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Thursday, 05 November 2020 19:33

Secretary General Ensures ASEAN Travel Corridor Will Realize Soon

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Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Lim Jock Hoi in Jakarta, Thursday, confirmed that the special travel policy (travel corridor arrangement) will soon be realized so that trade and economic activities in the region are not disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are still designing the special travel policy and hopefully we can immediately make a declaration about special trips, especially for the essential sectors," said Lim Jock Hoi during a dialogue with ERIA President Prof. Hidetoshi Nishimura.

ERIA or the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia is one of the study institutions that focuses on exploring economic and trade issues in the region.

The ASEAN Secretary-General is aware that each member country has currently agreed on a special travel agreement through a bilateral agreement.

He argued that they also needed special travel arrangements at the regional level to enhance cooperation on economic recovery during and after the epidemic.

According to Lim, the ASEAN travel corridor is also an effort to ensure markets in the Southeast Asia region remain open during the pandemic.

An open market has become one of the important factors that have accelerated economic recovery in the 10 member countries of the association.

The ten ASEAN member countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

The ASEAN economic ministers agreed on ensuring the market remains open so that access to essential products and services is not disrupted, for example, the ASEAN Special Summit Declaration (Summit) in Hanoi as a commitment to improving the trade supply chain connectivity in the region.

"We also continue to build cooperation with countries outside ASEAN through the ASEAN 3 and ASEAN 1 mechanism," he said in the dialogue held by ERIA, Thursday.

Lim's statement refers to the Declaration of the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19, which was launched on April 14, 2020 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The declaration was followed up by the launch of the Hanoi Action Plan on June 26, 2020. President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo at the opening of the 36th ASEAN Summit which was held virtually on June 26, 2020, proposed the importance of forming a special travel agreement in the region or the ASEAN travel corridor arrangement.

According to President Jokowi, special travel arrangements in the region will show ASEAN's strategic meaning in the eyes of the world.

During a pandemic situation, Indonesia has agreed on special travel agreements with the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, China, and Singapore.

In addition, the Indonesian and Japanese governments in October 2020 also agreed on establishing a travel corridor between the two countries.

Referring to President Jokowi's statement in October, Indonesia and Japan are likely to formalize a special travel agreement in November. However, all travel corridor agreements made by Indonesia only apply to essential business trips and official travel. (Antaranews)

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