JAKARTA, 5 May 2021 - The Accelerated COVID-19 Economic Support (ACES) Workshop entitled “Turning Adversity into Opportunity: ASEAN’s Participation in Global Value Chains in a-Post COVID World” took place today via videoconference.

Supported by the United Kingdom (UK), the ACES programme kicked-off in 2020 to bring analytics and data to inform decision-making, and support acceleration of post-COVID economic recovery. The workshop aimed to provide greater understanding of ASEAN’s GVCs challenges and opportunities in the post-pandemic recovery and discusses ways forward to advance the region’s GVCs agenda.

Representatives of 21 ASEAN Sectoral Bodies from the ASEAN Economic and Socio-Cultural Community pillars attended the workshop, which was conducted in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group.

In his welcoming remarks, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Satvinder Singh highlighted that ‘’despite external shocks such as COVID-19 and global trade tensions, GVCs are here to stay, and will continue to be an important growth strategy for ASEAN.’’

‘’These shocks have transformed the GVCs, making them more regionalised, promoting more diversification, and putting resilience and sustainability considerations to the forefront. Fresh GVC growth of activities will help the economies of ASEAN recoup, and replace job displacements and bring sustained recovery growth to the region and ASEAN stands a good chance in reaping the benefit from these emerging trends,” he further added.

However, Singh warned that this endeavour will not come automatic, and ASEAN should focus its efforts to improve its overall competitiveness through good regulatory practice, critical infrastructure development, better connectivity, and human capital development.

On his part, UK Ambassador to ASEAN Jon Lambe indicated that AEC’s focus areas this year – recovery, digitalisation, and sustainability – are priorities that the UK shares. “Together we will not overcome the pandemic, but also stimulate a rapid, inclusive, and sustainable recovery,’’ he said.

UK Trade Commissioner for Asia-Pacific Sam Myers added that ‘’the GVC focus in ACES programme fittingly aims to understand what [COVID-19] situation implies for ASEAN, and how economies can turn this adversity into opportunity.’’

At the workshop, the Boston Consulting Group presented the cross-cutting imperatives for accelerating and future proofing GVCs in the post COVID-19 world, and the impact of pandemic on four value chains namely; Automotive; Textiles and Apparels; Medical Technology; and Consumer Electronics. Participants joined panel sessions discussing the upgrading of industry basics and the imperatives of the next phase of innovation.

The workshop also highlighted the importance of cross-sectoral coordination and collaboration and evidence-based analysis to ASEAN’s discussions on its GVC work going forward.