BANGKOK: Asean collectively recorded higher trade and foreign direct investments (FDIs) last year despite current global economic uncertainties and the ongoing trade war between China and the United States.
In a joint statement in conjunction with the 51st Asean Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting, the ministers said based on preliminary data, trade in goods in the region increased by 8.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) while trade in services expanded by 10.6% y-o-y.
“Total FDI inflows to the region increase by 5.3% y-o-y to US$154.7bil, with the services sector having the largest share at 60.7%, ” it said.
The AEM meeting and other related meetings are being held from Sept 6-10 here.
During the meetings, the ministers exchanged views on global and regional developments and reviewed the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025, including the progress on the 13 priority economic deliverables under Thailand’s chairmanship of Asean this year, as well as Asean’s external economic relations.
Malaysia was represented by the secretary-general of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti), Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali(pic), who attended on behalf of Miti minister, Datuk Darell Leiking.
The five-day event also included the 33rd Asean Free Trade Area Council and the 22nd Asean Investment Area Council meetings.
Meanwhile, the ministers were pleased to note that growth remained broadly stable across Asean, and that aggregate growth was sustained at 5.2% last year, the same as the preceding year.
“Growth is expected to moderate to 4.8% this year and to 4.9% in 2020, ” it said.
Meanwhile, the joint statement said intra-Asean continued to have the highest share in trade (23%) and in investments (15.9%).
It said China, European Union and the United States were the region’s top three external trading partners last year, and the EU, Japan and China were the top three external investment sources.
“Amid uncertainties due to continuing trade tensions among major economic powers, the ministers remain resolute in their commitment to the region’s economic integration agenda and in achieving the target of doubling intra-Asean trade by 2025, ” it said. — Bernama