HANOI, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic ministers have issued a statement on strengthening ASEAN's economic resilience in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The statement was issued within the framework of the 26th Meeting of ASEAN Economic Minister Retreat held in Vietnam's central city of Da Nang on Tuesday, the news agency reported.
According to the statement, the ministers agree to take a collective course of action to mitigate the economic impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, recognizing the outbreak's negative effects on the economy, including tourism, manufacturing, retail and other services sectors, as well as its disruption of supply chains and financial markets.
The member states will remain committed to keeping the ASEAN market open for trade and investment, and will strengthen regional information sharing and coordination as well as collaboration in responding to the economic challenges posed by the outbreak, said the statement.
It said the ministers agree that counter-measure restrictions on cross-border movements should be based on public health considerations and that trade within the region should not be unnecessarily restricted.
The ministers resolve to leverage technologies and digital trade to allow businesses, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises, to continue operations amid the outbreak, and to strengthen long-term supply chain resilience and sustainability, according to the statement.
Other measures noted in the statement include enhancing the ASEAN's economic cooperation with external and development partners, building on existing trade facilitating platforms in the ASEAN to promote and support supply chain connectivity, and continuing addressing non-tariff barriers and refraining from imposing unnecessary new non-tariff measures.