Financial crisis to test ASEAN leaders

BANGKOK – Southeast Asian leaders are to seek ways of insulating their export-driven economies from the global financial meltdown when they hold their annual summit in Thailand this weekend.

Until recently a relative bright spot in the world economy, several countries in the region of more than half a billion people are facing recession and growing unemployment as demand from trading partners plummets.

Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva recently said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit would “discuss ways and means to mitigate the effects of the financial and economic crisis on the ASEAN community.”

Leaders gathering at the royal beach resort of Hua Hin are expected to sign a declaration on a roadmap for forming an EU-style community by 2015 and to formally ink a free trade pact with Australia and New Zealand. [Read full article...]

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