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Thailand Proposes the Setting Up of an ASEAN SMEs Recovery Facility

9 September 2020 (Readers 324)

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai has proposed the setting up of an "ASEAN SMEs Recovery Facility as a new financing facility for the post-COVID-19 recovery and revival of SMEs in the region.

The proposal was made on 9 September 2020 at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting via videoconference. The meeting discussed ways to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain the continuity of the global supply chain, especially in medical supplies and equipment.

According to a report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers underscored the urgent need for ASEAN to collectively address economic recovery post COVID-19. They also emphasized the importance of multilateralism and regionalism in dealing with the rising tensions and uncertainties in the region.

The meeting shared the view that the current situation could affect the geopolitical landscape and ASEAN must strengthen its centrality in the evolving regional architecture, especially through cooperation under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), in order to promote peace and stability, which are the prerequisites for economic recovery efforts.

In addition, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers discussed regional situations of common concern, such as the South China Sea, irregular migration in the Indian Ocean, and the situation in the Korean Peninsula. They also received updates regarding the situation in Rakhine State in the context of developmental impacts from COVID-19.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister also attended the 27th ASEAN Coordinating Council and related meetings via videoconference. The 27th ASEAN Coordinating Council discussed the progress and ongoing efforts of ASEAN in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and reiterated the commitment to further expedite the implementation of the ASEAN Leaders decision in this matter, including through enhancing cooperation on vaccine development and research as well as encouraging the effective operationalization of the COVID-19 Response Fund.

In this regard, the meeting appreciated Thailands contribution of 100,000 USD to the aforementioned Fund. It also approved the Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies and Equipment (RRMS) and the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

Meanwhile, Thailand underscored the importance of human security, utilization of digital technology and enhancing sustainable development to support post-COVID-19 recovery. The meeting looked forward to the ASEAN Leaders endorsement of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework at the 37th ASEAN Summit, which will be held in November 2020.

Furthermore, at the Special Session of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting on Sub-Regional Development, initiated by Viet Nam to discuss ASEANs role on sub-regional development, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs underscored the core objective of ASEAN integration, including narrowing development gaps, sustainable development and human capital development, which would help drive forward development in the sub-regions.

He further emphasized the importance of enhanced regional connectivity, particularly among various economic corridors within sub-regional frameworks, which would leverage ASEAN position in a global value and supply chain.

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