President: EU can be ASEAN strong partner to develop together

Antara News, Thu, May 5 2011

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Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in his opening speech at the First ASEAN-EU Business Summit here Thursday said the European Union (EU) can be a strong partner with ASEAN to develop together.

"Europe has a much longer experience in economic integration and community building. ASEAN has and will continue to learn from the European experience," President Yudhoyono, as the ASEAN Chair, said in the Business Summit attended by around 400 businessmen from European and Southeast Asian counties.

According to Yudhoyono, ASEAN and EU clearly are important to each other, as EU is the second largest trading partner for ASEAN, and the largest investor, while ASEAN is EU`s fifth largest trading partner.

He also said that the ASEAN-EU Summit should also be used as a chance to play a role in changing the paradigm on which economic policies are made, to turn the tide of events in favour of both regions.

"This Business Summit is timely for ASEAN, as we make a final sprint to achieve a true ASEAN Community by 2015. But, in realizing this objective, we are not without challenges," he said.

The world recovery is gaining strength, but output gaps and unemployment remain high in advanced economies, while new challenges are building in emerging economies, according to the Indonesian head of state.

Much has also been gained in achieving an ASEAN economic community, he said.

"When leaders agreed on the vision of an ASEAN Community in 2003, the size of the ASEAN economies was $700 billion, and now it becomes $2.9 trillion. If we include ASEAN and the six partners which it already has trade agreements - China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand - then the size is amount to $15 trillion, or the same economic size as EU and US," the president stated.

Editor: Bambang

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