Workshop on Monetary Cooperation in Asia
The RIS in collaboration with South Asia Centre for Policy Studies
(SACEPS), Dhaka, Bangladesh organized a Workshop on Monetary Cooperation
in South Asia: Potential and Prospects on December 23, 2003 in New
Delhi. The workshop
began with remarks by Dr Nagesh Kumar, Director-General, RIS; Prof
Rehman Sobhan, Executive Director, SACEPS, Dhaka; and Dr Arjun Sengupta,
is well known, monetary cooperation among the SAARC countries has
attracted a lot of attention as one of the areas of potential cooperation.
The RIS had prepared a study on this subject. The workshop
was organized to discuss the issues raised in this study, as well
as to discuss the issue of macroeconomic coordination in Asia.
Muchkund Dubey, President, CSD, New Delhi chaired the first session
on monetary cooperation in South Asia:
potential and prospects.
Dr Mirza Allim Baig, Research Associate, RIS made the thematic
Dr Saman Kelegama,
Executive Director, Institute for Policy Studies, Sri
I N Mukherji, School of International Studies, JNU; Professor Sunanda
Sen of Academy for Third World Studies and Dr Ramgopal Agarwala,
Senior Advisor, RIS were the panelists.
second session on macroeconomic coordination in South Asia was chaired
by Dr Sudipto Mundle, Chief Economist, ADB, New Delhi. The panelists
in this session were Dr Ramgopal Agarwala, Senior Advisor, RIS;
Dr Arjun Sengupta and Prof Rehman Sobhan.
ASEAN Japan Commemorative Summit
Virtual Information Centre
December 16, 2004
the period of 11-12 December 2003, Japan hosted the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative Summit in
Tokyo. The summit marked the first ASEAN+1 meeting to be held out
of the member region.
the two-day conference, leaders pledged to create a common East
Asian community with the signing of the Tokyo Declaration for a
Dynamic and Enduring ASEAN-Japan Partnership in the New Millennium.
In addition, leaders signed the ASEAN-Japan Plan of Action, which
included approximately 120 items to implement encompassing the basic
direction for future cooperation and Japan’s pledge of U.S. $3 billion
of aid for Southeast Asia over the next three years. This included
$1.5 billion of funds to promote human resources development programs
and the other half to go to projects aimed at the Mekong River region,
promoting a growth area that includes Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia
and the Philippines. Prime Minister Koizumi said the countries "must
strengthen regional cooperation on terrorism, piracy, human trafficking
and other cross-border issues to make peace and security in the
region more certain." Japan also took steps to strengthen security
by signing a document confirming its intent to accede to the Treaty
of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).TAC is a regional
code of conduct adopted in 1976 in which signatory states pledge
respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity
of all nations, non-interference in internal affairs of one another,
the peaceful settlement of interregional disputes and the renunciation
of the threat or use of force. ASEAN members reciprocated with a
document of consent from all members. China and India previously
signed the accord in October. Before the main session, Japan agreed
to start bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) talks with Malaysia,
the Philippines and Thailand early next year. The negotiations are
beginning steps by Japan and ASEAN members to conclude a regional
FTA in 2012. Singapore has already signed an FTA with Japan .
on Monetary and Finacial Cooperation in Asia
Research and Information for Non Aligned and Other Developing Countries
(RIS), jointly with Asian Development Bank, New Delhi,
organized a Seminar on Monetary and Financial Cooperation
in Asia in New Delhi on December 11, 2003. Shripad Naik, Hon’ble
Minister of State for Finance, Government of India delivered the
inaugural speech in which he said that the issues of regional importance
in the global context merit serious thought and collective action.
The Asian community now needs to focus on the economic cooperation
front which can tilt the balance of power in our favour.
first business session on Monetary and Financial Cooperation in
Asia, chaired by Ambassador S T Devare, had three presentations:
Economic Integration and Re-emergence of Asia
(with focus on Monetary and Financial Cooperation) by Dr
Pradumna B. Rana, Director, Regional Economic Monitoring Unit, ADB,
Manila; Financial and Monetary Cooperation in Asia: Problems and
Prospects by Dr Mihir Rakshit, Project Director, ICRA; and Towards
an Asian Economic Community by Dr Nagesh Kumar.
