ASEAN could become 4th largest economy in the world

ASEAN could become 4th largest economy in the world

VIENTIANE  - The ASEAN economy is expected to grow at 7 per cent per annum, with GDP reaching US$4.7 trillion (S$1.9 trillion)  in 2020 and the possibility of becoming the fourth largest economy in the world by 2030, the Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said yesterday.

ASEAN is a single market and production base with a combined GDP of US$2.43 trillion (S$3.3 trillion )in 2015, ranking as the sixth largest economy in the world, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said at the opening ceremony of the 13th ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ASEAN-BIS 2016).

The ASEAN-BIS 2016 is being held on the sidelines of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits in Vientiane.

The ASEAN community is a community of opportunities not only for the over 620 million people in ASEAN but also for the people outside the region.

The role of the private sector remains a key element for further progress in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025 implementation and regional economic integration.

It is recognised that greater involvement and more structured participation by the private sector will be beneficial to the achievement of ASEAN goals, according to a statement from the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI).

Private sector inputs and partnerships are essential not only in designing regional strategies and initiatives but also in identifying impediments to realising deeper regional economic integration, the statement noted.

Thongloun Sisoulith said the ASEAN-BIS is of utmost importance for the business sector as it brings together ASEAN entrepreneurs, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and the ASEAN Young Entrepreneur Council to exchange views on important issues.

The AEC Blueprint 2025 outlines the measures that will be undertaken by ASEAN in the next 10 years as part of ASEAN's efforts to broaden economic integration, with a shared vision of creating a truly economically integrated region.

Thongloun said that to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the AEC Blueprint 2025, it requires close and comprehensive co-operation between the public and private sectors in order to create favourable conditions for a more seamless movement of goods, services, capital and skilled labour in ASEAN to enhance ASEAN's trade and production networks in ASEAN towards a more unified single market and production base for its firms and consumers.

"So, this ASEAN-BIS provides an important platform for further strengthening public-private sector co-operation, coordination and collaboration in order to improve and simplify the processes," Thongloun said.

The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Khemmani Pholsena said the ASEAN-BIS this year highlighted "Turning Vision into Reality and Global Megatrends Impacting on the AEC," noting the fact that the world economy is increasingly defined and influenced by a variety of global megatrends, among others, digital globalisation with the plethora of new technology breakthroughs. For instance, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, machine learning and the internet of things.

Other major factors include the shift in the world's economic power, climate change, demographic and social changes, and the proliferation of global and regional value chains, which lead to far-reaching impacts on business, economies, industries, societies and individuals and the ASEAN community.

Khemmani said the global megatrends have been reflected and focused in the AEC Blueprint 2025, and it is essential for ASEAN to recognise and capitalise on these in the progress of its regional integration agenda, including complementing regional and global free trade agreements, fast tracking business development and integration in energy, infrastructure and environment, global megatrends and regional integration, AEC sustainable economic development, the future of technology, micro, small and medium enterprises as engines for growth and the role of youth and women in business, as well as trade and transport facilitation.

A statement by Oudet Souvannavong, the Chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and LNCCI President noted that since the first event in Bali in 2003, the ASEAN-BIS is considered to be ASEAN's premier annual business and investment event, that provides a platform for the business community to engage with ASEAN and global leaders, business leaders, entrepreneurs and key decision makers.

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