ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Government to upgrade ASEAN development initiative through tech

The centres in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos will be upgraded to Singapore Cooperation Centers.

The Singapore government has pledged to enhance support for a regional initiative that aims to narrow the development gap amongst member countries of the ASEAN, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a speech at the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting.

A total of three Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) centres in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are set to be upgraded into Singapore Cooperation Centres which will feature an expanded “range of technical assistance and offer new modalities for capacity building.”

“Singapore hopes to share our experiences, and at the same time, learn from our neighbours and partners,” PM Lee added.

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PM Lee also urged deeper economic integration from member countries amidst heating trade tensions between the US and the trading bloc’s other dialogue partners including China, EU and Canada.

“The rules-based multilateral trading system which has underpinned ASEAN’s growth and prosperity is under pressure. It is important that ASEAN continues to support the multilateral system and work with like-minded partners to deepen our web of cooperation.”

Also read: Trade war could drag Singapore GDP down to 2.7% 

He cited efforts to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by the end of the year which, once operational will be the world’s largest trading bloc that covers a third of the world’s GDP.

The ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement is also another area that will send a clear signal of the bloc’s commitment to economic integration and trade liberalisation.

“Chairing ASEAN at its 51st year is a significant responsibility. Singapore hopes to work with fellow ASEAN colleagues, to forge a new way forward for ASEAN and together as our theme for the chairmanship has it, to, build an 'innovative and resilient ASEAN' for future generations,” he added.

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