Warm welcome: Nazarbayev greeting Najib at the 7th Astana Economic Forum and 2nd World Anti-Crisis Conference at the Palace of Independence in Kazakhstan. — Bernama
ASTANA: Asia must come to terms with greater economic integration to help raise the living standards for all in the era of globalisation, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Simultaneously, he said, Asian citizens must also be given greater equity and equality in order for the region to truly prosper.
Delivering his keynote address at the 7th Astana Economic Forum and the 2nd World Anti-Crisis Conference here yesterday, the Prime Minister said the two imperatives were critical for Asean, Asia and beyond.
“The integration of Asian economies can help developing nations climb the ladder and ensure fewer citizens are left behind, as common standards and entry requirements filter back into domestic policy,” said Najib, who attended the forum as a special guest of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Najib said Asian economic integration would significantly benefit the region as it provided them with the ability to negotiate together.
“I believe Asian states must build a stronger, more lasting economic connection, both within the region and with the outside world, including new markets such as the proposed Eurasian Economic Union between Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus serving more than 170 million people.”
Emphasising the importance of the economic integration for Asia, the Prime Minister quoted a report from consulting firm McKinsey that said cross-border trade in 2012 accounted for a third of global gross domestic product, and that the figure could reach as much as half by 2015.
“In the past 20 years, emerging economies have more than doubled their share of cross-border goods, services and finance, but are still lagging far behind developed markets,” he said.
Najib said Asia’s future success depended on broader and more diverse economic development as rapid growth at a time of globalisation and technological change had exposed emerging Asia to widening inequality. — Bernama