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23 October 2009

Trade, currency swap deals top Asean summit agenda

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Asean Economic Ministers yesterday began deliberation on the current regional economic situation and to fine-tune several financial and trade mechanisms before their leaders meet at the 15th Asean Summit beginning today in Hua Hin, Thailand, repoted Malaysian news agency Bernama.

The agency quoted Vitavas Srivihok, director-general of the Department of Asean Affairs, as saying that a number of concrete outcomes are expected after the Summit, including the $120 billion Chiang Mai Initiative multilateralisation to be launched early next year.

He said that the fund, with contributions from Asean member countries, as well as from China, Japan and South Korea, is expected to contribute to regional economic recovery efforts and financial liquidity.

The ministers are also discussing the development of the Asean + 3 Emergency Rice Reserve with the aim of early commencement under a permanent office.

During the Summit, 16 regional leaders will also follow up on the progress of China's initiatives to promote infrastructure development through the $10 billion China-Asean Fund on Investment Cooperation and the $15 billion Commercial Credit.

Also on the agenda is cooperation with Japan on global warming, efficient use of energy, closing the development gap among Asean member countries and cooperation with Korea on the latter's "Low Carbon Green Growth" initiative for dealing with climate change.

The economic ministers are also discussing free trade agreements between the region and its dialogue partners, including cooperation with India towards achieving US$70 billion trade within two years.


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