Cambodia defines strategies for ASEAN in a changing economic system

Cambodia, as the chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2022, has defined four key strategic axes under the pillar of the ASEAN economic community, while the Economic community building process continued to be hampered by constant changes in regional and global economic and trade architecture, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings in Siem Reap yesterday, Hun Sen told delegates that improving digital connectivity, science and technology, bridging the development gap for ASEAN’s competitiveness, promoting a more integrated system, inclusive, resilient and competitive ASEAN and global ASEAN for growth and development are the key strategic axes that Cambodia has defined as ASEAN chair for this year.

The Prime Minister added that the main strategic objectives have been defined in the spirit of the priority of ensuring the effectiveness of ASEAN in responding to challenges and risks, in particular the acceleration of recovery and the promotion of sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic growth, under the theme “ASEAN TAKE ACTION: Overcome Challenges Together.”

“Unfortunately, although we have had great success in the fight against [the] pandemic over the past two years, the process of building our economic community has continued to be hampered by the constant changes in the regional and global economic and trade architecture caused by many complex and interconnected issues,” the Prime Minister said. Minister Hun Sen.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the complex and interconnected issues include the protracted Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the escalation of bloc division and the multipolar system, trade and technology war, climate change, etc. These factors have led to a sharp rise in inflation, disruption of global value chains and productivity and, in particular, a significant slowdown in regional and global economic recovery.

He went on to add that as the world faces many development hurdles, ASEAN should continue to attach greater importance to upholding the trading system based on the rule of law, principle of globalization, the mechanism of multilateralism and the liberalization of trade and investment. ; anti-protectionism, fostering the resilience of regional and global supply chains, connectivity and logistics, the digital economy, environmental protection, clean energy, sustainable development and food security while pursuing the combating the Covid-19 pandemic and deploying increased efforts to strengthen regional networks and global economic recovery with resilience and sustainability.

In addition, the ASEAN Vision Post 2025, in which ASEAN is developing, should strategically focus on new emerging issues such as the rapid development of the digital economy and the reduction of the digital divide in the region, the strengthening of ASEAN’s resilience to disasters and pandemics, promoting the development of green economy, protecting migrant workers, building a skilled workforce and developing small and medium enterprises, etc. .

Hun Sen said ASEAN should continue to strengthen cooperation with external partners based on the principle of fairness and mutual benefit by maximizing the benefits of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the ASEAN Agreement. plus an existing one with an additional upgrade; and in particular, ensure the full and effective implementation of the RCEP Agreement, which generally entered into force on January 1, 2022.

In order to maximize the benefits of the RCEP agreement, Member States should make maximum efforts to implement the commitments and continue negotiations on market opening, aimed at attracting other major economies to participate in this OK. In this regard, he said that this agreement should have an independent and authoritative secretariat that plays a key role in coordinating, promoting and monitoring the implementation of this agreement.

“Cambodia remains interested and offers all possibilities and concessions to host this secretariat. Another important question that [we] pay more attention to timely response to new trends in global economic and trade architecture. Certainly, new issues include: growing oil price crisis, high inflation rate, environment, climate change, pandemics, etc. sparked the trend of regional and global trade heading towards the new normal,” Prime Minister Hun Sen said.

However, the Prime Minister stressed that this does not mean that all these challenges require countries around the world to use them as a tool for protectionism, to create trade barriers and disrupt regional and global supply chains, or to establish laws and international agreements that serve their own interests. interests or a small group of their allies.

“In this regard, [we] should continue to work in unity to coordinate and intensify the establishment of a global framework for international trade that is transparent, non-discriminatory and serves the interest of all countries,” he said, adding that the world and ASEAN are facing the challenges of climate change. the changes and achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which ASEAN should consider in the initiative to establish the ASEAN Green Deal which I used to raise at the opening of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings.

“I believe that this agreement will allow our region to gradually transform towards a green future
with sustainability, resilience, efficient use of resources and economic competitiveness. I am confident that ASEAN will continue to move forward with resilience, solidarity and friendship with the common goal of overcoming all challenges,” the prime minister said.

In fact, over the past 30 years of regional economic integration, since the establishment of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 1992 and the adoption of the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community Master Plan and 2025, all member states have worked in unity to make the ASEAN region a single market and production base by deepening trade and investment liberalization in accordance with international law and the multilateral trading system.

These efforts have contributed significantly to strengthening ASEAN’s development in all sectors, including making ASEAN the third largest economy in Asia and the sixth in the world. Cambodia continues to support regional integration as well as ASEAN integration with regional and global economic partners through collaboration and contribution with nine other ASEAN member states in community building. of ASEAN, in particular the ASEAN Economic Community, in accordance with the ASEAN Economic Blueprint 2025 and strengthening external dialogue. the partners.