Thaksin on regional bond initiative


  • Business
  • Friday, 05 Sep 2003

BY PAULINE S.C. NG IN PHUKET

THAI Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has called on Apec to consider a so-called regional bond initiative as a “new financial architecture” and an instrument that could help countries eliminate the severity of cyclical changes in their economies. 

Opening the 10th Apec Finance Ministers’ Meeting yesterday, Thaksin urged finance ministers to give “serious thoughts” to innovative and improved methods of achieving greater economic openness and financial integration among the Apec economies, and highlighted the regional bond initiative in particular.  

Later, on the sidelines of the meeting, he told reporters there was ample “supply” for such an issue but that the “demand side” needed to be developed.  

“The supply side is easy,” he said, adding the demand side was “not as difficult” either.  

As whether a basket of mixed currencies might work better in such circumstances, he said the first issue could be in US dollars, and the second, perhaps a basket of mixed currencies. 

Thaksin said there was already momentum for the initiative and that Apec should move to expedite it, but it was a process the finance ministers of the 21-member organisation would need to detail.  

He touted the regional bonds as a “rational option as a savings instrument”, one that would ensure “the wealth of Asia and the Pacific is used to create greater prosperity for the region.” 

In his address, Thaksin touched on Thailand’s dual-track development strategy, which aims to create a more balanced growth and to minimise external shocks to its economy.  

He said that in addition to the country’s participation in the Asean Free Trade Area, Thailand had also concluded a number of free trade arrangements with some other Apec economies, and would continue to do so as part of its policy to create linkages and enhance its competitiveness in the international arena.  

“In order to facilitate trade liberalisation, we are in the process of reforming the customs procedures as well as restructuring the tariff regime, which should be completed within this year,” he said.  

The other aspect of its economic strategy is the strengthening of its domestic foundation. To that end, grassroots and small- to medium-sized industries have been provided with easy access to micro-credit lending in an effort to nurture their growth.  

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