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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   27 September 2013  

Pakistan’s relationship with ASEAN lauded

KARACHI: Pakistan offers significant trade and investment potential to member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), speakers said at the “Asean Economic Community 2015 – Role of Thailand in Enhancing Pakistan-Asean Connectivity” held on Tuesday.

Addressing the seminar, which was organised by the Royal Thai Consulate General, former minister of state and chief executive of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Tariq Ikram said the volume of trade between Pakistan and Asean can increase by $4-5 billion in a few years.

Consisting of 10 countries, Asean’s collective imports from Pakistan in 2012 were slightly over $1 billion, which translates into less than 0.1% of their total imports in the same year. On the other hand, Asean’s exports to Pakistan amounted to $5.1 billion in 2012, which was 11.7% of Pakistan’s total imports in that year.

The combined gross domestic product (GDP) of Asean was $2.3 trillion in 2011. In terms of the size of the economy, major countries of Asean include Thailand ($425 billion), Indonesia ($834 billion) and Malaysia ($471 billion).

Ikram said the increase in the number of global trade agreements from 385 in 1989 to 2,265 in 2003 involving 176 countries is dramatic because they offer many benefits beyond trade and investment opportunities.

Saying that developing economies should take maximum advantage of a rapidly globalising economy, he added that they should try to excel in particular segments within the international supply chains. “Japan is one of the top consumers of iron ore, although it doesn’t produce any of it. Pakistan may be one of the top producers of cotton, but Bangladesh leads in the garment manufacturing,” he said while emphasising the need for regional cooperation to gain competitive advantage.

He said regional agreements are used for not only promoting trade and investment, but also strengthening domestic policy reform. He said Pakistan is important for Asean as much as Asean is important for Pakistan when it comes to economic cooperation. “Pakistan is the gateway to the Middle East, just like Thailand is the gateway to Asean,” he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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