On 10 November 2008 Monday, the Philippines and Thailand agreed that on unity within ASEAN in facing the global financial crisis. Thailand is the chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and hosts the Asean summit in mid-December 2008 in Chang Mai.
The Philippines received Somchai with red-carpet treatment and military honors when he arrived at the Filipino Malacañang palace. Both countries agreed that the poor in Southeast Asia and their long-term needs should be given priority in any proposed coordinated solutions and that there is a need for greater confidence.
They also instituted this united front ahead of the G20 in Washington. Stressing on intra-ASEAN trade, President Arroyo noted that Thai companies such as Siam Cement and Dusit Hotel are investors in the Philippines economy and that the CP Group, one of the largest food companies in the world, will be expanding its presence in the Philippines while Filipino companies like San Miguel Corp., Universal Robina Corp., and Oishi have invested in Thailand. Thai PM Somchai focused on the concluded Memorandum of Understanding on air tourism to promote trade and investments as part of an overall Thailand-Philippines tourism package.
In the years following the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, countries in East Asia had institutionally practiced prudent fiscal policies, keeping budget deficits relatively small, managing debt burdens effectively, and limiting exposure to liabilities as their recipes to getting out of the crisis. Many had good progress and even remarkable successes in such policies. Many had also ridden on the backs of export-oriented dynamism through exports to industrial countries, growing intraregional trade and, increasingly, consumer demand.
The example of Thailand and the Philippines seems to be emphasizing the same message of solidarity, intraregional trade and confidence in the economy this time round.
GMA News "RP, Thailand call for Asean unity vs global financial crisis" dated 10 November 2008 in the GMA news website [downloaded on 15 November 2008], available at http://www.gmanews.tv/story/132580/RP-Thailand-call-for-Asean-unity-vs-global-financial-crisis