Eighth East Asia Summit Economic Ministers’ Meeting | 02 Sep 2020

Why in News

Recently, the 8th East Asia Summit Economic Ministers’ Meeting (EAS-EMM) was held virtually and attended by 10 ASEAN members and eight other nations, including India, the USA, and China.

  • The meeting highlighted the importance of strengthening regional supply chains to make them resilient in times of heightened challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and to spur economic growth.
  • Recently, Japan has mooted the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) as a trilateral approach to trade, with India and Australia as the key-partners.

Key Points

  • Features of the Joint Statement:
    • Any trade-restrictive emergency measures put in place to address the impact of Covid-19 must be targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary, consistent with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption of global and regional supply chains.
    • Support for the necessary reforms in the WTO and pledge to continue to work together to realise a free, fair, transparent, non-discriminatory, predictable, and stable trade environment.
    • Facilitating the essential movement of people across borders, without undermining each country’s efforts to prevent the spread of the virus and to stabilise the trade and investment.
    • Commitment to facilitate supply chain connectivity, including for essential goods such as medical supplies, medicines, including vaccines, food, commodities and other essential supplies and services in the region.
    • Harness the opportunities of the digital economy to overcome the challenges posed by restricted movement.
  • India’s Stand:
    • India highlighted its Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan which is about upscaling the growth of Indian industry, its skills and capabilities to make them resilient and less vulnerable to shocks and integrating Indian industries with the global supply chains.
  • Significance of the Meeting:
    • The meeting comes at a critical juncture when the pandemic has not just posed an unprecedented health crisis but also caused a sharp contraction in economic activities, disrupting trade and investments.
    • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted a 4.9% contraction for the 2020 global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), warning that the Covid-19 outbreak has plunged the global economy into its worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
    • In April, the WTO also warned that global trade volume growth could crash by 13-32% in 2020.

East Asia Summit

  • Established in 2005, it is a forum of 18 regional leaders for strategic dialogue and cooperation on the key political, security, and economic challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Genesis:
    • The concept of an East Asia Grouping was first promoted in 1991 by the then Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad.
    • India is one of the founding members of the East Asia Summit.
  • Membership:
    • It comprises the ten member states of the ASEAN which are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, along with 8 other countries namely Australia, China, Japan, India, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the USA.
    • It is an ASEAN-centred forum so it can only be chaired by an ASEAN member.

Source: TH