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ASEAN to provide 485.2 mln USD initial infrastructure funds in region

11-02-2011 14:08 BJT

JAKARTA, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Nine ASEAN member countries are going to provide 485.2 million U.S. dollars initial funds for building infrastructure in the region as an effort to settle development gap ahead of the economic integration in the region by 2015, media quoting ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitwuwan reported here on Wednesday.

Finance ministers from the nine countries had agreed to allocate funds which could be borrowed by the ASEAN member countries to build roads, railways and other infrastructure projects, the secretary general said on Tuesday.

"The ASEAN member countries have provided funds to finance the infrastructures in a number of ASEAN member countries. According to the plan, the ASEAN infrastructure funds (AIF) will begin with 485.2 million U.S. dollar money," Surin was quoted by Bisnis Indonesia as saying.

The secretary general also expected the funds could help ease the countries' reliance on foreign creditors.

The initiative to establish the AIF had been launched by the nine ASEAN member countries, excluding Myanmar and Thailand, he said. Nevertheless, Thailand had expressed its plan to take part at the AIF in the near future, said Surin.

The office of the AIF is planned to be set up in Malaysia, he said.

By 2020, it was expected that the AIF could reach four billion U.S. dollars so that the target of ASEAN integration by 2015 could be supported by infrastructure facilities.

Previously, three countries, China, Japan and South Korea have expressed their interested to join the AIF. They need to conduct a feasibility study.

ASEAN countries' economies have grown rapidly in the last 20 years, promoting Europe's interest in building economic cooperation with the region.

Last year it was established ASEAN-Europe business that facilitate the trade, investment and other economic cooperation of both sides.

The nearly-zero interest rate at the advanced nations has pushed seeking-higher-yield funds to flow into emerging Southeast Asia which have moderate interest rate.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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