There is now a new regional economic bloc. ASEAN leaders in Kuala Lumpur have declared the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a single market with a free flow of goods, capital and skilled labour in the region, according to media reports.
The AEC signed by the leaders of 10-nation group, attempts to create freer movement of trade and capital in an area of 625 million people with a combined economic output of $ 2.6 trillion.
The ASEAN leaders also adopted the declaration on “ASEAN 2025, forging ahead together”.
“ASEAN is working towards a community that is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible,” the declaration said.
The ASEAN 2025 document charts the path for the AEC building over the next ten years.
“It is a forward looking roadmap that articulates ASEAN goals and aspirations to realise further consolidation,” the leaders said.
ASEAN 2025 means a community committed to working with external partners to strengthen cooperation in combating non-traditional security challenges like terrorism, drug related crimes, human trafficking and maritime issues through various initiatives and projects, the declaration added.
ASEAN grouping includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (SH)