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Trade war

Southeast Asia strengthens FTAs to head off trade tensions

ASEAN ministers say updating current trade deals will complement RCEP talks

ASEAN ministers discussed ways to build up economic links so that businesses can survive turmoil.    © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- The countries of Southeast Asia affirmed their support for free trade on Saturday as uncertainties in the global trade environment threaten to hurt exports, which they see as crucial to their economic growth.

The economic ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to strengthen individual free trade agreements on top of the broader Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact it is seeking to sign, to ensure that barriers to trade will be brought down.

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