The 10th ASEAN Leadership Forum entitled “ASEAN at a Crossroads – Towards a Common Future, Shared Prosperity and Regional Stability” was held in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, on July 18.
The forum created opportunities for government, business leaders and experts from ASEAN member countries to discuss the road ahead for ASEAN and the regional future, reflecting ASEAN’s achievements and successes, its shortcomings and the challenges and opportunities towards the ASEAN Economic Community ( AEC ) in 2015.
In his message to the forum, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak expressed his belief that the journey towards AEC in 2015 is well on course and irreversible.
According PM Najib, the achievement of the AEC and the commencement of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) creating the world’s largest free trade area (FTA), were exciting prospects for ASEAN.
He said increased regionalisation had substantially increased intra-ASEAN trade, as well as ASEAN’s trade with its key partners, namely China, Japan and India.
ASEAN’s GDP in 2011 exceeded 2 trillion USD and is expected to be 10 trillion USD by 2030, he added.
The Malaysian PM stressed that the promise of ASEAN was bright and the business community needed to see the growing potential of enhanced regional integration.
He also emphasised the importance of focusing on the younger generation, investing in human development, innovation and creativity, considering these as key challenges in ensuring ASEAN remain competitive in a globalised economy.