Tuesday 29 November 2022 - 4:34:40 am

ASEAN countries target GCC as high-potential market for exporting halal products

DUBAI, 8th December, 2021 (WAM) -- Countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are looking at the GCC region as a promising market for exporting halal products as they look to expand their global reach, government officials said today at the inaugural Global Business Forum (GBF) ASEAN in Dubai.

A session titled ASEAN’s Recovery – the Drivers, Designers, and Definers, brought together Fortunato de la Peña, Secretary at Department of Science and Technology in the Philippines and Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs of Indonesia, both of whom joined the discussion virtually.

The panellists outlined the various challenges created by the pandemic that their respective countries are addressing and elaborated on how governments are working to overcome them.

"We had to make difficult decisions at first to contain the pandemic, but today, 23 of our cities have achieved herd immunity with 70% being vaccinated," said Fortunato de la Peña, noting that the stage is set for the Philippines to make a comeback. "A law passed in 2020 will provide the needed stimulus and jumpstart the economy. A recent report by Oxford Economics concluded that the Philippines will be among the fastest countries to recover from the pandemic."

He emphasised the growing role that technology will play in the stages ahead. "The pandemic accelerated our digital shift; many innovations and startups came out of necessity during the outbreak, such as remote learning systems. We have now instituted a new policy for open science and data and we’ve already achieved three of the ten items on our list: first is global competitiveness, where our ecosystem has improved significantly and the Philippines has progressed from 23rd place in science and innovation in 2017 to 15th place on the Global Innovation Index out of 131 countries."

"The second item was adding value to our value chain, particularly for rural enterprises, and third is having world-class human resources," de la Peña explained. "This demonstrates that we have an efficient system because even though investments were comparatively low, we still managed to rank high."

For her part, Widyasanti elaborated on Indonesia’s post-pandemic plans, saying, "Indonesia began recording growth again as of the second quarter of 2021. We are the largest economy in ASEAN with a GDP of over US$1 trillion; this means that once Indonesia’s growth accelerates, we can become an engine for growth for the entire region."

"We will embrace the post-COVID-19 recovery momentum to redesign and reposition our economy, improving productivity and shifting towards a greener economy and a greater adoption of technology and the digital transformation," Widyasanti added. "We are planning to move the capital to Borneo island, which is a huge project that will open tremendous investment opportunities, not just in infrastructure, but also in areas such as manufacturing."


WAM/Amjad Saleh