RI, Malaysia Proposes ASEAN-GCC Cooperation for New Economic Power

JAKARTA (Antara) – Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Erlanga Hartardo and Malaysian Prime Minister (PM) Anwar Ibrahim agreed to propose cooperation between ASEAN and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a new economic power.

The agreement was one of the topics discussed at the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Special Meeting on Global Cooperation, Development and Energy for Growth held on April 28-29, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In a statement from his office on Monday, Hartardo proposed expanding Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) cooperation partners with GCC member states.

„ASEAN has a large trade bloc called RCEP, or ASEAN+6 countries. If GCC countries are invited to the trade bloc, it will become the largest trade bloc in the world,” he noted.

According to the minister, the trade forum will facilitate various potential collaborations in the areas of trade, investment, digital economy, Sharia finance, MSMEs and youth exchange.

He explained that the review of the Free Trade Agreement should begin with the GCC countries, while the current agreement should be strengthened and further expanded.

Related news: Widodo seeks to strengthen ASEAN-GCC economic cooperation

Hartardo emphasized that agriculture, energy and tourism are essential sectors, considering that these two regions have their own uniqueness, including possibilities for cooperation in the fields of energy transition, carbon saving, education, culture and the halal product industry.

On the same occasion, Prime Minister Ibrahim drew attention to the capabilities of these two regions in increasing their capacity in inter-regional cooperation and welcoming sustainable development amid global uncertainty.

„This dialogue is very important as an impetus to strengthen cooperation between ASEAN and the GCC, especially in terms of trade and investment, especially since Indonesia, Malaysia and Laos are the ASEAN Chairman's Triangle this year,” he noted.

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Troika is a concept of rotating leadership of an event to ensure continuity of discussed issues.

In 2023, Indonesia's ASEAN chairmanship was themed „Epicentrum of Growth”. The status was handed over to Laos in 2024, coinciding with the next ASEAN-GCC summit. Meanwhile, in 2025, the ASEAN presidency will be held by Malaysia.

Therefore, Hartardo stressed that interregional cooperation is key to the domestic agenda of achieving a Golden Indonesia by 2045 amid the global economic slowdown and current geopolitical tensions.

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