The 10th ASEAN Business and Investment Summit opened in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on August 20, with the aim to seek ways to increase the group’s attractiveness as a region for trade and investment, and enhance regional competitiveness.

Organised annually by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the summit provides a platform for the business community to engage with ASEAN leaders, economic ministers and key decision makers.

Bruneian Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who chairs the summit, stressed that regional economic cooperation is one of the important pillars in ASEAN’s agenda, which underpins the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

ASEAN will continue implementing new initiatives to support businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, by addressing barriers to integration and improving business mobility, he stated.

Hassanal Bolkiah also emphasised the importance of active regional engagement with key economies in ensuring ASEAN is a vital part of the global economy.

ASEAN has completed free trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea with the aim to create new opportunities to expand its trade and business links, said the sultan, adding that the group has promoted negotiations for an even wider and more ambitious trade agreement to ensure closer economic integration in East Asia.

ASEAN groups Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.-VNA