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21 November 2017

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The 31st ASEAN Summit and other related meetings was held Manila, Philippines, 10-14 November 2017. The Summit, with the theme 'Partnering for Change, Engaging the World', was attended by a delegation from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

The delegation included Prof Hidetoshi Nishimura, the President of ERIA; Tan Sri Datuk Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Senior Policy Fellow; Dr Ponciano S. Intal, Jr., Senior Economist; Mr Izuru Kobayashi, Chief Operating Officer; Dr Masahito Ambashi, Economist; Dr Ayumi Kodama, Deputy Director General; Ms Lydia Ruddy, Director of Communications; and Mr Fusanori Iwasaki, Executive Assistant to the President.


ERIA Participated in Mekong-Japan Preparatory Senior Officials' Meeting

On 12 November, Dr Masahito Ambashi, the Economist of ERIA, presented 'ERIA's new study proposal on Connectivity in the Mekong Region' with the SOM Leaders. He pointed out that ERIA would like to stress that the smooth connectivity in the Mekong region further evolves the global value chain which Mekong and Japanese firms have formed. Dr Ambashi stated that ERIA is prepared to study infrastructure investment and relevant cost-sharing mechanisms to improve the whole Mekong region's connectivity.

ERIA Flagship Project 'ASEAN@50' Presented at ABIS

On 14 November, Prof Hidetoshi Nishimura, the President of ERIA, introduced a short video about ERIA's five volume commemorative publication ASEAN @50: Retrospectives and Perspectives on the Making, Substance, Significance, and Future of ASEAN. The book series describe the story of ASEAN, building up from managing intraregional disputes to facilitating the management of pan regional disputes; from economic cooperation to economic integration; and from nation-building to community-building. The short video summarised the five volumes and showed scenes from ERIA's ASEAN@50 symposia and High Level Forum including a speech by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Philippines.

Tan Sri Dr Rebecca Sta Maria Participated in ABIS Panel 'Right Money + Open Markets = Prosperity for All'

On 13 November, Tan Sri Rebecca Sta Maria participated on an ABIS panel entitled 'Right Money + Open Markets = Prosperty for All' moderated by Dato Timothy Ong, Chairman of Asia Inc. Forum. Other panellists included: Gov Nestor Espenilla Jr, Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Philippines); Mr Nazir Razak, Chairman of WEF's ASEAN regional Strategy Group and CIMB Group; Anthony Thomas, CEO of Mynt (Philippines); Alexander Feldman, President and CEO of US-ASEAN Business Council (USA); Robbie Antonio, CEO of Revolution Precrafted (Philippines); and David Foote, Founder and CEO of Zennya (USA).

Dato Ong opened the session by posing the question: How can ASEAN's economic dynamism be accompanied by greater financial inclusion, especially for MSMEs? What are the biggest challenges to financial inclusion? Gov Espenilla Jr and Alex Feldman described how the regulatory environment is the biggest challenge to financial inclusion. Mr Razak made the case for the private sector to adopt new values systems that address the changes stemming from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. David Foote discussed the challenges related to access to finance, especially the fact that banks are not equipped to deal with microtransaction. Mr Thomas spoke about mobile payments, and enabling merchants to accept electronic payments with no device required, which brings down the costs of transactions.

Representing the perspective of government policy makers who have worked to address these issues, Tan Sri Rebecca (a former Secretary General of Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry) reminded the panel that even though inclusion was an important part of the public sector conversation, many have not 'seen the light of day.' This is partly a result of the failure of addressing related issues like trade facilitation. 'Integration and inclusion are integrally related,' said Tan Sri Rebecca. She urged deeper collaboration between the government and private sector, warning that without it, the lack of inclusion will increase.

ERIA was mentioned in the 'Chairman's Statement of the 31st ASEAN Summit'

18. We noted the publication by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) of the five-volume book set to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, as well as the holding of symposia on ASEAN's 50th anniversary, including the High-Level Forum on ASEAN@50: Retrospectives and Perspectives on the Making, Substance, Significance and Future of ASEAN in Manila on 19 October 2017.

Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)

80. We expressed our deep appreciation to the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) for their invaluable contribution and support not only to the Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN but also to the commemoration of ASEAN@50. We noted the High-Level Forum on ASEAN@50, held on 19 October 2017 in Manila, that also launched the publication of ASEAN@50: Retrospectives and Perspectives on the Making, Substance, Significance, and Future of ASEAN. We also acknowledged ERIA's contribution in the delivery of the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Strategic Action Plan (ATF-SAP) and the ASTFI that are geared towards addressing Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) in the region. We further commended ERIA's resolve in promoting regional economic integration, including support for RCEP negotiations and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025.

