India Japan Decide on an Eight Fold Initiative for a Global Partnership
Global Economic Focus Shifts to Asia
Rapid Economic Development in Asia Brings Opportunities, Challenges
BFA Releases First Annual Report on Economic Integration in Asia
Business Leaders From 34 Countries to Convene at The World Economic Forum's Asia Roundtable in Singapore
First Round of Japan-ASEAN FTA Talks Underway
India to be an Integral Part of the East Asia Summit
Chinese Premier on Relations with South Asia, Russia, Japan
China Bets Heavy on Regional Trade Agreement with India 
ACD Ministerial Calls for Pan Asia Free Trade Area and Asian Community
Strong Growth For Developing Asia in 2005
ADB Establishes Office for Regional Economic Integration









India Japan Decide on an Eight Fold Initiative for a Global Partnership

Ministry of External Affairs
Government of India
April 30, 2005


Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, the Prime Minister of Japan, paid an official visit to India from April 28 to 30, 2005. Mr. Koizumi and Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, held in-depth discussions during which they covered the entire gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest. The discussions focused in particular on adding greater substance to bilateral relations and on measures to further deepen the India-Japan Global Partnership, taking into account the steady development in bilateral relations and the far-reaching changes in the international situation, in particular the new surge of change taking place in Asia.

Recognising the need for concerted efforts among Asian countries to translate the positive developments into an ‘Arc of Advantage and Prosperity’ involving growth, prosperity, stability and closer integration in Asia the two leaders acknowledged the responsibility that the two countries have in this new emerging Asian era and thus committed to closely working towards that end.
Agreeing that a global partnership between India and Japan would reflect a broad convergence of their long-term political, economic and strategic interests, aspirations, objectives and concerns the two countries accepted each other as partners that have responsibility for, and are capable of, responding to global and regional challenges in keeping with their global partnership. Both the leaders agreed that a strong, prosperous and dynamic India is in the interest of Japan and vice versa. In the above context and in view of the current international situation, the two leaders decided to reinforce the strategic focus of the global partnership between India and Japan.

As partners in the new Asian era and with this new strategic orientation of their partnership and two responsible and major players in Asia both the countries will expand their traditional bilateral cooperation to cooperation in Asia and beyond. The renewed partnership between India and Japan will feature the following three layers of cooperation:

- Bilaterally, the two countries will further strengthen their cooperation and pursue an all round and comprehensive development of bilateral relations with a particular and urgent focus on strengthening economic ties through full utilisation of the existing and potential complementarities in their economies;
- Regionally, the two countries will strive to develop closer dialogue and collaboration to secure peace, stability, and prosperity in Asia, promote democracy and development, and explore a new architecture for closer regional cooperation in Asia; and
- Globally, the two countries will strengthen cooperation in diverse areas such as environment, energy, disarmament, non-proliferation and security, taking advantage of, and further building on, their strategic convergences.

In order to realise the full potential of their global partnership, the two leaders decided on an Eight-fold Initiative and decided to make their utmost effort to implement this Initiative, which comprises of measures for cooperation in eight key areas of interaction, namely: (i) enhanced and upgraded dialogue architecture, including strengthening of the momentum of high-level exchanges, launching of a High Level Strategic Dialogue and full utilization of the existing dialogue mechanisms; (ii) comprehensive economic engagement, through expansion of trade in goods and services, investment flows and other areas of economic cooperation, and exploration of an India-Japan economic partnership agreement; (iii) enhanced security dialogue and cooperation; (iv) Science and Technology Initiative; (v) cultural and academic initiatives and strengthening of people-to-people contacts to raise the visibility and profile of one country in the other; (vi) cooperation in ushering a new Asian era; (vii) cooperation in the United Nations and other international organizations, including cooperation for the early realization of U.N. reforms, particularly Security Council reform; and (viii) cooperation in responding to global challenges and opportunities.

