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Asean can thwart economic hegemony through FTA, says Laos

Bernama, Malaysia

Asean Can Thwart Economic Hegemony Through FTA, Says Laos

By P.Vijian

20 August 2006

SEPANG, Aug 20 (Bernama) — The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the six East Asean members as proposed by Japan can help thwart the rich nations’ economic hegemony in the region, said Laos Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Nam Viyaketh.

"The way to prevent economic hegemony and preventing rich countries from pressuring poor countries is through strong economic cooperation," he told Bernama at the KL International Airport here.

Viyaketh who is here for the 38th Asean Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting beginning Tuesday said with the collapse of WTO talks, a regional FTA would help under developed countries like Laos.

"We have good relations with Japan and the FTA will not only benefit Laos but Asean as a whole," he said.

Laos with some 5.5 million people wants the AEM meeting to deliberate on the Japanese proposal as it could play a vital economic role in the region.

Asean groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Its six partners in the East Asia Group are China, Japan and South Korea, plus India, Australia and New Zealand.