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Integration a priority for ASEAN

Integration a priority for ASEAN

When deciding what aspects of their economies to prioritise to grow their economies, ASEAN’s less developed countries, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV), should look to the organisation’s oldest members (the ASEAN-6) for guidance, according to a joint statement following the fourth CLMV Economics Ministers’ Meeting.

As 2015 and the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) draws near, narrowing the development gap is a goal that would benefit all members, as it would help ensure the success of the economic confederation, the statement added.

“The ASEAN-6 have provided us with the privilege of their example of how to integrate, how to put Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar on track. They have favoured us on these issues by showing us where we can accelerate our economies and fill the gap between the ASEAN-6 and the ASEAN-4. And that’s just the beginning,” said Nam Viyaketh, Laos’s minister of industry and commerce and the chairman of the CLMV meeting, yesterday.

“Until now we have only been using the opportunities ASEAN provides to connect our economies with the ASEAN-6,” he continued.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said during the opening of 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting on Monday that although the development gap among ASEAN members is still huge and requires all ministers to address it.

“Narrowing the gap is important. It is not only a pre-condition for ensuring ASEAN competitiveness and reducing poverty, but also for helping ASEAN achieve real regional integration as well as promoting its centrality for the integration with other regional and global economies,” he said.

“This requires us to double our efforts to promote further growth and improve equitable distribution of the fruits of labour at both national and regional levels,” Hun Sen said.

According to the CLMV’s joint statement, the CLMV ministers said they did agree on the importance of the integration for the CLMV countries into ASEAN, in order to sustain projected growth.

They also endorsed the CLMV Action Plan 2013, which includes 15 priority activities on economic-trade, human resource development, and a co-ordination mechanism.

“The ministers also agreed to include additional activities, as the need arises, which would help to contribute to the promotion of equitable economic development of CLMV countries,” the statement said.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]

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