ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Introduction to the panel discussion
The topic for the panel discussion is titled:
"The Crisis as an Opportunity - Possibilities for Closer Cooperation between Europe and Asia".
The last months have shown the close relationship of all parts of the global economy. Far from following independent growth paths, the financial crisis demonstrated the existence of one global economic cycle as well as a strong bond between the financial and the real sectors in all parts of the globe. As a consequence, initial shocks to finance reverberated through global production networks. The outlook for trade remains dim.
Successful efforts to react jointly and swiftly to the crisis, such as using the G 20 framework to create new institutions for crisis management and future crisis prevention in the financial sector and the setup of a specialised UN task force, have demonstrated the general commitment to a collective response. However, recent WTO findings indicate a growing risk of trade restrictions (Read “PROTECTIONISM”). This underlines the necessity of promoting efforts to strengthen co-operation and internationally co-ordinated action to meet global challenges.
Several European countries were severely hit by the consequences of the economic crisis. Germany is one of them. The same applies to a number of Asian economies. The crisis has not only affected the financial sector in terms of access to credit and diminishing capital flows such as FDI, but has had great bearings on many real economies as well. China has to cope with a dramatic fall in export earnings, Bangladesh and the Philippines suffer the consequences of disinvestment in manufacture, and India has to cope with a large reflux of migrant labour from the Gulf States. The region is home to more than half of the world’s poor, who will suffer the most from the adverse impacts of the ‘triple F (finance, food, fuel)’-crisis. Accordingly, the need for adequate and rapid policy measures on national, regional, and global levels is obvious.
Looking at Asia from a European perspective, a kind of general optimism nonetheless prevails. It is widely expected that emerging economies in Asia have the potential to effectively contribute to global economic recovery. Indonesia was the third fastest growth country in G 20 after India and China. There is some expectation that the vast economic recovery programme put in place in China will not only stimulate national growth, but also regional and global development. India can expect a slowed but sustained growth of around 7 % for 2009, while growth forecasts for China seem to be approaching the 8% margin again.
Events of the last months have shown that a comprehensive crisis like the current one can stimulate but also threaten regional integration efforts. The EU, or rather the Euro-zone, will be tested in its ability to stay together not only in good, but also in bad times. ASEAN-the 10 nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It has a combined gross domestic product of more than 1.4 trillion dollars. Asean (plus 3) has shown an unexpected aptitude for generating innovative instruments to fight the financial crisis. These mechanisms might well develop into the germ of a future autonomous Asian Monetary Fund.
An important part of ongoing regional integration efforts in Asia is a strengthened ASEAN that cooperates closely with its regional neighbours and its global partners, including the EU. It can serve as a hub not only to strengthen economic co-operation and trade, but also to initiate debates on strategic challenges such as integrating the prevailing export-led growth model with more ‘green’ and ‘inclusive’ options.
A conclusive set of jointly agreed objectives for the political agenda, starting with growth and development and further including trade and environmental issues, will be needed to tackle the difficult years lying ahead for Europe and Asia. Faced with the prospect of a prolonged global increase in unemployment, poverty and inequality, and the continuing collapse of enterprises, co-operative action cannot be disposed of and needs to be actively pursued.
It is said that we are witnessing the beginning of the trend of the largest shift in wealth and influence from the West to the East. In other words the weightage of Asia and Asian nations is being re-set to reflect the increasingly important role they have to play in a globalised world. How do you take advantage of this trend? By being Inward Looking, protecting your turf and perhaps fighting this change or even denying that it is happening at all? Or Do you re-boot and re-set you thinking and vision to be able to see these trends which will become full blown winds of change in the years ahead and embracing these changes with an open mind and an attitude of understanding. I hope we will witness the latter in this session today.
The Hi Level panel discussion today will revolve around four substantial questions
1. What are the key answers of Asian leaders and ASEAN with respect to the current global financial and economic crisis and what do they expect from Europe as concerns economic cooperation, with a view of revitalising the global economy?
2. What can be done to strengthen regional co-operation and integration in Asia and Europe under difficult global economic circumstances?
3. How can European-Asian co-operation on current global challenges such as slowed growth, rising unemployment, jeopardized trade, and climate change be encouraged?
4. How can German development co-operation contribute to policy formulation and extended cooperation in these areas?
Introduction of the Panelists
I have the honor and pleasure of introducing our highly distinguished panelists in today’s Hi-Level panel discussion.
