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PM attends Standard Chartered-ASEAN Business Forum 2020

As ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended and delivered a speech at the Standard Chartered-ASEAN Business Forum 2020 themed “Unlocking the region’s potential”, which was televised on international medial channels.

The event, which is being held from August 25-28, drew the attendance of leaders of businesses and organisations from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US to discuss emerging trends that could shape the future of the region.

In his speech at the first session entitled “Tapping growth opportunities during and after COVID-19”, PM Phuc said in the face of challenges caused by COVID-19, the ASEAN Community has shown its strong will and spirit of resilience, actively cooperated with partners via the implementation of resolutions adopted at the meetings of economic ministers with the US, Australia and the European Union and joint statements of ASEAN and ASEAN+3 summits with China, Japan, the Republic of Korea held in Hanoi in April.

Boasting a gross domestic product of nearly 3 trillion USD and a population of over 630 million with growing incomes, ASEAN is a big market for ambitious businesses worldwide, he said, adding that Vietnam joined the bloc 25 years ago and signed 13 free trade agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in 2019 and the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement in 2020.

PM Phuc stressed that Vietnam always welcomes foreign firms and investors. With an improving favourable business environment, Vietnam has so far attracted over 32,000 foreign-invested projects with a total capital of more than 380 billion USD from 140 countries and partners, he said.

Towards the ASEAN Vision 2025 and 2030, the PM shared ASEAN’s strong economic cooperation policies. Firstly, ASEAN member states will continue staying united, promoting the bloc’s central role in regional economic collaboration, prioritising coordination with partner nations and foreign enterprises.

ASEAN attaches importance to law abidance and building of stable and sustainable cooperation frameworks, especially for the development of a digital economy. ASEAN is competitive enough to attract shift of supply chains in the region.

According to the PM, ASEAN is striving to invest in hard and soft infrastructure, with a focus on human resources quality improvement. It is working to narrow the development gap and expand coordination in the Greater Mekong Sub-region which holds potential to lure investment flows.

The PM affirmed that ASEAN treasures the partnerships between businesses and governments. Recommendations raised at the forum will be collected and considered thoroughly, he added.

Following PM Phuc's speech, a discussion attracted the participation of Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore; Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan; and CEO of Standard Chartered Bill Winters.

The event features four sessions, in which speakers from the State and private sector will talk about the grouping’s trade opportunities amid geo-political challenges, strategies to maintain growth and the best practices for sustainable development.

Standard Chartered Regional CEO for ASEAN and South Asia Judy Hsu said it is time for parties concerned to seek new opportunities in the region which boasts young and dynamic workforce, growing middle-income class and vibrant digital economy.