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Ambassadors Congratulate ERIA for Achievements

6 October 2021

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Jakarta, 6 October 2021: The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) convened its annual Ambassadors Meeting of ERIA Member States and Dialogue Partners virtually for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The meeting was attended by Ambassadors and representatives of 18 countries, the Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), nine Governing Board (GB) members, and the Academic Advisory Council (AAC) Chairperson.

In his opening remarks, the DSG of AEC, HE Satvinder Singh, highlighted that ERIA has consistently supported ASEAN by providing research activities and policy support on issues pertaining to ASEAN integration and other economic priorities including this year with the Brunei Darussalam Framework on Circular Economy under the AEC,  cooperation with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the development of Non-Tariff Measures, the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), and the 6th ASEAN Energy Outlook.

Prof Hidetoshi Nishimura, President of ERIA, expressed his sincere gratitude to all Ambassadors for their guidance and insights regarding ERIA’s role in supporting the region. Prof Nishimura said that the meeting aimed to provide an overview of ERIA activities and highlight the research on economic and energy issues. ERIA’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Koji Hachiyama, reviewed the Work Plan for Fiscal Year 2021 and beyond, followed by presentations from Senior Economist Dr Dionisius A. Narjoko on ‘Strengthening AEC: agenda for beyond 2025’, and Senior Energy Economist, Dr Han Phoumin, on ‘ASEAN low carbon energy transition scenarios’.

The Ambassadors and country representatives appreciated ERIA’s activities and its significant and constant contribution to the ASEAN community and East Asia Summit (EAS). The Excellencies highlighted the key issues and challenges in the region including economic recovery, climate change, renewable energy, digital transformation, global value chains, and sustainable development, and emphasised that the policymakers depend on adequate statistics and data to be able to develop proper policies to address the challenges, especially those that result from the pandemic.

ERIA Chief Economist, Prof Fukunari Kimura, responded to the Ambassadors’ comments by explaining that global value chains did not stop despite the current difficult circumstances, ‘We are having a hard time, but we can believe in the globalisation of economic development. This is the important message that we can learn from COVID-19,’ said Prof Kimura. He also mentioned that digital technology is important to upgrade and rejuvenate traditional industry and government.

Senior Research Advisor to the President, Prof Shujiro Urata, added that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is very important to promote investment and trade. He further noted ‘For ASEAN, in order to expand its network, we have to think beyond the RCEP, which may involve some other countries, such the UK that has applied to enter the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)’.

On energy, Special Advisor on Energy Affairs, Mr Shigeru Kimura, discussed regional energy transition pathways to achieve zero emissions in ASEAN by using lower local energy technology such the natural gas, solar photovoltaic (PV), biomass and biofuel. He agreed that the carbon tax, which is very important in energy transition, can help the transition to low carbon. Dr Phoumin added that both natural and artificial carbon sinks will be key for the energy transition by 2050. Considering the diversity of ASEAN countries, ERIA will continue to support each country individually to reach the goal of net zero emission.

In her closing remarks, the Permanent Representative of Brunei Darussalam to ASEAN, HE Amb Pengiran Hairani Pengiran Tajuddin, said that the recommendations from ERIA on ASEAN Economic Community 2025 is expected to bring positive impacts for the region. Her Excellency congratulated ERIA for the many achievements throughout the year and engagement with many private entities, international organisations, and policymakers. Her Excellency added that ERIA’s research and recommendations play an important role and have served as useful references for policymakers, particularly the ASEAN Economic and Energy Ministers.

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