ASEAN needs more domestic consumption plus India "to continue growth strategy"

ASEAN countries need to rely less on exports and more on domestic consumption to help their economic recovery, Philippines' Finance Secretary, Cesar Purisima, said when commenting on the US debt burden and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. "Unlike in 2008, when China was able to help the world with its fiscal stimulus, that option is probably not as readily available now. Given that China is now facing a different type of problem because of asset inflation, inflation in general, and therefore less reluctant in terms of using the same policy."

Besides growing domestic consumption, Mr Purisima believes the region will also need to depend less on traditional markets. "Countries like the Philippines and other members of ASEAN will have to look less at exports in the traditional markets, but look at how we can continue to pursue our growth strategy with domestic consumption within our own countries, within ASEAN, and in Asia."

He said ASEAN's engagement with India is going to be crucial in really fulfilling that vision. "Right now from a trade standpoint, ASEAN's trade with India is about 2.9% of the total of ASEAN trade ... Now clearly it should improve, the potential is there."