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Malaysian trade minister calls for more intra-ASEAN investments

(Xinhua)

08:34, August 12, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed urged companies in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the 43rd ASEAN Economic Ministers' meeting to invest in the region as a way to promote intra-ASEAN investments, according to his ministry's statement on Thursday.

He said ASEAN companies should be encouraged to operate and expand their businesses or projects within the region to strengthen the intra-ASEAN investment flows, in a bid to speed up the bloc's progress to form an integrated regional economy by 2015.

At the meeting, Mustapa welcomed ASEAN's strong rebound from the 2008 financial crisis that was proven by a significant regional GDP growth of 7.4 percent in 2010 from mere 1.6 percent in 2009.

Foreign direct investment flows into the ASEAN in 2010 stood at 75.8 billion U.S. dollars, doubling the 37.9 billion U.S. dollars recorded in 2009.

Investments into the ASEAN were mainly from the European Union, the U.S., Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and India.

Intra-ASEAN investments jumped to 12.1 billion U.S. dollars last year from 5.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2009 the highest over the past 15 years.

The major ASEAN investors were Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

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