The Asean Community officially declared on Sunday morning (Nov 22) by leaders of the 10 member states of Asean, in a landmark moment promising greater regional integration for the 48-year-old grouping.
Twelve years in the making, the foremost goal of the Asean Community is to turn the region into a truly single market with a free flow of goods, capital and skilled labour across borders.
All 10 leaders, including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, signed a declaration on the establishment of the Asean Community, which will come into effect on Dec 31, as well as a declaration on a blueprint for taking the grouping forward over the next 10 years.
Asean countries have already done away with most tariff barriers in practice and raising the competitiveness of Asean's manufacturing industry in global markets.
The combined GDP of Asean economies is expected to grow from US$2.6 trillion to US$4.7 trillion by 2020. Seen as a bloc it will be the seventh largest economy today, and has the potential to be the fourth largest in the world as early as 2030.
Source: Straits Times