8th OECD-AMRO-ADB/ADBI-ERIA Asian Regional Roundtable on Macroeconomic and Structural Policies

Date & Time: 13-14 February 2020

Location: ADBI, Tokyo, Japan

Contact: enquiry@amro-asia.org

The OECD-AMRO-ADB/ADBI-ERIA Asian Regional Roundtable convenes leading experts from Asian countries and the OECD to discuss the issues at the fore of recent economic developments in the region. It serves as a platform for knowledge sharing between the OECD, AMRO, ADB/ADBI, ERIA and Emerging Asia’s policy makers, as well as academics and the private sector. The roundtable also provides opportunities for dialogue on near-term macroeconomic policies and medium-term growth and development challenges including the linkages between near-term and medium-term issues, current agendas as well as future challenges in Emerging Asian economies.

Through five sessions, this year’s roundtable will address recent domestic, regional and global trends that are changing the environment facing Emerging Asia’s policy makers. In the first session the topic of economic bubbles and financial stability will be discussed. The second session will address deflation in Emerging Asia. Innovation in Asia will be the topic of the third session. On the second day, the fourth session will discuss the topic of Global Value Chains in ASEAN+3. The final session will explore trade facilitation and regulatory capacities.

Previous roundtables were held in Singapore, Manila, Tokyo and Jakarta and focused on various topics including Euro-area economic uncertainty and its implications for Asian economies, new growth models in Asia, the impact of monetary easing in the OECD on the Asian economies, middle-income trap, challenges in energy sector, digitalisation, global trade and multilateralism, education, urbanisation, smart cities, fiscal sustainability in an aging population, infrastructure and connectivity, as well as some other topics.

The event is by invitation only.

DAY ONE

9:30 – Registration

10:00 – 10:15 Opening remarks

  • Naoyuki Yoshino, Dean, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)/Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  • Yumiko Murakami, Head of Tokyo Centre, OECD
  • Toshinori Doi, Director, ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO)
  • Koji Hachiyama, COO, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)

10:15 – 10:45 – Group photo and coffee break 

10:45 – 12:15 Session 1: Economic bubbles and financial stability in Asia

The world economy is in a synchronized decline amid the increasing trade protectionism (IMF 2019). Policy makers around the world are hurried to take policy measures, with a varying degree, to combat such a decline including lowering already low policy rates and expanding fiscal policy roles. While necessary, these movements could also undermine stability and resilience in the macro economy as well as in the financial sector by making bubbles further accumulated. Following the 2008 global financial crisis that has root causes in the housing sector bubbles in the US, recently some Asian countries have shown signs of asset bubbles, particularly in the real-estate sectors. Therefore, it is timely and opportune to clearly understand symptoms and potential implications of economic bubbles across Asia. This requires our analyzing key indicators related to the bubbles such as loan-to-GDP and housing affordability, and banking behaviors. It also requires our designing of policy options to prevent such bubbles. This session aims to address these critical issues focusing experiences of Asian countries.

Key questions to be discussed will include:

  • What are indicators to see the bubble accumulated and against such indicators, how are current status of Asian countries evaluated?
  • What are repercussions from bursting economic bubbles and does Asian countries have enough buffer?
  • What are the policy options to address such concerns?

Moderator: Chul Ju Kim, Deputy Dean, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)

Keynote presentation: Naoyuki Yoshino, Dean, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)

Discussants:

  • Cyn-Young Park, Director, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, ADB
  • Matthias Helble, Economist, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, ADB
  • Masyita Crystallin, Economist, Indonesian and The Philippines DBS Group Research

Open Discussion

12:15 – 13:45 – Lunch 

13:45 – 15:15 Session 2. Rethinking of deflationary pressure in Emerging Asia 

The retreat in global oil prices, along with subsidy measures and stability in agricultural production, have kept headline inflation at bay in most Emerging Asian economies.  Benign core inflation anchors this trend and suggests a limited demand-side price push as thus far in. Food prices, which carry a large weight in CPI, are an exception in some countries.

“Deflation” is a problem not just in Europe and Japan – indeed deflationary pressures are starting to appear across Emerging Asia and it is now an increasingly important macroeconomic policy issue. For instance, the phenomenon of flattening of the Philipps curve, observed in many ASEAN countries, poses a challenge for the effective conduct of macroeconomic policies.

The particular sources of deflation differ by country but deflationary pressures and their expectation already have some negative impacts on the real economy.

This session will discuss how to cope with rising deflationary pressures in Emerging Asia, together with policy makers in the region and discuss how to enhance effectiveness of macroeconomic, in particular monetary policies under the deflationary environments.

Key questions to be discussed will include:

  • To what extent is deflation present in the region? Is it different from deflationary pressures in other countries?
  • What policies would be useful to cope with deflationary pressures in Emerging Asia
  • To enhance the effectiveness of monetary policy, what measures need to be taken?

Moderator: Kensuke Tanaka, Head of Asia Desk, OECD Development Centre

Setting the scene: Prasiwi Ibrahim, Deputy Head of Asia Desk, OECD Development Centre

Keynote presentations:

  • Pornpen Sodsrichai, Director, Economic Analysis Office, Bank of Thailand
  • Reza Anglingkusumo, Director/Head of Research Center, Bank Indonesia Institute, Bank Indonesia
  • Ho Sui Jade, Deputy Director, Monetary Policy Department, Bank Negara Malaysia

Discussants:

  • Patrick Hess, Principal Expert, European Central Bank

Open discussion

15:15 – 15:30 – Coffee break 

15:30 – 17:00 Session 3: What drives innovation in Asia?

