Malaysian PM announces establishment of ASEAN Community by end of 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 22 (PNA/Xinhua) — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced here Sunday at the 27th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) the establishment of ASEAN Community on Dec. 31, 2015.

Najib, whose country takes on the ASEAN rotating chair this year, made the announcement while addressing the signing ceremony of the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Community and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together.

The ASEAN Community comprises three pillars: the Political and Security Community, the Economic Community and the Socio-Cultural Community.

“In practice, we have already virtually eliminated tariff barriers between us under the ASEAN Free Trade Area. This makes our manufacturing industry more competitive in the global market and reduces costs for everyone,” the prime minister said.

“We now have to ensure that we create a truly single market and production base, with freer movement of goods and services.”

The bloc’s combined GDP is expected to reach 4.7 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020, and it is estimated that ASEAN has the potential to be the fourth largest economy in the world as early as 2030, only 15 years from now, Najib commented.

“Our ‘ASEAN Way’ has guided us, and will continue to be our compass as we seek to realize a politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible, and truly people-oriented, people-centered and rules-based ASEAN.”

The ASEAN Community is a landmark achievement on the way to reach those goals, Najib added.

The 27th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings are held here over the weekend with the theme “Our people, Our Community, Our Vision.”

Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. It aims to accelerate economic growth, social progress and socio-cultural evolution among its members. (PNA/Xinhua)