Thai PM talked about reopening at ASEAN Summit


Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to start reopening so economies and supply chains can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, during his speech at the bloc’s virtual summit.

Thailand just reopened without quarantines to fully vaccinated visitors from 46 countries on November 1. Other ASEAN countries are considering similar but more limited reopening moves.

Thailand is a founding member of ASEAN. The group consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

“Reopening for safe travel would allow ASEAN to revive its economies,” Prayut said. He said ASEAN should put into practice its Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework, with mutual recognition of vaccines and vaccine certificates to facilitate business travel, and later tourism.

“Furthermore, ASEAN must avoid unnecessary measures that may hinder the movement of goods to ensure supply chain connectivity during the pandemic and make greater use of the intra-ASEAN market to stimulate our regional economy,” Prayut said.

ASEAN held its annual Summit, when leaders meet, online for the second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Brunei Darussalam is the chair country for 2021 and Cambodia will take on next year. The chair rotates annually and usually alphabetically.

The Thai Prime Minister said that the group would soon formally announce the start of free trade negotiations between ASEAN and Canada. With a total market of over 660 million people, ASEAN is strategically situated at the nexus of global shipping lines connecting the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

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