Trade, MSME focus for Asean, partners

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Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will not be left behind as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) pushes for integration and closer regional ties.

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Cooperation in the areas of small businesses and trade were highlighted by foreign ministers of the 10-member Asean and dialogue partners South Korea and Australia during meetings in Manila.

“In the Asean-Republic of Korea ministerial meeting, the ministers highlighted the integration on micro, small and medium enterprises into the digital economy,” Foreign Affairs department spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said in a news conference on Sunday.

As part of economic integration plans, Asean members are pursuing regulatory reforms to help the region become a digital economic bloc by 2025.

Bolivar said the ministers also expressed appreciation for the role being played by the Asean-Korea Center, which implements work programs and activities to strengthen mutual cooperation and deepen friendship among Asean members and South Korea.

At the separate Asean-Australia ministerial meeting, meanwhile, Bolivar said “the ministers expressed appreciation for Australia’s continued support through the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area Economic Cooperation Support Program.”

In line with the Asean Community Vision 2025, the agreement aims for sustainable economic growth in the region by providing a more liberal, facilitative, and transparent market and investment regimes among the twelve signatories.

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