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Game-Changing Global Diplomacy: Unveiling Asia’s Stealthy Advance into the Future!

High-ranking officials are gearing up for a series of consequential meetings with non-Asean nations that includes Australia, Canada, China, European Union, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, marking a strategic move towards a robust economic diplomacy.

The significant economic issues that will be advanced under the supervision of Indonesia – as the chair of these meetings – span a broad spectrum from digitalisation, to environmental preservation, and bolstering of Asean’s fundamental industrial frameworks. In focus will be the outcomes of a study related to the Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) of Asean, with a plan set in place to present it for negotiation and, subsequently, signing off in September.

The evolution of Asean’s strategy towards Carbon Neutrality also features prominently in the agenda, which envisions to catalyse economic opportunities via innovative, low-carbon investments, catalyze the creation of novel employment avenues, and formulate an economic decree pertinent to Asean’s infrastructure projects.

The groundwork is already in progress for meetings involving negotiating counterparts. The discussions are expected to encompass negotiations on the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), slated for signing by Asean’s economic ministers this year, along with tracking the progress of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with significant global players: China, South Korea, India, and Canada. Also tabled for discussion are plans for economic cooperation, trade and other relevant affairs like the Asean-Japan Economic Cooperation Plan commemorating their 50 years of relations, and nurturing economic and trade collaboration with the US, the UK, the EU and Russia, with a specific emphasis on digital economy, environmental technologies and services, finance, and flexible supply chains.

The SEOM meeting, being the final one for the year, chalked out critical directions for Asean. Most noteworthy amongst these is the negotiation of the DEFA, which is aimed at standardising digital trade standards and enhancing the worth of e-commerce in Asean from US $105 billion this year to US $300 billion in 2025, and ultimately to a whopping US $1.2 trillion.

In the productivity tally for the initial five months of this year, the trade tally between Thailand and Asean clocked a figure of US $49.65 billion, registering a decline of 5.5% as compared to the same timeframe last year. The exports from Thailand to Asean were valued at US $28.04 billion, while the imports from the group were notched at US $21.61 billion. The pivotal export and import markets covered were Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines.

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