US-ASEAN Business Council Launches Report on COVID-19 Financial Response and Recovery in ASEAN

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The US-ASEAN Business Council today launched a new report, “COVID-19 Financial Response and Recovery in ASEAN”, to present key economic policy recommendations from the Council’s Financial Services Committee in response to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The full report can be accessed here

Governments in ASEAN and around the world have undertaken swift, extensive and in some cases unprecedented policy actions to help economies respond to and recover from the impact of the pandemic, and this report provides further recommendations for consideration by ASEAN policymakers.  

“The current pandemic has brought to the forefront the vital role of strong public-private partnerships across the broad spectrum of financial services. We hope that our COVID-19 Financial Response and Recovery in ASEAN paper can aid in bolstering those relationships and we reaffirm our commitment to ASEAN as a resource and partner in rebuilding our economies,” said Alexander Feldman, Chairman, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “The Council plans to present our COVID-19 Response and Recovery Paper and the AFMGM paper during upcoming virtual meetings with finance ministers and central bank governors of ASEAN.”  

The COVID-19 Financial Response and Recovery in ASEAN paper is divided into two main sections, covering short-to-medium-term measures and longer-term measures for ASEAN. To deliver immediate financial relief, the report recommends the use of ASEAN Social Bond Standards for capital raising alongside the adoption of escrow accounts and Letters of Credit as mechanisms to help expedite delivery of essential goods. The report also provides recommendations to promote greater digitalization to facilitate disbursements during lockdowns, as well as trade and commerce. To achieve sustainable economic recovery, the report emphasizes the benefits of implementing blended capital structures to finance future growth while suggesting using risk management tools and pandemic bonds to mitigate risks. The report also outlines approaches to advance digitalization, the contactless economy, and financial inclusion in ASEAN. 

The insights of the report expand on the recommendations contained in the Committee’s previous report for the postponed ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ (AFMGM) meeting, which provides Council recommendations for achieving inclusive economic growth. The AFMGM paper can be accessed here

“The U.S. business community has a stake in the robust economic recovery of ASEAN post-COVID and we are keen to work with member states on both the financial response and initiatives targeted at future growth,”  said Amol Gupte, ASEAN Head and Citi Country Officer for Singapore and co-chair of the Council’s Financial Services Committee. “In addition to immediate measures such as digitizing economies to allow business continuity and raising capital to help meet spending commitments, we are prepared to collaborate on longer-term initiatives to increase future resilience, such as pandemic-risk financing and supporting the development of health and ICT infrastructure.  We are committed to the development of ASEAN and wish to play our part.”  

The US-ASEAN Business Council would like to acknowledge the contributions of all members of the US-ASAEN Business Council’s Financial Services Committee for their input and feedback on both reports.

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For over 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.