Economic integration

“Cambodia has played a key role in the economic integration of ASEAN”

As Cambodia assumed the rotating presidency of ASEAN this year, the third time since joining the group 23 years ago, the country has come a long way with other neighbors in its efforts to ensure peace, stability and economic growth in the region.

Cambodia’s contributions to ASEAN figured in a discussion at a distinguished gathering of ministers, ambassadors and public policy strategists yesterday at a workshop organized by the Asian Vision Institute.

Delivering his opening speech at the workshop on “Cambodia’s contribution to ASEAN since its establishment in 1999” at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Phnom Penh, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said Cambodia’s decision to join ASEAN was guided by the group’s fundamental principles of mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality of all member countries.

The minister noted that when Cambodia first assumed the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2002, within three years of joining the regional group, the country contributed to easing tensions in the South China Sea with the successful conclusion of the parties’ leadership statement in the South China Sea (DOC) which is an important step to ensure the collective commitment of ASEAN and China to promote peace, stability and confidence in the region.

The 2002 term also saw Cambodia convene the first Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) Summit to enhance cooperation and host the first Asean-India Summit.

Among Cambodia’s achievements during the Asean country’s second presidency in 2012 was the successful launch of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest trade pact.

Cambodia’s third presidency was launched this year with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Myanmar in January, which paved the way for the implementation of the five-point consensus reached earlier by ASEAN leaders to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, said Sokhonn.

Kao Kim Hourn, Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister, said the regional group has proven to be a cornerstone of progress for all member countries. “The ongoing economic integration has benefited all members. For example, in the case of Cambodia, our trade with Thailand and Vietnam has doubled,” he said.

The Minister stressed that the region’s prosperity will depend on the dynamics of human capital development and the transformation towards a digital economy. He added that Asean is expected to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030.

Chhem Kieth Rethy, Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister, said that the growth of any economy is directly linked to the development of infrastructure and science and technology these days while emphasizing the need for Cambodia to step up its efforts to increase investment in these sectors.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that without the internet we have no way to reach out to each other. But the major challenge is bridging the digital divide in society,” Chhem said, while participating in a panel discussion on “The Future Trend of Strengthening ASEAN Community and Regional Integration” during the the workshop.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being deployed in many economic sectors these days and smart factories are becoming a reality
the way to the industrial revolution four.