In this April 22, 2021, file photo, flags of member countries fly at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia. (TATAN SYUFLANA / AP)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA – The 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers' meeting (54th AEM) and related meetings kicked off here on Wednesday, discussing the progress of economic community integration, post-COVID-19 economic recovery, and rising global inflation, among others.
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Addressing the opening ceremony, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said as the world is facing many obstacles in development, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) should continue attaching greater importance to maintaining the trading system on the basis of rule of law, globalization principle, multilateralism mechanism, liberalization of trade and investment, and anti-protectionism.
ASEAN should continue to work in unity to coordinate and intensify the establishment of global framework for international trade which is transparent, non-discriminatory and serve the interest of all countries
Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister
He said ASEAN should devote more attention to timely response to the new trends in global trade architecture and new issues such as rising oil price, high inflation, environment, climate change, and pandemics among others.
"ASEAN should continue to work in unity to coordinate and intensify the establishment of global framework for international trade which is transparent, non-discriminatory and serve the interest of all countries," he said.
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Hun Sen said that during the past 30 years of regional economic integration, ASEAN has been working in unity to establish the ASEAN region as a single market and production base by deepening trade and investment liberalization in compliance with international law and the multilateral trading system.
"These efforts have made significant contributions to strengthening the development of ASEAN in all sectors," he said.
Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said as the chair of ASEAN in 2022, Cambodia would do its best to promote sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic growth in the post-pandemic era.
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"Cambodia commits to work closely with ASEAN and development partners to sustain ASEAN as a region of critical importance for global trade, investment and supply chains through, among others, generating maximum benefits from the existing free trade agreements, especially from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)," he said.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.