Manado, N. Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - The US and Europe can no longer move the world economy but ASEAN economies are in a better situation right now to face the global uncertainties, Vice President Boediono says.

Looking West, he reminded the audience that "In recent weeks, we have seen the uncertainties being created in the US with the protracted debate on the debt ceiling, potential for a double dip recession and most recently, the downgrade of the US sovereign rating. In Europe, we have seen the difficulties in managing the debt packages of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, and the anxieties of a debt crisis spreading to Italy and Spain," he said when opening the 43th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Manado on Wednesday.

"What does all of this mean to us in ASEAN? Since the 2008 global financial crisis, it is evident that the US and Europe can no longer be the main engines of world economic growth," he stressed.

He added that the strength and relevance of regional cooperation will once again be tested as ASEAN faces uncertainties in the global economy and the rather shaky functioning of multilateral institutions and governance.

But he reminded the audience that the best responses would be to be vigilant and be prepared with national and regional policy responses and cooperation.

On competition, ASEAN has the need and scope to substantially raise competitiveness across ASEAN economies and for ASEAN as a whole. He reminded the audience that ASEAN needed some clear thinking on what ASEAN Centrality means in practice.

Looking East this time, he cited "ASEAN is faced with a large and increasingly powerful Chinese economy in the North, and a huge Indian economy in the West is also making rapid progress."

"The region will ultimately need to define its role and competitive strengths at the crossroads of these two emerging economic giants."

The 43rd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings ran from Wednesday until Sunday, August 14 in Manado, North Sulawesi.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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