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Global Economic Focus Shifts to Asia

World Economic Forum
April 28, 2005

The World Economic Forum opened its second Asia Roundtable today in Singapore. Over 250 participants from 34 countries are gathering together to identify the critical issues and generate insights necessary to develop the right strategic response. The theme of the Roundtable is “Tilting the Global Balance: The Strategic Implications of Asia’s Growth”. The Roundtable is being held from 28 to 29 April in cooperation with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

One of the key issues discussed during the opening plenary session was the rise of China and India as the new economic juggernauts that would outstrip the US and Europe to drive global growth, and the social and economic consequences of such a breakneck speed of growth.

“The rise of China and the opening up of India is probably the biggest story this century. China and India are the fastest growing economies in the world,” said Raymond Lim Siang Keat, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore. “Already, China is overtaking the US as the major trading partner of Japan; some analysts reckon that in 50 years’ time, China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy and India will not be far behind.”

Claude R. Béglé, Chief Executive Officer, GeoPost International Management & Development Holding, Germany, agreed that Asia would indeed play a vital role on the world economic stage. “Before you had basically one tonne of cargo from Europe towards Asia and vice versa; three years ago it was a ratio of one to Asia and two from Asia; this year, it’s already one from Europe, three from Asia.” He also highlighted the importance of Japan and India. “Definitely the centre of gravity of the world is moving towards Asia. The big question is the relative weight of China and India versus the traditional giant which is Japan and I think the shift is good for the world and for Europe.”

Lim also said that this has created an imbalance that has brought about the recognition within ASEAN countries that integration is crucial. “ASEAN countries recognize that integration is not a matter of choice but really a matter of necessity. That an ASEAN of half a billion people spread over ten fragmented markets is quite a different proposition from an ASEAN of ten integrated markets and economies.” He added this has given rise to a common resolve to reduce tariffs, unify standards and develop a habit of consultation with neighbour countries. Indeed, during the SARs crisis, Lim pointed out that we saw an instinctive reaction to coalesce and deal with issues together. But Lim stressed that this regionalism is one that is open and inclusive, not insular.

Also discussed was the issue of bilateral tensions between China and Japan and the necessity for putting the past aside and recognizing Japan’s important constructive role in the region and beyond. Ichiro Aisawa, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, highlighted the economic importance of China to Japan and the world. He said that Japan’s trade with China now exceeded the volume of its trade with the US. “The smooth progress and good bilateral relationship between Japan and China will be extremely vital to the continued growth of the global economy and that incidents that might arise between the two nations I’m sure can be dealt with successfully “ He added that his vision is for both countries to lead global growth.

Aisawa stressed the need to leave the past behind while remaining sensitive to the situation. Jiang Jianqing, Chairman and President, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, People’s Republic of China and Co-Chair of the Asia Roundtable 2005, echoed his sentiments, saying it was important for both countries to look ahead and resolve their differences amicably. “As two major countries, if we want to maintain a stable economy for Asia, the two countries should work and survive in a very harmonious manner.”

Lim also stressed the need for regional governments to balance the factors to make this pace of growth sustainable as Asia makes the transition to becoming the economic centre of the world, a point that was taken up by Mohamed A. Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, United Arab Emirates and Co-Chair of the Asia Roundtable 2005. “I have no doubt in my mind that the shift has taken place, the growth potential in the region is unbelievable but the risk is really the speed of growth. I’m always worried about energy and natural resources to supply this unbelievable rate of growth.”

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Rapid Economic Development in Asia Brings Opportunities, Challenges

Xinhua Online
April 29, 2005

The World Economic Forum's Asia Roundtable 2005 ended Friday after two-day discussions on various aspects of the rapid development of Asia, its strategic implications, opportunities, challenges and risks, and keys to success.

It was the consensus in the two-day roundtable that the world gravity is moving toward Asia, as the region has become the engineof the world economy.

