Saturday

3rd Dec 2022

Asian countries to form EU-like trade zone

Leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to set up a single market by 2020, modelled after the European Union.

Meeting in Bali, Indonesia on Tuesday (7 October) for the ninth ASEAN Summit, leaders of the 10 member countries agreed to launch a free trade area which will cover a population of 500 million.

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The ASEAN leaders agreed to set up three areas of closer co-operation: The ASEAN security community (ASC), the ASEAN economic community (AEC) and the ASEAN socio-cultural community (ASCC).

Some have the vision of extending the agreement even further and include China, Japan and South Korea as well.

"If we join forces …. East Asia, will become the engine of growth for the world economy, and the 21st century will be the age of East Asia," South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun told business leaders, according to the BBC.

Today, (8 October) the ASEAN members will meet delegates from China, Japan, South Korea and India before the summit's official close.

ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Cambodia have joined later.

The grouping was originally set up to insure that south east Asian countries would provide a buffer against Communist China.

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