Asean ‘in for a great future over next decade’

Asia Society business conference ——————————–

THE doyen of Asia’s management consultants, Mr Washington Sycip, yesterday gazed into the crystal ball and pronounced a great future for Asean over the next decade.

Among other things, Mr Sycip, chairman of the SGV Group of auditors and management consultants which has operations in East Asia, predicted at The Asia Society’s business conference that:

* Asean will be expanded to include Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, with a combined market of over 460 million people.

* China will exert greater influence on Asean countries, which will have to move even closer to each other or risk being ignored by the major economic powers.

* The Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) will step up tariff cuts, especially when the privileges of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the European Union are extended to other countries.

* Singapore will continue to be the high-tech, financial, transport and convention centre of the region.

* Malaysia, with its rich natural resources, will be spreading its economic influence in the region.

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