World Economy

Asean Integration Needs Massive Investments

Carlos Dominguez Carlos Dominguez

Now is the best time to invest in the economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with the sub-region expected to collectively become a strong driver of global growth in the next decade, according to Carlos Dominguez III, Philippines secretary of the department of finance.

Dominguez, who is this year’s host of the Asean Finance Ministers Investors’ Seminar and Asean Finance Ministers’ Meeting, said the regional bloc’s envisioned single market and production base under the Asean Economic Community will require massive investments, with a detailed AEC blueprint and a master-plan on Asean Connectivity for 2025 developed by the member-economies, reported.

He said the AEC provides investors various benefits and advantages: a market of 600 million people and a 300 million-strong labor force that is young, talented and dynamic.

“The regional economy we envision is a truly ambitious undertaking that will require massive investments. But we have momentum and opportunity on our side. The support of the investor community will be indispensable for this undertaking to succeed,” Dominguez said in his opening remarks at the AFMIS, which is holding its 12th meeting at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort in Cebu, Philippines.

The Philippines is this year’s chair of Asean, which is marking 50 years. The theme is: “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.”

“Our governments are convinced that globalization is the way to progress. Our economies have much headroom for rapid expansion, beginning from a massive infrastructure build-up that will bring our region increased efficiency,” he said.

The AFMIS is among the series of conferences held in the Philippines in the run-up to the meetings to be conducted separately and jointly among the Asean Finance Ministers and the Asean central bank governors Friday.

Dominguez said towards realizing an Asean Economic Community, the regional grouping is promoting e-commerce in the region, pooling resources to develop the infrastructure needed, facilitating trade and supporting each other’s rising expanding consumer markets.

“More extensive cooperation and more intensive integration have been beneficial to the economies of this dynamic region. All our economies are driven to a large extent by trade. The Asean Free Trade Area provided us a framework for dramatically increasing intra-regional trade and investments,” he said.

“This allowed us to negotiate as a bloc with the larger trading economies around us through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Over the longer term, we envision an Asean Economic Community that will provide a strong driver for growth among ourselves and global growth,” Dominguez said.

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