Indonesia on Oct. 25 stressed the importance of economic harmonisation and integration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), saying this would help the 10-member group to compete with its bigger economies.

Michael Tene, Foreign Ministry’s spokesman of Indonesia , which holds ASEAN Chairmanship in 2011, said the two instruments are crucial as currently, intra trade among ASEAN countries is 25-30 percent of total trade of ASEAN and the world.

Economic integration in ASEAN allows bloc to compete with bigger economies such as India and China , he said, adding if each member economy stands alone, their economic scale is much smaller compared to both countries.

However, every country retains its role, different with the European Union as member countries give some parts of their sovereignty and authority to European Commission, he said, adding ASEAN is not a supra national body. Power stays in its member countries.

Intra trade between ASEAN countries reached 470 billion USD in 2008, down to 376.2 billion USD due to crisis and increased to 519.7 billion USD in 2010./.