The Ninth Issue of the ASEAN Economic Integration Brief (AEIB), or the first for this year, comes as the region is still grappling with the pandemic. Countries in the region have started respective vaccination programmes and economies are slowly and cautiously reopening, but resurgences in cases, vaccination delays, and the threat of new variants of the virus continue to pose uncertainties.

The Year 2021 also marks the start of the second phase of implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025. The Mid-Term Review of the Blueprint has been completed and provides valuables lessons and recommendations to guide the next phase of the AEC.