ASEAN investment report 2020-2021: investing in Industry 4.0

September 08, 2021 | 14:00
The ASEAN Investment Report (AIR) 2020-2021 has been released during the virtual meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers – 24th ASEAN Investment Area Council (AEM – 24th AIAC) Meeting, along with numerous plans and initiatives raised at the meeting for ASEAN country members to strengthen foreign investment and speed up economic recovery after the pandemic.
ASEAN Investment Report 2020-2021: Investing in Industry 4.0
Representatives from 10 ASEAN country members attended the ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting

This year’s report features the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region’s Industry 4.0 transformation and how member states are adopting Industry 4.0 technologies to step up industrialisation and economic development. It also provides policy options to attract FDI in supporting the digital transformation of ASEAN, including in setting the right strategic direction and addressing the bottlenecks that impede the transformation.

FDI flows into ASEAN in 2020 fell by 25 per cent to $137 billion from an all-time high of $182 billion in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the decline, ASEAN remained an attractive investment destination, with its share of global FDI rising from 11.9 per cent in 2019 to 13.7 per cent in 2020.

In November 2020, ASEAN and five free trade agreement (FTA) partners signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, which is expected to boost FDI and enhance economic integration in the economic bloc that constitutes about 15 per cent of global FDI stock and more than 33 per cent of global FDI flows in 2020.

The ASEAN Investment Report is prepared under a technical cooperation agreement between the ASEAN Secretariat and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), with inputs from members of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Investment (CCI) and supported by the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program Phase II (AADCP II).

ASEAN Investment Report 2020-2021: Investing in Industry 4.0
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc representing Vietnam at the meeting

The virtual meeting took place today with the participation of representatives of 10 ASEAN country members and ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi. On behalf of the Vietnamese minister of Planning and Investment, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc attended the meeting.

In addition to the AIR release, the country members adopted in-principle the ASEAN Investment Facilitation Framework (AIFF), which includes principles and actions to facilitate investment flows into ASEAN as the regional economy recovers.

The AIFF is built to improve the accessibility and transparency of investment measures, streamline and speed up administrative procedures and requirements, as well as facilitate investment to strengthen regional economic integration and enable ASEAN to seize the opportunities presented by shifts in global supply chains.

The representatives recognised the importance of AIFF in bringing concrete benefits to stakeholders and looked forward to the implementation of AIFF in the time to come.

The meeting noted progress in discussions on transforming the reservation list of the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) into two “Pick-Off” lists, which are expected to provide more certainty and transparency to investors.

They welcomed other initiatives to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic under the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, such as the “Investment Opportunities in ASEAN 2021” brochure released in November 2020; organising a Forum and Report on Sustainable Investment in ASEAN in November 2021.

By Nguyen Huong

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