The 21st ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat, which will be held in Kota Baharu, Kelantan from February 28 to March 1, will focus on ensuring all core economic integration measures stipulated in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) blueprint are realized, according to Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

The AEC is scheduled to come into effect by December 31 this year. Photo:

The AEC is scheduled to come into effect by December 31 this year, intending to create a single market and production base in the region to further bolster ASEAN’s progress and prosperity.

Recommendations from the private sector and concerns over a perceived increase in non-tariff barriers to trade in the region will also be main discussion points for the ministers.

The ministers are also expected to consider and provide guidance on the draft of the Post-2015 Economic Vision and Plan for ASEAN, a critical deliverable as stakeholders expect the bloc to issue a new and bold agenda at the end of the year to direct deeper regional integration over the next decade.

The annual retreat is traditionally convened to enable the ASEAN Economic Ministers to assess achievements in regional integration and consider new initiatives.

As Chair and Host of the retreat, Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry will take the opportunity to garner support from other ASEAN member states for a series of events to be held in Malaysia, including the Southeast Asia Regulatory Reform Conference (from March 9-12); the ASEAN SME Showcase and Conference 2015 (from May 26-28); the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (November); and several ASEAN Youth and Young Entrepreneur-related summits.

Source: VNA