Asia

Malaysia's leader: ASEAN seen growing to 4th-largest economy

  • Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses business leaders as he keynotes the "Prosperity For All" Summit, the parallel event of the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit Friday, April 28, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Najib is in the country to attend the annual summit of the regional grouping. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses business leaders as he keynotes the "Prosperity For All" Summit, the parallel event of the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit Friday, April 28, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Najib is in the country to attend the annual summit of the regional grouping. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses business leaders as he keynotes the "Prosperity For All" Summit, the parallel event of the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit Friday, April 28, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Najib is in the country to attend the annual summit of the regional grouping. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses business leaders as he keynotes the "Prosperity For All" Summit, the parallel event of the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit Friday, April 28, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Najib is in the country to attend the annual summit of the regional grouping. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses business leaders as he keynotes the "Prosperity For All" Summit, the parallel event of the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit Friday, April 28, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Najib is in the country to attend the annual summit of the regional grouping. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses business leaders as he keynotes the "Prosperity For All" Summit, the parallel event of the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit Friday, April 28, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Najib is in the country to attend the annual summit of the regional grouping. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says Southeast Asia's 10-member grouping could comprise the world's fourth-largest economy by 2030, but countries must work to ensure integration, bring down rising tariff barriers and expand e-commerce to benefit small enterprises that form the region's economic backbone.

He said at a business forum Friday on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders' summit that ASEAN economies are expected to grow to $9.2 trillion by 2050, making it the fourth-largest economy in the world. He says more optimistic forecasts see that happening by 2030.

He says as of November 2015, the region's economy was close to $2.7 trillion, the world's seventh-largest.