Finance Ministers' Meetings
Statement by the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors
Washington DC, October 3, 1998
- We, the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the G-7
countries, met today to review recent developments in the world economy and financial markets.
President Willem Duisenberg of the new European Central Bank participated for the first time in
part of the discussions. We were also joined for parts of the meeting by the Managing Director
of the International Monetary Fund, Michel Camdessus, and by World Bank President James
Developments in the World Economy
- We discussed developments and prospects in our own economies and in the rest of the
world. Financial market conditions have deteriorated in many parts of the world, leading to a
further weakening of growth prospects especially in most emerging market countries, and also
more generally. In this context, we reaffirmed our view that the balance of risks on a global basis
has shifted. We agreed that in today's integrated world economy and financial markets,
developments in our economies, while being affected importantly by economic and financial
developments elsewhere, have a significant impact on the rest of the world. More broadly, we
reaffirmed the key importance going forward of each country in the global economy doing its
part to promote recovery and financial stability. We must continue our efforts to strengthen the
open world trading system, with free trade flows and open capital markets.
- Inflation in G-7 countries as a whole is low and in some countries has declined further
in recent months. Although growth so far has been sustained in our countries taken as a whole,
the weakening in Asia and some other markets poses increasing downside risks to economic
activity. We reemphasized our commitment to create or sustain conditions for strong domestic-demand led growth and financial stability in each of our economies.
In this context, we noted the importance of intensified cooperation among us at this juncture. We
also agreed that the challenges that face each of our economies differ.
- In the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, where strong growth has
been firmly established for some time, the task of policy is to take appropriate action to maintain
conditions for sustainable growth.
- The Continental European G-7 countries are expected to achieve stronger growth
this year as their recoveries strengthen. It is important to preserve conditions conducive to robust
domestic demand, to implement urgent structural reforms and reduce unemployment.
- Japan's economic challenges have intensified significantly in recent months, with
three consecutive quarters of negative growth and continued weakness in the financial sector.
Strong sustainable recovery in the economy is of critical importance to Japan, the Asia region
and the rest of the world. The Japanese authorities outlined their intention to strengthen the
confidence in the financial system by promptly establishing a framework to maintain the stability
of the financial system and to provide sufficient and sustained stimulus to boost domestic
demand-led growth. While noting the steps taken by the authonce long-term growth
- More broadly, we reiterated our support for the central role of the IMF in enhancing
crisis prevention, including encouraging reforms through its surveillance process, as well as
providing catalytic financial assistance as needed in support of appropriate policies and to
combat contagion. We emphasized that the private sector also has a key role to play in crisis
- In this context, we urged the early implementation of the IMF quota increase and the
New Arrangements to Borrow. We drew attention to the possibility, if circumstances so warrant,
of activating the General Arrangements to Borrow, in consultation with other participants in the
arrangements. We agreed to explore a strengthened capacity, based in the IMF and with the
general increase of IMF quotas and establishment of the New Arrangements to Borrow, to
provide more effectively contingent finance to help countries pursuing sound policies to maintain
stability in the face of difficult global financial conditions.
- We stressed the critical role of the World Bank in crisis prevention through support for strong
institutions, good governance and structural reforms, particularly in the financial, corporate and
social sectors. We also underlined our support for an active role for the World Bank and other
MDBs responding to the crisis. We would support the following steps:
- To develop a new emergency capacity with a particular focus on support for the
vulnerable groups in society and for financial sector restructuring;
- To use loan guarantees and other innovative means to leverage private sector
lending for investment projects in emerging markets, and
- To expand their own lending as much as possible for sound operations within their
guidelines to countries now affected by the crisis.
- We also discussed the problems of the poorest countries. We endorse the need to
sustain the momentum of the HIPC initiative. We shall also encourage the IMF and the World
Bank to move forward quickly on further proposals which recognize the special needs of poor
post-conflict countries, especially those with arrears to the IFIs.
Strengthening the International Financial System
- Looking ahead, we agreed on the importance of adapting the IMF to ongoing changes in
the world economy. This includes a focus on increasing its transparency, the design of
appropriate reform programs, and effective use of IMF resources. We expect further progress in
these areas in the near future.
- We agreed on the need to build upon the work done to date and extend the reach of
international discussions to ensure that the system is equipped to meet the challenges posed by
the increasingly integrated global economy and financial markets. We committed to work
together within the G-7, and with other industrial and key emerging market economies and with
the international financial institutions, to develop approaches to strengthen the system in the
following key areas:
The G-7 welcomed the reports of the working groups of the G-7 and key emerging
market economies, and we agreed to work together to implement recommendations in the key
areas of transparency, strengthening financial systems and managing crisis with an appropriate
private-sector role, as a matter of urgency. We look forward to a productive discussion of these
and other issues in the Interim and Development Committees and other meetings, including the
meeting with finance ministers and central bank governors from key emerging markets. We also
called on our deputies to consult in a systematic way to complete a more detailed work plan,
based on the agenda above, and report to us at a meeting of G-7 Finance Ministers and Central
Bank Governors as soon as the work is completed. We have asked Mr. Tietmeyer, a member of
our group who is also the Chairman of the G-10 Central Bank Governors, to consult with other
appropriate bodies and to consider with them the arrangements for cooperation and coordination
between the various international financial regulatory and supervisory bodies and the
international financial institutions interested in such matters, and to put to us expeditiously
recommendations for any new structures and arrangements that may be required.
- promotion of soundly based capital flows, with better transparency and disclosure
for all types of financial institutions and improved regulatory focus in industrialized countries on
risk management systems and prudential standards;
- strengthening existing institutions and bodies to ensure that they work more closely
and cohesively together so as to seek to maintain on an on-going and regular basis the integrity
and stability of the international financial system;
- strengthened national financial systems, with measures to increase incentives for
countries to act in this area, including stronger surveillance of financial sector supervisory and
regulatory regimes including the possibility of peer review and much closer cooperation and
coherence between the various international institutions and groups involved in the financial
sector. In this respect, we welcome the upcoming meeting of the banking surveillance authorities
of the G-10 Basel group and of emerging economies in Sydney this month;
- consideration of the elements required for sustainable exchange rate regimes in
emerging market economies in the context of the global economy, backed by consistent
- development of effective mechanisms to involve the private sector in crisis
management, with an appropriate financing role; and
- other adaptations of the international architecture, including the possibility of
strengthening the Interim and Development Committees.
Source: US Department of Treasury web site
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