The economic growth and market in China, the world’s second-largest economy with a population of over 1.4 billion people, provide substantial opportunities for ASEAN countries, an Indonesian official has said.
“China’s economic influence is a significant driving force behind the RCEP’s (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) development in 2022,” Deputy for Coordination of International Economic Cooperation under the Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, Edi Prio Pambudi, told Xinhua in a written interview during the two-day 42nd ASEAN Summit opened Wednesday.
The RCEP free trade pact comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries including the 10 ASEAN member states of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and ASEAN’s five trading partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
“China’s participation in the RCEP provides member countries with access to a massive consumer market … offers substantial opportunities for ASEAN exporters,” he said.
Deeming China as an economic powerhouse, the official also said that the inflow of foreign direct investment from China to ASEAN countries “strengthens ASEAN’s economic development.”
The economic official also highlighted China’s key role in ASEAN countries’ integration into global value chains.
“The RCEP introduces the regional value chain that provides greater opportunities for ASEAN’s manufactured products to participate in the global value chain. China, as a significant player in the global production base for manufacturing and high technology products, is and will remain crucial in this context,” said Pambudi.
Noting threats of global geopolitical uncertainties and economic slowdown to ASEAN’s post-pandemic recovery and economic outlook, he expressed the hope that the economic ties between ASEAN and China will deepen to help the regional bloc cope with the situation.
“Strengthening trade facilitation measures, reducing trade barriers, and promoting regional integration initiatives like the RCEP can boost intra-regional trade and enhance ASEAN’s resilience to global economic challenges,” said Pambudi