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Asia Pacific Recovery Policies Explored at Economic Council Meeting
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 14) – The Asia Pacific region is starting to see the effects of various stimulus packages, but a long road still lies ahead before the global economy recovers, experts said at the annual General Meeting of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, hosted this week by the East-West Center in Washington. A survey of more than 400 regional opinion leaders released during the two-day PECC conference also revealed that, while a substantial number of respondents expected much weaker economic growth in the next year, the degree of pessimism has declined compared to a previous survey conducted in October 2008.

“While it is too early to declare that a turnaround is underway, the PECC survey nevertheless suggests that opinion leaders are less pessimistic about the U.S. economy today than they were six months ago,” said Charles E. Morrison, International Chair of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and President of the East-West Center. “Forty-five percent of survey respondents expect much weaker growth in the U.S. economy compared to 80 percent in the previous survey.”

The survey of opinion leaders from 25 Asia Pacific economies was conducted in April 2009 and is part of PECC’s State of the Region Report. Respondents overwhelmingly agreed that slower growth in Western industrialized countries for the foreseeable future would encourage a shift to domestic demand growth in Asian economies.

“Opinion leaders in the region believe that a structural shift in the Asia Pacific economy is underway as a result of the crisis,” said Yuen Pau Woo, Coordinator of PECC’s State of the Region project and President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. “Fifty percent of respondents agree that the Chinese economy has begun a transition away from export-led growth to domestic demand-driven growth.”

At the PECC meeting held on May 12 and 13, businesspeople, government officials and other Asia Pacific opinion leaders gathered to hear from policymakers and economists on the issues and challenges facing the region in these unprecedented economic times. To read more about the ideas and remarks expressed at the event, visit the meeting website.