28 Feb, 2011
The 17th ASEAN Economic Ministers' (AEM) Retreat has reiterated that member states would strengthen economic cooperation within the body as well as with other groupings, AEM Retreat chairwoman Mari Elka Pangestu, also Indonesian Minister of Trade, told a press conference here on Sunday.
During the retreat, which began in Vientiane, Laos, on Sunday, ministers discussed a range of issues with emphasis on the importance of ensuring the effective implementation of the ASEAN community for the body to play a central role in shaping regional economic architecture, as well as in the global context.
The economic ministers indicated that they would promote the initiative for ASEAN Integration, noting that concrete training, guidelines and recommendations provided at bilateral and regional levels for newer members of ASEAN by the more developed member states would narrow gaps among the grouping.
During the one-day meeting delegates also discussed regional and sub-regional cooperation with development partners, exchanged views on regional and global issues including interaction with the World Trade Organization, Doha Development Agenda and G20, and reported the collective hope that Laos would gain WTO membership as soon as possible.
The 17th AEM Retreat Meeting brought together economic ministers and representatives from all 10 members of ASEAN as well as General Secretary of ASEAN.
The ASEAN member states are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.