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Economic Community
August 26, 2007
Members urged to speed up FTA with trade partners

President Arroyo yesterday cited economic ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for approving the blueprint for the ASEAN’s economic integration and called on ASEAN countries to speed up free trade agreements being negotiated with key partners like China, South Korea, and Japan.

"Congratulations for continuing to steer a vibrant future for the entire region, especially with your accomplishment of the draft ASEAN Economic Community," Mrs. Arroyo said in a dinner she hosted for the ASEAN economic ministers meeting in Manila for discussions on the document.

The draft ASEAN Economic Community blueprint, an ambitious integration process that would culminate in economic integration for the 10 ASEAN countries by 2015, will be presented to ASEAN leaders for approval at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Singapore this November.

Under the draft ASEAN Economic Community blueprint, ASEAN would become a single market and production base and ideally a highly competitive economic region with equitable economic development among its 10 members.

"And I thank you for keeping the momentum of integration into one seamless economy. We have already taken the first step to creating this community through the drafting of the ASEAN Charter, of which I congratulate you because the ASEAN Economic Community blueprint is now done," Mrs. Arroyo said.

The President also appealed for the speedy approval of free trade agreements being negotiated by the ASEAN individually with the region’s key economic partners — China, Japan and South Korea.

She said the free trade agreements (FTAs) being negotiated with ASEAN’s three rich neighbors in Asia would make the ASEAN "a zone of prosperity" that provides "more stable, secure and prosperous life for all its peoples." Manila Bulletin reports

See also:
FTAs with dialogue partners in place by 2013

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