ASEAN intra-trade is "going in the right direction"

Mustaqim Adamrah of The Jakarta Post interviewed ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan about the progress of the ASEAN Economic Community, one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community from 2015.

Regarding intra-trade between ASEAN countries, Mr Pitsuwan states that it is "going in the right direction" at about 25.4% in 2010, up from 24.5% in 2009. He agrees that 25% is "low compared to NAFTA (the North America Free Trade Agreement), which is about 38-40%, or compared to the European Union of about 68-70%."

Officials are already working on the target of 30-35%. "Small and medium enterprises, investing in each other, outsourcing from each other, sourcing from each other and more investments, are all factors that will help. It has to increase from there, for sure."

Although there "is no definite target for us", it is his wish that it can reach 40-45% by 2015.