APT cooperation to help cope with COVID-19 impact

THE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three (APT) effective cooperation would definitely help improve their capacity in coping with COVID-19, while minimising its impact and promoting recovery and sustainable development.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said faced with yet another crisis, in the form of COVID-19 that knows no boundaries, cooperation must continue to be strengthened in all areas of mutual interest.

“In this context, Malaysia is of the view that we must remain committed in keeping our markets open, maintaining normal flows of trade, services and investment to strengthen our regional economic resilience without unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains.

“We must stabilise the manufacturing and supply of essential goods and services required for this crisis, including vital medical supplies and critical agricultural products, all while sustaining and diversifying supply chain connectivity within the region and beyond,” he said in his intervention speech during the virtual APT Summit hosted by Vietnam today.

The APT cooperation, comprising ASEAN member states and the Plus Three countries, namely China, Japan and South Korea, was formed against the backdrop of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. 

In mitigating the economic impacts, Muhyiddin said Malaysia hopes that the signing and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would send a strong message on the importance of strengthening regional economic integration, and further spur the economic growth in the region.

He said while actively looking into economic recovery, food as essential needs in lives should also be given urgent attention.

“Malaysia has expressed the importance for us to cooperate in among others, utilising the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) to ensure food security.

“This will help in ensuring continuous food supply for our people who are severely impacted by the current economic downturn as a result of this pandemic,” he said.

Muhyiddin said in facing challenging and tough times together, it is also of utmost importance that APT continue to deepen their engagement and support each other.

“Our solid cooperation in promoting peace and stability, as well as economic prosperity in the region, is meant none other than for a better and brighter future of the people in our region,” he added. – Nov 14, 2020

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