ERIA’s Achievements Highlighted in RIN Annual Meeting
Bangkok, 24 November 2022: After 3 years of virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Research Institute Network (RIN) held its in-person annual gathering on 24 November 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand. The event was organised by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Institute of Developing Economics-Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO).
RIN is a network of research institutes from 16 East Asia Summit countries whose function is to support research activities of ERIA by providing it with country information and research findings and advising on its research theme and policy recommendations. RIN encourages dissemination of ERIA’s research outcome to policymakers, political leaders, and opinion leaders, and supports ERIA’s capacity-building programmes. IDE-JETRO serves as its Secretariat.
Prof Hidetoshi Nishimura, President of ERIA, opened the gathering by welcoming the RIN members and thanking IDE-JETRO for its support. Prof Nishimura reported the institute’s participation in the EAS Economic Ministerial meeting, the G20 Trade in Digital Economy meeting, and the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. He said that ERIA’s research and activities have been brilliant, calling the 2022 achievements of the institute the best since its establishment 14 years ago. He said ERIA was acknowledged at the ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN Plus Three Summit, and the East Asia Summit.
Prof Nishimura had attended the 2nd Global Dialogue on the side-line of the ASEAN-related summit in Phnom Penh, where he discussed the Comprehensive Asia Development Plan 3.0 (CADP 3.0) and recommended ways to transform the digitalised economy of ASEAN and East Asia.
As the event’s moderator, RIN Chairperson Dr Hank Lim Giok-Hay, from the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said that RIN has strategic advantages and has helped the region integrate through its numerous research studies and dialogues.
Two members were admitted to the network: the Macroeconomic Research Institute of the Lao Academy of Social and Economic Sciences and the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies. The first was represented by its Director General, Ms Latdawanh Songvilay, and the second by its Director, Dr Sufian Jusoh.
Mr Atsusuke Kawada, President of the Bangkok Research Center, JETRO Bangkok/IDE-JETRO, gave a comprehensive report on RIN activities in the past 13 years. He said that in 2020, RIN launched the RIN Online Workshop Series to promote research exchange and share amongst its member institutes the latest knowledge and views on ASEAN and East Asian economies. The online workshop series continued in 2021 and 2022 with six workshops.
Dr Shiro Armstrong, Director of the Australian–Japan Research Center, Crawford School of Public Policy of the Australian National University, briefed the participants on economics and national security. He outlined RIN projects that related to the region’s future trajectory in economic and national security. He said that ERIA and RIN are supporting a new book, Economic and National Security, which will be released in the first quarter of 2023.
Mr Nguyen Anh Duong, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, Viet Nam, focused on RIN activities in 2023 with some recommendations. He forecast that the global economy would see more volatility and uncertainties due to geopolitical rivalry and tensions as well as macroeconomic imbalance. He suggested that RIN members consider issuing a joint statement on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). He reported that his institute is offering to host a webinar on IPEF in September or October 2023.
Two ERIA economists assessed the institute’s research activities, including CADP 3.0: Prof Fukunari Kimura commented on CADP 3.0 whilst Dr Keita Oikawa discussed the ASEAN Plus Three Research Project for Closing the Digital Divide in Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
A session was devoted to the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) where Dr Dionisius A. Narjoko, ERIA’s Senior Economist, discussed the significance and challenges of RCEP; Dr Kazunobu Hayakawa, Vice President of the Bangkok Research Center, JETRO Bangkok/IDE-JETRO, presented a detailed study on the RCEP utilisation and trade creation; and Mr Fusanori Iwasaki, ERIA’s Director for Policy Research, assessed RCEP from the perspective of international relations.
The final session focused on the outcome of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, and the challenges that India, the next G20 host, will face. Dr Yose Rizal Damuri, Executive Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discussed and evaluated Indonesia’s G20 presidency by analysing the need for a stronger recovery from the economic downturns and the need to balance other competing interests. Speaking online from New Delhi, Prof Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, previewed India’s G20 chairmanship.
During the discussion, Mr Koji Hachiyama, ERIA’s Chief Operating Officer, stressed that although digitalisation is a key element, more needs to be done to make cost management more efficient and to control production and sale processes to allow companies to create new business models and sources of revenue. To fulfil the policy agenda, he said ERIA will establish a new centre for digital innovation and sustainable economy within the institute next year.
In his closing remarks, Prof Nishimura said ERIA would spare no efforts in promoting regional economic integration and sustainable economic development through digitalisation in the East Asia region by conducting multi-faceted research in key areas such as the economy, energy, environment, healthcare, and on issues related to agriculture.