Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

ASEAN ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION Adjusting to the Crisis

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

ASEAN ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION Adjusting to the Crisis

Article excerpt

Suthad Setboonsarng

In 1997, while the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) proudly looked back at its past thirty years of accomplishment in forging regional peace and security, vibrant economic growth, and higher levels of social welfare, a new issue --- economic security --- confronted the grouping's economies. Rapid growth of over 7 per cent per annum achieved during the past decade, which made ASEAN one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, came to a crashing end because of the financial crisis that hit the region in the second half of the year. ASEAN's economic growth in 1998 is predicted to be the lowest in the last three decades.

However, the factors that contributed to rapid economic expansion in ASEAN countries remain strong, and have the potential to return the region's economies back to a sustainable growth path. ASEAN continues to enjoy, for example, high levels of saving, a strong work ethic, low underlying inflation rates, and a dynamic and entrepreneurial private sector.

In previous instances of economic slow-downs in the 1980s and 1990s, each ASEAN country was able to come out relatively unscathed after the restructuring of their industrial sectors. …

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