EU confident Asean community can spur growth in Eastern Asean region

By NNN-Bernama

Mira, Malaysia : The European Union (EU) is confident the initiative to achieve an Asean Economic Community by 2015 will spur growth in the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines East Asean Economic Area (BIMP-EAGA).

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The European Commission (EC) Ambassador to Malaysia, Vincent Piket says the economic blueprint adopted by the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) will lead the region to harness its potentials and raise its economic importance.

Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of the EU-EAGA Business and Technology (BizTech) Partnership in this town in the eastern Malaysian state of Sarawak Tuesday night, he said the plan would improve business opportunities in South East Asian countries which currently managed their economies individually.

He likened the present economic management among Asean countries to the situation experienced by European countries before the creation of the EU.

“The Asean market, despite its tremendous potential, with about 580 million consumers as I understand, is still quite fragmented,” he said.

Piket said the 27-member EU realised the growth potentials in East Asean and wanted to engage actively in the region’s economic development. The BizTech Partnership was one of the EU’s initiatives to promote this mission alongside 50 European companies, he added.

They were joined by some 100 companies from the BIMP-EAGA region, he said, noting that it was also a move for governments and industries of the countries involved to seek ways to recoup losses incurred in the current global economic downturn and to regenerate economic growth.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Dr George Chan, who was represented by Miri Mayor Lawrence Lai, opened the event, which was attended by 270 participants.