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Pandemic (COVID 19) Policy, Trade and Economic Cooperation

12 August 2020

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Vientiane, 11 and 12 August 2020: ERIA’s Capacity Building Programme held an online workshop on ‘Pandemic (COVID 19) Policy, Trade and Economic Cooperation’ for around 30 government officials from Lao PDR. On the first day, the webinar focused on ‘Pandemic Shocks and Structural Transformation in East Asia’; on the second, ‘Relief, Stimulus, and Recovery of Global Value Chain (GVC) in East Asia’.

Prof. Shandre Thangavelu of the University of Adelaide’s Institute of International Trade and the Jeffrey Cheah Institute of Southeast Asia, Sunway University, led the discussions. The presentations provided data and combinations of different policy responses caused by the pandemic

Deputy Director-General Ms Sisavanh Didaravong of the Center for Policy Development Research opened the webinar on behalf of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Lao PDR

In her opening remarks, the Deputy Director-General noted the pandemic had resulted in a  decrease in Lao’s GDP growth rate. Thus, she highlighted the importance of this workshop as an opportunity to learn how to address a set of policies that boost the global value chain (GVC) in trade and services, alongside economic development cooperation.

Jeremy Gross, ERIA’s Director of Capacity Building, in his opening comments, noted the importance of this topic seeing the tremendous impact of the pandemic on all aspects of life, including trade, commerce, education, and social-economic activities, over the last few months.

During the webinars, 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 the strategy on cross border trade, tourism, and international financial institutions. 

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