PM Prayut calls for “new growth paradigm” for ASEAN

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand with other ASEAN leaders at the opening of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits this morning.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this morning called for a new “growth paradigm” for ASEAN to face mounting challenges and uncertainties and a conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership within this year to stimulate economic growth and trade.

Addressing the opening of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, Prayut also urged ASEAN countries and the global community to work together to create an environment conducive to peace and stability while promoting dynamic economic growth and sustainable development.

“Our meetings over the next two days will be an important opportunity to demonstrate the partnership and friendship between ASEAN and the global community, a true coming together to take forward the outcomes of the last ASEAN Summit; and to craft a collective approach based on ASEAN centrality and its strength in being a friend to all and enemy to none in addressing regional and global challenges as well as promoting sustainability in all dimensions,” he said.

Prayut said ASEAN and the world face increased challenges and uncertainties, especially from the global economic slowdown and geostrategic competition both at the global and regional levels, which is showing itself in the form of trade frictions.

Transnational crime, disruptive technology, climate change, environment degradation and marine debris also pose challenges that require joint efforts and close partnership to tackle.

Prayut highlighted the importance of the need for the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to be concluded within this year to stimulate economic growth as well as trade and investment. He also called for countries to continue to support the multilateral trading system under the purview of the World Trade Organization as well as regional and sub-regional economic cooperation.

Prayut stressed the need to promote a seamless ASEAN through the “connecting the connectivities” approach both within the ASEAN region and beyond.

“This includes physical, people-to-people, financial and digital connectivity.  Likewise, we need to take advantage of 4IR technology and innovation to create new economic opportunities for MSMEs, farmers, start-ups, and local entrepreneurs so as to enhance financial inclusion and strengthen industrial transformation in ASEAN,” he said.

Prayut said for ASEAN to be able to achieve these goals, it needs to have a new “growth paradigm” that “fosters dynamic, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, leaves no one behind, and prioritises human capital development concurrently with environmental conservation.”

He said ASEAN should also address the problems of marine debris through the implementation of the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris, air pollution through implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, and IUU fishing through developing the ASEAN Network for Combating IUU Fishing.

“All of this calls for cooperation with ASEAN’s partners and friends,” he said.


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