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The AEC is more than trade access: PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asean Economic Community (AEC) is more than just preferential trade access. It encompasses specific strategies and approaches to ensure inclusivity in Asean trade, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.

"Our focus on free trade, fair taxation and transparency is combined with measures to create an open and welcoming economy at home ... one that attracts investment, growth, and jobs. "For it is also Asean's approach that in order to achieve sustainable development, it is essential that the well-being, welfare and livelihood of its peoples are enhanced,” said Najib at the Asean Business Awards Malaysia Gala Dinner here, tonight. Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Asean Business Advisory Council Chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid and Asean deputy secretary-general for the AEC Dr Lim Hong Hin.

Najib later presented 17 awards to chief executive officers (CEOs) from various sectors, as well as to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). "All the recipients of tonight’s awards embody the ambitions we have set ourselves. To reach high-income nation status by 2020, a goal I am pleased to say we are on track to achieve, to make the most of our natural and human capital, to make Asean a world-leading business hub, with Malaysia at its centre. "And to ensure that the great opportunity of the Asean Economic Community is one that we seize and make into a reality. "It’s long been said that this is the Asian Century. Let’s make sure it’s the Asean Century, too," he added.