ASEAN trade to grow 40% through AEC

The Nation (Thailand)/Asia News Network

BANGKOK — Intra-regional trade among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states should increase from 25 percent at present to 40 percent of its total trading value in order to ensure sustainable growth, ASEAN secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said Tuesday.

Speaking at the ASEAN Business Forum on “Toward AEC 2015: Where we are now?”, Surin said that following the development of infrastructure and trade facilitation, non-ASEAN enterprises are looking for increasing trade and investment opportunity in the region, driven by strong growth path.

ASEAN enterprises should urgently enhance their competitiveness and infrastructure to ensure business growth.

He urged ASEAN to increase the intra-regional trade from only US$400 billion, which is rather small compared to its trade with the world which amounts to US$1.7 trillion. Each ASEAN member must cooperate by seriously liberalizing its market, increasing connectivity and eliminating non-tariff barriers instead of competing against each other. This will help boost trade in the region and help achieve the single market goal by 2015.