Oct 16, 2012

Indonesia - Indonesia wants 'sustainable' AEC

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The Asean Economic Community (AEC) agenda needs to become more sustainable, Indonesian Finance Minister Mahendra Siregar said on Monday.

"A sustainable fiscal policy is the key to sustainable economic growth and needs to be supported by a sustainable fiscal policy.

"You should not have a high deficit just for the sake of promoting growth," Mr Siregar told the Bangkok Post an the sidelines of the 10th Asia-Europe Finance Ministers Meeting in Bangkok.

An Indonesian law implemented in 2003, for instance, clearly stated that the budget deficit should never exceed three percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

"Debt came about because we suffered in the 1997 [Asian financial crisis] aftermath, but after that we put a cap on the budget and we have implemented the budget with strict self-discipline," Mr Siregar said.

The region should look into promoting agendas to help the poor, as the issue was not being focused on in Asean talks.

"Individual Asean countries are doing a good job [in this issue], but not in the most optimal way," he said.

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