Kuala Lumpur: ASEAN, as a regional grouping, is collectively strong despite the slower global growth resulting from the Greek debt crisis and China’s economic slowdown.

International Trade and Industry Ministry Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria told reporters here today, the region would focus on increasing intra-ASEAN trade and strengthen economic integration, amid the current weaker global economic environment.

“We are still doing well despite what is happening globally and are managing the issues.

“When you look at what is happening globally, we are also doing well and we need to focus on increasing intra-Asean trade and economic integration. We will continue to stand out in the sea of gloom,” she said. – Bernama

Rebecca was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the third Asean Senior Economic Official Meeting (SEOM) here Friday. The four-day meeting will end tomorrow.

On the meeting, she said it was a preparation for the Asean Ministerial Meeting next month and to ensure the regional bloc met its objectives for the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

“The meeting completed a draft agenda work plan for post-2015 and it is being fine-tuned. The high level task force for the AEC integration will meet on July 14 and we will go through the details.

“It will then be presented to the ASEAN ministers when they meet in August. Among the focus is the removal of trade barriers, increasing standards and a mutual recognition agreement for the ease of doing business,” Rebecca added.

The SEOM meeting will also discuss the Asean SME Strategic Action Plan to include small and medium businesses in the regional supply and value chain. – Bernama.