MANILA: Asean still has a long way to go to integrate its 10 economies due to the high number of trade barriers within the region.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) said the work to bring tariffs in Asean down to zero must be pursued vigorously.
"We must work to facilitate intra-Asean trade further. To achieve the US$9.2tril (RM40tril) figure by 2050, there has to be a 20% reduction in fixed trade costs.
"We need to work towards facilitative measures such as national single windows seamlessly linked to the Asean single window, and standardised customs procedures.
"Most of all, non-tariff barriers and measures (NTB/NTM) must be reduced and ultimately removed. This is a stubborn worldwide problem, but it is in Asean's own interests to lead the way in this endeavour.
"Between 2000 and 2015, NTBs and NTMs in Asean actually rose from 1,634 measures to 5,975. This has to be checked and reversed," the Prime Minister said in his keynote address at the Prosperity For All Summit organised by the Asean Business Advisory Council here Friday.
Najib is here to attend the 30th Asean Summit, which begins on Saturday.
Asean is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The Prime Minister said Asean had made great strides in the last five decades, adding that between 1975 and 2014, the Asean economy multiplied 28 times, from US$87.2bil (RM380bil) to US$2.5tril (RM10.9tril).
"When we signed the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the Asean Community in Nov 2015, we were looking at an Asean economy which was close to US$2.7tril (RM11.8tril), the seventh largest in the world.
"And recent estimates suggest that taken as one, Asean would now represent the sixth largest economy in the world," he said.
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