More countries and regional blocs want dialogue with ASEAN

Several countries intend to open dialogue forums with the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN), Iman Pambagyo, director of ASEAN Cooperation at the Directorate General International Trade Cooperation at the Indonesian Trade Ministry, told media attending the 43rd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.

"In fact, Mercosur countries (consisting of Argentine, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) want to open dialogues and talk about the possibility of free trade agreement. Other countries like Turkey and Pakistan also want to open dialogues," said Mr Pambagyo, also mentioning the Gulf Countries Cooperation (GCC).

"ASEAN is always optimistic in integrating the economies of its 10 member countries in one way or another," he said, adding that most of the measures in the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 Blueprint had been accomplished between 2008 and 2010.