ASEAN economic ministers meet in Singapore

09:02 | 02/03/2018 Events

Economic chiefs of the 10 ASEAN countries gathered in Singapore on March 1 for the 24th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat (AEM Retreat).

Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, Lim Hng Kiang, speaks at the event

Opening the event, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, Lim Hng Kiang, said that the retreat is a chance for ministers to discuss matters related to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), including the implementation of the AEC Blueprint 2025 on deepening economic integration.

The Singaporean minister said that ASEAN, as a well-connected region, is poised to benefit from the rise in investment, manufacturing activities, and trade. This has helped the association to lure enterprises from all over the world while grasping new opportunities.

He stressed that the promotion of AEC construction will benefit the whole region, calling for the member countries to continue pursuing economic facilitation and integration, so that everyone can benefit from the community.

As the ASEAN Chair in 2018, Singapore pledged to work with other member countries to build a “self-reliant and innovative” ASEAN on the basis of solidarity to overcome challenges and head toward the future.

According to Lim, Singapore's economic objectives for 2018 are to deepen regional connectivity to position ASEAN as the region for increasingly seamless economic activity and expanding opportunities.

The minister said innovation and the digital economy are key areas that Singapore intends to pursue under its chairmanship. The country aims to promote innovation, build up digital connectivity, and facilitate e-commerce flows.

Within the framework of the two-day retreat, the 16th AEM-European Union Trade Commissioner Consultations will be held on March 2 in order to speed up negotiations for a free trade deal between the two sides.