Innovation, tech seen as twin engines

Innovation, tech seen as twin engines

Asean is a growing strategic investment region with a combined GDP of US$2.6 trillion but members must focus on technology and innovation to keep the momentum going, Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said Thursday.

"The $2.6-trillion gross domestic product represents a 130% rise from 50 years ago. That reflects the strength of Asean," he said. Asean is now in its 50th year.

Mr Uttama said more effort must also be made in the investment and industrial sectors as these will serve as major engines for regional expansion in the future.

Asean has become a major trade bloc and each member should try to capitalise on its strengths as well as regional growth, he added.

Moreover, the region is endowed with abundant resources to fuel its expansion, he said.

"Each country should use its own expertise to develop its re­sources efficiently. At the same time, all member countries should develop in line with Asean's direction so we can all grow together," said Mr Uttama.

The bloc also serves as a strategic investment hub drawing billions of baht in investment value.

About 3,500 special economic zones worldwide are ready to attract investment from abroad. Of these, around 41% are located in Asia and Asean, the minister said.

"Asean is an attractive place for investment and Asean should take a look at its own potential and accelerate its technology to meet new investments in high-tech areas," he said.

To prepare for this, Asean as a region needs to develop in several aspects, particularly human resources, technology and digital connectivity, he said.

He added that doing business requires an infusion of innovation and high-technology to create a value chain in the region that benefits the whole bloc.

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