"The ministers reaffirmed the intention to continue working towards achieving the targets of the AEC 2015 as set out in the AEC Blueprint," the ministers from the 10 Asean member countries said in a joint statement after their two-day retreat here on Thursday.
Asean official sources, however, said that an internal scorecard showed that the group's progress in implementing measures to achieve the Asean economic community had slightly slowed down in the last three months of last year with a decline in the implementation rate from 79% in August last year to 72% in December with measures not fully implemented.
The statement said that 2015 should not be seen as "an end-date to conclude the initiatives of realising the AEC."
"Rather, the pursuit of expanding and deepening market integration will need to continue beyond 2015, in order to sustain regional economic development and resilience as well as enhance Asean's role in East Asia and the global economy," it said.
Asean plans to develop a draft framework for enhanced Asean economic integration for the next 10 years, it said.
The ministers also agreed at the meeting to raise public awareness on the AEC, promote a more equitable economic development in the region, strengthen regional cooperation for the development of small and medium-sized firms and develop a regional framework for public-private partnership.
The group is also conducting a pilot case study on nontariff barriers.
The statement said the group is targeting to sign services and investment agreements with Japan and India within this year.
It said Asean's economic outlook is still "robust" but warned of some downside risks such as capital outflows, sharp currency depreciations, emerging inflationary pressures and tightening financial conditions, which could dampen economic growth.
They said maintaining the region's resilient macroeconomic fundamentals will help to manage these risks.
The ministers agreed on the priorities of the Asean economic community for this year by promoting equitable economic development and strengthening regional cooperation for small and medium-sized firms.
The meeting was chaired by Myanmar's Minister for National Planning and Economic Development Kan Zaw as Myanmar holds the rotating chairmanship of Asean this year.
Other issues discussed include the progress of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade agreement negotiations that began in May last year and preparations to launch negotiations for an Asean-Hong Kong FTA early this year.
Asean groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.