World Economy

ASEAN States to Become Economic Hotbeds

ASEAN States to Become Economic HotbedsASEAN States to Become Economic Hotbeds

ASEAN member countries are poised to become economic hotbeds, as the region is seen as the primary investment destination by Asia, Europe and others, says Malaysian Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

“If ASEAN is a single economy, it would be seventh largest in the world with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.4 trillion in 2013, and could be the fourth largest by 2050 if growth trends continue,” he said, Bernama reported.

With a nearly 650 million population, Wee said ASEAN’s potential market was larger than that of the European Union and North America, and next to China and India.

He added that ASEAN also had the world’s third largest labor force that remained relatively young.

Touching on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), he said it was not an instant economic bloc like the European Union, as ASEAN countries continued to have different political and cultural structures.

“However, all countries must work together to create an ASEAN single market and production base comprising five core elements that would grow over time, including free flow of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor,” he added.

Wee was speaking at the launch of the Rise of ASEAN Conference and 8th Global Entrepreneurs Roundtable here, Saturday.

He said 2015 marked an important and crucial year for ASEAN as the 10 member states are geared towards the integration and realization of the AEC.

ASEAN has truly gained traction as a potentially dynamic economic entity with huge prospects for trade and investment, he added.