Posted on August 10, 2018

Malaysia's Ambassador to Qatar HE Dato' Ahmad Fadil Bin Shamsuddin expressed the interest of the embassies of the ASEAN member countries in increasing bilateral investments between Qatar and Southeast Asia through their business communities during the celebration of the 51st anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN held on Wednesday. 

The gathering hosted by the Malaysian Embassy as current chairman of the ASEAN Committee in Doha was attended by ambassadors and charge d'affaires of embassies of Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. It was graced by Deputy Director of Asian Department at Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rashid al Dehaimi and other diplomats of ASEAN embassies.

On the occasion, Ambassador Fadil underlined the impact of the state visits of the Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore last year. He added that the proposed high-level visits to Vietnam and the Philippines this year will further enhance opportunities for the development of partnership between Qatar and the regional bloc. Similarly, the Malaysian Ambassador conveyed the interest of the ASEAN to deepen its cooperation with international partners, including the GCC. ASEAN's official partnership with Qatar is through the GCC. Ambassador Fadil said Qatar plays an important role in connecting these two regions through its engagement in fostering synergies between ASEAN and the GCC. 

"On the economic aspects, the ASEAN-GCC Free Trade Area will become an important part for other areas in the future. Both organisations agreed to promote greater understanding with a view to forge closer economic cooperation and integration, including exploring the possibility of developing a trade and investment framework agreement. I believe that ASEAN and the GCC, in particular Qatar, stand to gain from each other's prosperity. Both groupings should now start a dialogue aiming to find an adequate balance between our interests," the Ambassador said. 

Ambassador Fadil also brought to the fore the impressive growth and remarkable progress of ASEAN economically. Last year, the ASEAN economy was the third largest in Asia and the seventh largest market in the world with a combined GDP exceeding US$ 2.6 trillion. ASEAN has registered a strong pace of 5.1 percent in 2017. For 2018, GDP growth rate is projected at 5.3 percent with positive trends observed across all ASEAN member states. Its population is currently at 633 million. "ASEAN was established with the main aim to maintain peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region. Throughout the past five decades, ASEAN has maintained its principles of 'respect, non-intervention and consensus decision-making'. These principles are the key to ASEAN's success and continuous stability proving to the world that close consultations and dialogue are the key foundations of an enduring partnership," Ambassador Fadil said.

source: Qatar Tribune