HIGHLIGHTS-Key quotes from APEC finance ministers’ meeting

For more stories on the APEC meeting click [ID:nTOE6A405J]

KYOTO, Japan, Nov 6 (BestGrowthStock) – Finance ministers of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum met to discuss the
regional economic outlook and how to achieve balanced and
sustainable growth.

The gathering in Kyoto, western Japan, took place amid market
concerns over rising global imbalances and competitive currency
devaluations in the face of loose U.S. monetary policy and
pressure on China to allow its currency to strengthen.

Leaders of the 21-member APEC bloc will meet on Nov. 13-14 in
Yokohama, neat Tokyo, while G20 countries will also hold a summit
next week in neighbouring South Korea.

Following are key quotes from the APEC meeting:

CHINESE VICE FINANCE MINISTER WANG JUN

“The quantitative easing monetary policies adopted by the
United States will boost the U.S. economy, and boosting the U.S.
economy will play an important role in global economic recovery.

“At the same time, the quantitative easing policy has already
prompted the concern of emerging nations, and we will continue
paying attention to the implementation of this policy …

“We didn’t discuss specific capping targets. The new
consensus is to develop a comparative reference plan …

“Newly emerging market economies, including China, will
unwaveringly carry out the reforms associated with the
macroeconomic goals they have committed to, including reform of
exchange rate formation mechanisms.”

U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY TIMOTHY GEITHNER

Asked if he will push for a 4 percent current account target
to be included in the G20 communique at Seoul: “That is not our
intention. What our intention is, is to keep trying to build
support for this and to allow the experts to do the detailed hard
work, to build a framework that people will have some confidence
in over time. There’s nothing on the table except for
‘indiciative guidelines’ …

“I’m happy to reaffirm again that a strong dollar is in our
interest as a country, it’s very important to the United States,
and we will never use our currency as a tool to gain competitive
advantage.

“And we recognise that the dollar’s role in the monetary
system conveys special burdens, responsibilities on the United
States for broader global responsibilities and we take those
responsibilities very seriously and we are as you know working
very hard to make sure we’re improving the underlying
fundamentals of the U.S. economy.”

In earlier comments on rebalancing global growth: “What we
proposed at G20 and talked about today was how to build a
framework for cooperation that will reduce the risk that future
growth is imperilled by the remergence of large external
imbalances.

“No reasonable person who understands economics would suggest
that you could best achieve that objective by trying to impose
quantitative limitations or hard targets …

“What we think makes sense … is to set up a framework that
will give an early indication if policies in place among major
economies in particular are likely to lead to the types of risks
I described.

“One of its virtues is to recognise the exchange rate itself
can’t be the only policy instrument to help facilitate this
process of rebalancing. It’s a necessary part, it’s an important
part, but it’s not the sole part.

“My expectation is what you’ll see at G20 is leaders discuss
and embrace that broad framework.

“When people look at this question they think about how you
judge what is successful. There is no single number that makes
sense for countries across time.

“What makes sense for a large commodity-exporting country or
a small open economy where trade is a multiple of GDP, what’s
appropriate for them isn’t appropriate for any of the major
countries. It’s very hard to reduce to very complicated question
to a single number or a single indicator.”

JAPANESE FINANCE MINISTER YOSHIHIKO NODA

“We of course discussed external imbalances and currencies,
and the APEC finance ministers share the G20 nations’ basic
stance on those issues…

“The common foundation is being built for countries to
address external imbalances, whether they be current account
surplus or deficit, as well as stability of the global currency
system …

“We did not discuss numerical targets for reducing current
account imbalances. We share the basic recognition about what
needs to be done to correct external imbalances and the need for
multilateral cooperation.”

CANADIAN FINANCE MINISTER JIM FLAHERTY

“One of the themes of our discussion today was balance, and
that is that it isn’t just a question of some countries letting
their currencies become more flexible, but also there’s a concern
about devaluation by some actions that might be taken by certain
governments.

“There are concerns about policies that might be taken by
certain governments. There were discussions about quantitative
easing today… Those of us who have market currencies like
Canada are always concerned about currency issues.

“I think that the commitment made by China in June in advance
of the G20 summit in Toronto was stronger than the actions that
have been taken since then.

“Now, I expect that we will see more flexibility over time
and I hope that the flexibility accelerates.

THAI FINANCE MINISTER KORN CHATIKAVANIJ

“The ASEAN finance ministers did have a discussion about the
current account proposal that was put on the table by Secretary
Geithner.

“Our view is that constructive discussion among leading
economies is something we welcome as far as smaller emerging
markets are concerned. I don’t think the United States at any
point put any numerical targets to the concept.

“We raised the issue that exchange rate is not necessarily
the only tool that can be used to provide adjustment.

“It must be that trade protectionism is not used as a tool to
correct imbalances, and I think that’s a view that’s broadly
agreed by all members of APEC as well.”

NEW ZEALAND FINANCE MINISTER BILL ENGLISH

Asked for his assessment of the APEC meeting: “I think it was
successful. It reinforced growing consensus about the path to
economic recovery, consensus around fiscal consolidation,
structural reform and flexible exchange rates, and consumption
growth in emerging markets and savings growth in developed
markets. What this discussion showed following on the G20 finance
ministers, there was not much dispute.”
(Compiled by Michael Watson)

HIGHLIGHTS-Key quotes from APEC finance ministers’ meeting