South and Southeast Asia – with some of the world's largest and fastest growing economies – have been forging closer economic ties over the last two decades or so. The process has been driven by falling trade and investment barriers; technological progress; and the rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), India and the members of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The recent political reform process in less developed countries provides new impetus for even closer South Asia-Southeast Asia economic integration in the future. Closer South Asia-Southeast Asia economic integration is likely to contribute to development through empowerment and rising prosperity. Greater cross-border physical connectivity – transport, communications and energy links - is critical to regional integration. So too is the improved complementary policies (including open markets, trade facilitation, business regulations, and institutional reforms) to ensure smooth flows of goods and services across borders.
To better understand these emerging trends and underlying policy challenges, ADB and ADBI initiated the flagship study "Connecting South Asia and Southeast Asia". The study analyzes major developments in South Asia-Southeast Asia economic cooperation, the role of cross-border physical connectivity as well as the supportive role of complementary policies. At the seminar, the ADB President will deliver opening remarks and ADBI Dean Kawai will present the findings of the ADB and ADBI study. Following the presentation, there will be a panel discussion with influential academics and policy makers.
Vice President (Operations 2), ADB
Dean, ADB Institute
CEO, Executive Managing Director, Japan Bank for International Cooperation
Minister of National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar
Moderator: Rajat Nag
Managing Director General, ADB