ASEAN Economic Ministers discussed key trade concerns, including challenges faced by the region brought about by global developments such as the COVID-19 lockdown in China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We should focus on enhancing international cooperation, going beyond trade and pursuing other initiatives such as boosting investment and strengthening the rules based multilateral trading system. On the first, it is important that we [ASEAN] strengthen economic cooperation efforts and bring about real, and honest to goodness integration,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
“Most importantly at this time, we need to ensure that there are no restrictions on trade so as to allow the unhampered flow of goods, especially essential food, fuel, medicines, and medical equipment,” he said.
Lopez raised issues on recent export bans on rice, coal and palm oil implemented in the region. He acknowledged efforts by other countries that eventually removed such measures and called for the remaining bans to be lifted.