ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
German car industry keen on ASEAN
THE German automobile industry is keen to foray into the lucrative markets of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The German automobile industry, an important pillar of the country's economy, has long eyed not just the Southeast Asian region but the whole of Asia.
The German automotive industry already has a strong presence in China and India.
"ASEAN is indeed an important region for us. The German automobile industry already has a strong presence in the region," Eckehart Rotter, the spokesman of the Berlin-based German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) told Bernama.
He was speaking at Frankfurt's International Automobile Show recently. It was personally inaugurated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The event, popularly known by its German acronym IAA, and organised by the VDA, attracted a large Asian presence of exhibitors and trade visitors.
"I believe the European Union (EU) should sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN first rather than South Korea.
"ASEAN is a much more interesting market for us than Korea which would get access to the huge EU market. Our association's stand is to first finalise a FTA with ASEAN," Rotter added.
Rotter is familiar with the ASEAN region, having also visited Malaysia and Singapore.
He said that German automotive companies had production lines in some ASEAN countries.
"Indeed, I believe that the ASEAN region could be the next big success story after China. People in the ASEAN member countries are hard working and the region is inherently a huge market."
The VDA is organising a visit next year to Bangkok to attend Thailand's motor show.
The ASEAN region offers a significant opportunity for global automakers in the near to medium term, according to Frost & Sullivan, the business consulting firm.
The company predicts that total vehicle production in ASEAN will probably grow at an average annual rate of eight per cent.
The formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is slated to take place in 2015, allowing for the creation of a single market. The AEC is also a major attraction for the German automotive industry in its quest for a strong foothold in the region.
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