Yesterday, the leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Thailand to discuss the global economic and financial crisis. The leaders noted that they have benefited from the structural reforms the countries undertook following the 1997 Asian currency crisis; however “the deepening global economic downturn, coupled with heightened risk aversion in financial markets, have adversely impacted trade and investment in the region.” As a result, the ASEAN leaders:

  • Concurred on the “necessity of proactive and decisive policy actions to restore market confidence and ensure continued financial stability to promote sustainable regional economic growth.”
  • Reaffirmed their “determination to ensure the free flow of goods, services and investment, and facilitate movement of business persons, professionals, talents and labor, and freer flow of capital” and “agreed to stand firm against protectionism and to refrain from introducing and raising new barriers.”
  • Acknowledged that the “scope for regional cooperation must be expanded to mobilize savings for investments in productive areas, particularly infrastructure development to spur regional growth.”
  • Urged that “more coordinated action by both developed and developing countries be taken to restore financial stability and ensure the continued functioning of financial markets to provide support to growth.”
  • Called for reform of “the international financial system to achieve a more comprehensive, equitable and inclusive system that takes into consideration the interests and voices of the emerging and developing economies.” They also stressed the importance of strengthening the existing financial and regulatory framework.
  • Looked forward to working with other partners to “convey the above views” at the G-20 Summit to be held in London in April 2009.