ASEAN+3 Further Promotes Regional Financial Cooperation

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May 6 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Japan, China and South Korea (ASEAN Plus Three, or ASEAN+3) have decided to further promote regional financial cooperation during the recent ASEAN+3 meeting held last Friday in India.

The grouping will push the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), the region’s first economic and financial surveillance body, into obtaining “international organization” status. This will put it on par with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Established in 2011 with the view to eventually grow into a regional financial safety apparatus, the AMRO’s previous function was to oversee the operations of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, a multilateral currency swap agreement the region launched in 2010.

The meeting and decision took place despite the absence of the Chinese and South Korean finance ministers, who were both unable to attend due to domestic issues and meetings. Their respective vice finance chiefs attended in their place.

The finance ministers and central bank governors of Japan and ASEAN have also agreed to boost economic ties between the regions, with Japan agreeing to revive bilateral currency swap agreements with Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, and to strengthen bilateral agreements with Indonesia and the Philippines.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso noted that Japan will need to place much importance on ASEAN in the near future due to its robust economic growth.

ASEAN+3 has also agreed to fight the negative spillover effects the region has previously experienced due to global monetary easing, releasing a joint statement remarking that they are “well aware that continuing global liquidity infusion could potentially induce excessive risk taking and leverage, credit expansions and asset bubbles.”