Measures to strengthen economic ties and trade-investment integration are on the table at the 49th Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers, which opened in Manila, the Philippines on September 7.
Opening the event, Philippines Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez highlighted that the event is significant to elevate the bloc’s position in the context that regional economy is growing at faster pace than others in the world.
The bloc’s collective economy is estimated at around US$9.2 trillion by 2050 and become the world’s 4th largest economy, he said, adding that changes in geo-political situation will bring in both opportunities and challenges to the region.
Along with maintaining free trade agreements with Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand, ASEAN will further cooperation with its dialogue partners like Canada, the EU and the US, he stated.
ASEAN member states want to create a flow of capital and enhance free trade in the region with a population of 625 million and gross domestic product of US$2.6 trillion.
The ASEAN Economic Community targets higher economic growth via promoting trade, investment and job creation.
To realise the set target, the Philippines, who is holding the rotary chairmanship of ASEAN, will pay due attention to enhancing investment, trade and integration for micro, small and medium enterprises in the global value chain. It plans to branch out an economy motivated by innovation and creativeness.
According to the agenda, ASEAN economic ministers will meet with their counterparts from Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US to discuss regional economic development, free trade agreements as well as economic cooperation mechanisms with these partners.
The meeting will run until September 10.