Many positives are coming out of the 37th ASEAN Summit, first the much delayed RCEP has finally been signed this is after 8 years, action plans are in place to combat the pandemic in a regional level, inter-cooperation is ever so vibrant then before and with the focus now back on reviving economies, things can only improve.
During the 19th ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council Meeting, held as part of the virtual Summit, key areas that were discussed is the promotion on the region’s post-pandemic economic recovery through digitalisation.
Senior Minister cum International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said through the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and its implementation plan, ASEAN had established several main strategies, one of which is “Accelerating Inclusive Digital Transformation” to combat the severe impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The strategy focuses on expediting the digital transformation in the region by leveraging on the momentum and imperative of digital transformation and seizing the enormous opportunities presented by digital technologies to boost the economy and improve society post-pandemic.
“This includes the digitalisation of trade documents and processes for a seamless and uninterrupted supply chain,” he said in a statement. The discussions resulted in the inking of a Memorandum of Understanding on the Implementation of Non-Tariff Measures on Essential Goods of which 152 essential goods were identified in the categories of food, medicine, and medical appliances and devices, aimed at facilitating the movement of these goods to ensure unobstructed supply chain within the region.
Its clear that digitalisaiton will be the key driver in flattening processes between nations in moving of goods, the pandemic which led to lockdowns highlighted supply chain gaps both domestically and in import-export systems. Vital medical supplies that required immediate export or importation could have been exercised faster if better processes were in place. Malaysia just like many other countries had a first hand impact on the lack of digital preparedness, its apt that the Senior Minister and his colleagues are driving the “digital transformation” agenda forward as the region steps into a new era of cooperative partnership.