Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Asean promises closer integration

Asean's prosperity can't be assured and the region should be cautious about monetary union, warns Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s finance minister.
Cesar Purisima, finance secretary of the Philippines
Cesar Purisima, finance secretary of the Philippines

Policymakers within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Asean have set themselves an ambitious target. In early 2007, leaders agreed to set up a regional economic community by 2015, bringing forward by five years the realisation of their vision of a single, integrated, seamless market and production base.

That resolution was reaffirmed by Cesar Purisima, the Philippines secretary of finance, who hosted the Asean Finance Ministers Investors Seminar held in Hong Kong on October 9.

The proposed assimilation will range across 12 industrial sectors, including agriculture and fisheries, electronics, healthcare, textiles and tourism.

More controversially, it would require “monetary and financial integration within Asean”....

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