ASEAN free market not a threat: Minister

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) – Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has called upon the public to not view the ASEAN free market or the ASEAN Economic Community as a threat.

“Looking at ASEAN free trade as a threat is a view that is not quite right,” the minister said here on Thursday.

According to her, such negative views about the ASEAN free market persist because of the lack of understanding about other ASEAN countries, and a lack of confidence that Indonesia has great resources to deal with ASEAN.

“We have potentials to support our prospering in the era of the free market,” the minister said.

Indonesia, she said, has great potentials in the forms of population, natural resources, markets, and even it is projecting to become a regional economic power.

“That economic strength can be achieved with hard work, such as strengthening the use of natural resources and infrastructure development,” she said.

She noted that the integration of the market can increase the value of trade among ASEAN countries from US$600 billion to US$1.9 trillion.

According to statistics about the ASEAN countries economy, the average rate of real economic growth in 2007-2015 was 5.2 percent. Collectively, the ASEAN economies are the 6th largest in the world and the 3rd largest in Asia.

Moreover, the position of Indonesia, according to Sri Mulyani, is difficult in resisting global competition made by the countries in the world.

In the near future, Indonesia will compete with the European Free Trade Area, China block, as well as the economic block of the United States.

“Therefore, the central and local governments should have the same strategy, in the face of the onslaught of the global economy,” she said.(*)