November 18, 2007
ASEAN-SINGAPORE : Economies and Investment
Economic Integration Key To Attracting Investment In Asean
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has called for further economic integration among the 10-member Asean to ensure the region remains attractive as an investment destination.
He said that the Asean Economic Community Blueprint, which will be signed here on Tuesday at the 13th Asean Summit, will provide a comprehensive plan for Asean economic integration, which must be followed up by systematic and committed implementation.
"The Asean Charter, which will also be signed at the forthcoming Summit, aims to steer Asean in this direction. The Charter moves Asean towards a rules-based organisation which, coupled with transparent regulations, is critical in enhancing Asean's credibility and attracting investors.
"I am confident that with the right attitude and political will, we will achieve this," he said when opening the 2007 Asean Business and Investment Summit held in conjunction with the 13th Asean Summit.
But there were other issues Asean need to address apart from economic progress, such as making sure development in the region is sustainable.
"As countries become more affluent, their economies will consume more resources, and often impose greater strains on the environment. Higher standards of living and growing urbanisation will increase demand for basic necessities such as food, clean water and energy," he said.
With fears growing about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, he said, there was greater impetus to accelerate the deployment of emission-reduction technologies, promote energy efficiency, and protect the existing carbon sinks such as forests.
"In its own interest, Asean will have to balance the competing demands of economics, energy and the environment. Unbridled growth without heed to environmental consequences will ultimately be disastrous," he added.
On globalisation, Lee said that its benefits and growth need to be spread widely, especially to the poor in each country.
"The forces of globalisation have the potential to lift millions around the world from dire poverty, but they can also cause social tensions as they sharpen the differences between rich and poor within the same society," he added.
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