ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan has called on ASEAN countries to further promote regional trade and strengthen internal resources through improving managerial capacity and professional expertise for sustainable development.

Addressing the ASEAN Business Forum 2012 in Bangkok on Feb. 28, Pitsuwan said the establishment of the ASEAN community on three main pillars will create a huge market that is rich in both resources and workforce with a population of 650 million.

He said ASEAN countries need to unite with the world to draw external resources into the region for mutual benefit.

Southeast Asian nations need to conduct reforms, change laws and construct infrastructure to prepare for the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, Pitsuwan said.

During the two-day event, regional government and business leaders discussed opportunities and challenges given the changing global situation as well as ASEAN businesses’ preparation for the AEC establishment.-VNA