HSBC has expressed their support for the ASEAN member states’ joint agreement to increase reform cooperation and integration in order to stem the immediate health and longer term economic impacts to Southeast Asia as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We support ASEAN member states’ desire to double down on further integration efforts in order to combat the economic effects from Covid-19. As Southeast Asia begins to re-open, member countries should not approach economic recovery in isolation. The reason is simple, Southeast Asia is always stronger when it acts in a tightly coordinated manner,” said HSBC Malaysia chief executive officer, Stuart Milne.
HSBC has advocated for three reform planks, trade and investment flows, digital connectivity and linking nation development projects to globally agreed sustainable development goal and climate commitments.
The bank has also advocated for the continued dismantling of non-tariff barriers that have proliferated Southeast Asia and to adopt trade mechanisms and trade agreement that will enable freer flow of trade.
The mechanisms will include the remove of non-tariff barriers such as increasing the minimum threshold for goods that require a Certificate of Origin and automating customs clearance processes. The bank is also urging for the adoption of the ASEAN Single Window and formally signing and ratifying the already -agreed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which covers 30 percent of the world’s population and 29 percent of its world’s GDP.
As for stronger digital connectivity, HSBC believe that the region can agree on a common set of standards for cross-border data management and digital commerce,
“For growth to happen, already-agreed frameworks like the ‘ASEAN Digital Integration Framework Action Plan’ and the ‘ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance’ need to be fully implemented in order to integrate the currently disconnected rules and regulations of nations,” the bank stated.
HSBC also recommends that the ASEAN Pandemic Recovery Fund that was agreed to be installed by ASEAN members states, should have its design and projects be consistent with globally agreed climate targets and sustainable goals and commitments.
“The immediate imperative to stimulate economies through nation-building programmes can and should be consistent with the medium-term objectives of sustainable development,” said Milne.