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US, Southeast Asian Nations Sign Economic Pact

The United States has signed a new trade and investment agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

The Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement, TIFA, establishes standardized import procedures for U.S. goods entering the 10 ASEAN member countries.

It is seen as a precursor to talks on eventually reaching a full free-trade agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab signed the pact with her Southeast Asian counterparts Friday in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

ASEAN member nations include Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Burma and Brunei.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.