Indonesia, the 2023 ASEAN chair, has received Cambodia’s support for the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) which will be held in September.

The request for assistance from the bloc’s largest economy came during an April 3 working meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation between Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Rath Saravuth and Arsjad Rasjid, chairman of both the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) 2023.

According to the commerce ministry, Arsjad outlined the priority work and other initiatives of the ASEAN-BAC, which has five major priorities: Digital transformation, sustainable development, food security, health system resilience, and trade and investment facilitation.

Arsjad informed the Cambodian side about the September summit, saying that ASEAN leaders, economy ministers and other relevant senior officials will be invited to attend.

Saravuth responded by offering to assist Indonesia with its preparations for the summit. He stressed the importance of the summit, which is an opportunity for each ASEAN member to demonstrate its economic potential to the region and the world.

“Cambodia supports the priority work, projects and initiatives proposed by the ASEAN-BAC. We welcome the chance to work closely with stakeholders on the priority work and other initiatives, in line with the agenda and the vision that ASEAN has been pursuing, especially sustainable development, inclusiveness and resilience,” he said.

Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, commented on Indonesia’s request for support, saying that this is a common practice among ASEAN member states. The ASEAN principle uses a consensus mechanism, meaning decisions cannot be made without the votes of all members.

“ASEAN is also a large and important market for internal trade and investment. ASEAN leaders have said that the bloc strives to strengthen external trade relations, but yet to focus on promoting internal investment and trade. The summit is likely to boost investment and internal trade relations more actively and deeply,” he said.

He said he believed that as one of the region’s fastest-growing economies, Indonesia has huge potential as a host.

“A member of the G20 Economic Community, Indonesia has the largest territory and the largest population in ASEAN, and is even home to the bloc’s headquarters,” he said.

He said he strongly hoped that Indonesia’s hosting of the summit would be successful, along with its other duties as ASEAN chair, especially in the fields of economy, trade and investment.