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​​CARI VIEWPOINTS: CONNECTIVITY AND DEEPENING OF CAPITAL MARKETS SHOULD BE A PRIORITY TO CATALYSE ASEAN’S GROWTH PROSPECTS
21 AUGUST 2017


The roundtable sought to outline the challenges faced by investors and issues in ASEAN capital markets, discuss steps required to deepen them, current ASEAN Capital Markets Forum initiatives and what the region can do to raise funds for infrastructure. Suggestions to deepen capital markets in ASEAN included a review of the ASEAN Trading Link and a promoting ASEAN as an asset class and pushing forward green bonds. More practical suggestions including creating a virtual bourse and ASEAN markets information hub as well as having safeguard mechanisms to incentivise developing countries to join initiatives to connect ASEAN markets. A presentation by McKinsey & Company titled Deepening Capital Markets in Emerging Economies which uses an index to gauge the vibrancy of capital markets set the background for the discussion.

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​​CARI VIEWPOINTS: ASEAN NEEDS A COLLECTIVE STRATEGY FOR THE BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE
19 JULY 2017


This roundtable discussed the opportunities and challenges of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for ASEAN. The BRI (formerly known as One Belt One Road or OBOR), is China’s grand plan to build and improve infrastructure to revive ancient silk trade routes, both land and sea. Chinese President Xi Jinping first announced the massive undertaking in 2013. It covers over 65 countries, encompasses around 30 percent of the world’s GDP and over 35 percent of the world trade. The target is for the two components of BRI, the Silk Route Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Route, to cover 80 percent of world trade by 2050. With the Asian Development Bank estimating that developing Asia will require US$ 1.7 trillion of investment per year up to 2030 to keep up with its current growth momentum, many believe that the BRI is poised to sustain the infrastructure boom needed within ASEAN as well.

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​​CARI VIEWPOINTS: A TRUE SHARED VISION AND DIRECTION WILL PREVENT ASEAN FROM THE RISK OF A BREXIT-LIKE PUSHBACK
21 April 2017


After 43 years of being a member of the European Union, in a referendum and a result that shocked most, Britain decided to leave the EU. In the latest development in the lead up to this roundtable current United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May called for elections in early June of this year. She resorted to this measure to ensure that she has the mandate of the British people to lead the country through Brexit, a process which she set in motion on 29th March 2017 by invoking Article 50. This roundtable discussed the factors that made Brexit a reality and the various lessons that ASEAN can learn from the unexpected outcome.

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​​CARI VIEWPOINTS: A TRADE WAR IS UNLIKELY BUT STABLE US-CHINA RELATIONS ARE CRUCIAL FOR ASEAN
14 March 2017


The roundtable discussed the potential impacts of President Trump’s economic and foreign policies on ASEAN. In his opening remarks, Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, Chairman of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) said that, “It is important to note there is a shaking up of the current world order and it is a threat to global trade which is the biggest perceived business risk.” He added that, “America’s might and power require a look at President Trump and his policies.” Each panellist agreed that any action the United States may take will have an indirect or direct impact on ASEAN. However, they also reiterated the unpredictability of President Trump’s economic and foreign policies makes it difficult to say for sure what policies will and will not enacted. A recent United States Trade Representative (USTR) trade policy report outlined the possible direction of current Administration’s trade policies, which signals a rise in bilateral trade agreements putting an end to the era of the US pursuing multilateralism.

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​​CARI VIEWPOINTS: IMPLEMENTATION – THE KEY TO SUCCESS OF ASEAN MASTERPLAN ON CONNECTIVITY 2025
22 November 2016


Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid opened the session by setting the tone for the discussion, “As always the most important thing is execution. This document does admit that there were some failures in execution of the 2010 plans among the successes. Execution is so critical and has become more critical under the new Trump Administration. At the very least we can expect difficulty in terms of free trade agreements.” He continued on saying that, “In the last roundtable we talked about the anaemic world economic growth and how ASEAN in its own integration must compensate for some of this. This compensation now becomes a necessity so the integration effort has got to be real and serious, not just a plan.”

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​​CARI VIEWPOINTS: ASEAN INTEGRATION CAN BE THE BIGGEST CHANCE TO COMPENSATE FOR A SLOWING GLOBAL ECONOMY
29 September 2016


The roundtable discussed the growth prospects for Asean economies in the face of a global stagnating economy. “China’s rebalancing to consumer led growth and a maturing supply chain reduces the demand for Asean imports. Europe and Japan are not doing particularly well, therefore the only delta for global growth will be from the US,” said Dr. Arup Raha, CARI Chief Economist. In this regard, he commented that Asean cannot hope for an export led growth recovery – a view which was echoed across all the speakers. With little hope on the external front, Asean economies will need to turn to ammunition on the domestic front. What policies can be pursued to spur growth in the 3-5 year horizon? Consumer demand has held up thanks to low energy prices and low inflation, however, the space for monetary policy is tightening. Dr. Arup posed questions on the scope for fiscal policy and addressing inequality which has proved to be a drag on growth prospects.

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​​CARI VIEWPOINTS: A UNIFIED MULTILATERAL SOLUTION TO SOUTH CHINA SEA IN ASEAN MAY NOT EXIST
30 August 2016


The roundtable discussed the South China Sea issue will test “the Asean way” of decision making, an additional layer of complexity arises from the fact that the economic influence of China is one that cannot be ignored. China is the largest trading partner to the Asean block (15.2% of total trade) and represents a major source of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. Complexity arises from the varying levels of economic dependencies of Asean members with China. The different degrees of “cheque book diplomacy” results in coming up with a multilateral solution to addressing relationships with China challenging.

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