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Cambodian workers exit their factory as they take a lunch break in Phnom Penh, March 2, 2020. Cambodia's multi-billion-dollar garment industry is at risk of chain disruption from the Covid-19 breakout, as its impacts hammer on Southeast Asia's key industries. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Wake-up call for ASEAN countries: Curb over-reliance on China and seize opportunities of global supply chain restructuring

After this battle with the Covid-19 coronavirus, each ASEAN country should step up its emergency preparedness and national resilience capacities in dealing with similar pandemics. But health concerns aside, the outbreak also highlights the region’s high reliance on China in economics and trade. As global supply chains realign in the wake of the crisis, Southeast Asian countries should implement bold domestic reforms and vigorously develop their manufacturing sectors to be in the best position to reap the benefits.