EU debt crisis dominates Bangkok summit

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Thailand’s finance minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong

Senior finance officials from Asia and Europe met on October 15 at the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Bangkok for talks on the global economy in the face of growing nervousness about the worldwide fallout of the euro zone debt crisis.

The meeting, held in  Bangkok, came as Asia’s economies show increasing strains from Europe’s financial turbulence.

“With the ongoing economic difficulties of some countries in the euro zone, I believe that our cooperation is even more crucial than ever,” Thai Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said in opening remarks.

“Because Asia and Europe are closely knitted in terms of international trade and investment, one spark of crisis could cause turmoil in the other side of the world,” he added.

Asia should invest and import more products from Europe to assist the latter to address its current economic problem, the meeting was told.

Job creation was important for sustainable economic development in European countries, Kittiratt said.

“This is one way, Asian countries could reciprocate Europe’s assistance to this region during the 1997 Asian financial crisis,” he told reporters.

He said European countries had continued their import from this region, as well as investment in this region during the 1997 crisis, contributing to the ability of this region to come out of the recession.

“Asia, with economic stability level at the moment, should consider reciprocating by being a good and better customer by buying more from Europe,” he said.

The move could help in correcting the trade imbalance between the two regions. The trade imbalance between the two regions is quite obvious with European countries importing products worth almost $1 trillion from Asia, and exporting goods worth $600 billion to Asia last year.

The International Monetary Fund’s recent forecast of the global economic growth is 3.3 per cent for this year, with Asia still leading the pack of expanding regions, while Europe contracts an expected 0.4 per cent.

However, as powerhouses China and India slow more than many had expected, the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund both recently lowered their growth estimates for Asia’s emerging economies.

The IMF said last week that growth for developing Asia would come in at 6.7 per cent this year and 7.2 per cent in 2013, compared with July’s estimate of 7.1 and 7.5 per cent.

Kittiratt said the meeting also touched on the role played by the European Stability Mechanism, with a 500 billion Euro rescue fund, and acknowledged the usefulness of the arrangement in facing the current Euro zone crisis.

The meeting also viewed the importance of medium-term measures in reducing volatility of European financial markets by encouraging capital market development, he added.

He said the meeting was concerned with trade linkages between the two regions, in connection with the volatile financial markets in Europe.

With Europe gearing up for a crunch summit on Thursday, many finance ministers sent their deputies to attend the biennial meeting in Bangkok, which sets the scene for an ASEM summit in Laos next month.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thailand’s finance minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong

Senior finance officials from Asia and Europe met on October 15 at the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Bangkok for talks on the global economy in the face of growing nervousness about the worldwide fallout of the euro zone debt crisis.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thailand’s finance minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong

Senior finance officials from Asia and Europe met on October 15 at the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Bangkok for talks on the global economy in the face of growing nervousness about the worldwide fallout of the euro zone debt crisis.

The meeting, held in  Bangkok, came as Asia’s economies show increasing strains from Europe’s financial turbulence.

“With the ongoing economic difficulties of some countries in the euro zone, I believe that our cooperation is even more crucial than ever,” Thai Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said in opening remarks.

“Because Asia and Europe are closely knitted in terms of international trade and investment, one spark of crisis could cause turmoil in the other side of the world,” he added.

Asia should invest and import more products from Europe to assist the latter to address its current economic problem, the meeting was told.

Job creation was important for sustainable economic development in European countries, Kittiratt said.

“This is one way, Asian countries could reciprocate Europe’s assistance to this region during the 1997 Asian financial crisis,” he told reporters.

He said European countries had continued their import from this region, as well as investment in this region during the 1997 crisis, contributing to the ability of this region to come out of the recession.

“Asia, with economic stability level at the moment, should consider reciprocating by being a good and better customer by buying more from Europe,” he said.

The move could help in correcting the trade imbalance between the two regions. The trade imbalance between the two regions is quite obvious with European countries importing products worth almost $1 trillion from Asia, and exporting goods worth $600 billion to Asia last year.

The International Monetary Fund’s recent forecast of the global economic growth is 3.3 per cent for this year, with Asia still leading the pack of expanding regions, while Europe contracts an expected 0.4 per cent.

However, as powerhouses China and India slow more than many had expected, the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund both recently lowered their growth estimates for Asia’s emerging economies.

The IMF said last week that growth for developing Asia would come in at 6.7 per cent this year and 7.2 per cent in 2013, compared with July’s estimate of 7.1 and 7.5 per cent.

Kittiratt said the meeting also touched on the role played by the European Stability Mechanism, with a 500 billion Euro rescue fund, and acknowledged the usefulness of the arrangement in facing the current Euro zone crisis.

The meeting also viewed the importance of medium-term measures in reducing volatility of European financial markets by encouraging capital market development, he added.

He said the meeting was concerned with trade linkages between the two regions, in connection with the volatile financial markets in Europe.

With Europe gearing up for a crunch summit on Thursday, many finance ministers sent their deputies to attend the biennial meeting in Bangkok, which sets the scene for an ASEM summit in Laos next month.

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