PM Lee calls for stronger ties in ASEAN amidst global trade woes

It has put the rules-based multilateral trading system under pressure.

Prime minister Lee Hsien Loong urged the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to continue building stronger regional economic cooperation and integration for the region to fully realise its potential amidst the looming geopolitical uncertainties sprouting from global trade tensions.

In his speech at the opening ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting held in Singapore, Lee said that the region has been concerned with the escalating trade wars between US and China, as well as other dialogue partners including the European Union (EU) and Canada.

“The rules-based multilateral trading system, which has underpinned ASEAN’s growth and prosperity, is under pressure,” Lee explained. “At the same time, each ASEAN Member state is subjected to different pulls and pressures from the bigger powers.”

According to the prime minister, ASEAN members should stay even more intact to maintain cohesion and effectiveness given the global situation.

In his speech, the leader recalled ASEAN’s beginnings 51 years ago with its aim to build peace and prosperity across the region.

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