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"Move Away from Export-led Growth"
Separate Regional Currency for Asia-Pacific Proposed
By Ataur Rahman
Bangladesh Correspondent
Bangladesh Bank (BB) in Dhaka

Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 31, 2009 — Asia-Pacific countries should focus more on growth driven by internal resources than on export-led growth, said finance and central bank officials at a high-profile regional workshop that ends at Dhaka Bangladesh on July 30, 2009.

The four-day workshop on "Strengthening the Response to the Global Financial Crisis in Asia-Pacific: The ole of Monetary, Fiscal and External Debt Policies" was co-organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Bangladesh Bank (BB) in Dhaka.

The experts also recommended a separate regional currency for Asia-Pacific countries.

At a press briefing, Bangladesh Bank governor, Dr. Atiur Raman said they do not want to exclude export-led growth but couple it with an emphasis on internal resources such as agriculture and small and medium enterprises.

"Depending on only external sources would not work anymore. We have to depend on our own resources," Rahman said. "Issues over a separate currency are still at discussion levels. We have far to go before it can be implemented."

Mr Rahman stressed faster growth of regional exports and development of regional bond markets.

On the need for deeper regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, the delegates said in a written statement: "Given the need to contain global imbalances, the United States and the European Union are unlikely to continue to act as engines of driving Asia's export-led economic growth."

Asian countries need new engines of growth to revive their rapid growth rates, according to the statement.

"An increase in the share of domestic demand in aggregate demand can make up for the expected loss of dynamism in traditional export markets," it said.

The experts recommended a regional unit of account for intra-regional trade could be created as a way to facilitate the expansion of trade and reduce disruptions to foreign exchange rates.

"Moreover, part of the region's huge foreign exchange reserves could be allocated to a regional sovereign wealth fund to promote investment activity across the region," the statement said.

"It could play a role in supplementing national efforts to generate aggregate demand and support poorer countries and countries with less fiscal space, in a sort of regional Keynesianism," the statement added.

The exports also said the outcome of this workshop will be presented to ESCAP's member countries at the meeting of the "Committee on Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty and Inclusive Development' to be held in Bangkok on November 23-26, which will report to the 2010 annual session of the commission.

Dr Aynul Hasan of ESCAP spoke at the press conference while BB Economic Adviser Dr Habibullah Bahar presented the recommendations.

High-level government officials from the finance ministry and the central banks of 17 countries, economists and experts from United Nations Development Programme, Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and NGOs attended the workshop. Finance Minister of Bangladesh AMA Muhith inaugurated the workshop on July 27.

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Mr. Ataur Rahman serves as Bangladesh Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He earned his Master of Commerce degree from Dhaka University in 1985. Mr. Rahman has vast journalistic experience including his stints at "The Daily Janata" and "The Dainik Bangla."






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