Taking part in the Panel Discussions with our distinguished Key Note Speaker Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven is an array of equally distinguished and impressive personalities. They are…
His Excellency Dr. Fauzi Bowo, Governor of Jakarta, Indonesia
Ambassador Santosh Kumar, Senior Consultant, Indian Council for Research on International Economic relations (ICRIER), a leading independent think-tank on economic and strategic issues.
Ms. Vu Xuan Nguyet Hong, Vice President, Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Vietnam
Mr. Aladdin D. Rillo, Assistant Director, Head of Division for Finance Integration, ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta
His Excellency Mr Rüdiger Freiherr von Fritsch, Director General, Department for Economics and Sustainable Development, Federal Foreign Office (AA), Germany
Introduction of Panelists
His Excellency Dr. Fauzi Bowo, Governor of Jakarta, Indonesia is the first elected Governor of Jakarta Capital City Government, a Metropolitan City with more than 9 million inhabitants.
As an architect, he graduated from technical faculty at the University of Braunschweig, Germany, and got his doctoral degree in engineering majoring in City and Regional Planning from University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. Dr. Fauzi Bowo started his career as a lecturer at the University of Indonesia, and he has been working in the public sector as a civil servant for Jakarta Capital City Government since 1977. Before being promoted to Vice governor from 2002‐2007, he held various positions in the administration, including being Head of the Jakarta Protocol Bureau and the Head of the Jakarta Tourism Department, and CEO of Jakarta where he was involved with many international networking.
He has always been playing a significant role in cooperation and partnerships with other local governments as well as with international organizations. He is the president of Indonesia Association of Provincial Government, which has 33 provinces as members. Under his governance, Jakarta becomes increasingly committed to improve cooperation with other cities. This is achieved particularly through sister city relations with many notable cities around the world. Among them are Berlin, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Beijing, and New South Wales. Governor Fauzi Bowo also promotes Jakarta’s involvement as an active member in a number of prominent international organizations such as UCLG, of which he is co‐president of UCLG ASPAC for 2008‐2010, Metropolis, C40, ANMC 21, APCS, and Citynet.
Ambassador Santosh Kumar, Senior Consultant, Indian Council for Research on International Economic relations (ICRIER) was born in 1945. He earned his Masters in Science degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He received his MA (in Political Science) from the University of Allahabad, India. Ambassador Kumar joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1969. He served as Indian Ambassador to South Africa, South Korea and Yemen. He also held Ambassadorial rank as DCM in the Indian Mission to the European Union. He has worked as Consul General in Frankfurt and held senior diplomatic assignments in China, Pakistan, Belgium and Hong Kong. From 2002-2004, Ambassador Kumar was Dean of the Foreign Service Institute of India which imparts training to Indian and foreign diplomats as well as other officials and journalists. Ambassador Kumar has held senior policy-making positions in the Government of India in the Ministries of External Affairs, Finance and Commerce. After his retirement in 2005, Ambassador Kumar has been co-opted by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic relations (ICRIER), a leading independent think-tank on economic and strategic issues, as Senior Consultant and Project Director of the National Interest Project. He also gives consultancy to corporates on international and domestic business. Ambassador Kumar has written for periodicals such as the Economic and Political Weekly on various aspects of foreign policy and politics in India.
Ms. Vu Xuan Nguyet Hong, Vice President, Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Vietnam was born in 1959. Currently she is working on her PhD degree in a Distance learning program on Economics and Management from Atlantic International University USA. She earned her Masters Degree in Development Economics from The Australian National University and her Thesis was on the Topic: The role of SMEs in economic development of Vietnam. She received her Bachelor degree in Economics from the Economic-Engineering Institute in St. Petersburg- Russia in 1982. Since 2004 she has served as the Director, Economic Management Research Department, CIEM. From 1999 till 2004, she was the Deputy Director. Prior to that she was a senior researcher in the same department. She began her career in 1982 with CIEM. She has many research works and publications to her credit and has also served as consultant on several national and international projects all focused on the development of Vietnam.
Mr. Aladdin Dolorito Rillo, Assistant Director, Head of Division for Finance Integration, ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta was born in 1961. He is from the Philippines and a permanent resident of Canada. He obtained in PhD in Economics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1995. His Masters, also in Economics is from the same Univ. He has been an awardee of the Robert S McNamara Fellowship program of the world bank, fellow of Harvard Institute for International Development, Harvard Univ. He has worked for the Asian Development Bank, Price Water House Coopers and has extensive experience as an economist. In his current position he is responsible among other things, for-Preparing the ASEAN Surveillance Report (ASR), the main document used by ASEAN Finance Ministers in their annual meeting and peer review. The ASR highlights major economic and sectoral developments in the region and in each ASEAN country, as well as key policy issues (eg., debt sustainability, anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing) that need to be monitored in ASEAN.
