Pictured from left to right: Deputy Secretary General Hairil Yahri Yaacob of Malaysia, H.E. Alfredo E. Pascual of the Philippines, H.E. Gan Kim Yong of Singapore, H.E. Ekachat Seetavorarat of Thailand, H.E. Nguyen Sinh Nhat Tan of Viet Nam, H.E. Airlangga Hartarto, AECC Chair of Indonesia, H.E. Jerry Sabuaga of Indonesia, Alternate AECC Lead of Indonesia, H.E. Manonthong Vongsay of Lao PDR, H.E. Dato Dr. Amin Liew Abdullah of Brunei Darussalam, H.E. Pan Sorasak of Cambodia, H.E. Joaquim Amaral of Timor-Leste, and Secretary-General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn of the ASEAN Secretariat.

Jakarta Indonesia—DTI Secretary Fred Pascual joined fellow ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) in advancing ASEAN’s sustainability agenda during the 22nd Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Community Council (AECC) on 07 May 2023 at Jakarta, Indonesia.

Under Indonesia’s ASEAN 2023 Chairmanship theme of “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”, the AEM recognized the need to harness the region’s sustainability initiatives, such as pursuing transition to clean energy and development of relevant frameworks for carbon neutrality and electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem at the regional level, among others.

In line with the EV initiative, the AEM finalized and endorsed for adoption of Leaders at the 42nd ASEAN Summit the Declaration on Developing Regional Electric Vehicle Ecosystem. The Declaration institutionalizes regional cooperation and collaboration as well as discussions on standards on e-vehicle in the region. Under this initiative, it is envisioned that the Southeast Asian region can serve as a global production hub for EV industry.

According to Secretary Pascual, the initiative is timely as the Philippines positions itself as a manufacturing hub in the region.

“We are happy to inform Member States that the Philippines has signed the Republic Act 11697 also known as the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act or EVIDA, which was promulgated on 15 April 2022. This legislation reflects our strong commitment toward a greener mobility and fossil fuel-free environment. We are also currently working on our EV Incentive Strategy to encourage more EV investments in the country,” said the DTI Secretary.

He also stressed that an initiative like this places ASEAN in a stronger position to further attract hi-tech investments and create high-value jobs, especially on the ongoing global shift to EVs.

Secretary Pascual also reaffirmed the country’s commitment toward ASEAN’s sustainability agenda, which can boost economic competitiveness and complements PH’s existing domestic reforms.

Likewise, he stressed the need, however, to take into account different levels of development among ASEAN Members State (AMS) in advancing other sustainability initiatives in the region, especially in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, accelerating the energy transition, decarbonizing the land transport sector in the region.

The AEM then welcomed the implementation of the initial phase of the Circular Economy Implementation Plan, which focuses on agriculture, energy, and transportation as high-value sectors relevant in reducing carbon emissions.

On carbon neutrality, Secretary Pascual expressed support for the initial development of a regional strategy. He emphasized, however, that “The deliberation on the definition, objectives, scope of action plan, monitoring and evaluation mechanism, and timeline for the implementation plan must, however, take into consideration the different levels of development among AMS as well as prioritize adaptation given high vulnerability of the region to the impacts of climate change.”

Other regional integration initiatives supported by the AEM include the monitoring of progress in the implementation of the AEC Blueprint 2025, development of the Post-2025 Vision, and implementation of Indonesia’s Priority Economic Deliverables under its ASEAN 2023 Chairmanship.

At this Meeting, Timor-Leste’s inaugural participation in the 22nd AECC was welcomed by the AEM. The 22nd AECC Meeting was held in preparation for the 42nd ASEAN Leaders’ Summit and Related Summit on 10-11 May 2023 in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia.*

Date of release: 09 May 2023