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Eight Priorities to Provide Lasting Benefits for ASEAN Community Building: Minister

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The eight priority deliverables determined under Laos’ ASEAN Chairmanship this year will yield longlasting benefits in pushing forward the realisation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and regional development, a minister has said.

Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office and ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting Leader of Laos, Mr. Alounkeo Kittikhoun, made the comment when addressing the media yesterday after Laos successfully hosted the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and related summits that were held back-to-back in Vientiane last week.

As Laos chairs ASEAN in 2016 following the establishment of the ASEAN Community at the end of last year and the adoption of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 – Laos’ chairmanship set priorities for realising this vision, he said.

The theme Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community under Laos’ ASEAN chairmanship reflects the importance attached to realising this vision.

Mr. Alounkeo described the eight priority deliverables under Laos’ ASEAN chairmanship as longlasting assets that would drive regional development.

The eight priorities cover critical areas of trade facilitation, food safety, access to finance for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), an enabling environment for MSMEs, tourism, special economic zone development and collaboration, and narrowing the development gap among the ASEAN member states.

The minister welcomed the adoption of the third Work Plan of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI Work Plan III), in which the leaders of the founding ASEAN member countries committed to help lessen the development gap between all ASEAN members.

He said Laos prioritised trade facilitation because of the fact that there was room to improve and facilitate cross-border trade in order to boost trade and investment in the region.

Given that MSMEs have been fundamental to the ASEAN economy, especially in Laos where MSMEs account for more than 90 percent of all registered business units, Laos has prioritised the sector as one of the drivers of regional growth.

The concept, he said, is to facilitate the MSMEs to access finance.

Enhanced regional growth requires a strong network of connectivity and ASEAN leaders have adopted the Vientiane Declaration Plan to push forward connectivity, he said.

The minister added that a number of documents had been compiled to translate and realise the eight priorities, and documents concerning trade facilitation had been adopted by the ASEAN leaders.

The framework document (on trade facilitation) will be in use for a long time, Mr Alounkeo said.

Prioritising special economic zone development will enable ASEAN member countries to work together to develop uniform guidelines to regulate and manage the zones to maximise their development and cooperation among the ASEAN member countries.

Mr. Alounkeo hailed Laos’ successful ASEAN chairmanship and the country’s hosting of the summits, during which a number of joint statements were issued.

 

Source: Vientiane Times