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Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in The Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development, at ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) 10th Anniversary Event on 7 December 2021, at JW Marriott Hotel South Beach

07 Dec 2021

AMRO Director Mr. Toshinori Doi

Distinguished speakers and guests

Ladies and gentlemen

A very good evening to all. 

2. It is my pleasure to be here today to celebrate AMRO’s 10th anniversary. My warmest congratulations to AMRO for reaching this momentous milestone. 

Background and History of ASEAN+3 Financial Cooperation

3. On this happy occasion, I would like to briefly trace the origins of AMRO. 

a. In the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis, 

b. The ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers recognised the importance of regional cooperation to enhance resilience against future shocks that could impact financial stability.

c. And came together to establish the Chiang Mai Initiative in May 2000. 

4. The Global Financial Crisis in 2008 further accentuated the importance of strengthening our regional self-help mechanisms for financial stability.  

a. To provide timely and adequate liquidity support to regional economies. 

b. And complement the international financial safety net centred around the International Monetary Fund (IMF); and the precautionary reserves built up by individual economies.

c. As such, we multilateralised the Chiang Mai Initiative into the CMIM in March 2010. 

d. And established AMRO in April 2011 to support the implementation of the CMIM; and conduct regional macroeconomic surveillance.

AMRO’s Achievements

5. Under the leadership of former Directors Wei Benhua, Yoichi Nemoto and Chang Junhong and current Director Toshinori Doi, AMRO has grown from strength-to-strength. 

6. AMRO has continuously enhanced the operational readiness of the USD 240 billion CMIM arrangement.

a. Members can now tap up to 40% of their CMIM quota without an IMF programme; and 

b. Gain access to local currency liquidity, on top of the US Dollar.

7. AMRO has also helped to build up macroeconomic surveillance capabilities of ASEAN+3 members. 

a. Notably, more than 40 officers from ASEAN+3 members have participated in AMRO’s Technical Assistance secondment programme since 2014. 

b. Many of them have returned to their respective economies to contribute to macroeconomic surveillance and financial stability functions.

8. In addition, AMRO has developed new surveillance tools which enhanced the surveillance functions of members. 

a. This includes the upgraded ARTEMIS surveillance platform which provides useful models, tools and data to support analytical work of individual member authorities. 

9. COVID-19 has thrown AMRO’s work into sharper focus. 

a. AMRO has nimbly pivoted its surveillance focus towards financial and economic issues of greatest concern to members. 

b. These include new COVID-19-related surveillance reports such as the AMRO Working Paper on COVID-19 Pandemic Policies and thematic reports on the impact of COVID-19 on regional economies. 

c. Which allowed member authorities to keep tabs on the evolving public health and socio-economic conditions in the region; and contributed to domestic policy making. 

Looking Ahead

10. While celebrating its past achievements, AMRO should continuously challenge and develop itself in the coming decade.

11. I offer three suggestions.

12. First, to be an authoritative voice on ASEAN+3 financial and economic matters. 

a. AMRO is located in the heart of the thriving ASEAN+3 region. 

b. It should leverage this time-zone and ‘home ground’ comparative advantage to deepen regional surveillance capabilities and develop in-depth expertise in regional-specific issues. 

c. And build an Asian perspective that will allow AMRO to differentiate its views with credibility in global discussions. 

d. AMRO should also deepen partnerships with international financial institutions, international organisations, think tanks and media organisations, especially those with a presence in the Singapore financial ecosystem. 

e. This will allow AMRO to gain access to a larger body of expertise to address cross-cutting issues at the intersections of macroeconomy, financial stability, digitalisation and climate change. 

f. And build up its brand name in the international financial community.

13. Second, enhance policy advice to ASEAN+3 members.

a. AMRO should continue to strengthen engagements with ASEAN+3 member authorities; and understand their preoccupations and unique local circumstances. 

b. This will enable AMRO to develop timely, sound and tailored policy recommendations; and further its role as a trusted policy advisor for the region. 

c. In the near-term, AMRO can advise regional economies on their COVID-19 support measures and how they might exit the pandemic in an orderly and sustainable manner.

d. In the medium- to long-term, AMRO can support ASEAN+3 economies to seize opportunities brought about by emerging developments such as climate change, digitalisation and reconfiguration of global supply chains.

14. Third, serve as a bridge between ASEAN+3 members and the IMF. 

a. With its deep understanding of member economies’ unique domestic circumstances, AMRO can be an intermediary between the IMF and member economies in times of crisis, to ensure that appropriate policy support is given. 

b. We encourage AMRO to continue strengthening coordination with the IMF and other regional financing arrangements. This will allow ASEAN+3 members to tap the full strength and scale of the global financial safety net when needed.

15. As host country, Singapore looks forward to partnering AMRO in its next stage of development.

a. Through strengthening AMRO’s surveillance and CMIM support capabilities as articulated in its Medium-Term Implementation Plan.
b. And attracting high calibre talent critical to fulfilling AMRO’s mission in the years to come.

16. In closing, I would like to congratulate AMRO once again on reaching this significant milestone. 

a. And look forward to a successful 10th anniversary event.

17. Thank you all very much.