Thai PM promotes ‘Seamless ASEAN,’ Philippines proposes AI framework at World Economic Forum

Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin laid out his vision for a “seamless ASEAN,” emphasizing the need for collaboration among member nations to create a unified and attractive destination for foreign investors.

In a significant development at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin laid out his vision for a ‘seamless ASEAN,’ emphasizing the need for collaboration among member nations to create a unified and attractive destination for foreign investors.

Simultaneously, the Philippines has proposed the establishment of an artificial intelligence (AI) regulatory framework for the ASEAN bloc, recognizing the importance of directing and handling the challenges and opportunities presented by advancing technologies.

Prime Minister Srettha, addressing a global audience at the WEF, outlined his ambitious plan to transform ASEAN into a cohesive and seamless economic entity within the next five to ten years. On January 18, Speaker Martin Romualdez, during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, exclaimed, “We’d like to give as a gift to ASEAN a legal framework. Digitization, even in our economic policy, is very, very much right up there as a priority.”

The speaker also asserted that alongside that was cyber security and the concomitant concerns and issues, such as generative artificial intelligence, a field that needs a lot of support and regulation. The speaker also added by saying, “We feel that in ASEAN, we can capitalize (on) and optimize these developments, but within a framework of regulatory support.”

However, the Thai PM acknowledged the diverse advantages that each country brings to the table, recognizing that foreign investors might still find specific benefits in individual member nations. The concept of a “seamless ASEAN” seeks to complement these unique strengths, encouraging collaboration rather than competition among member states.

In December, the European Union, to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) reached a political deal on a law. However, the details are still being finalized. Speaker Martin Romualdez asserted that he wants to set up an ASEAN Parliament, like the one in the European Union, however did not elaborate. The speaker invited the event participants to attend a World Economic Forum roundtable for the chief executives in Manila in March that was to be hosted by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. To underscore the strengths of groupings and agency to the investors and politicians, Mr Romualdez, the Prime Minister of Thailand Srettha Thavisin, and the Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Minch Chinh spoke at the learning from the ASEAN panel discussion.