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ASEAN To Evaluate FTA Potential With EAEU In August

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KUALA LUMPUR – A meeting of ASEAN Senior Economic Officials (SEOM) in August will evaluate the potential of a free trade agreement between the regional grouping and the Eurasian Economic Union(EAEU).

Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia needs to obtain consensus from among the other ASEAN members first and only then can discussions with Russia and the four other EAEU countries be initiated.

“Malaysia will always have an open ended approach towards trade and as a matter of principle, agree with the FTA proposal, as trade relations with Russia is at the moment rather restricted,” he said after the AEC 2025 Dialogue here today.

Last week, while at the ASEAN-Russia Summit in Sochi, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said members of the regional grouping had reached agreement to seriously the creation of an ASEAN-EAEU FTA.

Apart from Russia, the other EAEU members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgszstan.

Russia has been an ASEAN dialogue partner since July 1996.

It is estimated that the combined gross domestic product of ASEAN and the EAEU members is worth US$3.5 trillion with a total population of 700 million.

Meanwhile, the AEC 2025 Dialogue discussed matters of mutual cooperation of the seven stock markets of ASEAN members, to place the grouping in ninth spot among global peers.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Head of International Relations Pongpiti Ektheinchai said there 4,000 companies listed on the seven ASEAN stock markets with a market capital of US$2 trillion.

“If we combine the value of the capital market, we will be ranked at 9th and within the top 10 on the global market, instead of individually. For instance, Singapore is ranked at 20th, while Malaysia and others are at 24th and above,” he added. – BERNAMA


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