Interview: ASEAN looks to China to overcome sluggish global economy -- expert

Updated: July 3, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are looking towards China taking the lead to overcome the current global economic challenges, an expert told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China, with its vast manufacturing capacity and consumer markets, is expected to trailblaze through the prolonged global uncertainties including disruptions, softening demand, high inflation and other problems, said Lee Heng Guie, executive director of Socio-Economic Research Center, a think tank.

Zooming in on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Lee said these already provide the framework for better integration and urged the parties to take advantage of them.

"We can see RCEP and CPTPP are platforms for all the regional economies ... to widen the exports of goods and services and also to encourage more investment," he said.

"I will emphasize the need for global and regional cooperation on trade and investment to stimulate economic growth," he added.

Lee said China, as a world leader in green technology and sustainable practices, could work more closely with ASEAN, especially in terms of supplying technology while being a steady market for the region's raw materials and commodities.

Lee also urged Asian countries to close ranks and focus on global growth, prosperity and upliftment of people, stressing the importance of multilateralism.

"Focus on productivity, continue to collaborate, work together with ASEAN, for better cooperation in trade, investment, economic growth ... we still believe in openness of the economy, we don't want to be like a protected, closed economy. This is the message that we should send to the West," Lee said, adding that "China is a strong believer of openness." 

Editor: Yu Huichen