Innovation is a diverse, heterogeneous and multifaceted phenomenon but at its core, it refers to new products and processes. Innovation is a vital ingredient of productivity growth and economic growth, as well as more inclusive and sustainable growth. The transformation of developing Asia into an overwhelmingly middle-income region, when productivity assumes a larger role in economic growth, further strengthens the case for strengthening the region’s innovative capacity. Asia already innovates a lot but there are substantial differences across sub-regions and countries. Innovation is ultimately a human endeavor and as such, any economy which aspires to become innovative must nurture a pool of innovative individuals. Therefore, sound education systems based on creative thinking and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems that give rise to innovative entrepreneurs. The broader institutional and policy environment, for example a financial system that effectively channels resources to aspiring innovators, matters a lot as well. Finally, there is a large scope for Asian governments to contribute to more innovative economies and societies, both directly through R&D investments and indirectly via policies that are conducive to innovative activity. Therefore, sound education systems based on creative thinking and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems that give rise to innovative entrepreneurs are important catalysts.

Key questions to be discussed will include:

  • What is the current state of innovation in developing Asia? How does the region compare to the rest of the world? What are some key features of the region’s innovative landscape?
  • What are the key drivers of innovation in developing Asia? What are the main constraints to more and better innovation in the region? Are some constraints deeper and more fundamental than others? Can they be overcome in the short run?
  • What must Asian governments do to promote more innovative economies and societies? What are some concrete and specific policy options for creating a larger pool of innovative individuals? For example, education reform is a well-know policy direction but exactly what kind of education reform?

Moderator: Abdul Abiad, Director, Macroeconomic Research Division, ADB

Keynote presentation: Donghyun Park, Macroeconomic Research Division, ADB

Discussants:

  • Banri Ito, Professor, Aoyama Gakuin University
  • Bihong Huang, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)

Open discussion

DAY TWO

9:45 – 10:00 TBD – Special Address by Hidetoshi Nishimura, President, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)

10:00 – 11:30 Session 4: Integration and Growth: Insights from Participation in Global Value Chains (GVCs)

The session will focus on deepening the understanding of key drivers of regional integration in the ASEAN+3 region and impediments to the process. It will examine the changing nature of the region’s overall growth strategy via—among other limbs—participation in cross-border value chains. The aim is to derive insights from ASEAN+3’s experience to shape recommendations on how the region should position itself to: (i) become more competitive in evolving cross-border value chains, and (ii) pursue deeper regional integration even while embracing globalization of trade.

Key questions to be discussed will include:

  • What are the implications of rising nationalist policies for the ASEAN+3 region’s participation in the GVCs?
  • What is the impact of the 4IR and rising regional affluence on the positioning of ASEAN+3 economies in the GVCs?
  • What is the role of services in GVC activities?
  • How should the region position itself to become more competitive within GVCs while pursuing deeper regional integration?

Moderator: Daikichi Momma, Advisory Panel Member, AMRO

Keynote presentation: Lam San Ling, AMRO Consultant

Discussants:

  • Jong Woo Kang, Principal Economist (Regional Cooperation and Integration Division, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department), ADB
  • Aladdin Rillo, Deputy Secretary-General, ASEAN Secretariat

Open discussion

11:30 – 12:00 – Coffee break 

12:00 – 13:30 Session 5: Trade facilitation and regulatory capacities: ensuring sustained growth and deeper integration

With tariffs very low through successful trade liberalization, further integration of ASEAN economies needs to focus on domestic reforms. Behind-the-border trade costs, as determined by domestic institutions and regulatory environment, form the largest share of trade cost. These costs are also blocking small businesses from fully benefiting from the opportunities afforded by ASEAN integration and broader globalization. Trade facilitation and regulatory reform are priority areas for ASEAN countries, and many initiatives have been undertaken in this regard. This session will focus on discussing ERIA’s contributions to recent ASEAN activities in these areas.

Key questions to be discussed will include:

  • What is the current situation and recent trends in trade facilitation and regulatory improvement in ASEAN?
  • What initiatives are countries in the region taking towards trade facilitation and regulatory improvement?
  • The capacities required in smaller economies for ensuring trade facilitation and regulatory improvements.

Moderator: Anita Prakash, Director of Policy Relations, ERIA

Keynote presentation: Rashesh Shrestha, Economist, ERIA

Discussants:

  • Doan Thi Hanh, Economist, ERIA
  • Masahito Ambashi, Economist, ERIA

Open discussion

13:30 – 14:00 – Closing remarks

  • Fukunari Kimura, Chief Economist, ERIA
  • Toshinori Doi, Director, AMRO
  • Kensuke Tanaka, Head of Asia Desk, OECD Development Centre
  • Chul Ju Kim, Deputy Dean, ADBI/ADB

Leading experts from Asian countries and the OECD to discuss the issues at the fore of recent economic developments in the region.

AMRO Director Toshinori Doi delivers the opening remarks.

Participant pose for a group photo.