13 Asian nations sign agreements in ADB meet
By Michelle V. Remo, Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network
May 7, 2012, 11:51 am TWN
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) ended the 45th meeting of its board of governors in Manila on Saturday with key agreements among 13 Asian member-countries to boost their emergency protection against financial shocks as many of the economies in the region are threatened by a prolonged eurozone crisis.
The meeting, which was hosted this year by the Philippines, was attended by more than 5,000 delegates from 67 member countries, the highest number of participants so far in the history of ADB conventions.
"The annual meeting this year attracted the largest number of participants," said ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda.
"We are happy to have had a successful annual meeting. The Philippines, Manila in particular, has showcased its hospitality to international participants," Kuroda added.
Ann Quon, the head of ADB's communications department, said the Philippines should be credited for its efforts to help make the meeting possible.
"We (the ADB) had a tremendous success in terms of number of participants, and so we credit the Philippine government for the great turnout," Quon said.
The ASEAN+3 regional grouping agreed to double the size of their emergency liquidity program, the so-called Chiang Mai Initiative, to US$240 billion and made it more readily available by reducing its compulsory link to the International Monetary Fund's bailout conditions.
ASEAN+3 is a forum that functions as an integral coordinator of cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the three East Asian nations of China, Japan and South Korea.
In a further move to protect their financial markets from shocks, the three East Asian economic powers in the ASEAN+3 agreed to boost cross-investment in government bond markets, worth nearly a combined US$15 trillion.
The ADB conference from May 2 to 5 met under a cloud of uncertainty over the eurozone debt crisis and high oil prices cloud the region's continued economic performance.
Kuroda said the bank was very pleased with the important agreements made and policy discussions during the annual meeting.