Video Message by H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN For the 17th China-ASEAN Expo
2020-11-27 18:06

1. It is my great honor to be part of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo today. I would like to congratulate the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the successful convening of this flagship event.

2. For many years, CAEXPO has served as an important platform for strengthening cooperation between ASEAN and China. This cooperation has led to some major gains in economic relations, as exemplified by the establishment of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement ten years ago.

3. The convening of CAEXPO is all the more significant during this time of heightened uncertainties. First, this event reminds us of the increasing importance of strong cooperation that has underpinned the success of the CAEXPO all these years, particularly in building business partnerships. And second, this event signifies how such cooperation and partnership can be further strengthened at this time when the need to revive economic activities and facilitate recovery from the pandemic is most crucial.

5. As we gather here today, the pandemic continues to be a serious threat to our region. Despite these uncertainties, ASEAN and China have demonstrated their solidarity in working together to help overcome the pandemic. As early as February, China has cooperated with ASEAN in addressing the pandemic by providing medical supplies, sharing information and best practices, as well as developing initiatives to build economic resilience. In May, our economic ministers from ASEAN and China have committed to strengthen supply chain connectivity in order to mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic in our respective economies.

6. In my view, the same sense of cooperation between ASEAN and China is crucial in a post-pandemic world.

7. One important area to sustain partnership between ASEAN and China is in digital economy. During this pandemic, digital technologies have provided an important lifeline in the economies of ASEAN, particularly in connecting people and in supporting essential activities through e-commerce. In fact, one important strategy for ASEAN recovery from the pandemic is to accelerate and achieve an inclusive digital transformation in the region.

8. China’s strengths in digital connectivity is well recognized and provides tremendous opportunities for ASEAN. I am pleased to note that work on this is well underway, particularly through the ASEAN-China Year of Digital Economy Cooperation, as well as other existing initiatives on 5G infrastructure, digital trade, digital tourism and cybersecurity. I am confident that with China’s support, we can invigorate ASEAN’s digital transformation. In addition, we need China’s expertise in financial technology and digital payment system to support greater trade and investment between ASEAN and China.

9. There are certainly more initiatives to further enhance our cooperation in the future. Through initiatives such as CAEXPO, we hope to encourage greater participation of ASEAN’s small and medium enterprises in doing business with China. There are opportunities abound in traditional trade relations and also through the digital economy. Additionally, since the pandemic has accelerated the need for enhancing digitalization and digital inclusion, we should encourage greater collaboration in developing innovative digital goods and services as well as to jointly support developing a safe and secure ecosystem for greater people-to-people relations and for small businesses to thrive.

10. In closing, ASEAN-China cooperation has been a long-tested partnership. Emerging strongly from the pandemic further reinforces this resolve. To be sure, joint efforts such as the China-ASEAN Expo will continue to be crucial to enhance business networking and regional connectivity, as well as to explore new opportunities and ensure the ASEAN-China partnership remains strong and relevant in the future.

11. Thank you very much and congratulations again to the organizers for holding the 17th China-ASEAN Expo.

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