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ASEAN needs closer integration and higher productivity: Economists

Economists discuss the way forward for ASEAN in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 29.

KUALA LUMPUR -- Southeast Asian countries may be able to withstand global economic adversity by pulling monetary and fiscal levers, but such policies must be accompanied by reform and deeper integration, Malaysia-based economists said on Thursday. 

In a roundtable discussion on growth drivers for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in a stagnating global economy, economists warned the bloc could be heading into a "difficult" short-term period unless members pursue liberalization and productivity improvements. 

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