Media Releases
Published Date: 29 September 2004

ASEAN joins forces to showcase the region's investment potential

29 September 2004, New York...The members of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) are set to capitalise on the strong growth momentum and resurgent interest in the region to showcase ASEAN's business potential at the first ever ASEAN Finance Ministers Investor Seminar in the United States.

2   Topics include "Economic Transformation and Regional Integration within Asia", "ASEAN Growth Sectors" and "ASEAN Capital Markets".

3   ASEAN is entering an exciting new era of high growth. The region is projected to grow between 5.7% and 6% in 2004, with the fastest growing economies projecting growth rates as high as 7.8% 1.  Based on current growth trends, the region will have a combined GDP exceeding USD1 trillion by 2010.

4   As a combined entity, ASEAN's consumer market is already larger than the Indian market and close to the coastal markets of China. ASEAN has a GDP of close to USD700 billion and a population of 540 million growing at more than 2% a year.

5   Strong economic fundamentals, diverse economic strengths, strong infrastructure support and pro-business policies have strengthened ASEAN's global competitiveness.  The region offers investors an attractive combination of a high degree of market stability as well as liquidity and easy access in the capital markets.

6   At the same time, rapid regional integration allows ASEAN to increasingly function as an integrated market, offering business opportunities not often found in other emerging markets.  

7.  These were some of the findings of the Finance Ministers who met over 200 international investors in New York today, to showcase investment opportunities in the region.

8   Today's seminar is the first collaborative effort by Finance Ministers to update international investors on ASEAN's transformation and to promote ASEAN as a region.This is testimony to ASEAN's resolve to keep the region competitive and the growth momentum strong.

9   Co-organised with JP Morgan, the event was well attended by investors from various industries, highlighting the keen interest in the emerging markets of Southeast Asia.


Notes to Editor:

1   ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.  Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.

2   The ASEAN Finance process was formalized in March 1997 in response to the December 1995 decision by ASEAN Leaders that "ASEAN shall move towards greater economic integration by building on existing economic cooperation activities, initiating new areas of cooperation, and promoting closer cooperation in international fora".  Prior to this, ASEAN Finance Ministers have been meeting informally at the fringes of the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings, and cooperation between the ASEAN tax officials, custom officials, insurance regulators, and the central banks and monetary authorities were facilitated by various Working Committees on Banking & Finance, on Insurance, on Tax Administration and on Customs.

3   There is usually one Ministerial-level meeting a year. The first ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting (AFMM) was held in March 1997 in Phuket. Singapore hosted the 8th AFMM in April 2004.  Since May 2000, ASEAN Finance Minister have met their counterpart from China, Japan and Korea annually.  This meeting, the ASEAN+3 Finance Minister Meeting, is usually held on the fringe of the Annual Meetings of the Asian Development Bank. Singapore chaired the last ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers Meeting in May 2004 in Jeju, Korea.

4   More information on ASEAN and the various initiatives is available at .

5   Attached documents:

a.  List of Ministers at the ASEAN Finance Ministers Investor Seminar (9.4 KB) 

b.  Seminar agenda (71.8 KB) 

c.  Welcome remarks by Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore (17.2 KB) 

d.  "The Promise of ASEAN" report that looks at the strong growth that ASEAN countries are experiencing and highlights investment opportunities in the region (20.6 MB) 

e.  Profiles of the ASEAN member countries (24.3 KB) 

f.  Background information on ASEAN (27.1 KB) 

g.  Contact details of media liaison officers for each country (11.6 KB) 

1Source: ASEAN Secretariat.