BANGKOK, Sept 10 — Thailand has proposed to set up ASEAN Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Recovery Facility for post-COVID-19 recovery in the region.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai has put forward the proposal when joining the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53) via video conference from Bangkok on Wednesday.

“The Deputy Prime Minister proposed setting up an ASEAN SMEs Recovery Facility as a new financing facility for the post-COVID-19 recovery and revival of SMEs in the region,” it said.

The AMM-53 and related meetings kicked-off yesterday until Saturday, with discussions on COVID-19 set to be one of the main agenda together with the preparation for the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in November.

The meeting was chaired by Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Pham Binh Minh, and attended by Secretary-General of ASEAN Datuk Lim Jock Hoi and all ASEAN Foreign Ministers.

Vietnam is the Chair of ASEAN 2020.

The statement said AMM-53 discussed ways to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain the continuity of the global supply chain, especially in medical supplies and equipment.

“The ASEAN Foreign Ministers underscored the urgent need for ASEAN to collectively address economic recovery post-COVID-19,” it said.

The statement said ASEAN Foreign Ministers discussed regional situations of common concern such as the South China Sea, irregular migration in the Indian Ocean, and the situation in the Korean Peninsula, and also received updates regarding the situation in Rakhine State in the context of developmental impacts from COVID-19.

The MFA said Don also joined the 27th ASEAN Coordinating Council and discussed the progress and ongoing efforts of ASEAN in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and reiterated the commitment to further expedite the implementation of the ASEAN Leaders’ decision on the matter including enhancing cooperation on vaccine development and research as well as encouraging the effective operationalisation of the COVID-19 Response Fund.

Thailand underscored the importance of human security, utilisation of digital technology, and enhancing sustainable development to support post-COVID-19 recovery, it said.

During the Special Session of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting on Sub-Regional Development, initiated by Vietnam to discuss ASEAN’s role on sub-regional development, Don highlighted the core objective of ASEAN integration, including narrowing development gaps, sustainable development, and human capital development, which would help drive forward development in the sub-regions.

“He (Don) further emphasised the importance of enhanced regional connectivity, particularly among various economic corridors within sub-regional frameworks, which would leverage ASEAN position in a global value and supply chain,” it said.


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