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ERIAs Capacity Building Goes Online with Pandemic Policy Webinar

2 June 2020

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Naypyitaw, 28 May 2020: On 27 and 28 May, ERIA’s Capacity Building Programme went online for the first time with two webinars for 30 government officials and key business and women’s associations' stakeholder in Myanmar. The programme, ‘Pandemic (COVID 19) Policy, Trade, and Economic Cooperation’, focused on ‘Pandemic Shocks and Structural Transformation in East Asia’ on the first day, and ‘Relief, Stimulus, and Recovery of GVC in East Asia’ on the second.

Each day’s session lasted for 3.5 hours, with the presentation and discussions led by Prof. Shandre Thangavelu on the University of Adelaide’s Institute of International Trade and the Jeffrey Cheah Institute of Southeast Asia, Sunway University.

The webinar session was opened by Director General U Than Aung Kyaw of the Foreign Economic Relations Dept, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, and Vanessa Hegarty, First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Myanmar. The event was moderated by ERIA’s Director of Capacity Building, Jeremy Gross.

In his opening comments, Director-General U Than Aung Kyaw noted the challenges posed by the pandemic, and how the responses to the pandemic must be simultaneous, comprehensive, inclusive and coordinated. He noted Myanmar supports the findings and recommendations of ERIA’s Policy Brief, ‘Pandemic (Covid-19) Policy, Regional Cooperation, and the Emerging Global Production Network’, and that Myanmar is ready to cooperate with other countries in the region. He also thanked ERIA and Australia for providing Myanmar this opportunity to learn.

Vanessa Hegarty, in her opening comments, noted that pandemic shocks are different from economic shocks and that this workshop would discuss the key differences. She noted that around regional trade and investment there would be a shift to the new normal, but that this shift would affect all our lives.  She also noted that regional cooperation is key for managing the pandemic, and this workshop would outline the opportunities for this.

The webinars focused on the economic and social effects of the pandemic, such as disruptions in production and the services sector. Discussions were held around (i) health and economic policies for better outcomes; (ii) the importance of regional cooperation through the ASEAN Pandemic Task Force to oversee and coordinate policy responses across ASEAN; (iii) the importance of creating leading indicators for pandemic shocks (a Pandemic Preparedness Score Index); and (iv) the importance of Global Value Chain (GVC). Participants also raised questions about job creation during and after the pandemic, the private sector and PPP models, and the timeline for planning.

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