Hanoi (VNA) – Efforts made by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in promoting intra-group cooperation and international integration have been highlighted in an article on a US-based website. 

ASEAN has achieved important milestones in recent years, such as the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Free Trade Area, theconversation.com said.

However, it noted that these were just the first steps towards a single market.

ASEAN should pay special attention to enhancing cooperation with China, the Republic of Korea and Japan, known as “ASEAN Plus Three”, if the bloc wants to participate more in global value chains, it said.

ASEAN Plus Six – the cooperation mechanism between ASEAN with the group of Australia, New Zealand and India, as part of the process of economic and financial integration, will also accelerate the pace of integration among the ASEAN members, it added.

Removing barriers among ASEAN countries would create a more effective regional bloc, representing a combined economy of 2.6 trillion USD and more than 622 million people, the article said.  

A common market will help not only raise the incomes of regional people, but also give opportunities for neighbouring countries to export technology, higher education, agricultural products and natural resources such as gas.

According to the article, ASEAN has experienced more than 7 percent growth per annum over the years.

Total trade in ASEAN increased by nearly 1 trillion USD between 2007 and 2014, with intra-bloc trade comprising the largest share.

Rapid economic growth has also created demand for capital to finance economic development. ASEAN attracted 136 billion USD and 121 billion USD in foreign direct investment in 2014 and 2015 respectively, accounting for 11 percent of total global foreign investment inflows.

An organisation like ASEAN is necessary to help ensure security and sustainability in agriculture-dependent economies in the region, the article said, adding that ASEAN, despite its shortcomings, has established one of the most stable regional intergovernmental organisations.

“Moving forward, ASEAN should remain resilient among political and economic pressures, and persevere with its ‘ASEAN Economic Community 2025’ vision to achieve improved economic co-operation,” it noted.-VNA