• Asean aims to be hub for multinational firms

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    A YOUNG and large workforce is the key advantage of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in its bid to be the operational hub of multinational companies.

    Asean economic officials, who are currently in Manila for the 23rd World Economic Forum, said that the region has over 600 million people or the third biggest population in the world.

    Multinational firms through their regional operations can tap this big pool of workers and consumers, the economic officials said in a statement released by the Central Bank’s Investor Relations Office.

    Asean is currently pursuing economic integration, a major topic for the ongoing 23rd World Economic Forum in Manila.

    Asean is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    The officials pointed out that the Asean economies all have strong macroeconomic fundamentals and robust demographics. They have a lot to offer investors worldwide, the officials added.

    “As we welcome guests from various parts of the globe, we want them to see what the Asean future looks like,” Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

    For his part, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco said that they want to distinguish Asean, with its strong economic fundamentals, from the other emerging markets.

    “Communication is important. We should be able to explain what is really happening in our economies so there will be differentiation,” Tetangco said during the recent Asean Finance Ministers’ Investor Seminar, which served as a curtain-raiser for the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

    Emerging markets are confronted with threats of capital flight amid the tapering of the stimulus program in the United States.

    Given this backdrop, Tetangco said it is crucial that investors are made aware of the strengths of individual economies in the Asean region.

    The officials said the members of their group are enjoying positive growth outlooks, with sustained growth expected even with the threat of external shocks. Doing business with the Asean would be a wise move, they noted.

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