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Remarks by Mr Raymond Lim, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Foreign Affairs, on Reform of The Bretton Woods Institutions at ASEM Finance Ministers' Meeting in Vienna, Austria, 8-9 April 2006

09 Apr 2006

On the issue of fair quota and voice in the Bretton Woods Institutions, Minister Raymond Lim said:

"This is a critical issue that affects the legitimacy and relevance of two very important international institutions that were formed 60 years ago. The world has since changed and so should they. It is especially fitting to discuss this issue at ASEM because Asia and Europe are key stakeholders in the reform process.

I believe that it is in the common interest of the two regions to work together to reach a consensus that would ensure that the IMF continues to remain strong and effective for the good of the international monetary system. There is no doubt that the responsibility for reform lies in the hands of each and every shareholder.

For Asia, a fairer distribution of quotas is necessary to reflect the rising importance of Asia in the world economy. In 1965, East Asia accounted for 12% of world GDP, today it is about 23% and growing. This increasing economic influence points to the ability and willingness of Asia to play a larger role in the Bretton Woods institutions. We should take a pragmatic, open and inclusive approach to this issue. It would be a pity if the quota reform were limited to only a `select few' as it would then defeat the whole purpose of this exercise. Singapore supports an increase that would better reflect the economic realities of the world today. In this regard, we appreciate the role played by our European counterparts in contributing to a successful outcome.

As the host of the IMF/WB Annual Meetings in September, we hope that a breakthrough on the number of countries to include and the scale of the increase could be achieved by then."