Equity in ASEAN investment urged

Foreign direct investment flowing into ASEAN must not flow to just one or a few countries, Indonesia's Investment Minister and Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia said as he urged that the Southeast Asian bloc must prioritize shared prosperity. "We have made several joint decisions, including on the importance to realize ASEAN as an inseparable region while still prioritizing the principle of equity in investment," he highlighted after attending the 26th meeting of the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) Council. The AIA Council meeting on Saturday was part of the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) series in Semarang, Central Java. Quoting President Joko Widodo, Lahadalia said that ASEAN exists for the common prosperity of all member countries. Therefore, investment growth in the Southeast Asian region should not only be enjoyed by a handful of countries. Therefore, the investment cluster in AIA has changed the investment protocol in ASEAN. One of the changes has been the inclusion of additional points in sectors that are considered a priority by each country, he informed. "For example, forestry development. Each country should be given space to determine what is a priority for them, while still considering the comparative advantages of each country," Lahadalia explained. In 2022, as much as 60 percent of foreign direct investment entering ASEAN was enjoyed by less than one percent of the ASEAN population, the minister said. "ASEAN needs to foster more concrete collaboration to promote and facilitate investment so that ASEAN truly becomes one community, one home, one family," he emphasized. During the meeting, ASEAN economic ministers agreed to build a new and renewable energy ecosystem to reduce emissions, including developing an electric car ecosystem in the region, Lahadalia said. "This is an important sector because Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and almost all of these countries are developing an electric vehicle ecosystem," he explained. The minister noted that in 2022, investment in the electric vehicle sector in ASEAN increased by 570 percent, while green investment in the renewable energy sector grew by 240 percent. According to him, this rapid growth indicated that ASEAN was in line with the global development agenda, and demonstrated that rapid economic growth could go hand in hand with efforts to preserve nature.

Source: Philippines News Agency