ASEAN-GCC should find mechanisms to advance trade, investment – PM

ASEAN-GCC should find mechanisms to advance trade, investment – PM

RIYADH,. The ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (ASEAN-GCC) should find mechanisms to advance trade, investments, collaboration and research, said Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

In his opening remarks at the Joint Regional Strategy Dialogue on ASEAN-GCC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) special meeting here today, he emphasised that the collaboration between both sides is mutually beneficial.

“Not only do we (ASEAN) welcome GCC participation in terms of investments and collaboration, but also more ASEAN companies also active here in the kingdom (Saudi Arabia), in the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Qatar, and neighbouring countries,” he said.

As Southeast Asia becomes one of the fastest growing regions, Anwar noted that ASEAN member states have taken a more pragmatic approach to discussing both bilateral and multilateral relations among their neighbours.

“We have been excellent partners, we work together, we discuss frankly, and we do set our priorities right and we take into consideration some of the new emerging issues, which is also a challenge to us like energy transition, digital transformation and food security,” he said.

Anwar said Southeast Asia is fortunate as one of the most peaceful regions, noting that the Myanmar crisis is the only problem yet to be resolved.

However, he said ASEAN has a clear position on the crisis, emphasising the Five Point Consensus as the basis for dealing with it.

“And we give this latitude for neighbouring countries… to Thailand, Laos, to engage quietly with Myanmar to find an amicable resolution,” he added.

Anwar also highlighted the level of cohesiveness ASEAN has, stating that he would continue to aggressively promote ASEAN as Malaysia assumes the chairmanship next year.

“Of course, the members are independent countries but when we speak, we speak on behalf of all of us. I just assumed everybody will agree and of course, because of the extensive discussion on the number of issues and collaborations, that makes us quite comfortable,” he said.

The inaugural ASEAN-GCC Summit held in Riyadh last year agreed to hold the summit every two years with the next summit set to take place in Malaysia in 2025.

— BERNAMA

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