Ashok Lahiri, Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Government
of India chaired the second session on Global and Regional Economic
Outlook. This session had two presentations:
Asian Economic Monitor by Dr Srinivasa Madhur, Principal Economist,
and India’s Long-run Growth Performance by Dr Sudipto Mundle,
Chief Economist, ADB/INRM.
Dr Suman Berry, Director-General, NCEAR and Dr Shubhashis
Gangopadhyay, Director, IDF were the main
Discusstants. The participants, among others, included representatives
from business and industry circles, research institutes, academia,
government departments, and media.
Asian Currency Bloc
idea of not only an Asian Economic Community, but also of an Asian
currency, on the lines of European Union and Euro respectively,
is in vogue. After the floating of the concepts of Asian bonds and
the Asian Monetary Fund, with in both academic and policy circles,
the ideas for establishing an Asian currency bloc are beginning
to take shape. A distant idea it might seem, but the active interest
of regional leaders like Japan and China may indeed make it a reality,
in the near future.
reported by the The Economic Times (December 9, 2003), Japan
is keen on establishing an Asian currency bloc, including key regional
economies, even China. The reason behind Japanese interests in establishing
a regional currency bloc are principally backed by the fears emerging
out of the trade imbalances created by the fluctuations of Chinese
currency to the US Dollar.
The talks for formulating such a currency bloc are already
underway between the ASEAN+3
Biotech Consortium for
Press and Information Bureau, New Delhi
October 8, 2003
Asian Biotechnology Consortium is proposed to be set up in New Delhi
and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will be the Nodal Agency,
under the aegis of the Ministry of External Affairs. Twenty-two
Asian countries will come together for this under the Asia Cooperation
Dialogue (ACD) launched in Cha-am Thailand in June last year. India
agreed to take the lead in establishing the consortium to foster
greater cooperation among the ACD countries in Biotechnology.
two-day meeting of the ACD countries just concluded in New Delhi
after considering the concept paper prepared by India on the setting
up of the Consortium as well as modalities of going about it. The
meeting called by the MEA in association with DBT ended with a number
of recommendations including those on setting up of a Core- Fund,
Membership and Launching of an ACD Biotech website to network the
countries of the region for exchange of information and collective
action. The meeting agreed to collectively address issues related
to the development of Biotech infrastructure and expertise, bio-safety,
IPR issues as well as technology access, transfer and commercialisation,
for the socio-economic progress of the region.
his opening remarks, the Secretary in the MEA, Dr. R.M. Abhayankar,
underscored the need for a consensus among ACD member countries,
to work together for the socio-economic development of the region,
exploiting the full potential in Biotechnology. The Secretary DBT,
Dr. Manju Sharma in her message said, the dialogue should also address
institutional framework, biodiversity utilisation, capacity building
and regulatory guidelines.
ACD member countries are; Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam,
Combodia, China, Indonesia, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos
(PDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore,
Sri Lanka, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
PM Backs Asian Economic Family
Press and Information Bureau, Press Release
October 12, 2003
Minister Vajpayee’s visit to the 2nd India-ASEAN Summit in
Bali (October 6-8, 2003) ended on a high note with the instiutionalisation
of the annual summit level dialogue between India and ASEAN.
event was marked by several important agreements between the India
and ASEAN, the most important being the finalisation of the Framework
Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation.
Prime Minister offered ASEAN countries additional flight services
from airlines of ASEAN countries to major Indian metropolitan cities
and other tourist destinations and suggested strengthening India-ASEAN
road links. He also proposed to the ASEAN countries the liberalization
of the air cargo services sector. The Prime Minister also proposed
an India ASEAN car rally. All the offers were warmly welcomed by
his ASEAN counterparts.
the other hand, several ASEAN leaders underlined the potential for
cooperation with India in the field of public health, through pharmaceutical
imports from India and joint research for medicines and measures
to deal with diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
cue from the agreement between ASEAN countries to establish an ASEAN
economic community, Prime Minister Vajpayee put forward the idea
that ASEAN needs to be more closely integrated with India, China,
Japan and Korea. He said, “ An Asian Economic Community, including
the 14 countries of ASEAN + 3 + 1, would more efficiently exploit
Indian-ASEAN leaders also agreed to ask their think tanks to submit
to the next (Laos) India-ASEAN Summit a “Vision 2020”
document, which would lay out the road map for future development
of India’s relations with ASEAN.
also acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with ASEAN,
there by initiating a new level of political cooperation with ASEAN.
