Discussion to bring Sultanate’s priorities as ASEAN Chair for 2021 under the spotlight

Aziz Idris

The UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC) and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) will host an online discussion on Brunei Darussalam’s priorities as ASEAN Chair for 2021 at 4pm on January 19.

According to a UKABC press release, the forum will feature keynote addresses by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah and United Kingdom (UK) Minister of State for Trade Policy in the Department for International Trade Greg Hands.

A panel discussion on the region’s economic outlook for the year ahead will also be held with senior government, business and thought leaders from both the UK and Southeast Asia.

The forum, themed ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’, aims at strengthening ASEAN’s solidarity and reinforcing ASEAN’s centrality, while ensuring the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is inclusive and sustainable across the ASEAN community.

Ten Priority Economic Deliverables have been identified and divided into three strategic thrusts of recovery, digitalisation and sustainability. To support these goals, ASEAN will need to prepare its human resources with the right skills for a digital age, in response to changes brought on by the outbreak and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0).

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah. PHOTO: MOFE

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) forecast for Southeast Asia’s growth in 2021 is at 5.2 per cent. As several of ASEAN’s larger economies are still hampered by COVID-19, the rollout of the vaccine is crucial for the reopening of economies. While overall regional growth is positive, the ADB has forecast uneven growth by ASEAN member states this year with all facing the impact on lives and livelihoods from the pandemic as well as geo-political uncertainty.

Legislative Council member and ASEAN BAC Chair Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman said, “The ASEAN business community, through my council, looks forward to fully supporting Brunei’s chairmanship of ASEAN. We will continue to push priority policy recommendations and launch private-sector led programmes and projects to aid economic and business recovery in this challenging year.”

Meanwhile, UKABC Chair Baroness Neville-Rolfe noted that “the UK-ASEAN economic partnership is an important one with two-way trade worth over GBP42 billion with great potential for more. We look forward to supporting Brunei’s Priority Economic Deliverables and Southeast Asia’s recovery in the year ahead”.

The important event will explore the major themes and issues that economies and businesses in Southeast Asia will face as ASEAN, and under the chairmanship of Brunei, seeks to recover and overcome the challenges brought on by COVID-19.

Those interested to join the online event can register at https://www.ukabc.org.uk/event/ukabc-forum-on-bruneis-chairmanship-of-asean-2021/.