S Reap to host ASEAN economic ministers

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Commerce minister Pan Sorasak leads a September 6 preparatory meeting, ahead of the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting, and related meetings slated to kick off from September 11. Commerce Ministry

Prime Minister Hun Sen is slated to deliver on September 14 the opening remarks of the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting, a key gathering aimed at promoting regional economic cooperation and activity, as well as inclusive growth.

As the national representative of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council, the Ministry of Commerce is due to host the AEM Meeting and related meetings to be held in Siem Reap province from September 11-18, the ministry said in a September 9 statement.

The statement noted that the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV) Economic Ministers’ Meeting and other consultative meetings between the AEM and with dialogue partners are scheduled for September 16-18.

The agenda includes discussions on the progress of regional integration under the AEC framework, the status of the Priority Economic Deliverables under Cambodia’s third-time ASEAN chairmanship – themed “ASEAN ACT: Addressing Challenges Together”, post-Covid economic recovery, the bloc’s external economic relations, and East Timor’s application for ASEAN membership.

Speaking to The Post on September 11, Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath recommended that ASEAN economic leaders and partners address issues in areas such as intraregional trade, value chains, industrial-technology transfer, and central-bank information sharing.

“Although [ASEAN] members offer distinct products, there is overlap. When multiple countries offer the same item, those that are more technologically advanced must provide the others with the skills to process the goods or support them in the purchase of raw materials,” he said, adding that the transfer of technologies and skilled labour would strengthen the regional economy.

Sereyvath also called for efforts to navigate the ASEAN tourism industry out of the Covid-19 stranglehold on traveller flows, which he said would stimulate the regional economy.

He commented that intraregional central-bank cooperation would prop up ASEAN members’ banking systems and prevent them from collapsing during financial crises, especially when reserves are exhausted.

The ministry’s statement went on to say that Cambodia is ready to work closely with all member states, partners and the ASEAN Secretariat to push for further efforts to rebuild the regional economic community and accelerate economic recovery.