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Regional economic cooperation to deepen in Asia
Mar '08
Economic cooperation and integration will deepen and be a key pillar of Asia's development strategy as the region moves forward, the head of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Haruhiko Kuroda, said on Monday.

In his opening remarks at a conference on “European and Asian Integration: Achievements and Challenges,” he said that while Asia lacked a grand plan for regionalism as Europe, the European Commission (EC) and ADB can work closely together to add value to economic integration and regional cooperation. Asia can learn important lessons from Europe, he continued, but it will follow its own distinct model.

The Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Joaquín Almunia, remarked that the creation of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) had enabled European Member States to cope better with increasing economic competition from Asia. EMU had delivered stability over the past decade and has helped shield euro area members from external shocks, including the ongoing financial turmoil. The euro area dynamism was also demonstrated by the creation of nearly 16 million jobs over the last ten years.

This conference was the first of its type to be financed by the new instrument, the ASEM Dialogue Facility, launched in December 2007 by the Commission, to strengthen co-operation with Asian countries in the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) process.

The conference was co-hosted by the EC and ADB and deliberated on results of a flagship ADBstudy on the emergence of Asian regionalism. A book based on the study will be launched at the ADB's 41st Annual Meeting in Madrid in early May, 2008.

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