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Surin bats for closer GCC-Asean ties

Asean Secretary-General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan being interviewed at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012. (PHOTO COURTESY OF INSIDE INVESTOR)

Publication Date : 11-10-2012


Asean Secretary General Dr Surin Pitsuwan said the Gulf Cooperation Council and the 10-member grouping in Southeast Asia should strengthen trade ties and tap their combined resources.

Surin made the remarks during his keynote speech at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012 in Doha.

In his speech, Surin said GCC and Asean were two complimentary regions of about 650 million people and a combined GDP of US$4 trillion.

“There are many goldmines to mine for our mutual benefit,” Surin said, citing the fields of energy, banking and financial services, food and agriculture and infrastructure, among others.

“The time is ripe,” he added, “as our complementarity is inviting us to come closer. In Asean, we are ready.”

Surin also said that the GCC and ASEAN are going to continue their talks on a free trade agreement, which have been started with the Doha Round, a series of trade negotiations among World Trade Organisation member states.

“Eventually, we will have an agreement,” Surin said.

Qatar's Municipality and Urban Planning Minister Sheihk Abdul Rahman bin Khalifa Al Thani delivered the main keynote address where he emphasised the shift in global economic activity towards emerging and newly industrialised regions such as the GCC and Asean.

“The prospects of joint cooperation are large, multiple, and now have an opportunity available to all parties to build solid foundations based on mutual interests,” he said.

The opening ceremony was also attended by Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of the Qatari Businessmen Association, the co-organiser of the forum.

Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, who attended the event with a large delegation, in his keynote speech invited GCC investors to come to Sarawak, pointing at the safe business environment in the state, its favourable investment rating and its vast untapped resources.

“We invite investors from the GCC to Sarawak as it is a safe place for investments and the potential of the market is not yet fully utilised,” the Chief Minister said.

Kamran Saddique, CEO of the event’s organiser Inside Investor, said in his keynote speech that the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012 “clearly shows that the rising interest in the vibrant trade axis between two emerging and newly industrialised regions of the GCC and Asean is attracting global interest from business people and investors from far beyond these blocs.”

Saddique also met with the Qatar Prime Minister on talks about the investment relations between the GC and Asean.

The forum also saw a number of high-level panel discussions that touched on the topics of competitiveness, technology transfer, private equity and capital markets, Islamic finance, infrastructure and public-private partnerships, as well as agriculture and the halal industry.


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