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"ASEAN solidity is very visible here. We (ASEAN) will also act as a mediator to bridge the differences, and we agree to not be involved in the case (bilateral trade tensions). There is pride in solidity of the ASEAN," Minister Lukita remarked.
Presently, tensions in trade relations, yet rife between the United States and China as well as South Korea and Japan, have suppressed optimal growth in the global economy and depleted the value of trade in several nations.
However, Lukita remarked during the meeting that the ASEAN, at least, will not be affected by the ongoing bilateral political economic conflicts between those countries.
In fact, ministers of ASEAN members were on the same page on the idea of the ASEAN attempting to act as an intermediary between the conflicting nations and yet continue to prioritize the interests of ASEAN.
"There is pride about ASEAN's solidity, especially as compared to other regions' condition where the atmosphere is full of uncertainties, such as the European Union, with its Brexit issue," Lukita stated.
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The minister also affirmed that Indonesia will further encourage the completion of some agreement process, for instance, the process of completing the text of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement that had been ongoing for several years though was far from completed.
In fact, the RCEP is highly anticipated to become a beneficial regional agreement for ASEAN countries, especially to overcome the effects of slowing trade and investment amid the global economic uncertainty.
Minister Lukita is confident that countries in the region will reach an agreement on RCEP no later than November 2019.
The 51st ASEAN Economic Ministerial Meeting series will be held on September 6-11, 2019, in Bangkok, Thailand.