Trade and Investment Facilitation

On the 25th anniversary of the ASEAN Financial Crisis, the Center for International Knowledge and Development (CIKD) has launched its flagship report on China-ASEAN Economic, Financial, and Development Cooperation on February 15, 2023. The report, titled “Prosper Thy Neighbor,” chronicles the integration of China-ASEAN and proposes a currency swap mechanism to replace the role of the US dollar in supporting regional currencies. 

Dr. Julian Clarke, MI Resident Specialist in the Trade and Investment Facilitation Department, who participated in the launch event, praised the paper’s contribution to understanding the growing importance of China’s integration into the region. He also pointed out that the paper raised significant points about the relevance of dollarized debt to the future of regional economic integration.

The paper identifies some very serious risks to ASEAN’s dependence on dollar-denominated debt (including forex reserves) and proposes the strengthening of regional mechanisms such as the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) to replace the role of international financial institutions in backstopping the region’s liquidity,

Dr. Julian said.

Dr. Julian further suggested that a more productive approach to regional economic integration would be to strengthen the currency swap mechanism (the CMIM) backed by pledged reserves from ASEAN Member States and China. He also highlighted the potential moral hazard and reputational risks of China’s role as lender of last resort in the region. 

The launch event was attended by prestigious scholars from Chinese government think tanks and ASEAN research institutions. The report offers valuable insights into the future of China-ASEAN economic, financial, and development cooperation, and its proposals have the potential to reshape the regional economic landscape.

Speakers included

  • Dr. Lyu Gang, Deputy Director General, Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations, Development Research Center of the State Council of China;
  • Prof. Wang Yuzhu, Head of Department of Regional Cooperation Studies, National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Dean and Professor of China-ASEAN Research Institute of Guangxi University;
  • Prof. Guo Yanjun, Director, Institute of Asian Studies, China Foreign Affairs University;
  • Prof. Kuik Cheng-Chwee, Head of the Centre for Asian Studies, National University of Malaysia;
  • Prof. Fajar Hirawan, Head of Department of Economics, Centre for Strategic and International Studies Indonesia;
  • Dr. Palikone Thalongsengchanh, Senior Researcher, National Institute for Economic Research of Laos;
  • Mr. Sim Sokcheng, Director, Center for Policy Research in Agriculture and Rural Development, Cambodia Development Resource Institute;
  • Prof. Luo Chuanyu, Member of Decision Advisory Network of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Vice Dean and Associate Professor, China-ASEAN Research Institute of Guangxi University;
  • Prof. Chang-Yau Hoon, Associate Professor, Institute of Asian Studies, University of Brunei Darussalam.

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