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Message from the Co-Chairs of PECC
This publication is the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council’s fourth State of the Region report. It includes the key findings of a PECC task force on the global economic crisis, the results of a survey of close to 400 opinion-leaders from twenty-one Asia-Pacific economies, and an update of our index of economic integration in the region.
Although this is the fourth State of the Region report, this work has a much longer history which traces back to 1988 and the decision taken at the Sixth PECC General Meeting in Osaka to publish an annual economic forecast for the region. However, this year, we have decided to discontinue the forecast element as we felt that there are many more frequent and in-depth forecasts now publicly available. We also felt that there was a need for a broader analysis of developments in the region. Forecasts alone cannot tell the story of how a region is developing and the prospects the future holds for it. Moreover, they cannot tell what needs to be done.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to those who had been involved with the Pacific Economic Outlook over the past 20 years. They are: Lawrence Krause, Ross Garnaut, and Yuen Pau Woo who served as coordinators of the forecast; and the team of forecasters that tirelessly contributed their thoughts on the outlook for the region. We would especially like to acknowledge Saul Hymans and Chikashi Moriguchi who served as the anchors for the forecast group throughout much of its history. The forecasts would not have been possible without the strong support of the PECC member committees who have hosted the regular meetings of the forecast group; especially the Japan PECC committee through the Kansai Institute for Social and Economic Research, the host of the Japan Committee for PEO (Pacific Economic Outlook).
A constant theme of recent forecasts has been the need for the region to address the transpacific imbalances that have characterized the regional economy for the past few years. The unwinding of these imbalances is once again a major issue for the work undertaken by the PECC task force on the global economic crisis. We would like to thank Peter Petri and his team for his contribution to this report contained in Chapter 1.
This report also includes the results of a survey conducted by PECC of regional opinion-leaders on issues confronting the region. This survey was conducted in October 2009 and we believe its findings represent the views of the community most actively engaged in the regional cooperation process.
The final component of this report is an index of regional economic integration. The basic finding of this index is that the Asia-Pacific region has become more integrated over the past twenty years. However, while flows of trade, investment and people have increased, it has not meant a convergence in terms of the key indicators of standard of living. Indeed, development gaps among the region’s economies seem to be increasing. This points to a need to refocus work in the region towards strengthening the ability of economies to compete in the global economy.
There are many people we need to thank who have contributed to this report, Mr Yuen Pau Woo, coordinator of the project, as well as the editorial committee who have guided the report’s development. We would also like to express our appreciation to our member committees on whom we depend to identify the respondents to our survey and to solicit their responses.
We view this report as work in progress. It is very much a community effort and we look forward to hearing your views on the issues it addresses and we can make this report more useful in your day-to-day work.
Charles E. Morrison