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ASEAN unlikely fall in financial crisis: official

07-28-2010 09:46 BJT

JAKARTA, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) is unlikely fall in a financial crisis due to its strong fiscal position, a high-ranking official told Xinhua in an exclusive interview recently.

Vietnam's Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem (C) invites Foreign Ministers and head of delegations from ASEAN and their partners countries to the meeting room after posing for a group photo before the opening of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Hanoi July 23, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
Vietnam's Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem (C) invites Foreign Ministers and head of 
delegations from ASEAN and their partners countries to the meeting room after posing for 
a group photo before the opening of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Hanoi July 23, 2010.
 (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
"The possibility of ASEAN countries falling into the same fiscal debacle is low for now, in my view. This is because ASEAN fiscal position has been strengthened over the years, particularly after the hard lessons learned during the Asian financial crisis," said Sundram Pushpanathan, deputy ASEAN Secretary-General for Economic Community.

He took examples of fiscal reforms to increase taxation, improve expenditure efficiency, and rationalize expenditures that have been implemented in most ASEAN countries, in addition to implementing fiscal consolidation plans.

"As well, most of the ASEAN countries have adopted fiscal-rule framework to guide their policies related to maintaining budget balance, debt sustainability and expenditure and revenue rules," he said.

He added that last year most the ASEAN countries resorted to extra-ordinary fiscal stimulus measures that led to increase sharply in fiscal deficits, and most of the countries in the region have managed to generate fiscal surpluses or incur small fiscal deficits since 1997.

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