State of the Region

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Message from the Coordinator


In recent years it has become tempting to describe the economic outlook in terms of uncertainty and volatility. This year is no exception. Since the crisis broke the level of uncertainty about the future has increased to the extent that forecasts need to be adjusted almost as soon as they are released. However, they are important to the extent that they guide policy-makers in terms of the general direction of the economy and the adjustments that need to take place.

The State of the Region report in 2009 included a summary of the work of a PECC task force on the region’s response to the economic crisis. This included some baseline estimates of what ‘rebalanced growth’ would look like in the region. Three years on, some of these adjustments do seem to be taking place, notably improved external sector in the United States and reduced reliance on exports to drive growth in surplus economies. As the region and the world continue to face the risk of a double-dip recession it seems premature to try to undertake a comprehensive progress report. Nonetheless, the underlying concepts in the new growth strategy underpin much of our thinking in this report.

This year’s report is focused on the pathways to achieving deeper regional economic integration – one of recommended engines for growth in the post-crisis environment. This year’s survey included questions on different priorities for regional trade agreements as well as the likely success and suitability of various initiatives for achieving the goal of Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. Chapter 3 takes a close look at two of the pathways for achieving greater regional economic integration. Chapter 4 looks at the actual state of economic integration as well as regional convergence.

One aspect of the report that has been evolving is PECC’s annual survey of opinion leaders. This is something unique to the report that provides a benchmark for policy-makers to gauge the impact of their work and a sense of priority on the many issues that the region is confronting. I would like to thank the PECC member committees who make tremendous efforts each year to tap into their networks to seek the views of their members on developments in the region. I would also like to thank and acknowledge the contribution of other regional groups and associations who have volunteered to help us widen our reach to a broader set of stakeholders this year, especially: Asia Inc Forum, the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT Secretariat), Confederation of Asia- Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), the National Business Center for APEC (Moscow), National Center for APEC (Seattle), Russian International Affairs Council and the ESCAP Secretariat.

There are many people we wish to thank who have made this report possible. The contributors to the report, Bobby Mariano, Petri Petri, Vo Tri Thanh, Bo Chen, Thaung Tun, Liu Minquan, and Hossain Shanawez. The report would not be possible without the guidance and support of the editorial committee. The staff at the PECC International Secretariat, the survey team, especially Betty Ip, Nor Jibani and Bonnie Chiu, and Jessica Yom who looks after the production of the report. I would also like to acknowledge my predecessor as coordinator, Yuen Pau Woo who had been the coordinator of Pacific Economic Outlook from 2005 and oversaw the transformation of the outlook into the State of the Region report.

While we make efforts to ensure that the views of PECC members are taken into account, as with all PECC reports, we consider the State of the Region as a submission to the Council. The opinions and facts contained in this report are the sole responsibility of contributors and editorial committee, and do not necessarily reflect those of the member committees of PECC, nor the institutions that they represent.

Eduardo Pedrosa
Secretary General & Report Coordinator

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