Thematic engagement to solve regional and global challenges

The OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme’s structure is designed to encourage a systematic exchange of experiences to develop common solutions to regional and global policy challenges. It is comprised of thematic Regional Policy Networks (RPNs) and Initiatives, and a regional Economic Outlook, which build on the work programme of OECD and Southeast Asian bodies and dialogue processes.

The key priority areas of the Programme's RPNs are Tax, Good Regulatory Practice, Investment Policy and Promotion, Education and Skills Development, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to support connectivity for infrastructure development.

Further work is being developed through Initiatives on Trade, Innovation and Gender. The Programme comprises an overarching Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India that monitors medium-term macroeconomic trends and regional integration, playing an important role in identifying emerging trends in the region and providing input into the different work streams.

Regional Policy Networks (RPNs)

Tax Policies and Administration

The RPN aims to promote co-operation regionally and with the global tax community, sharing best practices in international tax issues, tax administration and tax policy.

The RPN works to address current key issues such as enhancing and modernising tax systems by countering base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and increasing transparency and information exchanges for tax purposes.

The RPN encourages the involvement of the region in the development of a statistical database for policy reform.

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Good Regulatory Practices

The RPN serves to assist ASEAN member countries in building and strengthening capacity for the implementation of good regulatory practice to ensure high-quality regulation and regulatory coherence.

It also includes a series of good regulatory practice reviews and regional indicators on regulatory policies and product market regulation.

ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 identifies the OECD as a knowledge partner to assist ASEAN member countries in regulatory reform initiatives.

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Investment Policy and Promotion

The RPN serves as a platform to discuss and exchange experiences among ASEAN and OECD countries in the areas of investment policy reform and business climate improvements, and how these can contribute to narrowing the development gap within ASEAN.

The RPN draws on individual Investment Policy Reviews that have been conducted by the OECD over the past few years in Southeast Asia, notably Viet Nam (2009, with a forthcoming second review in 2017), Indonesia (2010), Malaysia (2013), Myanmar (2014), the Philippines (2016), Lao PDR and Cambodia (2017 forthcoming).

Education and Skills Development

The RPN aims to foster knowledge exchange in support of national growth and regional integration by encouraging a whole-of-government approach to the formation and implementation of skills policies.

It builds on the platform of the OECD’s Employment and Skills Strategies in Southeast Asia (ESSSA) initiative, which has been networking skills and labour ministries from ASEAN member countries since 2008. With the growing participation by Southeast Asian countries in the OECD’s international education surveys (PISA, TALIS and PIAAC) and reviews on vocational education and training (VET) and local job creation, the RPN can provide valuable comparative data and analysis to help countries systems in the region build more efficient and effective education and skills.

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME)

The RPN aims to promote SME development in the ASEAN region and enhance dialogue on SME policies based on good practice examples. Trusted partner of ASEAN Co-ordinating Committee for MSME Development (ACCMSME), RPN meetings are integrated back-to-back with bi-annual meetings of ACCMSME focused on specific subject such as Digital Economy, Access to Markets, Productivity or others.

The RPN meetings help to promote good practice examples relates to the design and implementation of SME policies and enterprise development, the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for MSME Development (2016-2025) as well as the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025.

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Sustainable Infrastructure

The RPN aims to strengthen ASEAN economies’ infrastructure governance frameworks. It supports the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Member States in establishing a well-connected ASEAN Economic Community and implementing the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity 2025.

The network’s activities include diagnostic work, tailored advice, comparative data collection, training, and other capacity building activities relating to sustainable infrastructure, capital investment and regional connectivity

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Initiatives

Trade

The Trade Initiative aims to foster closer dialogue on trade issues with policymakers in Southeast Asia over time, to ensure the relevance of OECD’s work on trade to the region with a view to helping inform policy, and to promote the gradual integration of countries in Southeast Asia into relevant areas of OECD trade work.

Much of the OECD Trade Committee’s work is highly relevant to the efforts by ASEAN member countries to improve market connectivity; this is particularly the case in relation to on-going work on trade facilitation, services trade and the factors that shape effective participation in global value chains.

 

Innovation

The Innovation Initiative serves as a platform to discuss and exchange experiences among Southeast Asian and OECD countries on policies for innovation. It explores ways to incorporate Southeast Asian countries into the science, technology and innovation work of the OECD and to draw out relevant lessons for their economic and social development.

The Initiative carries out analysis on enhancing SME productivity, with a focus on innovation and digital economy policy. This will incorporate work on ways for countries to enhance their competitiveness in global value chains.

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Gender

The OECD aims to promote gender equality in the global economy, including through gender-sensitive analysis and economic policy-making, to enable women to realise their potential as drivers of innovation, job creation, fair decision-making and economic growth. The Gender Initiative aims to mainstream gender considerations across the different components of the OECD work programme and to support regional needs on these issues.

The Initiative develops a Policy Handbook on “Women Entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia”. Looking at existing policies and frameworks in the region in support of women entrepreneurship, it will suggest recommendations based on OECD good practices.

 

The Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India

The Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India is a bi-annual publication on Asia’s economic growth, development and regional integration process.

‌‌The Outlook project was officially launched in 2010. It is the result of policy dialogue and consultation through Informal Consultation Group meetings in Paris and the Asian Regional Roundtable on Macroeconomic and Structural Policy Challenges jointly organised with AMRO, ADB/ADBI and ERIA.

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