ASEAN and its three dialogue partners (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) on September 10 reiterated the further enhancement of economic cooperation to build a stronger ASEAN Plus Three (APT) community.
Philippine Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said the ASEAN+3 ministers reaffirmed the renewed collaboration with the development of the revised APT Economic Work Plan, which set broader goals of building a stronger APT community in the long run.
Meanwhile, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the ASEAN ministers applauded efforts made by the East Asia Business Council (EABC) to assist small and medium enterprises in the region in grasping opportunities from e-commerce, seeking new business methods and enhancing connectivity.
They hoped the ASEAN+3 cooperation would foster e-commerce development, he said.
The ASEAN ministers noted the strong performance of trade and investment relations in 2016 between the bloc and the three East Asian countries.
Total trade between ASEAN and the three countries reached US$694.2 billion last year, representing 31 percent of ASEAN’s total trade.
Foreign direct investment flows from China, Japan and the RoK into ASEAN hit US$29.1 billion in 2016, accounting for 30.1 percent of the total FDI inflows.
The Philipplines, as the rotating ASEAN Chair this year, hosted the 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings in Manila from September 7-10 to further strengthen the economic and trade integration, and investment in the Southeast Asian region.