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ASEAN model for sustained economic development

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet said on Tuesday that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has become a model for regional collaboration and sustained economic development.

“Now, as a 10-member bloc, ASEAN has solidified its position as a global economic force, underpinned by robust growth, dynamic workforce, and progressive integration efforts,” he said in a speech during the opening ceremony of a one-day Cambodia-ASEAN Business Summit in Phnom Penh.

Hun Manet said ASEAN collaboration has laid a solid foundation for shared prosperity and a more resilient economic future for all involved.

The Cambodian prime minister said ASEAN has become the world’s fifth-largest economy and consistently demonstrated economic resilience in the face of global uncertainty.

FILE – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet greets garment workers at Prey Speu village outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Aug. 29, 2023. PHOTO: AP

Citing a projection by the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), he said ASEAN’s economic growth rate was forecast at 4.9 per cent in 2024, improving from 4.3 per cent in 2023, underscoring the region’s strength and adaptability.

“ASEAN economy follows the model of growth for all and has a high potential to be the epicenter of growth for not just ASEAN itself, but also other regions around the world,” Hun Manet said. He added that ASEAN’s economy derives its strength from a dynamic interplay of intra-regional trade and investment, complemented by strategic collaboration with its dialogue partners. “This multi-faceted approach fosters a resilient economic environment characterised by stability and predictability which are essential for sustained growth,” he said.

The Cambodian leader added that ASEAN’s free trade agreements with its dialogue partners showcased the successful navigation of the economic partnership plan.

“Furthermore, the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) underscores ASEAN’s unwavering commitment to fostering deeper regional integration and mutually beneficial economic ties,” he said. Kith Meng, president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said intra-ASEAN trade has consistently grown, outpacing the expansion of global trade.

“This is proof of our unity and our shared vision for progress,” he said at the business summit. Meng added that ASEAN is projected to become the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2030, with a combined gross domestic product of 10 trillion U.S. dollars. “Cambodia is at the center of ASEAN, and is ready to become the strategic link for trade and collaboration within the ASEAN bloc,” he said.

Kin Phea, director general of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia, said ASEAN collaboration is essential to ensuring long-lasting peace, security, stability, sustainable and common development, and shared prosperity in the region. “ASEAN is truly people-oriented and people-centered, leaving no one behind,” he told Xinhua. “Over the past decades, ASEAN has stood together to deal with a myriad of challenges in its journey to build a region of peace, security, stability and inclusive development.”

Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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