National / Politics

ASEAN Plus Three pledge further structural reforms

Kyodo

Financial chiefs from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Japan, China and South Korea have agreed on the need to promote structural reforms in a bid to promote economic growth, and to be vigilant against risks arising from large capital outflows.

Meeting on the fringes of the Asian Development Bank annual meeting in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, the finance ministers and central bank governors said in a joint statement Sunday that this year their economies will likely sustain the same relatively high growth of the previous year.

While reaffirming their commitment to “carrying out the necessary structural adjustments,” they sounded the alarm about the possibility of a sharp run-up in oil prices and capital outflows amid the changing global economic environment.

“With ample global liquidity and the high levels of public and private debt, greater attention needs to be paid to the potential market volatility and asset price declines triggered by capital outflows,” they said.

To deal with these risks, the financial chiefs called for macroeconomic policy steps, where appropriate, “supported by macro-prudential measures and capital flow management measures,” in addition to continued regional financial cooperation.

They endorsed “nonbinding high-level principles” for such policy measures, the statement said.

ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

In a separate statement, the Finance Ministry pledged that Japan will continue efforts to strengthen bilateral financial cooperation with ASEAN countries, as agreed in 2013, a move aimed at supporting infrastructure development to boost ties between ASEAN nations and to help improve financial supervision, among other goals.

Earlier Sunday, the finance ministers of Japan, China and South Korea met and agreed to continue implementing “timely and effective macroeconomic policies” to help boost demand, according to a joint message released after the trilateral meeting.

Neither the statement from the so-called ASEAN-plus-three nor the trilateral talks mentioned the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a multilateral lending body China is setting up later this year.

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