The conference was held by Asia House in London on July 10 under the sponsorship of the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC).
Thekeynote speaker, Dr Lim Hong Hin, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN forthe ASEAN Economic Community, said that once the ASEAN EconomicCommunity, one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, is completedby 2015, it will mark the time ASEAN countries reach their final targetof economic integration which was set in the ASEAN Vision to 2020.
AEC will help form a stable and prosperous economic zone with highcompetitiveness, he said, adding that ASEAN has a stable society,skillful workers, young population and low costs in its advantage.
TheEuropean Union is currently ASEAN’s third largest trade partner, hesaid, forecasting that trade cooperation between the two region willdevelop strongly, especially after the official inauguration of AEC .
ASEAN countries are willing to create favourableconditions for UK businesses to seek investment opportunities andbusiness cooperation in the region.
Many delegates at theconference said it is not by chance when more British politiciansvisited ASEAN countries in 2012 than at any time in the past 20 years.
This engagement with the region is evidence of theshift in foreign policy of the UK government towards a greater focuson economic diplomacy in emerging markets, they said.
They further said that ASEAN is considered one of the largest emergingeconomies in the world, thus strengthening relations with SoutheastAsia will bring benefit to both UK business and political circles.
According to the UKABC, the UK already exports inexcess of 15 billion USD to the Southeast Asia region. UKpoliticians expect the figure to double in the next 3-5 years.-VNA