Vietnam calls for unified approach of ASEAN in upgrading ATIGA hinh anh 1Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has proposed that ASEAN countries agree on a pragmatic approach in negotiations to upgrade the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) in order to generate real added value to ASEAN businesses, during the 28th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Retreat that virtually opened on March 16.

Head of the Vietnamese delegation to the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh affirmed that Vietnam will continue to work closely with other ASEAN member countries to realise common goals of the ASEAN Economic Community.

The Vietnamese representative also expressed support for initiatives of Cambodia during the ASEAN Chair Year 2022, and emphasised the goal of strengthening and diversifying the supply chain for ASEAN to respond to unforeseen challenges in the future and maintain sustainable economic development.

Vietnam calls for unified approach of ASEAN in upgrading ATIGA hinh anh 2The Vietnamese delegation to the meeting (Photo: VNA)

The meeting approved 19 priority economic cooperation initiatives of Cambodia in the ASEAN Chair Year 2022, which were built in accordance with four main directions: strengthening digital connectivity, science and technology; narrowing the development gap and enhancing ASEAN's competitiveness; building a comprehensive, sustainable and competitive ASEAN; and promoting growth and development of an integrated ASEAN.

In the context that the COVID-19 pandemic continuously causes serious impacts, ASEAN economic ministers discussed ASEAN's efforts in accelerating post-pandemic recovery, including extending the MoU on the Implementation of the Non-Tariff Measures on Essential Goods under the Hanoi Plan of Action to strengthen intra-bloc economic cooperation and supply chain connectivity amid the pandemic, and expanding the ASEAN list of essential goods attached to the MoU - an initiative adopted at 37th ASEAN Summit in November 2020 in Vietnam.

They agreed on annual priorities for 2022 in the economic channel, comprising 151 different contents in terms of trade in goods and in services; investment; facilitating the mobility of skilled labourers and entrepreneurs; competition; consumer protection; intellectual property; e-commerce; micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Besides intra-bloc cooperation, participants also focused their discussion on external economic cooperation such as the development of ASEAN's external cooperation strategy with its dialogue partners and partners of potential free trade agreements (FTAs).

Approaches to new issues in negotiating and upgrading FTAs within ASEAN, the economic impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on ASEAN, and solutions that the grouping can deploy to limit these effects, were also put on the table.

ASEAN economic ministers also expressed their support for Indonesia as the G20 Chair 2022 and for Thailand as the APEC Chair 2022.

The retreat will conclude on March 17./.