President Guy Parmelin in dialogue with economy minsters from ASEAN nations
Bern, 13.09.2021 - President Guy Parmelin, the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), held an online roundtable discussion with the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and several economic affairs ministers from the association’s member states. The dialogue was used to identify potential areas for economic cooperation.
The Assocation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional cooperation comprised of Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Switzerland became a sectoral dialogue partner of the association five years ago. The ASEAN economies continue to gain importance and still hold significant growth potential. Last year, the trade volume between Switzerland and the ASEAN member states was around CHF 30 billion. According to the Swiss National Bank, Swiss companies have so far invested a total of CHF 44 billion in ASEAN member states.
The dialogue on Monday was the second of its kind, following up on a meeting in 2020. The online meeting focused on the ongoing negotiations on a declaration on cooperation on free trade issues between EFTA countries and ASEAN. Mr Parmelin and the ASEAN economic affairs ministers also discussed digitalisation and e-commerce. ASEAN is looking to take a leading role as a digital organisation and economy with its recently adopted ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025. Mr Parmelin emphasised the importance of having a general agreement in place for digital commerce in order for all parties to fully exploit the benefits of digital technologies, particularly with regards to legal certainty, non-discriminatory market access and an open internet. Cooperation and support in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic was also an important topic.
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