We want to be more like Europe. So said the leaders of the 10 countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – ASEAN – as they gathered for their annual summit in Cambodia.
They have an ambitious goal of transforming into an EU-like single market and production base by 2015.
In addition there are moves to establish a multilateral investment fund to improve infrastructure links
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen said: “We must lay out priority actions and key concrete measures to address all the challenges, and bridge the gaps, which are obstacles for creating the ASEAN economic community by the planned date.”
ASEAN wants goods and people to be able to travel seamlessly among member countries. They are Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, with a combined population of 600 million.
One thing ASEAN is not looking to do is set up a single shared currency.
The group’s finance ministers also said the region’s economies will expand quicker in 2012 than last year.