Gita Wirjawan, Chairman, Ancora Group and Founder, Ancora Foundation
Moderated by John Lipsky, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute

April 12, 2016

The wealth of natural resources in Southeast Asia, combined with the slowing down of China's economic growth have led to increased international interest in the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trade pact. During a forum with Gita Wirjawan, former Republic of Indonesia Minister of Trade and the Chairman of private equity firm, Ancora Group, economies of ASEAN members were analyzed and discussed.

Wirjawan pointed out that ASEAN members have banded together to rival the economic influence of China. He expects growth in the region will continue provided that appropriate economic policies are adopted to support it, and that debt ratios, tax rates and economic diversification will be key to the success of the ASEAN trade deal. He stressed the importance of infrastructure improvements, education, and inter-ASEAN trade as integral to future growth. He noted Southeast Asia’s growing middle class and the absence of regional hostilities as positive signs for future growth.

Wirjawan and moderator John Lipsky answered questions from the audience on policy implementation and the differing circumstances from nation to nation across Southeast Asia.