KUWAIT, Sept 27 (KUNA) -- Kuwait eyes closer economic cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said. "The State of Kuwait seize this opportunity to call for deeper cooperation and stronger bonds between Asian and Gulf Cooperation Council nations," Al-Jarallah said during a ceremony held by the Philippines embassy in Kuwait to mark the 50th anniversary of the foundation of ASEAN.
He lauded the deeply-rooted relations between the ASEAN and GCC states, adding that Kuwait envisages wider economic and technological partnership among them.
He suggested that the ASEAN foundation was instrumental in boosting economic integration among its member states.
The pan-ASEAN trade exchange has climbed to 35 percent of their total trade with the external world, he said.
He recalled Kuwait's endeavors to buttress cooperation with the ASAEN organization and countries.
Kuwait has hosted an ASAEN summit and permanent headquarters for the ASEAN Cooperation Dialogue's secretariat, Al-Jarallah said.
Moreover, he pointed to the memorandum of understanding signed between the ASEAN and the GCC in Manama in June 2009 to give impetus to mutual cooperation in a variety of domains including trade, investment, food security, tourism and energy.
He noted that ASEAN member states are among the largest trader partners to the GCC states.
The ASEAN-GCC trade exchange in the past decade jumped to nearly USD 127 billion, Al-Jarallah estimated.
He pointed out that 80 percent of the petroleum exports of GCC states go to the ASEAN states and 50 percent of ASEAN electronic exports go to the GCC states.
Furthermore, the GCC states are embarking on several partnerships in the petroleum sector with several ASEAN states to enhance economic cooperation between the two blocs, he said. (end)