23/08/2015 10:57 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting opens

Kuala Lumpur, August 22 (VNA) – The 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM 47) and related meetings opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on August 22.

Present at the event were economic ministers from ASEAN member countries, ASEAN dialogue partners, and ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh.

The Vietnamese delegation to the meetings was led by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu.

In opening the AEM 47, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said the AEM 47 and related meetings are taking place at a crucial time on the path towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community, one pillar of which is the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

In the context of complicated developments in global economic and political situation, the bloc has encountered a number of challenges such as the reduction in oil and goods prices, concerns about the regional monetary conditions and the global economic environment, he said.

However, ASEAN member states are determined to push ahead with economic integration and the formation of the AEC by the yearend, he said, adding that the establishment of the AEC does not mean the end of the integration process, but rather the conclusion of a stage in ASEAN development and the opening of a new phase.

The minister underlined that ASEAN has gained strong economic growth over the past two decades and reduced barriers to promote trade and investment.

Last year, ASEAN attracted 136 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI), surpassing China. Nearly 20 percent of which were contributed by the bloc’s internal investment, he noted.

Minister Mustapa added that the group’s average economic growth reaches 5 percent per annum and the growth prospect in the middle and long run is very promising.

It was reported at the meeting that to date, ASEAN has fulfilled 91 percent of measures in the AEC blueprint and 46 remaining ones will be implemented soon.

During the AEM 47, economic ministers will discuss the implementation of solutions to building AEC, especially the completion of commitments agreed under the AEC 2015 Blueprint.

Other key items on the agenda are the development of the post-2015 ASEAN Economic Vision through 2025, strategic action plans for the next 10 years and the building of the ASEAN small-and medium-sized enterprises master plan in the 2016-2025 period.

The same day, the 29th meeting of the ASEAN Free Trade Area and the 18th meeting of the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) also took place in Kuala Lumpur.