Fri, 11 Apr 2003

ASEAN told to boost trade, investment

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

President Megawati Soekarnoputri on Thursday called on business leaders in the Southeast Asian region to keep working together in order to promote the region as a single market.

Megawati said that there was much to be gained through strong cooperation in trade and economic relations among member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"Each ASEAN country should outline its potential so that efforts can be made to realize this potential by teaming up with neighbors," she said when hosting members of the newly formed ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

ABAC consists of prominent leaders of commerce and industry, whose members are chosen by their respective governments to provide advice on issues and policies that influence business.

In a similar message Minister of Industry and Trade Rini Soewandi also stressed the need for ASEAN members to improve trade between them.

"As such is a goal that would help many of our economies to achieve a pattern of international trade, less dependent on our existing major partners," she said at a luncheon talks.

"The level of foreign direct investments coming to our economies can be raised further through improved synergy between our economies and the correction of the negative international perception of our region," added Rini.

Comprising the region's ten countries and a combined population of nearly 500 million, ASEAN is considered one of the world's economic powers.