THE Asean video conference summit got under way this morning (14.4.2020) with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha suggesting that five measures be adopted to battle against the coronavirus pandemic with one being the establishment of “Asean Response Fund,” PostToday reported.
Speaking to the Asean leaders from Government House, Gen Prayut mentioned that leading private sector research institutions such as McKinsey project that global GDP will shrink by 1.5% this year but if the pandemic drags on it could plunge by as much as 4.7%.
Moreover United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has said that developing countries will be the hardest hit and may lose over US$200 billion.
Narumon Pinyosinwat, govenrment spokesman, said the five measures Premier Prayut is tabling for adoption are as follows:
- Asean plus three cooperate in all sectors and jointly establish an “Asean Response Fund” with funds they already have in hand that can be agreed upon for use in fighting the Covid-19 outbreak.This could be channeled to purchase test kits, medicine, vaccine and medical equipment as well as personal protection gear and would help Asean be more self-reliant in the long run.
- Asean should work together in easing logistics, facilitating the transportation of goods, speeding up customs clearance and promoting border trade between each other so that consumers can obtain sufficient amounts of medical equipment and other necessities in a timely manner.
- Promote digital economy within Asean to further spread new technology and boost electronic commerce . Prime Minister Prayut is proposing that electronic payment linkages be expedited, particularly the use of standard QR code which would streamline trade within the bloc.
- Asean use the lessons and experiences in the battle against the coronavirus to better prepare for such challenges in future. Sufficiency economy is another option that could reduce the economic impact and help strengthen self-reliance in the long run.
- Strengthen the role of Asean secretary-general as coordinator of assistance in critical situations so that this is channeled systematically and on time.
Prime Minister Prayut talking to other Asean leaders via video conference at Government House this morning. Photo: PostToday