SEOUL, KOREA — Korea will serve as co-chair of the ASEAN+3 along with Cambodia this year and play a leading role in economic cooperation among Asian countries, including the strengthening of regional financial safety nets through the introduction of systems for the prevention of economic crises.
The co-chair presides over meetings of finance ministers, vice finance ministers and working-level officials from member countries as well as leads efforts for regional economic cooperation by expanding current agendas and developing new ones.
The vice ministerial and working-level meetings are held in the country that chairs the ASEAN+3, but the finance ministers’ meeting takes place at the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank around May of each year. Korea is to host working-level meetings in June and September in Seoul, as well as a meeting of vice finance ministers in November that is tentatively scheduled to be held in Jeju.
The meetings of finance ministers have been held since 1999 as part of efforts for regional financial stability. The ASEAN+3 consists of 10 member countries from the Southeast Asian association along with Korea, China and Japan.
Regional cooperation is becoming very important as ASEAN+3 countries, through their rapid growth, accounted for 42 percent of global trade as of 2011 and 23 percent of global GDP as of 2010. Financial cooperation by participating countries is expected to improve as the governors of central banks will participate in the finance ministers’ meetings, starting from this year.
This year’s ASEAN+3 meetings will discuss the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) and Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI) as well as three priority tasks that were designated at last year’s finance ministers’ meeting: the procurement of funds for regional infrastructure investment, introduction of a regional disaster insurance system, and expansion of funds to help trade settlements within the region.
The CMIM is expected to become a more effective regional financial safety net through the doubling of its current funds of USD120 billion as well as the introduction of a program to help regional countries prevent crises independently.
The ABMI, which marks its 10th year in 2012, will have additional tasks that are expected to boost its capabilities and promote regional cooperation for maintaining the momentum of discussions on the initiative and the expansion of the Asian bond market.