COVID-19: supply chain restructuring to restore ASEAN economy hinh anh 1Many enterprises are hit by the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo: VietnamPlus) 

Hanoi (VNA)Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has said Vietnam and ASEAN member states’ economic cooperation efforts are significant and it is necessary to take into account the guarantee of intra-regional cooperation to boost economic development.  

In an interview recently granted to Vietnam News Agency, the minister mentioned solutions to economic collaboration among ASEAN member states

Reporter: Since the beginning of this year, the ASEAN and Vietnamese economies have witnessed many changes due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. How has Vietnam upheld its role as ASEAN Chair 2020 via economic channel?

Minister Tran Tuan Anh: 2020 is a very special year for Vietnam as the country serves as ASEAN Chair amid the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, which profoundly affects economic and trade activities as well as people’s lives, and disrupts coordination at all levels. 

Therefore, apart from other important initiatives during ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020 and contents in agendas, new requirements have emerged. Vietnam adjusted plans to suit its role as ASEAN Chair. 

On the economic front, Vietnam set important targets, firstly the ASEAN Chair 2020’s Statement, which was issued by Prime Minister Nguyen XuanPhuc on February 14, featuring the strengthening of cooperation and solidarity among member nations in response to COVID-19. 

Additionally, statements by ASEAN and Japanese economic ministers at the recent ASEAN and ASEAN+3 leaders’ meetings also looked towards effective response to COVID-19 and regional economic recovery. 

As for the grouping, the negative impacts and outcomes of the pandemic, as well as counter-measures, have revealed many aspects, first of all, the supply chain breakdown that leads to a slowdown of industries. The business community, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises, have been seriously hurt. 

In the first quarter, the pandemic spread rapidly in Vietnam and ASEAN’s major markets such as China, Japan, Europe and the US, seriously hurting exports. 

It is therefore essential to ensure food security and intra-bloc cooperation to ensure people’s lives and regional socio-economic development. 

COVID-19: supply chain restructuring to restore ASEAN economy hinh anh 2Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh (Photo: VietnamPlus) 

Reporter: Could you tell about the results of your recent phone talks with ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock-hoi?

Minister Tran Tuan Anh: During phone talks, both sides discussed plans for regional economic recovery and supply chain maintenance following the pandemic, and the realisation of leaders’ directions at the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19 Response. 

Specifically, the two sides talked about the implementation of joint initiatives by ASEAN and Japanese economic ministers and counterparts from Japan, the Republic of Korea and China. 

The two sides agreed to build a specific action programme and debated the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Hanoi this year. 

Regional member countries should call on ASEAN partner nations to incorporate joint initiatives into many channels and fields progressing towards the restoration of economic efficiency in a new condition. This would require great effort from the governments. 

Reporter: With the harmful impacts of COVID-19, what should we do to develop the economy in the near future?

Minister Tran Tuan Anh: It is necessary to offer support to businesses in terms of resources, policies and mechanisms within the framework of international laws and common rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), ensuring the principles of competition and non-discrimination. 

The intermediate priority is reviewing the legal framework on production and trade to continue facilitating procedures related to the market and investment. 

ASEAN countries and partners should work closely together to issue more suitable policies, towards restructuring the supply chain in the face of new challenges in the future. 

The last measure is to continue unlocking domestic and foreign markets, especially key ones. 

They are effective measures not only to help businesses overcome difficulties but also to restructure the economy.

Reporter: Thank you very much./.