JAKARTA – The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday to carry out reforms amid the changing economic landscape.
Lagarde warned during a conference in Jakarta of various challenges that could affect global economic growth, including the increasing volatility in financial markets, the heightened risk of trade disputes as well as the impact of rapid technological advances.
The IMF estimated that the Gross Domestic Product would grow 3.9 percent in 2018 and in 2019, involving three quarters of the global economy, compared to the estimated growth of 3.7 in 2017.
“A fundamental economic transition is underway,” said the IMF chief, adding “policymakers around the world – including in ASEAN – are preparing for the gradual normalization of monetary policy in major advanced economies.”
Lagarde added that the effects European and US monetary policies would have on companies, jobs and incomes at the international level remain uncertain.
Among the measures recommended by Legarde to face such uncertainty were reforming financial markets, upgrading labor regulations and reducing barriers to entry in overly protected industries.
The IMF also proposed the “new growth models,” which focus on domestic demand, infrastructure improvement and economic diversification, and stressed the need to prepare for the “digital revolution.”
The IMF Managing Director pointed out that “60 percent of today’s jobs comprise some tasks that will soon be automated.”
Lagarde also praised the elimination of intra-regional tariffs, and supported the continuous process of regional integration in ASEAN, which comprises Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
According to Lagarde, strengthening anti-corruption and anti-money laundering policies and implementing measures for greater equality are fundamental to the progress of ASEAN.
During her visit to Indonesia, Lagarde met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday and then visited a hospital and Tanah Abang market in Jakarta, one of the largest markets in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia will host the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group in Bali in October, to which 15,000 delegates from 188 member countries of both institutions are set to attend.