Thursday, 17 July 2014
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
30, Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Pasir Panjang, Singapore
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was created in 1967 to address mainly political and security issues in the region. Using flexibility and consensus—the ASEAN Way—it helped move its member countries’ relationships from conflict to cooperation. Over time, the economy has taken center stage and in 2015 the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is going to be launched as one of the three pillars forming a broader “ASEAN Community”. The AEC is taking shape just as the center of global economic gravity is shifting toward Asia, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and India catalyzing the region’s dynamism. And while the AEC is a milestone promoting ASEAN’s economic integration and centrality in Asia’s architecture for cooperation, it alone is insufficient for the group to retain relevance in an increasingly multipolar world. The economic success of the PRC and India suggests size matters to accelerate growth and development.
The ADBI study: “ASEAN 2030—Toward a Borderless Economic Community” finds that ASEAN needs an ambitious plan for economic integration beyond the AEC to achieve members’ long-term economic development aspirations—to be resilient, inclusive, competitive and harmonious (RICH) by 2030. As ASEAN designs its post-2015 agenda with a view to strengthening its role as a hub of Asian dynamism, its members need to adopt an appropriate policy mix including domestic structural reforms and bold actions to further deepen regional integration—transforming the AEC into a truly borderless economic community. The study suggests that ASEAN economies can enter a high-growth scenario leading to tripling per capita incomes by 2030 and raising quality of life to levels enjoyed by OECD countries today. Another scenario, however, leads to a major GDP growth slowdown to no more than 3% per year, as countries fall into the middle income trap and are unable to manage natural disasters and climate change, or resolve political tensions.
The four major challenges ASEAN will be facing moving forward are: (i) enhancing macroeconomic and financial stability; (ii) supporting equitable growth; (iii) promoting competitiveness and innovation; and (iv) protecting the environment. Overcoming these challenges and building a borderless economic region by 2030 implies following sound macroeconomic management, promoting inclusive development and “green” growth, eliminating remaining barriers to the flow of goods, services, and production factors, and strengthening the regional institutional framework. However, while ASEAN needs structural reform to enhance its institutional efficiency, it should not merely copy the European Union: it must maintain its flexibility and pragmatism, without creating a bloated regional bureaucracy. Institutional reforms are needed to reflect the need for efficiency and timeliness imposed by the widening economic agenda and increase the ASEAN Secretariat’s human and financial resources. The study’s main message is that through closer integration, ASEAN can form a partnership for shared prosperity—regionally and globally.
10:30 – 10:45
10:45 – 11:10
11:10 – 11:45
11:45 – 12:15
Head, ASEAN Studies Centre, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Keynote Speech: Defining the ASEAN Economic Community Post-2015 Agenda
Le Luong Minh
Secretary-General, Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Book Launch: ASEAN 2030—Toward a Borderless Economic Community
Dean, Asian Development Bank Institute
Principal Economist and Special Adviser to the Dean, Asian Development Bank Institute
Questions and Answers
Interaction with Media
12:15 – 14:00
Interaction with Media
Please note that registration is necessary and seating is limited.