The 6th AMRO-IMF Joint Seminar

The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold their 6th Joint Seminar on 22 January 2018 in Bangkok. The event will comprise two sessions. The first one, chaired by AMRO Chief Economist Dr Hoe Ee Khor, will discuss ways to build capacity and connectivity to address infrastructure gaps in East Asia. The second session, moderated by Ms Nada Choueiri, Division Chief at the Asia-Pacific Department of the IMF, will focus on reinvigorating trade integration and investment liberalization in ASEAN.

Participants include representatives from ASEAN+3 member authorities, the private sector, and other international financial institutions. As an annual event, this seminar provides an important platform for AMRO to consult various stakeholders on its ongoing studies, discuss regional macroeconomic and financial issues, and strengthen its collaboration with the IMF.

The event is by invitation only.



8:45 am to 9:00 am


9:00 am-9:10 am

Welcome Remarks
Khor Hoe Ee, Chief Economist, AMRO

9:10 am-10:45 am

Session 1: Building Capacity and Connectivity for the New Economy
The thematic study for AMRO’s ASEAN+3 Regional Economic Outlook (AREO) 2019, on regional capacity and connectivity, builds on the previous two years’ themes on drivers of growth and resilience and growth in ASEAN+3 twenty years after the Asian financial crisis (AFC).

The ADB has estimated that over the period 2015-2030, climate-adjusted infrastructure investment needs amount to 5.7 percent of GDP per annum for Southeast Asia and 5.2 percent per annum for East Asia; and within these estimates, lower-income countries’ needs would be a few times as large as those of high-income countries. The massive scale of investment

projects envisaged poses financial- and non-financial challenges. To maintain external stability, [developing Asia] post-AFC may have saved and run

much higher current account balances than is optimal from the investment or growth perspective. Labor and expertise gaps in executing infrastructure projects add to the funding and hard currency constraints. Amid an increasingly hostile East-West trade and investment environment,

building capacity and connectivity will promote regional integration and enhance resilience and growth in the ASEAN+3. Multilateral development banks, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other intra-regional investment projects play an important role in addressing infrastructure gaps and meeting the development aspirations of both investors and host nations.

Chair: Khor Hoe Ee, Chief Economist, AMRO

Speaker: Lam San Ling, AMRO


· Cyn-Young Park, Director, Regional Cooperation and Integration, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

· Bandid Nijathaworn, Former Deputy Governor, Bank of Thailand (BOT); and current AMRO Advisory Panel Member


10:45 am-11:00 am

Coffee Break

11:00 am.-12:30 pm

Session 2: Reinvigorating Trade Integration and Investment Liberalization in ASEAN
Escalating trade tensions and the potential shift away from a multilateral, rules-based trading system are threats to the global economy, and ASEAN. Continued intensification of trade tensions and the associated further rise in policy uncertainty would likely be harmful to all countries, especially if they affect business confidence, trigger financial market volatility, and slow investment and trade. Indeed, trade has been an important driver of the economic success of the ASEAN region over the past two decades.

The pace of trade integration and GVC participation in ASEAN has waned recently and the best way to counter the wave of protectionism coming from some parts of the world is not to engage in protectionism, but rather to speed up the ASEAN integration process. ASEAN has the opportunity now to counteract global trade tensions by liberalizing among members—and regionally— trade and investment regimes, particularly in the services sector by concluding a bold ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement and easing FDI restrictions. This will be essential to boost intraregional and global trade and thus develop a new driver of growth.

Chair: Nada Choueiri, Division Chief, Asia-Pacific Department, IMF


Shanaka Jay Peiris, Deputy Division Chief, Asia-Pacific Department, IMF

Wilhelmina C. Mañalac, Assistant Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)
Piti Srisangnam, Director of Academic Affairs at the ASEAN Studies Centre, Chulalongkorn University


12:30 pm-1:45 pm