Singapore (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called on ASEAN member countries to make the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) a building block that could contribute to the regional association.

"We must ensure that this cooperation brings concrete and inclusive benefits to our people as well to the people of ASEAN," Jokowi said at the 11th IMT-GT Meeting at Banyan Room, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore.

Jokowi proposed a number of steps that must be taken immediately to realize this and promote inclusive growth in the IMT-GT region.

Jokowi stated that the main step that must be taken is infrastructure development, especially Physical Connectivity Projects (PCP) that can accelerate the flow of goods, services, and passengers.

In addition, a number of cooperation in various priority areas, such as agro-industry, tourism, and the development of the digital economy, should also be continuously improved.

Jokowi also encouraged the improvement of skills, competitiveness, and ability to contribute positively through the Center for IMT-GT Subregional Cooperation (CIMT).

"As a joint secretariat, CIMT must contribute to the smoothness of cooperation both between countries and with other international organizations," Jokowi remarked.

He noted that the three countries managed to achieve some progress while entering 25 years of IMT-GT cooperation.

The growth of IMT-GT in 2016 has reached 4.4 percent, and the GDP per capita growth in the IMT-GT region recorded US$14,557 in 2016 from $11,508 in 2011.

In fact, in terms of air connectivity, the number of international airports in the IMT-GT region increased by three times from 9 airports in 1995 to 28 international airports today.

Nevertheless, the president warned that there are still many tough challenges faced in this region.

"The region and the world today are still haunted by uncertainty due to competition between the big powers, besides the challenge of trade war," Jokowi revealed. *** 2 ***

reported by Hanni Sofia
(A014 /INE)

Reporter: antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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