulatory excellence, and people mobility.
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