ASEAN Leaders are all set to convene at the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings, in a virtual manner, from 9 – 15 November 2020. Hosted by Vietnam who is the ASEAN Chair for 2020, Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali will be participating in the Summit, alongside Foreign Minister YB Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. The Malaysian delegation at the virtual Summit will be led by Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Central to the outcome of the 37th ASEAN Summit is the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, making this grouping the largest FTA in the world covering nearly half of the world’s population while contributing one third of the world’s GDP. The RCEP Agreement, which has been in negotiation since 2013, would enhance regional economic integration, promote the flow of investments and strengthen global supply chains.

With ASEAN Member States still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summit will therefore be an ideal platform to discuss ways and means to deal with the health and economic challenges. Under the theme “Cohesive and Responsive”, Member States will also focus on how best to enhance unity, cooperation and solidarity towards regional economic integration.

Prior to the Leaders’ Summit, the Economic Ministers will convene at the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council Meeting and discuss tangible solutions and the way forward to support the recovery of the regional economy by keeping markets open for trade and investment. In this regard, the proposed ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and its implementation plan, will be submitted for the ASEAN Leaders’ endorsement at the Summit. According to Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali, “Our expectation is for the ACRF to be implemented so as to provide sustainable solutions to economic recovery made all the more imperative because of COVID-19.”

The meetings will also feature customary Summits with ASEAN Dialogue Partners, namely the 23rd ASEAN-China Summit, the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit, the 21st ASEAN-ROK Summit, the 8th ASEAN-US Summit, the ASEAN-New Zealand Leaders’ Summit, the 2nd ASEAN-Australia Leaders’ Summit, the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit, the 15th East Asia Summit, the 11th ASEAN-UN Summit, and the 17th ASEAN-India Summit. These Summits with Dialogue Partners are expected to advance further cooperation in multiple areas, with emphasis on stretching trade relations especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 ASEAN Business Investment Summit is also scheduled to take place in conjunction with the 37th ASEAN Summit, with the theme “Digital ASEAN: Sustainable and Inclusive.” The 2020 ASEAN BIS is expected to host not only the ASEAN Leaders and Dialogue Partners, but also ASEAN and global CEOs, prominent decision makers, think tanks as well as thought leaders. The 2020 ASEAN BIS will culminate with the ASEAN Business Award event which will honour excellent businesses across the region, in particular, enterprises that have shown the spirit to overcome challenges in these trying times.


8 NOVEMBER 2020