"If the story of the last century was the rise of the United States as a global power, the main story of the present century will be the rise of Asia," said Peter Mandelson, trade commissioner of the European Commissioner.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien-Loong saw the changing of the economic landscape in Asia. "In the past, our economies wouldprosper by attracting investments from the United States, Europe or Japan, and then manufacture and export goods back to these markets

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BFA Releases First Annual Report on Economic Integration in Asia

Xinhua Online
April 22, 2005

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA)released its first "Annual Report 2005 on Economic Integration in Asia" here Friday to provide the latest information on economic integration in Asia and advance the latest suggestions for the process.

According to the BFA's annual report, deeper economic and political cooperation will be conducive to the further enhancing of bilateral and multi-lateral trade among Asian nations.

The report says that it is necessary for the governments of Asian nations to improve their macro-economic measures so as to attract more direct foreign investment, or FDI, and that FDI will promote the development of trade.

The deepening of the international division of industries demand more efficient policy coordination between different governments in Asia in order to avoid unnecessary trade friction.

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Business Leaders From 34 Countries to Convene at The World Economic Forum's Asia Roundtable in Singapore

World Economic Forum
21 April 2005

The World Economic Forum released more details today on its Asia Roundtable, which starts in Singapore in just one week’s time. More than 250 leaders from business, government, civil society and the media from 34 countries will convene in Singapore on 28 and 29 April to identify critical issues and generate insights necessary to develop the right strategic response to the region’s growing global economic and political influence.

Under the working theme, “Tilting the global balance: the strategic implications of Asia's growth”, the Asia Roundtable will be conducted in a highly interactive manner aimed at promoting a candid exchange of views and knowledge among participants. The Roundtable is hosted in partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

The programme of the Asia Roundtable will be focused around the following sub-themes:
· The business impact of the geopolitics of Asia
· The impact of China and India on Asian competitiveness and future growth
· The future supply of key natural resources and its impact on regional relations
· The growing trade and investment ties between the Middle East and Asia
· Prospects for Asia’s financial integration and strategies to address the possible revaluation of the Chinese yuan

With the full support of the government of Singapore, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lee Hsien-Loong will host a welcome reception at the Istana on the first evening. A special “conversation with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan-Yew” will take place at the closing plenary. Minister Raymond Lim Siang Keat, Second Minister for Finance and for Foreign Affairs, as well as Minister Lim Hng-Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, will also be speaking at the Roundtable.

Other prominent public figures who have confirmed their participation so far are:
· His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who will lead the senior delegation of prominent political and business leaders from the Middle East joining the Roundtable to discuss the burgeoning trade and investment ties between the two regions.
· Prime Minister Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj of Mongolia, whose country today is experiencing a mining boom, will once again take part actively in the Roundtable.
· Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson of the European Commission will address “Asia’s New Trade Growth” session.
· From Japan, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ichiro Aisawa will address the session on “The Strategic Impact of Asia’s Economic Growth”.
· From the Republic of Korea, Minister of Trade Kim Hyun-Chong will address the session on “The Keys to Asia’s Success”.

Chua Taik Him, Assistant Managing Director, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), said, “The World Economic Forum is a long-time partner of Singapore, having held several of its East Asia Economic Summits here for over a decade. This year marks the first time that Singapore is hosting the Forum's Asia Roundtable, welcoming key leaders in business, government and society from all over the world. This year’s theme is particularly relevant as the changes in Asia are likely to affect developments in the entire world.”

“This year’s Asia Roundtable in Singapore is clearly timely. The excellent participation from both the private and public sectors reflects the need for leaders from all sectors to begin addressing the key strategic issues that are directly linked to Asia’s future growth and integration. The goal of the Roundtable is a frank exchange on both the challenges and opportunities that will be the focus of the coming months,” said Lee Howell, Director, Asia, World Economic Forum.

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First Round of Japan-ASEAN FTA Talks Underway

Vietnam News Agency
April 17, 2005

The first round of talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the past three days focused on how to ensure fairness for companies from Japan and ASEAN member countries while trading in the market of any of these countries.

