Asian Growth Requires Strong Research Component, says Secretary-General of ASEAN
ASEAN Secretariat, 11 January 2010
The success of the Comprehensive Asian Development Plan - currently being developed as an overarching blueprint for regional cooperation and integration – is dependent upon sound research, credible policy options and rigorous academic support. This component can be provided by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), said Secretary-General of ASEAN today.
“ERIA is recognized, it is legitimate, it is effective and therefore its output should be utilised to support East Asia cooperation and integration,” said Dr Surin Pitsuwan, at working lunch with the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, H.E. Masayuki Naoshima, in Jakarta.
Describing the Development Plan as an over-arching umbrella, Dr Surin urged the visiting Japanese delegation to look at the plan and the roles of ASEAN and ERIA as a package. “ASEAN and ERIA are two key supportive pillars of the Plan,” he said.
Echoing the Secretary-General, the Japanese Minister conveyed his country’s strong support to the region and the role of the region-wide research institute. “The main pillar of our new economic strategy is to grow together with the Asian region and ERIA plays a central role in supporting this approach,” said Mr Naoshima.
Coining it as a new “Marshall Plan for Asia”, Dr Surin said that the ASEAN Secretariat was collaborating with ERIA and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the development of the plan which aims to contribute to coordinating, expediting, upgrading and expanding sub-regional initiatives and promoting private sector participation.
The Comprehensive Asian Development Plan and the role of the public-private partnership were also on the agenda of the Secretary-General’s breakfast meeting with Nippon Keidanren, Japan’s association of business organization earlier in the day. Noting that the involvement of the private sector is crucial in building this comprehensive plan, Dr Surin said that there was “no other alternative but to engage with the private sector in terms of funding and technology. We are moving away from a model where the Governments are doing everything by themselves to one where Governments are in partnership with the private sector.”
Nippon Keidanren Chairman, Mr Fujio Mitarai, said that the organization was looking forward to cooperating on the development plan. “Keidanren, the ASEAN Secretariat and ERIA should work together in a trinity in this process,” he said. Mr Mitarai, who is also the Chairman & CEO of Canon Inc., invited the Secretary-General to visit Japan to brief Keidanren members on the Development Plan. Nippon Keidanren, which currently has some 1,600 members comprising companies, industrial associations and economic organizations, seeks to accelerate the growth of the Japanese economy and to transform it into one that is sustainable and driven by the private sector.
Both sides also highlighted the increasing trade ties within the region and Asia’s potential to be the engine of growth for the world. In 2006, almost 60 per cent of ASEAN-6 exports were shipped largely to East Asian destinations. Currently, North America and the EU account for less than 40 per cent of ASEAN-6 exports. Their share was much larger in the earlier decades.