World Economy

Asean, Asia’s Next Economic Powerhouse

Asean, Asia’s Next Economic PowerhouseAsean, Asia’s Next Economic Powerhouse

With a population of over 600 million and abundant mineral resources and commodities, Asean could be the next economic powerhouse within the Asian region, said SME Corporation Malaysia chief executive officer, Datuk Hafsah Hashim.

She said as the shift in the economy has moved from the west to the east, Asean would be seen as one of the economic powerhouses after China, providing good opportunities to the business community.

“Asean as a region has a lot of potential. We have palm oil, rubber and minerals, and on top of that, the countries have almost the same culture, which would make it easier for business,” she told Bernama in an interview in conjunction with the upcoming Asean SME Showcase and Conference 2015.

Hence, Hafsah said as the chair of Asean for this year, Malaysia has the responsibility to make the people understand the importance of Asean and how they could play their roles to make the bloc as the next trade and investment center.

This was vital especially when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) was scheduled to start by year-end, she added.

The AEC is an economic liberalization program, aimed at increasing the international competitiveness of Asean and to make the region an attractive investment location.

Among the targets of the AEC are free flow of goods, services, investment and capital and also to promote an equitable economic development in the small and medium enterprises among the Asean members.

Hafsah said in supporting the Malaysia chairmanship, SME Corp will organize a three-day Asean SME Showcase and Conference 2015 in May, to showcase the Asean countries’ innovative and high technology products and services.

With the theme “One Business, One Community”, the event will also highlight business matching sessions between government-linked companies and multinational corporations.