Keynote Address By The Hon. Prof. Dr. Kan Zaw, Union Minister For National Planning And Economic Development, Chairman Of 2014 ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting, Republic Of The Union Of Myanmar Myanmar In ASEAN: Towards The AEC
8 September 2014, Four Season Hotel, Singapore
Excellency ABC Forum Chairman
Distinguished Speakers and Panelists
Ladies and gentlemen
At the outset, I am privilege to give this Keynote Address at this ASEAN Business Club Forum and honour to update about how Myanmar is in ASEAN and its endeavours for the ASEAN Economic Community. Firstly, I am delighted to extend my warmest greetings to the President (Chairman) of ABC Forum for hosting and inviting me to participate in this important ABC Forum 2014 for partnership and prosperity of ASEAN.
We are pleased with the steps taken by the governments of ASEAN Member States, and various international organisations and civil society in the implementation of the ASEAN Community by 2015. The legacy of regional integration in Southeast Asia which has been marked its 47th Anniversary this year which also coincided with Myanmar’s Chairmanship after her 17years of full membership.
As we all know, ASEAN is built on a diversity of cultures and ideas, and such diversity has consolidated ASEAN solidarity. It is also obvious that such diversity has reinvigorated ASEAN. This unity in diversity of ASEAN plays the utmost importance in this region and paving the way for a strong and harmonised regional organisation.
Moreover, our longstanding partnership for more than 47 years proven that ASEAN will be a region of harmony and unity of new ideas; and ASEAN will be a beacon of hope for sustainable peace and prosperity for this region; ASEAN will be One nation of Ten countries and One identity at all. Since we move on to the new phase of ASEAN with outward looking and its sharing and caring community, we can look back with pride of many achievements ASEAN and its members have accomplished together.
Ladies and gentlemen
For Myanmar, during its 17 years of membership, we have come across many milestones and seasoned the ties that bound among not only with Six senior ASEAN Members but also with CLV. We all unitedly stand for striving against all kinds of disasters; from manmade to natural, social engagements and disaster management and promoting the ASEAN awareness, social networking and protection, Since, we are driving to “Standing together and moving in unity”, we all have to first pay attention to narrowing the development gap that exists among members. The development gap is the disparity among ASEAN Member Countries on measures like per capita income, life expectancy and literacy rates, etc. When we evaluate how far we have reached and how much we have to do to achieve our destiny are the challenges for all of us.
For the AEC, we have to accelerate ASEAN economic integration and work out for sustainable economic development; enhance East Asian economic and financial cooperation, wherein ASEAN plays a central role; and actively contribute to the common efforts of the international community through the promotion of global solutions.
With regards to intra-ASEAN integration, we should give guidance on the strict adherence to and full implementation of the existing agreements, including those on narrowing development gap, while at the same time set the direction for the development of a Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity to foster closer linkages on infrastructure, transport, and information technology, especially in the Mekong Sub-region.
The initiatives for the narrowing the development gap which shall remain an important task to ensure the benefits of ASEAN integration and we all emphasized for its importance. The initiatives undertaken for the effective implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN lntegration (IAl) and other sub-regional frameworks play effective role to decrease the narrowing the gap among ASEAN.
This year, Myanmar during its Chairmanship can make the fruitful deliberation under the theme “Moving forward in Unity; to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community”. His Excellency U Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar delivered a key note speech at the Opening Ceremony of the 47th the celebration of the 47th AMM which was held in conjunction with Anniversary of ASEAN and highlighted that ASEAN, which has taken concrete steps over the last forty seven years journey, is now at the threshold of entering into the ASEAN Community in 2015. Stressing the significance of the 2014, he made a call for ASEAN to promote solidarity, effectiveness and competitiveness in order to overcome internal and external challenges as well as maintaining ASEAN centrality and unity.
Moreover, we are committed THREE Tasks during our Chairmanship: First was to make sure the timely implementation of the ASEAN Community Blueprints. The second was the on-going works of the High Level Task Force to strengthen the ASEAN Secretariat and to review ASEAN Organs which aimed to enhance institutional strength and procedural coherence of ASEAN. The third was the important task of envisioning the future of the ASEAN Community beyond 2015 which has been carried out by the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group on ASEAN Community’s Post 2015 Vision.
Ladies and gentlemen
Since ASEAN is in the process of building the ASEAN Community, the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration and ASEAN Centrality have been supported by Dialogue Partners. ASEAN and its dialogue partners have agreed to bolster their collaboration through the effective implementation of existing joint action plans between the bloc and each partner, focusing on economics, trade, investment, culture, tourism and programmes to narrow development gaps and adapt to climate change.
By recognizing ASEAN’s Vision, we try to turn into reality by setting the goal of building an ASEAN Community comprising three pillars; namely political-security community, economic community and socio-cultural community, all of which are closely intertwined and mutually reinforcing for the purpose of ensuring durable peace, stability and shared prosperity in the region.
Myanmar is also aware of the ASEAN Charter which has made of a spirit of new ASEAN and together with our ASEAN Members, we reaffirm our commitment to accelerating the establishment of the ASEAN Community, comprising those three pillars, by 5 years to 2015.
Moreover, tolerance and patience becoming hallmarks of moving things along in the ASEAN Way, and painstakingly build consensus through friendly consultations is a success of ASEAN Way too.
Here, I would like to inform that the progress has made towards the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community with the implementation of 82.1% of the 229 priority key deliverables identified for completion by 2013, particularly, the achievements made in trade facilitation, standards and conformance, financial services and capital account liberalisation, competition policy and law, infrastructure, and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). During the 46th AEM and the related Meetings which were held at Nay Pyi Taw recently, three priority areas; SMEs development, enhancing public-private partnership and moving ASEAN and AEC beyond 2015, have been identified and implemented as the key deliverables for this year in order to accelerate the realization of the AEC by 2015.
We also agreed to table the Monitoring Report of ASEAN Framework on Equitable Economic Development (AFEED) at the upcoming 25th of ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have been welcome in order to deepen and
broaden the economic relations between ASEAN and its existing FTA partners. We can also make the cooperation in the health sector and mutual recognition arrangement on accountancy services, 9th of commitments under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) and free flow of investment.
I consider one of the most promising aspects for our future is ASEAN’s engagement with the business sector. As the engine of economic growth, businesses are well-positioned to provide important feedback to policymakers on the effectiveness of our interventions.
Myanmar is tremendously proud to chair ASEAN in 2014, for the first time in our 17 year membership. I consider that our chairmanship year is proceeding well due to the support of the AEC Ministers and ASEAN Secretariat.
In my conclusion , we are going to reach 2015 after a year from now. We have to evaluate what we have committed. I hope Myanmar can move forward together in unity for the commitments that ASEAN has made towards the 2015 AEC and beyond.
In accord to our theme of 2014: “Moving forward in Unity; to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community” we look ahead, to accomplish to ensure peace, promote progress and shared prosperity. I would like to reiterate my gratitude to the Organizers of this ABC 2014 Forum and wish all the success.
Thank you !
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