ASEAN+3 Regional Economic Outlook 2022 Press Conference

Opening Remarks by AMRO Director Toshinori Doi

April 12, 2022

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, ASEAN+3 economies have been in a battle to tame the virus for control of their economies while saving lives. And they have come far in their journey.

Last year, the availability of effective vaccines and the rapid rollout of vaccination programs enabled ASEAN+3 economies to relax some containment measures. This helped to facilitate reopening. Today, more than 70 percent of the region’s population are fully vaccinated.

As we move forward in 2022, the region’s economic growth is expected to normalize as the pandemic recedes.

However, the outlook is clouded by new risks.

A war in Ukraine has now been piled on top of the COVID health crisis. Since the war started in February, the situation has seen no clear resolution. Beyond the humanitarian crisis, the war promises to threaten an already fragile global recovery if it is prolonged.

ASEAN+3 policymakers have to navigate this complex environment, strengthen economic recovery and rebuild policy space.

Can ASEAN+3 weather this perfect storm of a war during a pandemic?

I am sure the region can overcome it collectively by upholding multilateralism and working together to find solutions to global problems. We have done it before. And will do it again.

Since the Asian financial crisis, policymakers in the region have worked hard to build up their buffers—which they put to good use to support their economies during the “rainy days” of the pandemic.

After this crisis, there will be others to come. We must rebuild and arm ourselves with knowledge. Preparedness is like breathing; if you don’t, you perish.

As for AMRO, our role is to spot the risks and vulnerabilities, and provide policy advice to member economies. As a “family doctor”, we assess if the economic health of our members is in good shape. Our “emergency ward” is always on standby to respond to crisis.

With more complex and larger scale risks on the horizon, AMRO’s role as the region’s “doctor” is more important than ever.

In a few moments, you will hear more from AMRO Chief Economist, Dr. Hoe Ee Khor, and Senior Economist, Anthony Tan.