Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are integral to the economic development of ASEAN Member States. Beyond their traditional economic role, MSMEs also play an important part in advancing social innovation which is key to promoting inclusive and equitable growth in the region.

For the past few years, the Government of Germany has worked with MSMEs in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam to support their integration into regional and global value chains.

Assistance has also been provided to enable the four ASEAN Member States to adopt an investment-conducive and pro-competitive approach to the implementation of ASEAN agreements focusing on trade in services and competition policy.

Creating a competitive business environment that’s attractive to investors is contingent on robust consumer protection, especially as ASEAN integration is promoting increased cross-border and online transactions.

The partnership has contributed to the creation of a number of regional cooperation frameworks, and has helped drive cross-border cooperation and national reform processes in the consumer protection space.

A key highlight is the launch of the pilot ASEAN Consumer Empowerment Index in early 2021, which aims to benchmark the level of consumer empowerment in the region, including consumer skills, awareness, and behaviour. The index will also help identify priority consumer concerns which will be vital to improving consumer protection mechanisms in the region.

German-ASEAN economic cooperation also focuses on the sustainable design of urban mobility initiatives in mid-sized metropolitan areas across ASEAN, especially in rapidly growing medium-sized cities such as Phnom Penh, Vientiane, and Can Tho.

Under this initiative, cross-border working groups are working on developing concrete solutions to address urban transport challenges in their respective regions or cities.

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