ISLAMABAD – Chairman of the ASEAN Committee in Islamabad (ACI), Ambassador Nguyen Tien Phong, said on Sunday that regional integration of ASEAN countries is not only essential for the economic prosperity of the ASEAN region. ‘ASEAN, but also important for global economic links and connectivity.
In the same month, the foundation of ASEAN was laid on August 8, 1967, he said. The 55th anniversary this month will be celebrated with the determination that ASEAN will fully play its role for economic prosperity, trade integration to promote peace and harmony with other regions of the world, the president said. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Islamabad (ACI) committee and Vietnamese Ambassador to Pakistan Nguyen Tien Phong told media here on Sunday.
Economic and trade liberalization, multilateralism, credibility, global connectivity, economic stability, youth empowerment, maritime security, political stability and regional to regional connectivity are part of the ASEAN regional economic vision . While interacting with the media on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN on August 8, 1967, he said that ASEAN reaffirms its belief that regionalism and multilateralism are principles and frameworks of cooperation, and that their strength and value lies in their inclusiveness, rules-based nature and emphasis on mutual benefit and respect. Meanwhile, he informed that the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) was held on August 3, 2022 in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. The meeting was chaired by Cambodia under the theme “ASEAN ACT: Facing Challenges Together”. He said that at the meeting, ASEAN reaffirmed its commitment to addressing its common challenges and maintaining the momentum of ASEAN community-building efforts with a strong sense of unity.
ASEAN also discussed the need to further strengthen engagement and cooperation with dialogue partners and external partners, including through existing ASEAN-led mechanisms, and the importance of centrality , credibility and relevance of ASEAN in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in regional and global efforts. amid uncertainty and rapid change in Southeast Asia and beyond. ASEAN stressed the importance of maintaining ASEAN unity and centrality in its community-building efforts and engagement with external partners, in promoting peace, security and stability as well as in building regional resilience in response to common and emerging challenges, he said.
ASEAN countries have also demonstrated their common commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as the peaceful resolution of disputes, including with full respect for legal processes. and diplomatic actions, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). ASEAN stressed the importance of seizing the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), as the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the urgency of digital transformation. The ambassador said ASEAN’s economic growth could accelerate further to 5.0% in 2022. ASEAN’s total merchandise trade reached $3.3 trillion in 2021, of which $21, 3% in the region, while trade in services reached $743 billion, with intra-ASEAN accounting for 11.7%, he said. said. Meanwhile, foreign direct investment inflows into ASEAN reached $174.1 billion in 2021, including 12.0 percent among ASEAN member states, he said.
ASEAN is optimistic that the macroeconomic fundamentals remain strong and is committed to continuing to work together to ensure the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and as well as to strengthen the collective resilience and competitiveness of its long-term region, he said. ASEAN noted with satisfaction the significant recovery of the region’s economy, which grew by 3.0% in 2021 against a contraction of 3.2% in 2020.
Responding to a question on ASEAN-Pakistan relations, he said that Pakistan was granted ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partner status at the 26th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on July 23, 1993. He said the inaugural meeting of ASEAN-Pakistan Joint Sectoral Dialogue Relations was convened from 5-7 November 1997 in Islamabad to launch the partnership.
The inaugural meeting agreed that the ASEAN-Pakistan Sectoral Dialogue Partnership would initially cover cooperation in the areas of trade, industry, investment, environment, science and technology, drugs and narcotics, tourism and human resources development. ASEAN-Pakistan sectoral dialogue relations were institutionalized by the convening of the first meeting of the ASEAN-Pakistan Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee (AP JSCC) on February 5, 1999 in Bali. Ambassador Nguyen Tien Phong said that Pakistan acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia on July 2, 2004 in Jakarta.
On the same day, Pakistan was also admitted as the 24th participant in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is now leading a delegation as the 29th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting to be held in Phnom Penh from August 5, 2022 is a very important and meaningful to strengthen ties, play an incentive role for relations to be broadened and deepened, he said. ASEAN and Pakistan signed the Joint Statement of Cooperation to Combat Terrorism on the sidelines of the 12th ARF on July 29, 2005 in Vientiane. He said that in the area of trade, ASEAN and Pakistan have undertaken a joint feasibility study for an ASEAN-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to strengthen and expand overall ASEAN-Pakistan economic engagement. Pakistan. Responding to a query, he said data from Pakistan showed that Pakistan’s trade with ASEAN reached around $11.0 billion in fiscal year 2022.
He was of the view that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in which ASEAN plays an important role has huge potential for ASEAN and Pakistan’s economy, trade and investment to reach a new level. raised with the paradigm shift from geopolitics to geopolitics. economy in Pakistan. He said RCEP came into force on January 1, 2022, is a free trade agreement between the Asia-Pacific nations of Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines. , Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The 15 member countries represent around 30% of the world’s population (2.2 billion people) and 30% of the world’s GDP ($29.7 trillion), making them the largest trading bloc in history. RCEP includes a mix of high, middle and low income countries. It should eliminate around 90% of tariffs on imports between its signatories within 20 years of its entry into force and establish common rules for e-commerce, trade and intellectual property), he said. The Ambassador said that ASEAN and Pakistan should promote and strengthen trade, economic and investment relations through outreach, people-to-people contacts and expert-to-expert contacts.
He said there is a need to create favorable conditions for tourism, connect B2B through organizations, business associations, for example between FPCCI and the ASEAN business community, especially SMEs, ASEAN Startup Association, CCIs of member countries. He suggested that stability, consistency and continuity in economic policy planning and implementation also resolve economic integration between Pakistan and ASEAN. The Ambassador said that the strengthening of Pakistan’s bilateral relations with ASEAN member countries, which are also very crucial for relations with the bloc, with regard to economic and investment sectors. Responding to a question, he said that taking full advantage of the complementarities of the economies of both sides, the huge market and number of Halal consumers, trade in Halal goods/products. He also proposed to bring into play the direct investments of ASEAN countries, joint ventures, because FDI is stable, substantial and an incentive for long-term growth and economic development, “without deficit” also in the trade.