Business Times

Top Asian officials to discuss lessons of financial crisis

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Top officials from around Asia will gather at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in Manila to discuss the lessons of the global economic and financial crisis, and the policy adjustments needed to cushion the region against future shocks, the bank said in a statement this week.

Over 80 participants, including finance ministers, heads of central banks, leaders from think tanks and the private sector, and development experts, from nearly 20 countries in the region will take part in a two-day regional forum organized by ADB on 14 – 15 January 2010 on the Impact of the Global
Economic and Financial Crisis. ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda will open and close the forum and chair a panel discussion.

The forum will examine the broad causes of the crisis and its impacts in Asia, as well as the lessons learned, with senior officials from East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Central and West Asia, detailing the broad array of government policy actions taken in response.

Most Asian countries were not deeply exposed to the housing mortgage problems that affected US and European financial institutions, but the subsequent sharp slowdown in trade with the West did cause a major contraction in regional growth, the statement added.

The crisis highlights the region’s heavy reliance on exports to the US and Europe, and participants will be discussing how Asia should adjust its economic focus, including the potential for boosting intraregional trade and domestic markets.

“The substantial changes in the post-crisis global economy present new opportunities as well as challenges that require Asian policy makers to rethink or at least refine the economic development strategies that they have traditionally followed,” said ADB Managing Director General Rajat Nag.
Participants will also examine the social impacts of the crisis ¯ which left tens of millions of Asians mired in extreme poverty they might otherwise have escaped ¯ and what policy actions should be taken to protect poor and vulnerable communities.

Measures to boost regional cooperation and integration are also expected to be discussed as Asia looks at collective measures to cushion itself against future risks. The forum will conclude by examining priority actions that individual countries need to take as their economies emerge from the aftermath of the global slowdown.

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