Today marks the formation of the ASEAN Community, which will bring about political, economic and cultural benefits to its members.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said the occasion is a significant milestone for the 48-year-old grouping, which has provided a stable environment for Singapore's economic growth and has enhanced people-to-people ties within ASEAN, a region of 625 million people.
The ASEAN Community consists of three pillars, namely the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the ASEAN Political-Security Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
The AEC aims to create a single market with few barriers to the flow of trade, capital and professional labour in the region.
"The establishment of the AEC will contribute significantly to the region's growth and create developmental opportunities for all," said Dr Balakrishnan. "It will give our people, especially the young, many more opportunities to succeed."
Local businesses, especially small and medium enterprises also stand to gain from expanding into neighbouring markets, he added.
This article was first published on December 31, 2015.
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