JAKARTA, Aug 24 — ASEAN continues to consolidate itself to become a more inclusive and resilient community in spite of the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, stated Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN as he delivered a speech at the 42nd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-42).
“A key demonstration of ASEAN’s commitment to build back better is the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement last year. An open international trade is central to our effort towards sustainable economic growth and once ratified, RCEP will be the largest regional trade agreement in the world,” Vietnam news agency reported Lim saying on Monday.
It added that the ASEAN leader urged AIPA Member Parliaments to complete their respective ratification process of the deal at the earliest possible time.
He said the theme of this year’s General Assembly, ‘Forging Parliamentary Cooperation in Digital Inclusion towards ASEAN Community 2025’, is highly relevant amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The pace of digital technology adoption and the prevalence of digital solutions in the region have picked up during the pandemic.
This positive trend is expected to carry on into the ‘new normal’, he stated.
According to the Secretary-General, ASEAN is currently developing the Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap on Digital Transformation and Recovery to leverage the ongoing digital transformation happening in the region. Among others, this would be achieved through strengthening capacities and coordination mechanisms on digital transformation, cross-border payment interoperability, and greater intellectual property protection.
“Our digital integration agenda will also be further cemented through the Consolidated Strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he affirmed.
As the region’s lead parliamentary organization, AIPA has significantly contributed to cooperation and development across the three community pillars of ASEAN, he said.
He added that AIPA plays a key role in transposing regional commitments to national laws, expediting the ratification of ASEAN agreements, aligning domestic laws with regional priorities, as well as monitoring law implementations across the region.