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SAN FRANCISCO: February 22, 2016. Speaking at the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC), Tony Fernandes, co-founder and group CEO of AirAsia, said there is an urgent need of one regulator to ensure a unified ASEAN standard, adding it was time for ASEAN to take a bold step towards commonality and standardization.

Tony FernandesHe noted the 10 member countries with a GDP of US$2.5 trillion and a population of 600 million, had “immense” potential when combined into a single market and production base. He said he would continue to lobby and spearhead ASEAN integration, especially but not limited to the aviation, travel and tourism industries.

Fernandes (right), who is also a member of the ASEAN Business Club Advisory Council, was speaking at the ASEAN Economic Community Conference where he was presented with an award recognizing his contribution towards the growth of ASEAN and its relationship with the U.S.

“It is a true honor to be recognized by the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council for what we have done as an ASEAN brand, but there is much more to do. Our hope is for all 10 member countries’ governments to come together as harmonization allows for more efficient use of resources, achieve better economies of scale, contribute towards the reduction of unit costs and lead towards faster growth for the region,” he added.

Commenting on the recent signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership, US-ABC president and CEO Alexander Feldman noted: “The TPP agreement marks an extraordinary opportunity to open markets and level the playing field for American exporters and investors competing in some of Asia’s fastest growing markets, including four ASEAN markets.

"Building on the success of the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement of 2004, American exports to Singapore have grown by nearly 90 percent.  We believe that [the] TPP can offer similar export opportunities in Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam in ASEAN,”  he added.

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