On the first day of the negotiations, the Japanese side held separate meetings with representatives from each of the five ASEAN member countries it has not yet conducted FTA negotiations, i.e, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam, to explain its perspective on economic co-operation agreements, including FTAs.

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India to be an Integral Part of the East Asia Summit

April 13, 2005

India will participate in the First East Asia Summit to be held in Malaysia at the end of this year, The Asian Wall Street Journal reported on April 13, 2005. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers facilitated the entry of India along with Australia and New Zealand through setting up a three-point criterion for countries outside the region joining the summit, the paper detailed.

According to the three-point criterion, for attending the summit, the non-ASEAN countries must have substantive relations with ASEAN, have full dialogue partnership with ASEAN and be signatories to ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

Since India qualifies at all the three criterions, it will definitely be included in the first Summit, while the other two contending countries Australia and New Zealand will have to sign the TAC for their inclusion, observed the Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo.

India’s inclusion was strongly championed by Singapore. The Economic Times (April 13, 2005) reported that there were some objections to India’s inclusion, notably by Malaysia. “ But India’s friends were led by Singapore which played the lead role in bringing the other ASEAN members around”, the paper highlighted.

The decision was made at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat in Cebu Philippines. The formal announcement though will be made at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in July to be held in Laos, Cambodia, The Economic Times reported.

India will need to do a lot pf preparation, suggested an editorial from The Hindustan Times (Look East, Be Tough, April 15, 2005). Since the summit will discuss an Asian trade bloc, said the paper, India will have to be prepared for a stronger role, which is what the East Asians also want of India to counter any dominance by China as an economic big boy.

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China Bets Heavy on Regional Trade Agreement with India

The Financial Express
April 13, 2005

India and China had constituted a joint study group to look at the possibility of a free/regional trade agreement. The report was submitted to the PMs of the two countries on Monday. The Financial Express brings you excerpts from it.

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Chinese premier on relations with South Asia, Russia, Japan

Xinhua News Online
April 12, 2005

China holds a positive view on promoting cooperation in South Asia and strengthening the role of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday.

When meeting representatives of the Indian news media, Wen said China hopes to cooperate with South Asia in promoting peace and stability in South Asia.

China welcomes cooperation between India and international organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, he said.

China also values India's aspiration to build up relations with the "ten plus three" (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and South Korea), he said.

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ACD Ministerial Calls for Pan Asian Free Trade Area And Asian Community

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other Heads of Delegations from 26 member countries of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) gathered in Islamabad, Pakistan for the 4th ACD Ministerial Meeting on April 6, 2005.

Calling for the establishment of an Asian Community the ministers agreed that the most effective response to globalization is through greater regional economic and commercial cooperation.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in his inaugural address also called upon Asian leaders to create a Pan Asian free trade area. “We should move ahead with regional free trade arrangement step by step, properly address trade fictions and work to bring about a new cooperation pattern,” he explained. He also pledged China’s full support to such a move and also sought to dispel fears about China’s rise.

Pakistani Prime Minister Mr Shaukat Aziz, whose country chairs the forum, also voiced support Mr Jiabao’s remark saying to the same forum that “our ultimate goal should be an Asian free trade arrangement.”

Premier Jiabao also urged the to move forward beneficial cooperation across the board. Therefore, for enhancement of mutual trust and understanding and the promotion of regional economic cooperation and integration, the ACD Ministers pledged their commitment for the following:

i) Render firm political support to the Asian Bond Market Development Initiative undertaken by the relevant fora in terms of market demand, supply and infrastructure development essential for the realization of fully developed Asian Bond Markets, which would ultimately lead to the creation of an effective, stable and dependable financial architecture for Asia.

