• ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World’



    3rd Installment
    ASEAN Law Ministers Meeting (ALAWMM)
    35. We noted with satisfaction the continued work of the ALAWMM, including the progress of the implementation of various programs and activities to enhance legal cooperation in ASEAN, and in particular the discussions to elevate the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to an ASEAN instrument and efforts to finalize the text of the Model ASEAN Extradition Treaty (MAET).

    36. We took note of the discussion on the possible development of an ASEAN Convention on Transfer of Sentenced Persons (ACTSP), as proposed by some Member States in the work of ALAWMM. We looked forward to the 10th ASEAN Law Ministers Meeting (ALAWMM) in 2018 in Vientiane.

    37. We commended the work of the Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ) in continuing to facilitate closer cooperation and collaboration among the ASEAN judiciaries as well as contribute to raising awareness of the legal systems of Member States through various means, including the establishment of an ASEAN Judiciaries

    Portal, which will be soft launched in March 2018. We looked forward to the official launch of the Portal in July 2018 at the CACJ Meeting in Singapore.

    ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR)
    38. We commended the contribution from the Government of Indonesia to the operationalization of the Secretariat of AIPR, and welcomed the appointment of the AIPR’s first Executive Director. We looked forward to the operationalization of the AIPR Secretariat. We noted the successful convening of the AIPR symposium entitled “Strengthening Convergences for Humanitarian Action in ASEAN: An AIPR Symposium on International Humanitarian Law” and encouraged the AIPR to continue its work in promoting peace and reconciliation in accordance with its Terms of Reference (TOR) as well as the APSC Blueprint 2025. We also encouraged the AIPR to ensure that its initiatives remain relevant to ASEAN by maintaining ASEAN Centrality and addressing issues of interest of the ASEAN Member States.

    39. We noted the launch of the AIPR publication Symposium on Principles, Mechanisms, and Practices of Peace and Reconciliation Processes on 5 August 2017 in Manila, Philippines. We recognized that such initiatives would strengthen efforts by ASEAN Member States to ensure continued peace in the region.

    ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC)
    40. We commended the efforts and contribution towards the operationalization of the Center and encouraged further voluntary contribution to support the full operationalization of the ARMAC. We welcomed the appointment of the Executive Director of the ARMAC Permanent Secretariat and looked forward to the finalization of the Work Plan of ARMAC. We commended the outcome of discussions of the Steering Committee, the main oversight and policy-setting body of the ARMAC, particularly in the full operationalization of its Permanent Secretariat. We also looked forward to the signing of the Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the ARMAC on Hosting and Granting Privileges and Immunities to the ARMAC in the near future in Phnom Penh. Acknowledging the importance of the mandate of the ARMAC, we valued cooperation with dialogue partners, external partners, and other relevant stakeholders in supporting and promoting the ARMAC activities so as to effectively address the challenges of the explosive remnant of war (ERW).

    ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF)/Expanded AMF
    41. We welcomed cooperation and constructive dialogue on cross-cutting maritime issues of common interests and concerns including search and rescue, maritime capacity-building, freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea, crimes at sea, maritime scientific research, maritime connectivity, protection of the marine environment, promotion of eco-tourism in East Asia and combating piracy and armed robbery against ships and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. We encouraged better coordination of cross-sectoral ASEAN maritime-related cooperation between the AMF and the Expanded AMF (EAMF) and other relevant ASEAN mechanisms such as the ARF, ADMM-Plus and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

    42. We looked forward to the convening of the 7th AMF and 5th EAMF in Bali, Indonesia on 6-7 December 2017.

    43. We noted the convening of the 2nd ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity on 18 September 2017 in Singapore. We reaffirmed the need for ASEAN to take a holistic and more coordinated approach to regional cybersecurity cooperation and capacity building.

    44. We recognized that cybersecurity is an issue that required coordinated expertise from multiple stakeholders from across different domains to address effectively.

    45. We underscored the importance of enhancing coordination between various platforms of the three pillars of ASEAN in addressing the cross-cutting issue of cybersecurity and to counter increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. We noted ongoing efforts to develop an ASEAN Cyber Centre and Hub to further enhance cooperation in cybercrimes in the future.

    Economic Outlook
    46. We welcomed the positive global growth outlook with ASEAN’s economy projected to register a stronger growth of 5.0% in 2017. We were pleased that ASEAN’s merchandise trade remained strong at USD2.2 trillion in 2016, of which 23.1% was intra-ASEAN. We noted that trade in the region is expected to stage a rebound in 2017 mirroring the projected broad-based improvements in global trade. We noted that in 2016 the region attracted USD98.0 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, of which 25.2% was intra-ASEAN, reflecting continued investors’ confidence in the region. We noted that FDI inflows to the region are also anticipated to be higher in 2017 following the expected recovery in global FDI flows. We recognised the contribution of the AEC to this positive outlook, and reaffirmed our commitment to further advance the AEC initiatives to strengthen ASEAN’s collective resilience and long-term competitiveness.

    47. We underscored the importance for appropriate policy responses to the onset of the Fourth industrial revolution in many relevant areas such as I.C.T. infrastructure and education.

    48. We recognized that ASEAN should also capitalize on our young, educated and technology-savvy population to help boost the region’s economic growth and prosperity.

    ASEAN Economic Community 2025
    49. We welcomed the on-going efforts to implement the AEC Blueprint 2025. To this end, we noted with appreciation that all 23 AEC 2025 sectoral work plans are now in place, following the recent endorsement by the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council of the Strategic Action Plan 2016-2025 for ASEAN Taxation Cooperation; the ASEAN 2025 Trade Facilitation Strategic Action Plan; as well as the ASEAN Work Programme on Electronic Commerce 2017-2025, which is also a Philippine ASEAN Chairmanship priority economic deliverable. Implementation of all these sectoral work plans, including the 2017 priorities, is well underway and is monitored based on the AEC 2025 Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework.

