The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Indonesia, is turning its gaze toward fostering deeper collaboration with India, precisely at a juncture when the Chinese economy appears to be experiencing a slowdown. This strategic shift in focus is poised to take center stage during the upcoming ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, scheduled for August 22-25, 2023, in Jakarta.
Iss Savitri Hafid, the Director of the International Department at Bank Indonesia, underscored that the finance ministers and central bank governors hailing from the ASEAN nations are set to engage in comprehensive discussions.
These discussions won’t be singularly confined to the slowdown in China’s economic growth but will encompass a broader spectrum of topics, including the formulation of a global economic outlook and the strategic measures that the ASEAN countries plan to enact in response to the evolving economic landscape.
“It’s imperative to clarify that our agenda doesn’t singularly revolve around dissecting the nuances of China’s economic deceleration. Instead, our deliberations extend to more encompassing considerations, such as the overarching global economic narrative and the calculated actions ASEAN nations intend to take,” elucidated Iss during a recent interview conducted in the vibrant Senen district of Jakarta on Monday, August 21, 2023.
Iss went on to emphasize that while the economic slowdown in China will undoubtedly be a point of discussion, it represents merely one facet of a multifaceted discourse. This broader perspective acknowledges the interconnectedness of global economies and the collective responsibilities of nations in shaping the course of international finance and trade.
“It’s not merely about addressing the repercussions of China’s economic deceleration, but rather about charting a comprehensive response strategy. Typically, this encompasses a holistic examination of the global economic landscape and a meticulous evaluation of our intended course of action. Therefore, our agenda transcends the exclusive scrutiny of China’s economic dynamics,” she asserted.
Moreover, in response to the challenges posed by China’s economic slowdown, ASEAN countries are exploring diverse avenues to ensure their economic resilience. A notable aspect currently under the spotlight is India, a nation offering significant potential for economic collaboration.
“We have long been accustomed to anchoring our economic relationships with China. However, we are also keenly observing the promising prospects presented by India. Thus, our discussions will delve into the implications of this dual perspective – the dynamism of both China and India – and how it is poised to affect the prospects and challenges within the ASEAN region,” Iss stated with conviction.
Notably, the particular focus on India and China has garnered attention due to the substantial interdependence these nations share with ASEAN countries. As such, proactive measures have been initiated early on in response to the early indicators of China’s economic slowdown this year.
“The ripple effects of China’s economic shifts into ASEAN nations are notably significant. Consequently, this aspect is an integral part of our ongoing discussions. We’ve already reached out to international financial bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the ASEAN +3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) to ascertain if they have conducted any studies in this regard. This information will be pivotal in shaping the conversations among governors and finance ministers during our forthcoming meeting,” she elaborated.
In essence, ASEAN’s strategic realignment towards fostering closer ties with India amid China’s economic recalibration signifies a proactive approach to the ever-evolving global economic landscape.
This shift underscores the region’s commitment to adapt, respond, and seize opportunities in a world characterized by interconnected economies and dynamic shifts in economic power.