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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  22 April  2015  

RI, Malaysia step up relations ahead of AEC

Indonesia and Malaysia will step up bilateral cooperation in trade and investment to enable the two neighboring countries to fully benefit from the establishment of the ASEAN common market later this year.

“Bilateral economic relations between Malaysia and Indonesia are important because Indonesia is the largest country in ASEAN in terms of population and size of economy. We think Indonesia has the chance to frame the future of ASEAN,” Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said in Jakarta on Monday.

Mohamed said the plan to enhance economic relations between the two countries had also been mentioned when President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited Kuala Lumpur last February to reciprocate for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rajak’s visit to Jakarta in October last year.

According to Mohamed, enhancing economic relations between Malaysia and Indonesia will not be difficult as both countries already have a close relationship, especially in trade.

“Last year, the total value of trade between Malaysia and Indonesia reached US$20 billion, but it decreased by more than 5 percent from a year earlier. That is why we want to find a way to improve the trade situation in a win-win solution,” Mohamed said. Based on Indonesia’s Central Statistics Agency data, bilateral trade between the two nations reached $20.61 billion in 2014, a slight decrease from $23.98 billion in 2013.

ASEAN, which has 10 member countries and a population of more than 600 million people, is set to launch the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to integrate ASEAN as a single market and production base.

As part of the plan, Mohamed said Indonesia’s Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel had agreed with him to arrange a special meeting in the near future for both countries’ ministers, as well as business associations, to discuss further efforts.

Among the sectors to be discussed thoroughly are trade in commodities, in which both countries are world players with ones like natural rubber, palm oil and cocoa. “As the commodity prices fell due to the weakening global demand, it is important for Malaysia and Indonesia to collaborate in seizing opportunities to boost our trade. However, any strategy that will be taken should not violate international trade agreements,” Mohamed said.

In addition, Mohamed said the Indonesian government had recently improved many things related to the procedures of doing business, saying “Malaysian entrepreneurs praise the Investment Coordinating Board’s initiative to establish an online one-stop service for permits.”

As the ASEAN Chair, Malaysia also prioritizes several goals to be achieved before the AEC implementation, especially negotiating and orchestrating efforts to reduce non-trade barriers and promote standardization for trade goods, Mohamed said - See more at:

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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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