India also reiterated its willingness to support new projects for
training, education and capacity building to hasten the process
of integration of the new ASEAN members.
ASEAN Summit, Bali
October 8, 2003
leaders of the ASEAN countries met for the 9th ASEAN
summit in Bali, Indonesia from 6th –8th October
2003. The event also included summit level meetings between the
leaders of ASEAN and China, ASEAN and Japan, ASEAN and Korea and
ASEAN and India.
the ASEAN leaders meet the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali
Concord II) was signed to reaffirm ASEAN as a concert of Southeast
Asian nations, bonded together in partnership, in dynamic development
and in a community of caring societies.
leaders agreed to establish an ASEAN Community that would be supported
by the three pillars of “political and security cooperation”, “economic
cooperation”, and “socio-cultural cooperation.” To this end, they
adopted the framework to achieve this ASEAN Community through ASEAN
Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural
Community and agreed to task their Ministers to implement the Declaration
of ASEAN Concord II.
a view to further deepening cooperation with East Asia, the ASEAN
leaders held discussions with colleagues from China, Japan and the
Republic of Korea on regional and international political, security
and economic issues. They then also consolidated and reaffirmed
their cooperation and partnership with China, Japan and the Republic
ASEAN+3 Leaders welcomed and firmly supported the adoption of the
Bali Concord II. They also exchanged views on the situation on the
Korean Peninsula and reaffirmed our commitment to a peaceful solution
of the nuclear issue facing the Korean Peninsula through dialogue
and welcomed the convening of the Six-Party Talk as a positive step
towards this end. The leaders also endorsed the Implementation Strategy
of the Short-Term Measures of the Final Report of the East Asia
Study Group (EASG). They also held discussions on the progress of
the Initiative for Development in East Asia in the framework of
ASEAN+3 Cooperation and explored some new ideas such as to study
the feasibility of East Asia Free Trade Area.
the meetings of ASEAN leaders with each of the leaders of China,
India, Japan and Korea, Leaders, they welcomed the commitment of
the ASEAN Dialogue Partners to support a numbers of areas of ASEAN
cooperation as follows:
counter terrorism and other form of trans-national crimes;
integration of ASEAN, such as the Initiative for ASEAN Integration
(IAI), and sub-regional initiatives such as GMS and BIMP-EAGA;
of Asian Bond as an alternative for regional financing;
on containing and avoiding of SARS, HIV/AIDS and other communicable
Leaders also discussed several important issues such as the nuclear
question on Korean Peninsula, the future of East-Asian cooperation,
poverty alleviation, human resources development and the development
of infrastructures for ASEAN Integration.
several important agreements, signed by the ASEAN leaders with each
of their dialogue partners, were the, Framework agreement on Comprehensive
Economic Cooperation between the Association of South East Asian
Nations and the Republic of India, the Protocol to Amend the Framework
Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and
China and the accession of China and India to the Treaty of Amity
Mekong Sub Regional Economic Cooperation Programme 12th Ministerial
maximize the benefits of regional integration ministers of the six Greater Mekong Sub region (GMS) countries vowed, in mid September
to strive harder to strengthen competitiveness and
connectivity and enhance their sense of community.
In a drive
to attract private sector participation in the GMS Economic Cooperation
Program (GMS Program), the ministers held their first meeting with
representatives from the private sector at the 12 Ministerial Conference.
The meeting underscored the importance of speeding up priority GMS
projects, including trans border road effort.
countries – Cambodia, People’s Republic of China, Lao People’s Democratic
Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam- are already reinforcing
links through roads, telecommunications networks, and the promotion
of power trade.
GMS Program assisted by ADB since its inception in 1992 , aims to
create a better integrated, more prosperous, and equitable region.
ADB and its partners have financed 15 major infrastructure
projects, representing investments totaling over $2 billion.
mainland South East Asian countries will be land linked by 2007
when all sub regional infrastructure initiatives in the Mekong countries
are expected to be completed.
major step toward further opening up the borders in the GMS was
taken as Myanmar joined the other five countries in reducing non
physical barriers to the free movement of people and goods across
international borders. At the end of the meet, Myanmar signed the
Cross-Border Transport Agreement.
