As part of the 53rd Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM), the Philippines joined the second round of the AEM-Dialogue Partner Consultations on 14 September 2021, via video conference. ASEAN met with the European Union, Hong Kong, China, India, Russia and the United States.

Ministers highlighted the importance of continued cooperation in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, including through equitable access to and distribution of vaccines, medicines, and essential medical equipment. On this note, the ASEAN Ministers welcomed the vaccine donations and financial and medical assistance provided by dialogue partners to their respective countries. Cooperation activities with dialogue partners on areas such as digital transformation, human capital development, green and sustainable economy, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) development, and supply chain resilience were also endorsed by Ministers.

There were also interfaces between Ministers and business groups where it was underscored that private sector participation is important in coming up with concrete initiatives to facilitate economic recovery. The US-ASEAN Business Advisory Council lauded the support and assistance provided by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Lopez for the US-funded project on ASEAN SME Academy, an online training tool and information portal to develop globally competitive MSMEs.

The Philippines was represented by DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. He was joined by fellow Trade Ministers from other ASEAN Member States and official representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, and dialogue partners. The last set of dialogue partner consultations will be on 15 September 2021 with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and members of the East Asia Summit (EAS). ♦

Date of Release: 14 September 2021