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 2 May 2009

Asean should look to new economic order

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), together with its regional partners, must weigh in on forming a new global economic order, Malaysia’s state news agency Bernama quoted a former minister as saying.

Speaking at the inaugural Malaysia-Europe Forum- Brussels Spring Roundtable, former Minister of International Trade and Industry Rafidah Aziz said the current global crisis will pass and Asean must be ready to host new investors in the region when the global economy rebounds.

"The grouping must also undertake aggressive marketing of Asean, so that the world will see Asean, as the group, rather than pick out issues or problems, in any one Asean member country," she said.

She stressed the Asean bloc must also extend its outreach globally in order to facilitate market access, for the business community operating in Asean.

Touching on relations with the European Union, the former minister said bilateral relations have been strong, between Asean and the EU, both on the diplomatic and economic fronts.

She said there are already mechanisms within the bilateral framework, to forge stronger economic and trade linkages. In fact, she said there is already agreement to commence a bilateral EU-Asean Free Trade Agreement, moving forward from existing initiatives.

















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