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ASEANs Post-Pandemic Recovery Highlighted at the 5th High-Level Dialogue on ASEAN - Italy Economic Relations

6 October 2021

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Rome/Kuala Lumpur, 6 October 2021: The 2021 edition of the High-Level Dialogue on ASEAN – Italy Economic Relations gathered senior policymakers from ASEAN and Italy to discuss priorities, opportunities, and challenges for an inclusive post-pandemic recovery. Special Adviser to the President of the Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Professor Akiko Yamanaka participated and represented ERIA at the event. The event was co-organised by a leading European thinktank, European House Ambrosetti, the Italy – ASEAN Association, and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.

Prof Akiko Yamanaka presented ERIA’s latest research on the role of ASEAN in global production networks and trends during the pandemic as part of the panel discussion on ‘The Recovery Scenario of the ASEAN Region.’ She stated that production networks across ASEAN and East Asia have proven to be remarkably resilient thus illustrating their important role in the global value chain. However, production networks across Southeast Asia and East Asia must adapt to contribute to the post-pandemic recovery by accelerating digital adoption and moving towards a sustainable and green technology model of production. Prof Yamanaka added that greater support will be required to assist Southeast Asia’s micro, small, and medium enterprises in their digital adoption journey. Prof Yamanaka called attention to a post-pandemic recovery that is inclusive and can benefit the broadest possible groups across societies.

The high-level dialogue began with an Introductory Remarks session which featured Opening Speeches from four esteemed guests; CEO of the European House Ambrosetti, Mr Valerio De Molli chaired the session. President of the Italy-ASEAN Association and former Prime Minister of Italy and former President of the European Commission, Prof Romano Prodi highlighted Italy’s strong economic performance during the beginning of the post-pandemic phase. He further underscored the importance of establishing strong Italy – ASEAN relations particularly during a period of potential prolonged which highlighted geopolitical instability.

In his Opening Speech, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia H.E. Mr Lim Ban Hong pushed for greater collaboration to further advance technological capabilities and high tech across ASEAN and Italy. Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community, H.E. Mr Satvinder Singh explained the key roles of trade and investment in supporting Southeast Asia’s post-pandemic recovery during his speech. He also underlined Italy’s importance as an ASEAN partner and expressed his gratitude for their generous contribution to the ASEAN Health Response Fund. Furthermore, H.E. Mr Singh called for equitable vaccine distribution to aid in post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Deputy Director-General and Principal Director for the Countries of Asia and Oceania, Directorate-General for Global Affairs, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Gabriella Biondi discussed the significance of ASEAN centrality and Italy’s strategic interest in the region especially in strengthening the Italy – ASEAN partnership in the field of development. Ms Biondi explained in her speech how stronger collaboration between the two partners can enhance peace and security in the Indo Pacific. She added that without the latter two, economic progress would be difficult to achieve.

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