Trump, Brexit big poser to Asean – economist

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A former official of Denmark and an economic expert has advised the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) to work hard to attain growth since member countries of the regional bloc could not expect much from the government of President Donald Trump.

Professor Joergen Oerstroem Moeller, who had predicted Brexit (UK leaving the European Union), said Asean and, on larger scale, Asia are benefiting much from economic globalization.

Moeller on Wednesday spoke before a forum arranged by the Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines
(NCCP).

The chamber is composed of countries in the Nordic and Baltic regions.

The Nordic region counts Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and the Baltic region, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

In his recent paper (ISEAS Perspectives), Moeller said, “Asia needs growth to maintain social stability. Trump’s victory and Brexit usher in changes that are still unknown except that they differ from the established paradigm.

The region can no longer rely on economic globalization and the US as guardian of the system to the same extent as before. It is up to Southeast Asia – together with other Asian countries – to shape conditions for a new growth pattern anchored on a more self-sustaining Asian supply chain.”

According to him, there are problems that Asean, as a group, could solve rather than addressing the problems individually.

Meanwhile, Joona Selin, executive director of NCCP, said the European Union is in full support of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte despite human rights and other controversial issues that it faces.

“There are investments we have committed and we are determined to push through. Our interest is very strong because the Philippines has a seven percent growth,” he noted.

Selin said the 500 million people in the Asean states are a huge market for Europe and the regional association is a very fertile economic bloc with so many learning curves with six percent growth.

He added that the Philippines as Asean Summit chairman this year could usher in a cooperation between the Asean and the European Union and take advantage of investment opportunities.

Total trade between the Philippines and the Nordic and Baltic regions was 652 million Euros in 2015, with Philippine exports from the regions at 425 million Euros and imports at 227 million Euros.

Among the companies from the Nordic and Baltic regions investing in Asean are major multinationals, SMEs and start-ups, representing industries such as energy and clean technologies, maritime and logistics, healthcare and pharmaceuticals and financial and corporate services.

Moeller’s recent publications are “The Veil of Circumstance, Technology, Values, Dehumanization and the Future of Economics and Politics, 2016” and “How Asia Can Shape the World from the Era of Plenty to the Era of Scarcities, 2011.”

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