AC offers opportunity for France, ASEAN to expand ties hinh anh 1Ambassador of the Philippines to France Maria Theresa Lazaro speaks at the meeting. (Photo: VNA)

Paris (VNA) – The ASEAN Community formation offers a good opportunity for France and ASEAN to expand their economic ties, Philippe Varin, Special Representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development for ASEAN, said in Paris on March 8.

He made his remarks at a meeting hosted by the ASEAN Committee in Paris (ACP) to celebrate the establishment of the AC.

Present at the event were the ambassadors to France of the ten ASEAN member states, along with French officials.

The meeting started off with the screening of a documentary about ASEAN since it was founded in 1967, the benefits and opportunities it has brought to improving living standard for all people in the region.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador of the Philippines to France Maria Theresa Lazaro, who is also rotating ACP President, said the AC was officially formed last year as the result of half a century of work by all ASEAN nations.

Lazaro briefed attendees on the bloc of 625 million people, saying it is the seventh largest economy in the world and the third largest in Asia, with a combined Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of 2.6 trillion USD.

ASEAN has charted the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 in an attempt to bring all member states closer in terms of politics, economy and society, she added.

Philippe Varin said the integration of ASEAN economies has made the region an appealing destination for foreign investors who are looking for a source of economic growth overseas.

He also cited development gaps and language barriers as key challenges for the grouping.

According to him, trade between ASEAN and France totalled 27.5 billion EUR (30 billion USD) last year, making the bloc the third largest trade partner of France after the US and China, exclusive of European Union member nations.

He hoped that more and more investment from ASEAN will land in France in the near future.-VNA