ASEAN to invite US, Russia to join ASEAN+6

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BANGKOK, 5 August 2011  – ASEAN has invited the US and Russia to join its ASEAN+6 trade and economic cooperation meetings in a hope to expand the number of dialogue partners outside the region from 6 to 8, which will be beneficial for exports of agricultural and industrial goods. 

According to Permanent Secretary for Commerce Yanyong Phuangrach, both the US and Russia have agreed to participate in the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) and the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) Council Meeting to be arranged in Indonesia from 9 to 13 August 2011.

The US and Russian participation will raise the number of countries involved in the two regional meetings from 16 nations to 18 totally. Apart from the 10 ASEAN members, the six usual partners outside the grouping are China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

The expected trade expansion between ASEAN and its dialogue partners will be beneficial for economy and trade of ASEAN and Thailand alike.

Mr Yanyong stated that he will meet with trade representatives from the US and Russia to discuss measures to enhance mutual trade and economic relations. He said both nations are economic superpowers, and it will be good for Thai exports if ASEAN can extend the cooperation.

In addition, the meeting will follow up the progress of AFTA in reducing and cancelling non-tariff trade barriers and other measures to facilitate mutual trade.