KUALA LUMPUR: Any impact from the United States-China trade war can be minimised if Asean member countries unite and cooperate to create a trade bloc like the European Union (EU).

Asean Chamber of Commerce president Datuk Moehamad Izat Emir said although there are several existing initiatives and blueprints to foster regional economic integration, there is still a pressing need to step up and improve bilateral trade to ensure the sustainability and resilience of Asean’s economic development.

“We have a huge market worth $2.6 trillion and over 622 million people in Asean.

“Being collectively the third largest economy in Asia and the seventh largest in the world, it is crucial for us to explore potential segments such as digitalisation to increase the cross-border transactions and trade activities,” he told Bernama recently.

Moehamad Izat said in line with the increasing usage of mobile and online payments globally, Asean should adopt the digitalisation mechanism fully to improve trade activities, especially in logistics and government-to-government relationship.

“The use of artificial intelligence and data analytics can help people process lots of data and provide recommendations, while being the catalyst that can drive market performance.

“By understanding and tapping into these powerful and modern technology, surely we can improve the delivery system, speed and access to information and data,” he added.

However, he said the active participation of governments within Asean is important as they are the ones who will be making and implementing policies to ensure smooth transactions and ease the movement of goods.

“This will also include governments at the federal, state and district levels, as the effectiveness of the cooperation in technologies depends on how well it is utilised and implemented,” he added.

He also called upon business owners to be part of the trade bloc as it can be a platform to grow their business further and across Asean.

“We aim to increase our membership to 500 this year, thus we call upon business owners to join us as we can assist them in expanding their businesses across the border,” he added. – Bernama