There is no single or simple solution to ensure SMEs benefit from regional integration schemes – ASEAN economies need to fix key productivity, regulatory, infrastructure, and financing gaps.
Mr. Wignaraja focuses on economic analysis and support for regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, and was previously Director of Research of the ADB Institute in Tokyo. Before joining ADB, he served as a manager in a private consulting firm in London, Chief Program Officer at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, research officer at Oxford University and an economist at the OECD in Paris. Mr. Wignaraja has worked on projects in over 25 developing and transition economies, and consulted for the World Bank, DFID, the European Commission and USAID.
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The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership offers hope in in an ocean of trade policy pessimism.
East Asia’s rich experience in global production networks offers valuable lessons for industrial latecomers.
Multiple and overlapping initiatives in Asia also risk creating a “noodle bowl” phenomena more usually associated with free trade agreements, which bring high transactions costs for economies and business.
To avoid heavy-handed state intervention in small businesses, we need to think of new ways to make it easier for SMEs to obtain credit from commercial banks in ASEAN economies.
South Asia-Southeast Asia integration is no longer a pipe dream and with national and regional policy attention, it can become a reality.
Latin America is now firmly on the economic radar of Asia in the post-global financial crisis world, with both regions having grown faster than the world economy.