MANILA, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is making substantial progress in creating a common market, a press release from the Philippine finance ministry quoted its chief as saying on Monday.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez voiced optimism that ASEAN, one of the world's major growth drivers, will meet its timetable on economic integration as spelled out in the ASEAN Economic Blueprint 2025.
ASEAN officially became a single economic bloc in 2015, but members' varying levels of development have hampered efforts towards greater integration.
"The ASEAN has moved dramatically in its effort to build a region-wide policy framework to enhance trade, economic cooperation and financial flows among the ASEAN member countries," said Dominguez.
He added ASEAN is "moving close towards achieving the strategic goal of a common regional market."
Dominguez is in Washington to attend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing directors roundtable meeting with ASEAN finance ministers and central governors.
The Philippines chairs ASEAN this year as the bloc celebrates its 50th anniversary. Dominguez spoke on behalf of his fellow ASEAN ministers during the meeting at the IMF headquarters.
Dominguez reported that average growth this year among the ASEAN countries is expected at 5 percent, driven by strong domestic consumption in their respective economies.
In some ASEAN economies, he noted that faster growth is inhibited by higher inflation and weaker-than-expected trade flows, which, he added, "are short-term limitations" and could turn for the better once global growth picks up.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.