As Asia’s economy continues to improve on the strength of the region’s stability, the China-led Belt and Road Initiative will promote greater regional communication and cooperation for win-win outcomes.
This was the underlying message at a China Daily Asia Leadership Roundtable hosted in Singapore on April 28. Panelists shared their views on how member states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can benefit from the initiative through further cooperation. The theme of the session was The Asian Century and the Belt and Road Initiative: Where Do We Go From Here?
Asia is now the world’s center of gravity, said Wiryono Sastrohandoyo, senior fellow of the Jakarta-based think tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Wiryono, the session’s moderator, admitted that the region used to experience GDP growth that was below expectations. Nevertheless, he believes it will be the center of economic expansion in the 21st century.
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati took part in an ASEAN meeting on April 3 to April 6, 2018 in Singapore. The meeting was attended by all Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of ASEAN countries.
"We discussed the ASEAN achievement in the implementation of the Asean Economic Community 2025 blueprint," Sri said on her Instagram account on Friday, April 6, 2018.
Sri Mulyani said that all ASEAN countries are committed to improving synergies and fostering economic integrity in preparation to face global economic competition and challenges.
In the meeting, Sri Mulyani also told her experience as a speaker in the World Bank Infrastructure Finance Summit.
"It provides an opportunity for me to share my experience about development in Indonesia, which is actively building infrastructure," Sri said.
FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and finance ministers from across the Asean will be meeting with investors in Singapore to find ways of mobilizing private capital for infrastructure development in the region.
The Asean is the sixth-largest economy and collectively the third-largest in Asia, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).
Dominguez took part in the 8th World Bank-Singapore Infrastructure Summit ahead of the Asean Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Joint Meetings that started on Thursday.
Chaired this year by Singapore, the 2018 Asean Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ and Related Meetings on April 5 and April 6 will focus discussions on enhancing the region’s resilience to natural disasters, as well as cybersecurity risks.
Finance ministers from the ASEAN member states are gathered at a “time of optimism” for their meeting this year and under Singapore’s chairmanship, the themes of sustaining growth, boosting resilience and fostering innovation will be in focus, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday (Apr 6).
However, he cautioned the region not to take this positive outlook for granted given looming headwinds, such as trade tensions.
Southeast Asia’s finance ministers are gathered in Singapore this week for the 4th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors' meetings from Apr 3 to 6. Singapore is the ASEAN chair this year.
In his opening remarks for the 22nd ASEAN Finance Ministers’ meeting, Mr Heng said he and his counterparts are meeting “at a time of optimism for the regional economies”.
US businesses hope to maximize a possible Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Washington and Manila by pushing for seamless digital channels for trade, a member of the US-ASEAN Business Council said.
“What we would be looking for mainly is a free and open digital world economy,” Michael W. Michalak, Senior Vice-President and Regional Managing Director of the Council, told BusinessWorld in an interview, when asked about its members’ wish list in an FTA.
“We heard from just about every Cabinet official how every department is looking to become more digital, to use the Internet better. Nobody is satisfied with your current Internet,” Mr. Michalak said, recalling his dialogue with the country’s top economic managers during the group’s Philippine Business Mission in early March.
He added that the group remains hopeful for a third player to enter the telecommunications industry to improve on Internet services on offer.
During his reception for a delegation of the US-ASEAN Business Council (UABC) led by President of its Vietnamese committee Alexander C. Feldman in Hanoi on March 29, Luu applauded great contributions made by US enterprises to Vietnam’s economy over the past years.
He said that the UABC has worked as a bridge between US businesses and Vietnam, thus contributing to the enhancement of cooperative relations between the two nations and governments.
The Vietnamese legislature has paid due attention to new moves and policies of President Donald Trump’s administration, especially those related to trade and investment, he said, noting that Vietnam always regards the US as one of its leading partners in terms of economy and trade.
During a reception in Hanoi on March 28 for a delegation of the US – ASEAN Business Council (USABC) led by its President Alexander Feldman, the PM spoke highly of the contributions of the US, including its business community, to the success of the APEC Year 2017 and particularly the APEC CEO Summit.
He said the government advocates building policies in service of businesses and people so that attention is given to regular, transparent and open consultation with business community, including foreign-invested enterprises, towards refining policies and improving enforcement.
From Japan’s electronics to Australia’s iron ore, the Asia-Pacific region’s economies depend on selling parts and materials to feed China’s export machine.
That is why the prospect of a deepening U.S.-China trade conflict has these nations worried about getting caught in the crossfire—even if some of them have sympathy for President Donald Trump’s criticism of China.
“It’s not just the combatants themselves who suffer damage, it’s the other countries too,” said Shujiro Urata, a professor of economics at Tokyo’s Waseda University and former World Bank economist.
Stocks have been gyrating on trade news, with Japan’s benchmark index rising 2.65% Tuesday on signs that the worst scenario of a trade war might be avoided. Chinese and American officials have quietly started negotiating on ways to improve U.S. access to Chinese marketsand reduce the trade deficit.
Speaking to 41 US-based companies grouped under the US-ASEAN Business Council on Tuesday morning, the President underlined the significance of investment into Indonesia from the world’s top economy.
“American investment into Indonesia has been sizeable and plays an important role in the Indonesian economy,” Jokowi said during a meeting with the council at the Merdeka Palace.
Realized foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indonesia by US firms surged by 71.5 percent to US$1.99 billion last year, driven by 625 projects. That is significantly higher than the 30 percent growth to $1.16 billion seen in 2016, spread across 540 projects.
The US stood still as the sixth-largest foreign spender in the archipelago over the 2016-2017
Indonesian President Joko Widodo wants Australia to become a full member of ASEAN, signalling Friday he is keen on Canberra playing a bigger regional role in defence, trade and security matters.
His comments come with Australia hosting a special summit of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders in Sydney, as China increasingly flexes its muscle and the threat of violent extremism grows.
"I think it's a good idea," Widodo told the Sydney Morning Herald, referring to Australia joining ASEAN -- the first time an Indonesian president has endorsed the concept.
"Because our region will be better, (for) stability, economic stability, and also political stability. Sure, it will be better."
Australia has been a dialogue partner of ASEAN, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, since 1974.