Biz, finance leaders: Internal trading will propel Asia’s growth

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva April 05,2017 - 09:38 PM
MELANIE NG

MELANIE NG

Local business leaders yesterday echoed the optimism of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) finance and central bank leaders that Asia, the Philippines in particular, will continue to grow despite uncertainties in the global economy.

Melanie Ng, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said she earnestly believes there is growth potential in the region in the next few years, especially in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

“The reforms currently being implemented by the current administration, coupled with the wins we’ve received as a result of the seeds of development planted by the previous administration provide us with a bullish market,” she told Cebu Daily News in a text message on Wednesday.

In a debate that kicked off the 3rd Asean Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Joint Meeting and Related Meetings in Cebu last Monday, most of the delegates did not think that Asia was bound to follow the advance economies’ “new mediocre,” a term used to describe a phase of relatively slow growth over a long period in countries such as the US and those in Europe.

Single-digit growth

Their optimism remained high even as they acknowledged that the 10-member Asean bloc will need to address issues such as infrastructure as well as the need to overhaul the education system in each economy to sustain the growth.

However, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said that while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sees that near-term outlook for Asia is strong and robust, they could no longer expect a double-digit growth for Asia in the coming years.

He cited the case of China, one of the world’s economic powerhouses, which is growing by only 6 to 6.5 percent in recent years compared to the 11-12 percent growth it experienced a decade ago.

Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph, however, believed there is still room for optimism, even as he acknowledged that “poorly performing Western economies will be poor markets for our products.”

TETANGCO

TETANGCO

Trading within Asia

But Danny Quah, professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore, said that the idea that Asia only grows because the West buys its products is no longer relevant.

Instead, he said, Asian countries should look for strength from within the region, noting that Asia grew by US$5 trillion dollars between 2008 and 2012 when the US economy was growing only by one trillion dollars during the same period.

In a press statement, the Philippines’ Department of Finance (DOF) said finance chiefs of Asean’s member-states would exchange views on further harnessing investment opportunities within the regional bloc amid the current slowdown in global growth.

The 12th Asean Finance Ministers Investors Seminar (AFMIS) will be held in Lapu-Lapu City today, as an avenue to keep tabs of progress made so far since the Asean Economic Community (AEC) — which was meant to turn the region into a single market and production base — went in full swing two years ago.

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TAGS: Asia’s, biz, finance, growth, internal, leaders, propel, trading

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