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LISA NAPOLI: Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations begin their annual summit today in Malaysia. A top item on the agenda: Fast-tracking plans to create a single Asian economic market in the next 10 years. Miranda Kennedy says the US wants to be sure it's not left out.


MIRANDA KENNEDY: Ministers from 10 Asian countries hope to sign a trade and investment pact with the US this week.

But US officials warned over the weekend they may scale back the plan. They cite the poor human rights record of Myanmar, one of the countries in the group.

For years the US has resisted a formal trade agreement with the Asian bloc. but that's expected to change, now that Asia is becoming more powerful economically, says analyst GVC Naidu.

GVC NAIDU: Southeast Asia is an emerging market, it is a large market of about 550 million people. Now I believe USA is interested in signing such an agreement so that USA is not left out of the web of agreements that are being signed in this part of the world.

Today ASEAN announced that foreign direct investment into the 10 Asian countries rose to $38 billion last year, the highest in a decade. Much of that investment came from the US.

In New Delhi, I'm Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.