    Economic Priority Deliverables for the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship
    50. We were pleased to note that most of the priority economic deliverables under the Philippine Chairmanship’s thematic priority of “inclusive, innovation-led growth” have been achieved.

    51. We recalled the launch of the Davao-General Santos-Bitung route of the ASEAN Roll-on Roll-off (RO-RO) System in April 2017 and reiterated the potential contribution of RO-RO not only in stimulating trade and investment in the sub-regions but also in expanding the boundaries for MSMEs to allow them to engage in international trade and gain greater access to key markets through lower transport costs. In this regard, we encouraged that other RO-RO routes be considered taking into account the need to address the policy, infrastructure and logistics bottlenecks to the viability of other ASEAN RO-RO routes as well to ensure maritime security.

    52. We welcomed the progress in the implementation of the AEC 2025 (M&E) Framework that provides for a more systematic and robust method for keeping the AEC on track and the conduct of the AEC 2025 M&E Country Visit to the Philippines that was the first comprehensive exercise to review the progress in fulfilling the commitments under the AEC and to understand the links between national-level initiatives and the regional integration agenda.

    53. We welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN Seamless Trade Facilitation Indicators (ASTFI) that provides a tool for measuring trade facilitation at the national and regional levels, and improving the overall trading environment in the region. We looked forward to the potential contribution of this methodology in achieving the 10% target reduction in trade transactions cost by 2020 simultaneous to the doubling of intra-ASEAN trade between 2017 and 2025.

    54. We commended the endorsement of the Focused and Strategic (FAST) Action Agenda on Investment, which aligns with the goals and four pillars of the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA), namely investment promotion, facilitation, protection, and liberalization. We welcomed the successful implementation of its initiatives that aimed at promoting intra-ASEAN and foreign investments into the region, which includes the conduct of investment promotion by linking ASEAN MSMEs with ASEAN and Global MNEs on 19 October 2017.

    55. We were pleased to adopt the six-point Action Agenda on Mainstreaming

    Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in ASEAN, which is part of the Manila Statement on Mainstreaming WEE in ASEAN, an outcome of the first ASEAN Women’s Business Conference held on 31 August 2017 in Manila, Philippines. We noted that the Action Agenda aims to mainstream women in regional economic activities by encouraging all AMS to work together to invest in programs that provide an enabling environment where MSMEs can thrive and prosper.

    56. We were also pleased to adopt the ASEAN Declaration on Innovation, which was endorsed at the 17th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology

    (AMMST) and by the AEC Council, to signify ASEAN’s commitment towards strengthening the impact of science, technology, and innovation towards people’s empowerment, inclusive growth, and strengthening of the ASEAN Community.

    57. We looked forward to the implementation of the ASEAN-wide Self-Certification Scheme in 2018. We also noted the progress made towards the substantial conclusion of the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement negotiations by end-2017 and looked forward to its signing by the ASEAN Economic Ministers next year.

    Electronic Commerce
    58. We recognized that advances in e-commerce allows MSMEs to go beyond local frontiers and reach clientele and markets that were previously inaccessible. We welcomed the adoption and look forward to the implementation of the ASEAN Work Program on E-Commerce 2017-2025 that will pave the way for the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce. We recognized that technological/digital breakthroughs such as online trading provides new opportunity to mainstream MSME participation in both domestic and international economic activities. We will embrace the evolving digital technology as leverage to enhance trade and investments and provide an e-based business platform.

    59. We were encouraged by the initiatives undertaken to strengthen the ASEAN competition regimes and build institutional capacities. In this context, we welcomed the completion of the ASEAN Self- Assessment Toolkit on Competition Enforcement and Advocacy and the ASEAN Regional Capacity Building Roadmap for Competition Policy and Law (2017-2020). We urged ASEAN competition officials to further their efforts to strengthen the competitive environment of ASEAN.

    Consumer Protection
    60. Private consumption is on an uptrend in ASEAN with strong growth potential in the ASEAN region. Promoting consumer protection and empowered consumers are important goals and we welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN High-Level Principles on Consumer Protection, which will provide a framework for the assessment of consumer protection regulatory regimes. We also welcomed the efforts to promote the interface with other regulatory agencies in enhancing consumer protection in ASEAN.

    Intellectual Property
    61. We acknowledged the importance of intellectual property rights protection in ASEAN and welcomed the accession of Indonesia and Thailand to the Madrid Protocol, bringing the number of ASEAN Member States that have acceded to eight. We welcomed the completion of a number of tools that helps to improve service delivery, including the recent ASEAN PATENTSCOPE (http://ipsearch.aseanip.org/) database which allows free access to over 500,000 ASEAN patent documents, and supports innovation and technological developments.

    Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
    We commended the emphasis placed this year on ASEAN micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as drivers of inclusive and innovative growth and the efforts taken towards enhancing the ecosystem for MSME development. These included the adoption of the ASEAN regional principles for good business registration practices; production of relevant publications on key areas such as facilitating equity crowdfunding, access to alternative sources of finance for MSMEs, strengthening of women’s entrepreneurship, and success stories on internationalisation of ASEAN MSMEs; and the launch of the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network and the study on MSMEs’ participation in the digital economy. We thanked our ASEAN Dialogue and Development Partners for their support in these initiatives.


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