NANNING: Asean and China’s collective efforts must focus on regional peace, stability, prosperity and fostering bilateral and multilateral trade relations, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
This is in the face of the post-pandemic challenges, geopolitical tensions and a host of other destabilising factors, said Anwar, who is also Finance Minister.
He said Asean will remain one of the fastest-growing regions in 2023 and it’s vital for Asean and China to diversify their trade and investment strategies as the world is making progress.
"Despite global economic challenges, Asean remains an attractive destination for international investment, charting an economic growth of 5.5% in 2022, with 4.6% (of growth) projected for 2023.
"This trajectory places Asean well above the global average, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast at 3.5% for 2022 and 3% for (both) 2023 and 2024,” he said in his opening remarks at the 20th China-Asean Expo (CAExpo) and the China-Asean Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) here, Sunday (Sept 17).
Anwar also greeted the distinguished guests in Mandarin, saying "ge wei lai bin da jia hao (hello, dear guests)" before delivering his speech.
Meanwhile, Anwar also urged Asean and China to intensify their cooperation in digital economy to empower the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to thrive in this digital age.
He said the MSMEs contribute 85% to employment, 44.8% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and 18% to national exports in Asean.
"Hence, their role in contributing to value-added activities, innovation and inclusive growth cannot be overstated,” he said.
On the Asean Economic Recovery Framework, he said it outlines the importance of uninterrupted supply chain connectivity and the facilitation of essential goods and services by eliminating trade barriers.
"With robust infrastructure, I am confident there will be seamless continuation of trade activities, contributing to regional economic recovery,” he said. - Bernama