The ASEAN Business Forum 2015, held on March 12 in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, focused on boosting trade among the bloc’s members.

The event, organised by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), hosted more than 1,000 participants, including diplomats, economists and businessmen in the region.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said the forum aims to enhance awareness of opportunities in intra-ASEAN trade and investment.

It also gives participants an insight into ASEAN needs and prospects, updates on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and specific areas of interest in the ASEAN market.

As chair of ASEAN, Malaysia will focus on enhancing awareness of the regional grouping to the general public this year, he added.

At a press conference on the same day, Mohamed said ASEAN is a growing market and its total trade growth this year is likely to exceed that of the global average by 2-3 percent.

Total foreign direct investment in ASEAN in 2013 reached 122.38 billion USD, 21.32 billion USD of which was sourced from the ASEAN member states.

He also said Malaysia is expected to see additional investment from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines this year, given the improvements in business landscapes and economic stability.-VNA