Asian Leaders Support Greater Regional Integration
The World Economic Forum
June 18, 2003
World Economic Forum’s New Asian Leaders (NALs) Retreat opened on
19th June, in Seoul, South Korea. The objective of the retreat was
to focus on ‘Blueprints for a New Asia’, representing visions for
change in China, Korea, Japan, India and South-East Asia. The leaders
at the retreat also identified Asia’s key concerns for the future
which included issues like transparency and productivity in the
corporate and public sectors, human capital and education, trade
and economic integration for the Asian region, the next steps for
technology, entrepreneurship and financing.
the retreat, the World Economic Forum and Taylor Nelson Sofres conducted
a web-based survey, covering all participants and invitees and other
Asia-based Global Leaders for Tomorrow. The groundbreaking survey
revealed that Asia’s new generations of leaders were very supportive
of regional integration, and mindful of the region’s need to decisively
deal with nationalism, corruption and poverty.
Over 51% of survey respondents – who came from India, South-East
Asia, China, Korea and Japan – said that the level of economic cooperation
in Asia is “adequate, but more is desirable.” Over 37% said that
there is “too little cooperation” existing now. Only 8.9% say that
the current level of cooperation is “just right.” Over 37% of New
Asian Leaders view an extended Asia – Asean+4, including China,
Japan, India, and Korea – as the most desirable model of economic
integration, with 26.8% preferring Asean+3.
When asked about the obstacles to reaching a high level of economic
cooperation, New Asian Leaders identified national interests (46%)
as being the primary obstacle, well ahead of historical, social
or cultural differences or income disparities.
The New Asian Leaders
(NALs) are Asia’s foremost young change-makers from business, government,
academia and civil society in Asia. The group was founded at the
East Asia Economic Summit 2002 in Kuala Lumpur under the auspices
of the World Economic Form and Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi. The community has extended the idea of a “Blueprint
for Japan” to China, India, Korea and South-East Asia and are thus,
now collectively known as “Blueprints for a New Asia”.
Study Backs East
Asian Free trade Zone
Based on the Study Conducted by Development Research Centre
of the State Council of P.R China
June 2003 a
high-level feasibility study has concluded that the time is ripe
to set up a free-trade zone between China, Japan and South Korea.
proposed a free-trade zone with Japan and South Korea last November
at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.
Xu Changwen - a researcher with the Chinese Academy of International
Trade and Economic Cooperation led the study .
to the study, the increased interflow of trade and investment among
the three states made it necessary to set up a free-trade zone to
streamline such trade and investment. A free-trade zone can give
full play to trade and investment between the three economies and
make the zone one of the most competitive regions of the world.
adjustment of its economy made the zone more possible, the study
points. The main obstacle to such a free-trade zone used to be Japan’s
protection of its agricultural products. The Japanese government
has been afraid that a further opening of the country’s market will
hurt its fragile high cost agricultural sector. Its 3 million farmers
constitute a political base for its ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
a result Japan has
made little progress in its free trade negotiations with Thailand,
Mexico and South Korea in recent years. But
now, Japan is adjusting its industrial structure in a bid to revive
its sluggish economy.
its narrow domestic market leaves little room for adjustment, Japan
must use the international market through economic cooperation with
20 per-cent of Japan’s foreign trade is with China and South Korea,
and 10 per-cent of its overseas investment goes to the two countries.
situation is driving Japan to push forward economic cooperation
with China and South Korea. Unlike Japan, South Korea is willing
to accept China into the planned Japan-South Korea free-trade zone.
Korea needs China’s participation to remedy its advantages in Japanese-South
Korean trade in machinery, electronic products and chemical industrial
study also said there was no need to be apprehensive that industrial
goods from Japan and South Korea will flood the Chinese market once
the zone is set up and tariffs are lowered.
current tariff rate of 11 per-cent compares to Japan’s 2.9 per-cent
and South Korea’s 7.9 per-cent.
when China’s tax wavers are taken into consideration the actual
rate is not much higher.
the Chinese economy will not be hurt, if the free trade zone cuts
tariff rates to the same level.
Jinping, a researcher with the State Council Development Research
Centre, said a China-Japan- South Korea free-trade zone would facilitate
the emergence of an East Asian trade bloc with in 20 years. China
signed a free-trade agreement with ASEAN last November and the zone
is scheduled to be set up by 2010