MANILA, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its three East Asian dialogue partners China, Japan and South Korea reaffirmed on Sunday to further intensify economic cooperation to build a stronger ASEAN Plus Three (APT) community.
Philippine Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo told a news briefing that APT ministers reaffirmed further cooperation efforts with the development of the renewed APT Economic Work Plan that will set broader goals of building a stronger APT community in the long-run.
In relation to the work plan, Rodolfo said the Philippines can benefit from APT cooperation initiatives with priorities given to e-commerce in moving the country towards a digital economy, supply chain connectivity, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) development, and trade facilitation.
The development of the work plan can further assist the Philippines in its pursuit towards greater connectivity to Plus Three countries, Rodolfo said referring to China, Japan and South Korea.
For his part, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement that the ministers also welcomed the efforts of the East Asia Business Council (EABC) in helping regional MSMEs capture digital trade opportunities, find new ways of doing business, and enhance MSME engagement.
He said the ministers showed their expectation as well towards APT cooperation in facilitating e-commerce development, Lopez said.
The Philippines, as chair of this year's ASEAN, is hosting the 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers' (AEM) meeting and related meetings.
ASEAN economic ministers kicked off a four-day meeting in Manila on Thursday to discus ways on how to further strengthen economic ties and integrate trade and investment in Southeast Asia.
Also participating the meeting are economic and trade ministers from ASEAN dialogue partners -- Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.