His Excellency Mr Rüdiger Freiherr von Fritsch, Director General, Department for Economics and Sustainable Development, Federal Foreign Office (AA), Germany was born in 1953 in Siegen (Westphalia). He studied history and German language and literature in Erlangen and Bonn. In 1984 he entered the Foreign Service. He was political desk officer from 1986 at the German Embassy in Warsaw. In 1989 he worked as desk officer, press and cultural affairs at the German Embassy in Nairobi. In 1992 he joined the Federal Foreign Office, Press Division. From 1995 he was the political desk officer at the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the European Union, Brussels. In 1999 he was the Head of Policy Planning Staff and Deputy Head of the Directorate-General for Home Affairs in the Office of the Federal President. He became Vice-President of the Federal Intelligence Service in 2004. Since July 2007 he has been serving in his current position.
Director General, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Hoven is the Head of the Directorate for “Cooperation with Countries and Regions; Asia, Latin America, Europe, Peacebuilding, United Nations” in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) since November 2006.
After studying economics in Gießen and Paris she attended the training course of the German Institute for Development Policies (DIE) and entered the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. From 1990 till 1995 she worked for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), three years she was government advisor in Guatemala with the main focus on poverty reduction and budget expenditure planning. From 1999 till 2003 she was leading the department for environment and responsible for the BMZ’s contributions at the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
Dr Fauzi Bowo in his presentation touched upon the challenges faced by developing nations in Asia as well as the opportunities. The challenge of governing a large urban metropolis such as Jakarta was not an easy task. Indonesia consists of 17,500 islands and a population of 240m, the largest Muslim country and the fourth largest democracy in the world. Again he highlighted the need for understanding the challenges and the way developing countries in Asia function for Europe to cooperate more meaningfully. Indonesia was one of the countries in Asean/Asia which was firmly on the trajectory of growth and is performing very well.
Ambassador Santosh Kumar dwelt on the growth figures of India’s economy and demonstrated how resilient it was and how in the years ahead it will do well.
Input of approx. seven minutes with reference to one of the four leading questions
Ms Vu Xuan Nguyet Hong presentation showed the challenges Vietnam is facing and how it is poised to tackle the run-away inflation which had suddenly taken the winds out of its sails in the last year. Germany is Vietnam’s largest trading partner in the EU and the solid cooperation will continue. Vietnam was readying itself to take the Chairmanship of Asean next year from Thailand and the Asean integration was one of the key issues that Vietnam hoped to tackle.
Aladdin D. Rillo spoke on the issue of Asean Integration and especially on the area of integration in finance. He said that Asean has many issues to resolve before integration-economically would be possible. However the need for integration remains and the financial crisis had helped to create some progress in this area.
Input of approx. seven minutes with reference to one of the four leading questions
Rüdiger Freiherr von Fritsch touched upon the development assistance provided to developing nations by Germany and its importance to the Germany economy as a principle of foreign policy.
The Panel debate was stimulated by questions of the moderator Mr Swarup Roy. The first question went to Mrs Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven to integrate her in the debate. The question was The Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ) is one of the supporters of a recent conference in Hanoi focusing on social impacts of the crisis in the Asia and Pacific region. What kind of support does BMZ extend to the region’s goal of achieving sustainable growth?
She began by laying out the key areas that BMZ focuses upon in development assistance and programs-namely capacity building, sustainable development, climate change issues and gender based developments.
Thereafter the floor was opened to the audience for questions.
A very important questions raised by Mr Roy was
Even high ranking German diplomats in the region are complaining about German Foreign Policy understanding of "Asia", which is limited to China, India and Japan. Germany was once under Foreign Minister Genscher the lead-nation in supporting ASEAN to integrate. German political presence in the region in the last years was remarkably weak.
Why? And might this be a new focus under a new liberal Foreign Minister?
There was time only for a few questions as time to end the session was near. the final conclusion drawn by Mr Swarup Roy was as follows:
“Mrs Hoven explained that the chinese word for CRISIS has two parts to it-one is RISK and the other OPPORTUNITY. We have spoken about the crisis, Europe, Asia from our perspectives today. What stands out is the fact that Both Europe and Asia needs each other, we need more ‘AND-ness’ and less ‘OR-ness’, meaning inclusiveness, less protectionism, more free trade, more sustainable development. On that note let me thank you all for your participation and we hope to continue these dialogues more often in the future.