AEC to power Asean economic growth, lure more FDI

21 November 2015
The STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: Asean’s gross domestic products (GDP) is expected to chart healthy growth of 5.6% annually from now till 2019 to be mainly to be driven by the formation of Asean Economic Community (AEC) which will attract more foreign direct investment (FDI).

As a single market, the region is expected to become the world’s fourth largest economy, by 2050.

FDI in Asean has surpassed two of the world’s biggest economies – the United States and China – valued at US$136 last year.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said European Union investors continued to lead in Asean, contributing a 21.5% share, followed by Japan at 9.8% and the United States at 9.6%.

“Asean has proven itself to the world by having consistent economic growth and bringing prosperity and higher standard of living for all of our people.

“To do this we need foreign and also Asean investments.

“Given the impending establishment of the AEC, I am confident that foreign direct investment inflows will continue to increase well into the future,” he said in his keynote address at the Asean Business and Investment Summit 2015 here yesterday.

Asean is an attractive destination for businesses and investors, and this will create more economic and employment opportunities.

“It is our shared duty to elevate the living standards of all in Asean,” he said.

Najib stressed on the importance of public-private partnerships and the role of the private sector in driving the economy.

“If we truly want to unleash the full potential and create more wealth, it is the private sector that will be the driving force, and we as political leaders must recognise that, (and believe) in a smart partnership

“Some of the main sectors identified to drive the Asean economy to the next level are the agriculture-based business, automotive, aviation, tourism, healthcare, timber-based products and logistics,” he said.

The Asean Business Advisory Council (ABAC) proposals included an Asean travel card and Asean travel lane to ease the movement of Asean passengers at airports within the region.

“I would champion to implement what ABAC has planned.

Najib said that while it would take years or generations to fully realise the concept of Asean as a community, the first step needed to be taken right now.

“We have to begin that journey now,” he said.

Asean leaders are expected to sign the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the establishment of the Asean Community and Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Asean 2025 today.

- The Star