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Asia's Economic Transformation: A Half Century Journey

6 March 2024

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Tokyo, 6 March 2024: The Institute of Developing Economies-Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO) and the World Bank held an international symposium with the theme Emerging powers in the Global South and the restructuring of the world order. Presentations were made during a panel discussion by Dr Lili Yan Ing, ERIA’s Lead Advisor for ASEAN and East Asia; Professor Shinichi Takeuchi from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies; Dr Ryohei Konta, the Director of IDE-JETRO Latin American Group; and Professor Naohiro Kitano from Waseda University, which was chaired by Dr Chizuko Sato, IDE-JETRO Senior Research Fellow.

In her presentation, Dr Ing said that over the past fifty years, Asia has emerged as a key player in the global economy, witnessing substantial growth in GDP, trade, and foreign investment. However, the region faces significant challenges such as rising protectionism, geopolitical tensions, and environmental issues. These challenges, exacerbated by factors such as the US-China trade dispute and anti-globalisation sentiments, threaten Asia's economic progress. Additionally, many Asian nations struggle to add sufficient value to their exports, hindering their ability to diversify and innovate. Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts to deepen trade ties, strengthen international frameworks, and embrace sustainable development practices.

To overcome these obstacles and sustain its economic momentum, Dr Ing said Asia must prioritise collaboration and strategic initiatives. This includes expanding partnerships beyond traditional markets, fostering greater economic integration through mechanisms such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and free trade agreements (FTAs), and improving the investment climate through regulatory transparency and infrastructure development. Embracing digital technologies and investing in innovation are also crucial for enhancing productivity and competitiveness. By navigating these challenges and seizing opportunities for cooperation, she said Asia can continue its journey toward long-term economic prosperity and resilience on the global stage.

In his closing remarks, IDE-JETRO President Dr Kyoji Fukao expressed optimism for the future, emphasising the resilience and adaptability of Asian economies in overcoming obstacles and shaping a more inclusive and sustainable global economy.

Event link: https://www.ide.go.jp/English/Events/Sympo/240306.html 


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