Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razzak called here on Thursday for economic integration among Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) countries for establishing a regional united market to become one of the strongest economies in the world.
He added, in an opening speech at the ASEAN CEO Summit, that the association includes more than 620 million people, making 10 percent of the total world's population and forming the third largest market in the world after China and India.
"Undoubtedly, we form the largest developing economy in the world, yet in case economic integration between ASEAN countries is achieved, then ASEAN will become a united nation and will be the seventh largest international economy with a total local production of USD four trillion in 2020," he said.
"Most of the region's countries are considered as a vital commercial center for centuries, yet the economic integration among member countries will form an economic unit that resembles old empires," he affirmed.
"Justice in distributing fortunes and boosting financial integration among member countries should be at the top of ASEAN priorities to guarantee economic incorporation," he added.
This will allow free transport of people, goods, services, labor and capitals among the member countries, the premier added.
Uniting the commercial and customs measures, besides decreasing the cost of such procedures will attract further investment to ASEAN, and will enhance the competitiveness of its exports, he said.
Malaysia is chairing the ASEAN for 2015. The bloc includes 10 countries, namely: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, and Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.