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UK-ASEAN Joint declaration

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UK-ASEAN Joint declaration

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Joint Ministerial Declaration on Future Economic Cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK).

  1. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) reaffirm our shared commitment to the principles of an open, free, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable, and stable multilateral trading system and anti-corruption. We embrace digital innovation and human capital development.

  2. ASEAN and the UK share a diverse economic and commercial relationship that continues to flourish. Brunei’s theme as ASEAN Chair 2021 ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’ resonates with the UK.

  3. ASEAN and the UK also recognise that the overall vision in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025 consisting of five interrelated and mutually reinforcing characteristics, namely: (i) A Highly Integrated and Cohesive Economy; (ii) A Competitive, Innovative, and Dynamic ASEAN; (iii) Enhanced Connectivity and Sectoral Cooperation; (iv) A Resilient, Inclusive, People-Oriented, and People-Centred ASEAN; and (v) A Global ASEAN, remains relevant and will serve as a building block in developing ASEAN and UK economic relations.

Economic Recovery from COVID-19

  1. ASEAN and the UK recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the lives and livelihoods of our people. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones. We recognise the heroic efforts of healthcare and essential workers around the world. We are optimistic that, through working together, we will see our economies recover, strengthen, and flourish.

  2. ASEAN and the UK will continue to work together to control and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Along with the international community, we will secure a resilient, sustainable and inclusive global economic recovery. We encourage all nations to work together to address the linked challenges of public health, climate change and biodiversity, and to support the initiatives under the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and its Implementation Plan.

  3. ASEAN and the UK welcome knowledge sharing and exchanging best practice on policies and programmes to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic. We look forward to regular engagement, including at Ministerial and Senior Economic Official levels, thereby securing a swift and sustainable economic recovery for our nations.

  4. The COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund continues to support ASEAN in the detection, control and prevention of COVID-19 transmission. ASEAN Member States appreciate the UK’s £1 million commitment to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, and its £4.8 million commitment to support the COVID-19 response in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

  5. ASEAN and the UK recognise the need to optimise the economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits stemming from the creative economy by creating an enabling environment for the promotion of the creative economy.

UK-ASEAN Supply Chains and Maintaining Open Markets

  1. Two-way trade between ASEAN and the UK was worth £33.8 billion in 2020, representing a decrease of 16.5% since 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst our two-way trade has been impacted by COVID-19 in 2020, the historic growth trend in the preceding years provides a strong foundation to drive prosperity and support job creation, especially for the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) that form the backbone of our economies. ASEAN and the UK look forward to maintaining and strengthening trade links through the opening of our markets and facilitating the smooth flow of goods and services, including through the removal of market access barriers that are inconsistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

  2. The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of diverse, resilient, and sustainable supply chains to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, especially in essential goods such as food, commodities, medicines and medical supplies. As President of the G7 this year, the UK established an Economic Resilience Panel, working with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to formulate recommendations on how the international community can address and overcome economic crises. These recommendations include areas of mutual interest between ASEAN and the UK, such as supply chain resilience for global public goods and championing an investment-focused recovery to build trust in open markets. The UK is eager to share this work with ASEAN through a dialogue.

  3. ASEAN and the UK recognise the critical role of the multilateral trading system centred on the WTO in driving economic recovery in the post-pandemic period. We will work together for a stronger multilateral trading system which includes an open, free, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable, and stable trade and investment environment. We will refrain from introducing any unnecessary measures which may adversely affect the exchange of goods, services and/or investment. We will ensure the transparency of all trade-related measures. This is in line with our WTO commitments and obligations, and for ASEAN Member States, in line with the Memorandum of Understanding on the Implementation of Non-Tariff Measures on Essential Goods Under the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will also work together to address the challenges faced by the WTO to strengthen and reform the organisation ahead of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) so it can deliver for businesses and consumers around the world.

  4. This year, ASEAN and the UK worked together to better understand supply chains between our respective economies through the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) report titled ‘UK-ASEAN Trade: Strengthening the Supply Chain Linkages’ and the Accelerated COVID-19 Economic Support (ACES) programme, both funded by the UK.

  5. Looking ahead, ASEAN and the UK will continue to work together to strengthen supply chains in sectors of mutual interest, through, but not limited to, the implementation of regulations on competition, consumer protection, intellectual property, trade facilitation, and standards on testing, inspections and certifications. We look forward to working together to share expertise and think innovatively to further encourage and increase the adoption of digital solutions to address these shared challenges.

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