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US$47b Projects Needed To Facilitate Asean Trade
News From : DagangHalal.com (11/23/2010)

BANGKOK: Asean needs to implement 50 infrastructure projects worth US$47bil between this year and 2020 to facilitate trade in the region as it embraces Asean Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.

President of Thailand Trade Representative Kiat Sittheeamorn said the US$41bil was for energy infrastructure and the balance for transportation infrastructure which include roads and bridges.

To finance the infrastructure projects, Asean could utilise the East Asian Infrastructure Fund besides sourcing funds from the private sectors and governments, he said.

Governments funding alone could not undertake such huge infrastructure budget, he told the Asean Business Forum.

He said the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta), which came into force on Jan 1 with immediate elimination of 95% of tariffs, had enhanced Asean intra-regional trade.

Kiat said intra-regional trade recorded 40% increase between January and October this year compared with the corresponding period last year.

The AEC will turn this region into a single market and production base with free flow of investments and people.

Kiat, however, cautioned that the Asean governments should not be merely concerned with the countries' growth but also other aspects such as job creation and people's well-being.

On trade facilitation, he said, according to the World Bank report, goods importation into Asean had been reduced to 21 days now compared with 30 days in 2006.

In the wake of the current depreciation of the US dollars, the proposal to use the regional currency could materialise if Asean leaders agreed on the matter, he said.

- Bernama

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