Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) needs to realize its vision of becoming a single market in order to cement its position as an epicenter of economic growth, according to Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan.

"We would like to witness ASEAN emerging as a single market," the minister said in Jakarta on Friday.

Minister Hasan expressed the hope that, by becoming a single market, ASEAN will double its trade volume, adding that he will highlight this matter during the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting and Related Meeting in Semarang, Central Java.

The meeting will take place from August 17–2022, 2023.

"ASEAN is experiencing a strong and remarkable rate of economic growth. We want to further strengthen this trend in the hopes of designating ASEAN as an epicenter of economic growth," he said.

In principle, the minister's encouragement is in line with the vision of Indonesia, as the 2023 ASEAN chair, and ASEAN as a whole.

According to ASEAN's investment website, the association has established the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which envisions the region as "a single market and production base characterized by the free flow of goods, services, and investments, as well as freer flow of capital and skills."

Currently, ASEAN occupies the fifth position among the strongest economies in the world, after the United States, China, India, and Germany.

The economy of Southeast Asian countries is said to have grown significantly since the establishment of the ASEAN as a leading bloc in the region in 1967.

In 2021, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of ASEAN was recorded at US$5,248 — marking a highly significant increase compared to just US$122 in the year of its establishment.

Moreover, in 1967, ASEAN's foreign direct investment was recorded at just US$3.04 billion, but in 2021, the figure shot up to US$168.2 billion. During the same period, its total trade volume increased from US$10 billion to US$2,591 billion.

ASEAN has also been experiencing significant development in human resources.

In 1967, the total population of ASEAN was pegged at 185 million, and by 2021, the region had become home to 673.8 million people, 61.14 of whom knew how to use the internet.

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Translator: Aji Cakti, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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