At the crossroads of China and India, ASEAN "to define its role and competitive strengths"

The US and Europe can no longer power the world economy and ASEAN economies are in a better situation right now to face the global uncertainties, Indonesia's Vice President, Prof Dr Boediono, told the 43rd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in the opening speech on 10 March.

Citing the global volatilities of the recent weeks, he said all ASEAN economies were affected by the global financial crisis, but relatively sound fundamentals and quick responses rewarded ASEAN with a rebound by 2010.

He reminded the audience that “in the recent weeks, we have seen the uncertainties being created in the US with the protracted debate on the debt ceiling, potential for a double dip recession and most recently, the downgrade of the US sovereign rating. In Europe, we have seen the difficulties in managing the debt packages of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, and the anxieties of a debt crisis spreading to Italy and Spain.”

He added that since the 2008 global financial crisis, it is evident that the US and Europe can "no longer be the main engines of growth of the world economy.”

On competition, he said ASEAN has the need and scope to substantially raise competitiveness across ASEAN economies and for ASEAN as a whole.

“ASEAN is faced with a large and increasingly powerful Chinese economy in the North, and a huge Indian economy in the West is also making rapid progress.”

“The region will ultimately need to define its role and competitive strengths at the crossroads of these two emerging economic giants.”