Economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) kicked off meetings Saturday to put the finishing touches to the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by year-end, while pushing closer ties with its leading trading partners including China.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting, Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed, who chairs the meetings, said ASEAN is determined to push forward the economic integration despite challenging political and economic environment.
The 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting and related meetings, held in the Malaysian capital from Aug. 22 to 25, are expected to deliberate on the implementation of the AEC measures, especially the completion of commitments agreed to under the AEC 2015 Blueprint, the work on developing the ASEAN Post-2015 Economic Vision 2025 and strategic action plans for the next 10 years, among others.
ASEAN's dialogue partners, including China, will join the meetings to discuss ways to strengthen economic ties in such fields as trade and investment.
The 10-nation bloc is set to announce the establishment of ASEAN community by the end of this year, based on three pillars: political-security community, economic community and socio- cultural community.
ASEAN, established on Aug. 8, 1967, groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.