SINGAPORE, March 2 (Xinhua) -- The ASEAN economic ministers expressed their confidence on Friday that the achievement of the region's economic priorities for 2018 would translate into a more business-friendly environment for e-commerce and innovation.
The ministers gathered in Singapore for the 24th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Retreat and Related Meetings starting Friday.
According to a press release from Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry, the ministers endorsed the priorities, which were put forward by Singapore as chair of ASEAN this year, and were also confident that these priorities would further enhance the flow of goods, services and investments in the region.
ASEAN refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Singapore ministry said the priorities seek to deepen regional connectivity to position ASEAN for increasingly seamless economic activity and growing opportunities through advancing the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025.
In particular, they are designed to promote innovation and e-commerce, improve trade facilitation, deepen services and investment integration, cultivate a conducive regulatory environment, and progress ASEAN's external relations, it added.
Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore's minister for trade and industry (trade) who chairs the retreat and related meetings, said at a press conference on Friday that the ministers showed strong interests in developing the potential of the digital economy in ASEAN, and clearly recognized that was the way of future and they had to better prepare for it.