They said yesterday at the end of the 21st ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat that began on Saturday in Kota Bharu, Malaysia.
“We expect ASEAN’s economic performance to improve in 2015 to 5.1 percent, above the 3.5 percent global growth projection. We based this on the stronger demand in advanced economies, energised by the robust US recovery and several policy stimulus measures in the Eurozone and Japan,” the ministers said in a statement.
Despite the global economic and geopolitical challenges faced by ASEAN members, deepening economic integration in the region would serve as a buffer in helping ASEAN progress and prosper, they added.
ASEAN groups Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei together with Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. The regional grouping is working towards building an ASEAN economic community (AEC) by the end of this year.
According to the ministers, steady progress has been made in implementing the AEC Blueprint.
“Benefits are already flowing to ASEAN businesses and consumers, from significant tariff liberalisation, progress in trade facilitation measures such as self-certification, simplification of customs procedures, and the Mutual Recognition Arrangements on the movement of skilled professionals in the region. ASEAN has also put in place legal structures on competition, consumer protection and intellectual property, contributing to an improved environment for business.”
“The formal establishment of the AEC by end-2015 marks a major milestone in ASEAN’s effort to fulfil the goal of an integrated region… The implementation of the AEC measures does not mean that ASEAN will become a single economic entity by 1 January 2016, rather it sends a strong signal that positive measures have been put in place towards a more liberalised and integrated economic region,” the ministers added.