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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 17:02, May 16, 2006
ASEAN countries brace for single economic community by 2015
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A single economic community with a regional market but without a single currency by 2015 has been endorsed by trade ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN), according to a press briefing here on their three- day meeting, which was scheduled to end Tuesday.

The trade ministers have expressed their countries' resolve to speed up the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is considered to be at par with the economies of the European Union by the year 2015, the briefing official said.

Ministers from ASEAN countries except those from Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam attended the meeting and discussed the ways to execute operational plans to form a single market in the Southeast Asian region, so as to keep pace with China and India, the huge developing economies of the region, the official said.

Ministers from Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam could not attend the meeting due to other commitments, officials said. The three countries were represented by senior officials.

It remains immature to establish an agenda to introduce a single currency to the future regional free-trade market, the official added, although related research is being undertaken by some economists of various international institutions such as the Asian Development Bank.

The AEC was originally proposed to form by 2020. It will allow the free trade of goods, services and personnel across the region to boost trade and investment. The plans do not call for a single currency.

The meeting hosted by the Philippines was transferred to Manila from the resort island of Boracay over the weekend due to a tropical storm.

Source: Xinhua

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