On 22 October 2019, the Secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta hosted a roundtable discussion on the ASEAN-SCO trade and investment potential. This is the first joint event on a list, coordinated by the SCO and ASEAN Secretariats under a memorandum of understanding, signed in April 2005.
In the follow-up to the February and September 2019 meetings between the SCO and ASEAN Secretaries-General, both Secretariats agreed to organise a roundtable discussion for assessing economic cooperation prospects.
The discussion involved Deputy SCO Secretary-General Sherali Jonon, Deputy ASEAN Secretary-General Aladdin D. Rillo, ambassadors of SCO member states, ASEAN Secretariat officials, as well as experts and other concerned parties.
The participants focused on the following main subjects: The economic potential of SCO member states; the best practices of the ASEAN economic community as regards the establishment of a new global economic development centre in Asia; progress achieved during the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and under free-trade agreements; cooperation prospects between SCO and ASEAN member states; online commerce; transport, IT and the digital industry.
The participants exchanged opinions regarding the experience of ASEAN states in the fieldof national economic development, including trade, investment,the development of infrastructure, innovation technologies and transport.
The speakers noted that, with due consideration for the impressive SCO and ASEAN economic potential and the need to expand economic, scientific and technological and cultural cooperation between them, this roundtable discussion had great significance for streamlining dialogueand exchanging opinions. Both organisations' similarities include their commitment to regional cooperation, especially in political, economic, social and cultural spheres.
It was noted that this format would allow both sides to discuss matters of mutual interest and to learn about the merits and capabilitiesof the other participants when it came to expanding trade and investments between member countries.
The sides discussed possible trade and economic and investment cooperation venues in great detail. A number of practical initiatives and proposals for further expanding SCO-ASEAN collaboration was drafted after the roundtable discussion.