AEIR 2018

Money and Finance

Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Finance Ministers Meeting

The first Asia-Europe Finance Ministers’ Meeting was held in September 1997, following the inaugural Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in March 1996. Original members included ten Asian countries and the then fifteen members of the European Union (EU). In October 2004, ASEM was enlarged to include the ten new EU members and three new Asian members. Two countries joined the EU, hence the ASEM in 2007. More countries joined ASEM in 2008, 2010, and 2012. The European Commission and the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Secretariat round out ASEM’s current 51 members.

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One of the key pillars of ASEM is the Finance Ministers Process, which facilitates financial dialogue on matters of common interest between the two regions, including exchanges of views on international financial architecture, better implementation of existing supervisory principles and regulations in the financial sector, better information sharing on macroeconomic and financial developments, and enhancing macroeconomic policy consultation.

In June 2005, the Tianjin Initiative on Closer ASEM Economic and Financial Cooperation was adopted to strengthen ASEM’s economic and financial cooperation through enhanced policy dialogue, technical assistance, and exploring new approaches to further strengthen ASEM ties in the long term. Part of the initiative includes a thorough review of the ASEM Trust Fund to explore options for a future funding modality. The initiative also aims to strengthen capacity building between the two regions through broad-based and in-depth exchanges of experience by holding training seminars and workshops. It also created an ASEM Contingency Dialogue Mechanism for Emergent Economic and Financial Events and calls for further studies on recommendations made by the ASEM Taskforce on Closer Economic Partnership. These include the development of the Asian bond market through the creation of an ASEM “YES” Bond Market and an ASEM Bond Fund.

The original members of ASEM were Brunei Darussalam, the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam for Asia and Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom for the European Union. This was expanded in 2004 to include Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia for the European Union and Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Myanmar for Asia. In 2007, Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU. India, Mongolia, and Pakistan joined ASEM in 2008, followed by Australia, Russia, and New Zealand in 2010.

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