Chairman ASEAN Committee Islamabad (ACI) Ambassador Nguyen Tien Phong on Sunday said that ASEAN is a symbol of shared property and economic development for the whole world including Pakistan, which is a catalyst in global economy and trade. The Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has established excellent economic and trade relations with the whole world, which is likely to improve further in the future, the Ambassador said. In an interview with APP here, he said that according to the vision of ASEAN, these economic relations are to further strengthen economic and trade integration in the world, from which the rest of the countries including Pakistan can also get benefits. The 55th anniversary of this month will be made with the determination that ASEAN will play its full role for economic prosperity, trade integration to promote peace and harmony with the other regions of the world, Chairman Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEANs) Committee Islamabad (ACI) and Ambassador of Vietnam to Pakistan, Nguyen Tien Phong on told APP. The Ambassador said that today the economic volume of the ASEAN countries has exceeded $3.3 trillion, which is likely to improve further in the near future. He said that Pakistan’s trade volume with ASEAN countries is $11 billion, which is much less than its current potential. The Ambassador said that ASEAN’s economic growth could further accelerate to 5.0% in 2022. The ASEAN’s total merchandise trade reached USD 3.3 trillion in 2021, of which 21.3% was within the region, while services trade reached USD 743 billion with intra-ASEAN comprising 11.7%, he said. Meanwhile, inflows of foreign direct investments to ASEAN reached USD 174.1 billion in 2021, 12.0% of which was among ASEAN Member States, he said. ASEAN were optimistic that macroeconomic fundamentals remain robust and committed to continue working together to ensure the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and as well as strengthening its region’s collective resilience and competitiveness in the long run, he said. The ASEAN were pleased to note the significant recovery in the region’s economy, which expanded by 3.0% in 2021 compared to a 3.2% contraction in 2020. In the same month, the foundation of ASEAN was laid on August 8, 1967, he said. The Ambassador said that regional integration of ASEAN countries is not only essential for the economic prosperity of the ASEAN region but also important for global economic linkages and connectivity. He said economic and trade liberalization, multilateralism, credibility, global connectivity, economic stability, youth empowerment, maritime security, political stability, and regional to regional connectivity are part of ASEAN’s regional economic vision. He said that ASEAN reaffirmed its belief that regionalism and multilateralism are important principles and frameworks of cooperation, and that their strength and value lie in their inclusivity, rules-based nature, and emphasis on mutual benefit and respect. The ASEAN underscored the importance of maintaining ASEAN’s unity and Centrality in its community-building efforts and engagement with external partners, in promoting peace, security and stability as well as in enhancing regional resilience in response to common and emerging challenges, he said. The ASEAN countries also shown its shared commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). ASEAN underscored the importance of seizing the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) with the COVID-19 pandemic having accentuated the urgency for digital transformation. Replying to a question on ASEAN and Pakistan Relations, he said that Pakistan was accorded the status of sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN at the 26th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on 23 July 1993. He said the inaugural meeting of ASEAN-Pakistan Joint Sectoral Dialogue Relations was convened on 5-7 November 1997 in Islamabad to launch the partnership.