ERIA was also mentioned in the 'Chairman's Statement of the 12th East Asia Summit'


8. We reaffirmed the importance of continued efforts towards improved energy access and energy affordability in order to address regional energy security and sustainability challenges, as well as promote high-quality infrastructure and keeping energy markets transparent and competitive. In this regard, we underscored the importance of the promotion of clean energy, such as renewable energy, clean coal technology, energy efficiency and cleaner and more efficient fossil fuels including enhancing the use of natural gas as a low-emission fuel. We also welcomed the conduct of the 3rd East Asia Summit Clean Energy Forum and the 3rd EAS New Energy Forum hosted by China on 3-4 July and 1-2 November 2017, and the Bohol Reflections prepared by the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) as an outcome of the 1st East Asia Energy Forum in the Philippines on 21 August 2017.

9. We recognized that the EAS region is experiencing the highest growths in energy demand and noted the broad range of energy resources and clean energy technologies capable of contributing to the region's economic growth, energy security and environment protection. We acknowledged the continued role of fossil fuels in the region and underscored the importance of enhanced use of natural gas and clean coal technologies and noted the need to develop liquid, transparent and secure LNG market and its enabling conditions. We underlined the crucial importance of robust research underpinning regional policy discussion and formulation, and welcomed the adoption of a new EAS Mid-Term Energy Policy Research Roadmap.

ASEAN Connectivity

24. We are pleased with the efforts to strengthen the implementation arrangements for the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025. In this regard, we welcomed the adoption of the respective Terms of Reference (TORs) for the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC), National Coordinators, National Focal Points and Lead Implementing Body for Sustainable Infrastructure during the 19th ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting on 28 April 2017. We noted the progress in the development of the respective project concepts and proposals for the implementation of the MPAC 2025. We welcomed the outcomes of the Forum on MPAC 2025 Initiatives and Project Concepts and the 8th ASEAN Connectivity Symposium with the theme 'Harnessing Opportunities and Addressing Challenges in the Implementation of the MPAC 2025', which were held on 12-14 July 2017 in Manila, Philippines, and with support from Australia and ERIA. We attached importance to promoting greater synergies amongst the various connectivity strategies in the region.

Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)

47. We commended ERIA's resolve in promoting regional economic integration, including support for RCEP negotiations and the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and took note of its key research outcomes that will further guide ASEAN in its efforts on trade facilitation, in particular on the conduct of research studies and development of tools and databases on Non-Tariff Measures as well as the ASEAN Seamless Trade Facilitation Indicators as part of the Philippines' economic priority deliverables for its chairmanship. We appreciated ERIA's contribution to the 8th ASEAN Connectivity Symposium, the High-Level Forum on ASEAN @ 50: Retrospectives and Perspectives on the Making, Substance, Significance and Future of ASEAN, and the publication of the five-volume book set to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of ASEAN. We further welcomed ERIA's activities in new areas such as efforts to strengthen regional health services. We encouraged ERIA to continue to provide support for the Chair of the ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit and to continue to provide actionable policy recommendations to EAS Economic Ministers.

ERIA was also mentioned in the 'Chairman's Statement of the 20th ASEAN Plus Three Commemorative Summit'

18. We noted the continued growth of cooperation on environmental issues, particularly in addressing issues relating to environmental protection and sustainable development. We welcomed the ASEAN-Japan Environmental Cooperation Initiative which aims to advance environmental cooperation in areas including climate change, waste management, biodiversity conservation, chemical pollution management, wastewater management, and quality environmental infrastructure development for sustainable cities, as well as cooperation in SDGs through collaboration with ERIA.

27. We acknowledged that the ASEAN Plus Three Health Cooperation has been aligned with the Health Priorities of the ASEAN Post 2015 Health Development Agenda for 2016-2020. We also supported the Joint Statement issued during the 7th ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers Meeting on 7 September 2017 in Brunei Darussalam which underscored the priority areas of collaboration for 2017-2018 on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Information-Communication-Technology (ICT) for healthcare, prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, enhancing traditional and complementary medicine, promoting active ageing, development of human resources for health, responding to all hazards and emerging health threats and enhancing food safety. We noted other issues prioritised for collaboration such as Antimicrobial Resistance, Ending All Forms of Malnutrition and Disaster Health Management. We looked forward to the progress of regional activities under the ASEAN Plus Three Health Cooperation that will complement bilateral and regional cooperation on aging-related challenges in the ASEAN. We also looked forward to have further discussions on the Asia Health and Wellbeing Initiative (AHWIN) initiated by Japan in cooperation with Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

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