Seminar: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC): Advancing Regional Economic Integration Amidst Growth Moderation
About the Seminar
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) concluded its Second Senior Officials Meetings in Peru from 5 to 15 May 2016. The meetings, under the annual theme of ‘Quality Growth and Human Development’, covered several issues, such as enhancing regional economic integration, promoting small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), developing human capital and strengthening economic and technical cooperation. The meetings discussed the issues related to the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and acknowledged the draft chapters of the Strategic Study that was proposed by China during its Chairmanship year in 2014. The discussion of FTAAP assumes importance in the light of the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement earlier this year.
During the meetings in May 2016, APEC also launched its Regional Trend Analysis, which delivered two key findings. First, between 2010 and 2014, trade costs in APEC economies have decreased significantly. This is an enabling factor for efficient global production network, increasing productivity as well as influencing firms’ decision for foreign investment location. Second, the GDP of APEC economies grew by 2.7 per cent in 2015, lower than 2.9 per cent growth in 2014. While private consumption and strong government spending boosted economic activity, China’s growth transition and downward trend in commodity prices affected the latest growth prospects.
The Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asian economies face headwinds from a still uneven but improving global recovery. The APEC region is expected to grow at a rate that is below world GDP growth in 2016-2017. To discuss these and more, the Singapore APEC Study Centre at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute will bring together senior officials from the APEC Secretariat and a specialist from the private sector at this seminar. The discussions on APEC will be complemented with more focused insights on the economic outlook of the Southeast Asian Region.
About the Speakers
Topic: Developments at the Trade Ministers Meetings at Arequipa
Dr Alan Bollard is the Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat based in Singapore, the body that promotes trade, investment and sustainable economic growth in the Asia-Pacific. Dr Bollard advances APEC’s agenda by executing APEC’s work programmes as mandated by Leaders and Ministers. Prior to joining APEC, Dr Bollard was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand from 2002 to 2012. In that position, he was responsible for monetary policy and bank regulations, helping steer New Zealand through the global financial crisis.
Topic: APEC Near-term Economic Outlook: Resilience amid Global Weakness
Dr Denis Hew is currently the Director of APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU). In this position, he is responsible for the work program and operations of the PSU, which is the research and analysis arm of APEC.
Before taking up his current appointment, Dr Hew was Regional Cooperation Specialist at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), where he managed technical assistance and coordinated efforts on regional cooperation and integration in the Southeast Asia department. From 2001 to 2008, Dr Hew was Senior Fellow and Program Coordinator (Regional Economic Studies) at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. He was also for many years the Managing Editor of the ASEAN Economic Bulletin, a leading academic journal that focuses on policy-relevant economic issues in Southeast Asia. Dr Hew has written extensively on regional economic cooperation and integration, especially in ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific region.
Dr Denis Hew holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom and MSc and PhD in Finance from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
Topic: Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia
Mr Manu Bhaskaran is a Partner of the Centennial Group, a strategic advisory firm headquartered in Washington DC and, as Founding CEO of its Singapore subsidiary Centennial Asia Advisors, he co-ordinates the Asian business of the Group which provides in-depth analysis of Asian macro trends for investment institutions, government agencies and companies with interests in Asia, leveraging off his more than 30 years of studying Asia.
Mr Bhaskaran is also Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies in Singapore where his main interests are in analyzing macro-economic policy frameworks in Singapore. He was recently appointed as a Member of the Regional Advisory Board for Asia of the International Monetary Fund.
Mr Bhaskaran was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge University where he earned an MA (Cantab) and at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he obtained a Masters in Public Administration. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.