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|Sunday, January 14, 2001, updated at 20:22(GMT+8)|
ASEM Finance Ministers Meeting Closes in JapanFinance ministers from Asia and Europe on Sunday concluded a two-day meeting in Kobe, western Japan, with an agreement to strengthen regional economic and monetary cooperation to prevent a recurrence of the currency crisis which hit Asia in 1997 and 1998.
"Ministers recognized the role of regional economic and monetary cooperation in promoting international stability," Japanese Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa said in a chairman's statement to sum up the gathering of the finance ministers of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
The finance ministers agreed to launch a Japanese-proposed project aimed at gathering input on such medium- and long-term issues as monetary collaboration and desirable currency regimes from private-sector institutions in the two regions.
"Ministers encouraged cooperative activities in the economic and financial field, such as sharing experiences and lessons in fostering regional economic and monetary cooperation in Asia and Europe," the statement said.
"In this connection, they welcomed the 'Kobe Research Project,' proposed by Japan, that is designed to facilitate inter-regional cooperative research and study activities on topics of mutual interest," the statement said.
The finance ministers voiced concern over the slowdown of the U. S. economy and urged Japan to boost efforts to reform its corporate and financial sectors to achieve an early self- sustaining economic recovery.
They also exchanged views on an appropriate exchange-rate regime for emerging market economies, especially in Asia, to avoid future crises and achieve sustainable growth.
But they stopped short of agreeing on a proposal for a managed floating exchange-rate regime for emerging market economies in Asia to promote foreign-exchange stability.
"The choice of an appropriate exchange regime is important for emerging market economies to achieve sustainable economic development... (But) no single arrangement is necessarily right for all countries all the time," the statement said.
The ministers also pledged to strengthen their economies in the face of the looming U.S. economic slowdown, saying their improved economic performances will support continued global economic growth.
ASEM's Asian members are China, Japan, South Korea, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
European participation came from Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and members of the European Commission.
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