BANGKOK, 14 January 2018 - ASEAN kicked-off the year with another strong start as more than 900 participants attended the Special Session on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), held in Bangkok today.

Co-organised by the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand and the ASEAN Secretariat on the sidelines of the 9th Committee of the Whole for the ASEAN Economic Community, the event provided an interactive platform for ASEAN stakeholders to be updated by key experts, have an open dialogue on, and provide inputs to ASEAN’s work on the 4IR.

In his welcome remarks, Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi highlighted that “new technologies are bringing down barriers, connecting us better and in new and different ways; revolutionising the nature of cross-border relations and economic interactions across ASEAN.” He further emphasised that the scale of the changes compels everyone to work together, as the region’s prospects have now become so closely interlinked.

The Minister of Commerce of the Kingdom of Thailand Sontirat Sotijirawong delivered a keynote speech in which he stressed that the economy and society of the future would have to rely on creativity, innovation, and connectivity between technology and the production system to create competitiveness and increase productivity in driving sustainable economic growth.  Achieving economic development that is stable, sustainable, and inclusive can be done with everyone working together in tandem, he reiterated.

The insights and exchange of ideas from the Special Session will contribute to the discussions on ASEAN’s next steps in embracing the 4IR, including in coming up with strategic and coordinated responses to address challenges and seize opportunities from the phenomenon.