Apec summit ends with US commitment to tackle economic crisis in Pacific Rim

The United States is soon to convene a special meeting of finance ministers to discuss the economic turmoil in Asia.

The plan was announced in Vancouver late on Tuesday at the end of the summit of economic leaders from the Pacific Rim, and - as Mary Dejevsky reports - it showed Washington's continued determination to resist pressure from some Asian countries for an 'Asian' solution to their problems.

US officials would not say when the meeting would be held or which finance ministers would be invited, but its purpose is to discuss the rescue plan endorsed at Vancouver this week for the ailing Asian economies - and place it in a global context. It will also have the desirable effect for President Bill Clinton of the US of showing him as an international economic leader, despite his recent defeats on trade and international finance issues in Congress.

The meeting, as presented by the Americans, is intended to sustain the momentum built up at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit this week, and is in addition to next week's gathering of Asian and American finance ministers in Malaysia. It will have a double purpose: to show that Washington takes the current instability in Asia seriously - despite President Clinton's earlier reference to it as just "a few glitches" - and to make plain the US view that national economies are all part of a single global system and should conform to similar standards.

This was spelt out in the official declaration adopted by the 18 Apec leaders at Vancouver, which asserted the prime role of the International Monetary Fund in all economic rescues - in Asia or elsewhere. "On a global level," it said, "the IMF remains central." But President Clinton, while pleased with the mood of co-operation at Vancouver, and with participants' support for further trade liberalisation, appeared to feel that the global approach needed further impetus.

The rescue plans agreed so far for four Asian countries - Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and now South Korea - have a provisional price tag of $68bn (pounds 40bn), more than the Mexican bail-out three years ago and a record for the IMF. But they are not just IMF bail-outs.

The Apec summit also endorsed a set of principles, known as the Manila Framework after the emergency meeting of ministers and central bankers in the Philippines last week. They stipulate IMF involvement, provide for supplementary assistance to be granted regionally "when necessary", and also require recipient countries to commit themselves to whatever reforms may be needed to run their economies and finance systems on a sound basis.

This three-tier framework was applied first to the Indonesia rescue, but it has now been elevated to a general formula to be invoked for other bail-outs. It does not, however, specify which countries might contribute to any supplementary financing, nor does it stipulate any sum.

The endorsement of the Manila Framework was hailed as the main achievement of this week's summit. Participants also tried hard to calm the volatile markets by insisting on the underlying strengths of Asia's tiger economies and stressing the region's exceptionally strong prospects for continued growth. The defiant confidence of the formal declaration sat uncomfortably with the record rescue plan that was endorsed, and not all participants were convinced that Asia's instability could be prevented from spreading.

The two-day meeting also exposed continuing friction between the US and Japan, both on bilateral relations and on an appropriate response to the current turmoil in Asia. President Clinton and other US officials made clear that they regarded Japan as the key to containing Asia's economic difficulties and wanted it to speed up its own economic recovery in the hope that it would provide a locomotive to assist growth in neighbouring countries.

Fearing that economic turbulence in Japan could increase its trade surplus with the US, the Americans also advised the Japanese not to use exports as the prime stimulus for its economy.

Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?