Keep markets open, Asean+3 urged

Meeting of minds: Muhyiddin, Senior Minister and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein attending the 37th Asean Summit via video conference.
— Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has called on Asean plus China, Japan and South Korea (Asean+3) to remain committed to keeping markets open and maintaining normal flow of trade, services and investment during the Covid-19 crisis.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, during the Asean+3 (APT) Summit yesterday, said markets must remain open to strengthen regional economic resilience without unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains.

“While we must continue to strengthen our cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, our focus now should be on our most pressing task at this point in time, which is the fight against Covid-19.

“Malaysia also hopes the signing and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will send a strong message on the importance of strengthening regional economic integration and further spur economic growth in the region, ” he said.

This year’s summit is hosted by Vietnam via video conference due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Also attending the APT virtually were Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin pointed out that Malaysia has expressed the importance to cooperate in utilising the APT Emergency Rice Reserve (Apterr) to ensure food security.

The cooperation in Apterr, he said, would help to ensure continuous food supply for those severely impacted by the current economic downturn as a result of the pandemic.

“As we face these challenging and tough times together, it is of utmost importance that Asean and the other three countries deepen our engagement and continue to support each other, ” he said.

APT cooperation was formed against the backdrop of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

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