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ASEAN, Russia emphasize need to further deepen bilateral economic ties

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Russia on Friday emphasized the need to further deepen their bilateral economic relations to quicken their post-COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery, according to a joint media statement.

The remarks were made during the 11th ASEAN-Russia Economic Ministers Consultation in northwest Cambodia's Siem Reap province, co-chaired by Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and Vladimir Ilyichev, Russia's deputy Minister of Economic Development.

The two-way trade between ASEAN and Russia amounted to 20 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 27.3 percent from 2020, the statement said, adding that the bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) amounted to 1.7 billion dollars.

It said Russia is ASEAN's ninth largest trading partner and source of FDI among ASEAN Dialogue Partners in 2021.

The meeting noted that the post-COVID-19 economic recovery remains vulnerable to adverse global economic developments such as rising global food and energy prices that have caused rising global inflation.

The meeting "emphasized the need to further deepen ASEAN-Russia bilateral economic relations to promote cooperation in addressing comprehensive post-pandemic recovery, by sustaining open market to navigate the supply chain disruption, reinforcing trade and investment, and supporting safe and seamless mobility," the statement said.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the meeting, Cambodian Ministry of Commerce's Undersecretary of State and Spokesman Penn Sovicheat said the meeting also highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation in digital and sustainable economy, which could play an important role in facilitating trade for post-pandemic recovery.

He said the meeting welcomed the progress in the implementation of the ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Work Program 2021-2025.

"The meeting encouraged ASEAN and Russia to continue implementing the work program effectively and to focus further on ASEAN-Russia's priority areas of cooperation that are critical to economic integration between the regions and to post-pandemic recovery efforts, such as digitalization, energy transition, green infrastructure, and supply chain resilience," Sovicheat said.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.