ASEAN economic ministers ink investment, trade pacts

The ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA) and the fourth protocol amending the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) were inked by ASEAN economic ministers in Thailand on April 23.

At the signing ceremony of the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement. (Photo: VNA)
At the signing ceremony of the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement. (Photo: VNA)

The signing was completed as part of the framework of the 25th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM)’s Retreat, which took place in Phuket from April 22 to 23.

At the AEM’s Retreat, ASEAN economic leaders discussed, reviewed, and outlined solutions to economic cooperation contents within the bloc in 2019, and set orientations for the time ahead.

The AEM gathering highlighted economic cooperation within the ASEAN bloc and discussed measures to bolster collaboration with foreign partners, including ASEAN participation in restructuring the World Trade Organisation and speeding up the conclusions of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year.

In an interview after the conference, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, who led the Vietnamese delegation, said the ministers are concerned over the negotiation progress as talks for several items still fell short of expectation.

Khanh said that ASEAN needs to play a central role in negotiations so that they can be completed by the end of this year.

On the sidelines of the event, the Vietnamese delegation had a bilateral meeting with Indonesia, discussing solutions to promoting two-way trade.