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IMF hails Asia's economic integration
Mar '16
Courtesy: IMF
Courtesy: IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that Asia has made significant progress in economic integration and collaboration.

The IMF's observation came at a conference in Tokyo last week on “Advances and Challenges in Regional Integration,” to discuss Asia's experience with economic integration, including in the areas of trade, financial markets, and labour mobility.

“The region has come a long way in terms of economic integration, helped by many successful rounds of multilateral trade agreements that have reduced barriers,” IMF Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa said in his opening remarks, according to an IMF press release.

“In addition to trade Asia has made important strides in the area of financial integration as well. Motivated by the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, significant steps have been taken, such as regional liquidity support arrangements through the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, the Asian Bond Fund, and the Asian Bond Market Initiative,” he said.

The discussion by conference participants highlighted that while further financial integration could be beneficial to Asia, the associated risks also need to be managed. In particular, some participants stressed that financial sector liberalization and capital market liberalization need to be accompanied by the development of financial and macroeconomic institutions to manage the attendant rise in risks and vulnerabilities.

In her keynote speech, Professor Anne O. Krueger of Johns Hopkins University stressed the synergies between pursuing regional and global trade integration. “In order to fully reap the benefits of regional trade agreements (RTAs) and make sure they do not result in regional protectionism, it is crucial to pursue RTAs in the context of multilateral trade liberalization,” she said. “As the fastest growing region in the world, Asia has a special responsibility in providing leadership and pushing the international community for a revival of WTO agreements.”

The conference brought together senior policymakers, academics, and representatives of the IMF, the Asian Development Bank, think tanks, and the private sector.

Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lao P.D.R., Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam were represented at the conference.

The conference was hosted by the IMF's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (OAP) and Hitotsubashi University. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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