Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani on her role as Co-chair at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN spoke to The Straits Times on Wednesday (12/09), suggesting ASEAN to take care of those who “lose” in the global trade war.
She admitted there is a challenge at the crossroad between fighting the poverty in the region and economic transformation, as the integration within ASEAN countries should be maintained. She also mentioned, amid the vast exchanges of ideas, technology, people and goods where the nations can reap those benefit out of the macroeconomic policies and sustained efforts, ASEAN countries remain at different phases of progress. Those, the sensitivity towards those who lose out is important.
According to her, ASEAN should be seen as a reliable platform, “that can be seen by each member country to be a good platform for everybody to participate, to make (the) same progress, strong progress towards prosperity”, as cited from The Strait Times.
Furthermore, “This is not just liberalising for the sake of liberalising, (or) reducing the obstacles on tariff or non-tariff barriers. We also have to learn from what is happening in advanced countries – that you also need to address the issue of the ‘loser’. How and what kind of safety net would allow them to catch up, will enable them to be able to see then that the benefit of this opportunity can also be enjoyed by them, even when they need to change?”, she added.
Her statement did not mean those ASEAN countries to slow their economic progress to be at the same level of progress altogether as she also conveyed, the prosperity in the region also brings consequences especially for those whose development is left behind the others.
In this occasion, Dr Sri Mulyani delivered her concern on a trade war between the US and China as it erodes international optimism to realize sustainable development goals.