ASEAN Meeting Held in Indonesia, Leaders Pledge Inter-ASEAN Support

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Sept. 19 – The leaders of the capital cities within the 10 ASEAN countries have begun to enhance inter-ASEAN relations through increased cooperation in response to preparing for upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) – an initiative for the creation of a single ASEAN market, which is slated to be complete by the end of 2015 – during this week’s “ASEAN Goes Local: Contributing to the ASEAN Community 2015” event held in Jakarta, Indonesia this week.

The AEC is tasked with integrating all 10 ASEAN economies in the region, and it will focus on the establishment of a single market and production base within ASEAN in order for the bloc to become a highly competitive economic region with equitable development that is fully integrated with the global economy.

In his opening speech at the event, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo noted that “with [ASEAN’s] resources and potential for innovation and creativity, [our capital] cities are the drivers of regional economic growth and prosperity.”

“In order to actively contribute to make the ASEAN single market a success-story and a win-win-situation for all our cities and citizens, we need to better understand what is about to come and how we can prepare the people in our cities and ourselves for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC),” he added.

“We need to prepare well our infrastructure, our service quality and human resources. If not, we will only be a market for other cities, and unable to find new markets,” Widodo further commented.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Trac Thai Sieng agreed with the Indonesian governor, noting that “there is huge market potential and momentum within the ASEAN region but our people need to be ready to adjust.”

Further, Philippine Ambassador to ASEAN Elizabeth P. Buensuceso noted that her country is ready to provide the rest of ASEAN with its skilled workers and professionals specializing in management, information technology and animation.

“We are looking forward to a time when ASEAN can readily take on skilled workers [moving between member states]. This will elevate ASEAN’s position as a source of highly qualified professionals and managers,” she said.

In total, 110 delegates from all 10 ASEAN member countries were in attendance at the meeting.

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