ii) Reduce the high incidence of poverty in the Asian region by reinforcing active ACD Cooperation through sharing of best practices and exchange of information among Asian countries on working children and their rehabilitation by promoting multilateral cooperation on developing and implementing a realistic educational and vocational training programme and by seeking partnership of NGOs, private sector and civil society

iii) Fully implement the joint initiative of ACD Agricultural Ministers on priority areas and modalities for agricultural cooperation for the common agricultural development in Asia

iv) Strengthen cooperation in Energy Security as described in the "Qingdao Initiative" and to intensify dialogue on the need for establishing a forum on energy

v) Identify steps designed to bridge the digital divide among the ACD countries

vi) Resolve to ensure the provision of easily accessible and expanded educational opportunities for the peoples of Asia with the proposal for the establishment of an Asia e-University which will be an instrument for greater Asia-wide cooperation in closing the digital divide and spearheading e-Education efforts to meet future challenges, for the benefit of the region

ii) Reinforce the role of SMEs in economic development through increased exchanges and information sharing amongst SME's in the ACD countries

viii) Increase efforts for the harmonization of standards amongst the ACD countries with a view to establishing an Asian Institute of Standards, which would make the development, manufacturing and supply of products and services more efficient, safer and cleaner and would help making trade between ACD countries easier and fairer. The proposed Asian Institute of Standards (AIS) will act as an organization in which a consensus can be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of regional governments' local standards, businesses and the broader needs of society including consumers.

ix) Identify focal points in biotechnology to operationalize the proposed Bio-technology Consortium.

x) To facilitate transport linkages among ACD member countries and to that end develop a concept paper for consideration.

xi) Promote the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development through the ACD work on environmental education and to contribute to strengthening the cooperation among the ACD countries.

xii) Promote cooperation in the field of science and technology and to that end hold a Science Congress focussed on Life Science Technology in 2006.

Saudi Arabia was added to the ACD as a full member country. Thailand offered to hold the first ACD Summit in the near future.

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ADB Predicts Continuing Strong Growth For Developing Asia in 2005

ADB News Release

April 6, 2004

Despite high oil prices and the devastating tsunami, developing countries in Asia will experience robust growth in 2005 and continue a healthy expansion in 2006-2007, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says in a major report released today.

ADB's flagship annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook (ADO), was launched at a press conference in Hong Kong, China, today. In it, the Manila-based multilateral development bank projects the region will achieve an overall economic expansion of 6.5% to 6.9% in 2005-2007 on the back of buoyant domestic demand and further strengthening of intraregional trade.

The upbeat outlook draws on the strong growth momentum gained through spectacular economic performance in 2004, when the economies of developing Asia and Pacific registered gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7.3% in 2004.

"Developing Asia has seen its strongest economic growth since the financial crisis of 1997-98," says ADB Chief Economist Ifzal Ali. "Nearly all of the economies in the region grew by more than 5% in 2004. That is remarkable for an area that is home to about 4 billion people."

The ADO, which includes analysis and forecasts of economic trends for 42 economies in Asia and the Pacific, noted that rapid growth in the region was underpinned by strong domestic and external demand. Developing Asian economies benefited from robust growth in major industrial countries and surging intraregional trade driven by PRC's dynamic economy.

The prospects for growth in major industrial countries and for world trade remain positive, although some moderation is expected. Together with this relatively benign external environment, a broadening of the recovery in the region provides a firm foothold for continued expansion. Domestic demand, which has strengthened in most economies over the past 2 years, and increasing regional economic integration heighten the region's resilience against any deterioration in the external environment.

"A major feature of economic developments in 2004 was a marked revival of business investment, particularly in East Asia and Southeast Asia, where it had been lagging since the Asian crisis," Mr. Ali said. The revival of business investment, combined with continuing or strengthening consumption demand in most countries, will continue to translate into robust rates of growth, as well as providing a basis for sustainable long-term growth.

Regional economic integration continues to move forward. Intraregional exports increased by 27.9% in the year to September. Intraregional trade is expected to continue expanding at a brisk pace as the rest of developing Asia integrates further with the PRC and increasingly with India, offering greater opportunities for the region.

