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23 June 2009

Philippines' President Arroyo in favour of Asian IMF

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Philippine President Gloria Arroyo supports wider cooperation in stabilising Asia's financial market, including creating a regional version of the International Monetary Fund, AFP quoted a Japanese business news agency report as saying.

In an interview with Japanese media on Saturday, she praised as a great success the expansion of the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI), a currency swap framework to guard against financial crises, the Nikkei business daily said.

The scheme, involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, China and South Korea, was launched in 2000 following the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The Asean-plus-three agreed in May to expand the CMI's size to 120 billion dollars from the original 80 billion dollars proposed in 2008. Japan and China will each contribute 38.4 billion dollars and South Korea 19.2 billion dollars.

"The Asian bond market initiative is something we should now push," Arroyo was quoted by the Nikkei as saying on a visit to meet Prime Minister Taro Aso and business leaders.

The Philippine president was referring to efforts by regional governments and private companies to revitalise the market by issuing bonds denominated in local currencies.

Arroyo said the idea of establishing an Asian version of the IMF should be the next subject to be studied by the region to strengthen its financial stability, according to the Nikkei. She said she "agrees" with the idea, it added.

"I am even in favour of a pan-Asian economic community that would cover not only the East Asian Summit, but other parts of Asia like the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and Oceania," Arroyo said.

The East Asian Summit involves 16 countries -- 10 Asean states, Japan, China, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. An economic partnership agreement between Tokyo and Manila took effect last December, opening the door for Philippine nurses and carers to work in Japan under certain conditions.

"I believe after nurses and caregivers, soon we will be able to have English teachers and IT workers," Arroyo was quoted as saying.


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