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.

Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
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

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home