Despite the confident baseline outlook for developing Asia, there is a risk that global imbalances could unravel during the forecast period. "A much more robust growth projection for the US economy, while Japan and the euro zone go through a relatively rough patch, implies that the problem of external imbalances in the US could become worse, triggering a sharp depreciation of the dollar, a spike in inflation, and more sudden increases in interest rates, thus ultimately restraining world growth and trade," the ADO warns.

Asia's role remains crucial in the resolution of global economic imbalances. The region has produced large current account surpluses - with its foreign exchange reserve accumulation amounting to $1.6 trillion in 2004, up from $1.3 trillion in 2003 - and it finances a significant share of the US deficit, mainly through large purchases of securities. An orderly adjustment of such global imbalances through strengthening regional demand as well as proactive and coordinated regional exchange rate policies would benefit both regional and global economies.

Other potential risks to the region's bright economic outlook include epidemics, the threat of terrorism, that the growing volatility of intraregional cross-currency exchange rates might hamper regional economic integration, and sustained high oil prices.

"As evidenced by the recent resurgence of avian flu in Viet Nam and Cambodia, the risk of broader and more life-threatening epidemics remains a very serious concern to the region," the ADO states. "In addition, the disastrous tsunami that struck the countries bordering the Indian ocean and its impacts-including the huge loss of human life and a sharp increase in poverty in the affected areas-underscore the need to reinforce regional cooperation in Asia."

"As the external environment runs the risk of becoming less bright over the forecast period, initiatives by developing Asian governments to enhance competitiveness and promote stronger regional integration will become more important," the ADO states. A special theme chapter of ADO 2005, titled Promoting Competition for Long-Term Development, elaborates that the region's high economic growth rates can only be maintained if economic competition is fostered through effective competition policies.

The combination of competition, cooperation, and coordination will be critical as Asia-Pacific continues to strengthen its interdependence with industrial countries, deepen integration within the region, and broaden inclusiveness. Working together, the region can transform its robust medium term outlook into a strengthening Asian re-emergence for decades to come.

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ADB Establishes Office for Regional Economic Integration

ADB News Release
April 1, 2005

Recognizing the vital role of regional cooperation and integration in Asia's future, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda today announced the establishment of an office mandated with this task.

"This new office will play an active role as catalyst, coordinator, and knowledge leader in the area of regional economic integration," said Mr. Kuroda.

The new office - to be called the Office of Regional Economic Integration - will be headed by University of Tokyo economics professor Masahiro Kawai, who will serve as Economic Advisor to Mr. Kuroda starting today and will take over the office on 1 October 2005.

Mr. Kawai served as chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific in the World Bank from 1998 to 2001, and as Deputy Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs of Japan's Ministry of Finance from 2001 to 2003.

"Professor Kawai brings the right blend of experience to this important new office at ADB," says Mr. Kuroda. "He is highly respected in his diverse fields of expertise and he will be a valuable addition to the bank."

Mr. Kuroda has also appointed Mr. Rajat M. Nag, the Director General of ADB's Mekong Department, to concurrently hold the position of Special Advisor to the President in charge of regional economic cooperation and integration effective today.

The creation of the office, and the appointment of a new Special Advisor on the issue, underscores Mr. Kuroda's commitment to making regional economic integration a priority for ADB. The office will act as ADB's focal point for regional bodies, forums and initiatives on the issue, including: the ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers process (which includes the Economic Review and Policy Dialogue Process, the Chiang Mai Initiative, and the Asian Bond Markets Initiative); the ASEAN Surveillance Process; the APEC Finance Ministers Process; and the Asia-Europe Finance Ministers Process.

The new office will replace ADB's Regional Economic Monitoring Unit and will also handle publication of the Asia Economic Monitor and Asia Bond Monitor, as well as the management of the Asia Regional Information Center and AsianBondOnline web sites.

ADB promotes regional economic integration efforts by supporting and facilitating the above regional initiatives and several regional and subregional cooperation activities in Asia-Pacific such as the Greater Mekong Subregion program.


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