Opening Remarks by Toshinori Doi, AMRO Director

at Joint ADB-AMRO Webinar

Economic Recovery in ASEAN+3: New Drivers of Growth and Optimism

May 13, 2022

Thank you, Glenn.  

Good afternoon from Singapore and welcome to today’s joint AMRO-ADB webinar. This is our first joint-event, and I look forward to more to come.

This webinar is organized as a side event of the 25th ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, held yesterday under the chairmanship of Cambodia and China. At their meeting, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from the ASEAN 10 member states, and from China, Japan and Korea gathered to discuss macroeconomic challenges and deepening financial cooperation in the region.   

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery is beginning to gain momentum in the ASEAN+3 region.  

Growth is expected to be robust. However, legacy and new risks continue to cloud the outlook.  

The possibility of new and more virulent COVID-19 variants, which could derail further economic reopening, cannot be ignored.  

More recently, the war in Ukraine has driven up prices of energy and major agricultural commodity prices, and worsened supply chain bottlenecks. If prolonged, it could amplify existing risks. 

A more aggressive move by the Fed could trigger a sharp re-pricing of risk assets and volatility in global financial markets, including capital outflows from the region.  

These external headwinds are expected to impact consumption, exchange rates, and the current account balances in the region.  

In their Joint Statement, ASEAN+3 Ministers and Governors recognized that continuing to provide supportive policies to alleviate the impact of the pandemic and sustaining recovery remains crucial. They acknowledged the importance of avoiding misallocation of resources and ensuring support for new and growing sectors. 

ASEAN+3 Ministers and Governors also stressed the importance of closer intra-regional cooperation—for example, in the areas of trade and investment, supply chain logistics and resilience, and digital integration—in securing post-pandemic growth.  

Accordingly, today’s webinar to discuss new drivers of growth is a follow up on the conversation among the Ministers and Governors.  

COVID-19 is both a major disruptor and a catalyst for change. The scarring effects from the pandemic on labor, capital, and productivity may have cast a shadow on long-term growth. But the pandemic has also spurred innovation in sectors such as retail, finance, and healthcare, which might lift the region’s economies in the long run toward higher productivity-driven growth. 

Shortly, we will discuss several themes critical to economic recovery in the ASEAN+3 region amid pandemic scarring, with a focus on regional- and country-level sectoral growth drivers.  

The webinar will touch on well-established sectors, including garment, tourism and agro-processing, and their trajectory in a post-pandemic world, along with industries that have emerged with high potential for future growth, such as electronics and digital trade.  

What policies can help strengthen the business environment, improve infrastructure, and crowd-in private sector participation to support growth?  

And what role can regional cooperation play to build back a better, greener, and more resilient ASEAN+3 region, post-pandemic? 

In the next hour, you will hear directly from the experts from AMRO and ADB, as well as policymakers in the region. 

Thank you.