Logistics crucial in regional economic integration

Lyna Mohamad

The logistics sector plays a pivotal role for ASEAN integration into regional and global value chains which accounts for about five per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the region, said 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 at the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting yesterday.

In view of the sector’s significant role in fostering economic development, the minister added that it is important to ensure a well-developed and efficient logistics network, due to its impact on the economic activities, trade cost competitiveness and supply chain connectivity.

“We were pleased to work with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and ASEAN Secretariat in embarking this project three years ago, as part of the ASEAN Competition Action Plan (ACAP) 2016-2025, towards a more pro-competitive regulations and elimination of competition distortions, to enhance market efficiencies,” he said.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew also pointed out that five sectors – transport by road, inland waterway and maritime, freight forwarding, warehousing, small package delivery services and value-added services are the key for the development of the enterprise sector, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and new start-ups, which can generate economic growth and employment.

An assessment of the impact of state-owned enterprises on competition entitled OECD Competitive Neutrality Reviews: Small-Package Delivery Services in ASEAN was also carried out by the OECD, which has become more relevant, due to the rapid growth of e-commerce amid the COVID-19 crisis.

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 shows the reports during the meeting. PHOTO: ASEAN SECRETARIAT

While the project started in 2018, the minister said the policy recommendations have taken into account the issues as a result of COVID-19 pandemic and thus remain relevant in addressing the structural and regulatory shortcomings.

“I believe this can help ASEAN economies pursue a more sustainable growth and create job opportunities by enhancing competitiveness, encouraging investment and stimulating productivity in the logistics service sector.

“The current economic and pandemic crisis confronting ASEAN and the world has brought on the need to reset competition policy and its implementation to suit the current economic and social context,” said the minister, adding that “competition policy and law cannot work in isolation from other public policies and must be complemented by related industrial policies to support a competitive business environment”.

For Brunei Darussalam, the Competition Commission Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) strives to work with the government to enhance synergy between competition law and competition policies in enhancing market efficiencies and improving consumer welfare while maintaining healthy public finances.

CCBD will continue to engage with relevant regulators and raise awareness on the two OECD reports.

The competition assessment review is hoped to be a reference for other sectors in promoting the inclusion of competition dimension and execution of public policies.

The minister added, “We look forward to continuing and broadening cooperation with the OECD and ASEAN partners to adopt relevant recommendations and best regulatory practices, to deliver tangible outcomes in improving this very crucial sector, to the benefit of our people.”