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ASEAN to establish AEC by 2015

ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh (left) with Professor Hidetoshi Nishimura, Executive Director of ERIA seen at the 2nd ERIA Editors Roundtable held here today. Mr Le Luong Minh answer the questions from the editors attending the meeting in Brunei.

Le Luong Minh, Secretary General of the ASEAN announced that the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will be completed by 2015. He said that currently 80% of the AEC blueprint adopted by the 13th ASEAN Summit on November 20, 2007 in Singapore has been implemented.

The announcement was made during the one-day meeting, entitled 'The 2nd Editors Roundtable: Challenges Ahead: AEC 2015 and Beyond', organized by Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) on September 11.

The remaining 20% that is yet to be implemented comprises issues such as free trade and free investment, he added.

Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Secretary-General, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia also echoed his opinion in the meeting.

She expressed confidence that the AEC would be completed by 2015. She added that the ASEAN must also streamline its economic policies into clear cut rules so as to ensure efficient implementation of measures laid out in the blueprint.

Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria highlighted the need to strengthen the ASEAN Secretariat as well as implement mechanisms to ensure there is no roll-back on commitments.

International and local experts joined 70 editors and opinion makers during the roundtable organized by ERIA and the Prime Minister of Brunie’s Office.

Mr Mahrub  Murni, Permanent Secretary of Media and Cabinet, Brunei’s Prime Minister’s Office, said in his opening speech at the meeting that it is incumbent on journalists to understand progress the ASEAN has made over the years to accomplish the three pillars, namely political and security cooperation, economic cooperation, and socio-cultural cooperation.

He also added that the information sector must assist the government to disseminate awareness to all stakeholders. “The media acts as a driver to create awareness of public welfare initiatives taken up by their governments, explain why the ASEAN community prioritizes pepole's interests and how member countries can forge deeper cooperation.”

The one-day roundtable was aimed at increasing awareness and promoting understanding amongst  journalists from the member countries of the East Asia Summit on key issues that affect the ASEAN community.

They also deliberated upon the progress report of the Master Plan of Asean Connectivity and the prospects of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Secretary General Le Luong Minh replied in the affirmative to Mizzima's inquiry on whether he is confident that Myanmar is ready to take the ASEAN Chair in 2014.

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