The finance ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and three East Asian partner nations of Japan, China, and South Korea will meet on February 22 in Phuket.
Thailand’s Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij yesterday said the meeting of the “ASEAN+3” finance ministers, also attended by the ASEAN secretary-general, Dr.Surin Pitsuwan, and President Haruhiko Kuroda of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is aimed mainly at encouraging greater financial cooperation among the member countries of the ASEAN community.
The Thai finance minister said the meeting is expected to also discuss and exchange views over the current global economy and the regional economic situation, especially on the economic stimulus measures of the member countries.
The meeting has planned to draft a joint policy on measures to counter the economic downturn and determine ways to lead ASEAN+3 to become a world economic powerhouse once again, he said.
Korn also disclosed that the ASEAN+3 finance ministers will discuss the progress of the Chiang Mai Initiative, a programme of financial cooperation launched in 2000, which includes ways to expand the Chiang Mai Initiative from bilateral cooperation into multilateral cooperation in terms of funding to support member countries suffering liquidity problems.
The statement issued at the conclusion of the Phuket meeting will be further discussed at the 14th ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin during February 27 to March 1.
Meanwhile, Fiscal Policy Office director-general Somchai Sujjapongse added that the meeting is expected to discuss about the plan to set up a Chiang Mai Initiative fund of contributions from the national reserves of the member countries, which is believed to be increased from the originally planned US$84 billion to US$120 billion.
Dr.Somchai said the Bank of Thailand (BoT) will initially contribute US$4 billion to the fund, in which China, Japan and South Korea would together hold a total of 80 percent of the stake due to their larger reserves, while other ASEAN member countries will contribute the rest in proportional to their reserves.