Finance ministers and central bank deputies of 13 East Asian countries earlier this month discussed plans to increase the role of local currencies through currency swap transactions to avoid overreliance on the U.S. dollar.
The plan was discusse, the ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting, which was held in Chiang Rai on April 5. Lavaron Sangsnit, director general of the Thai Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office, said participants agreed it is time the 13 countries, rely more on local currencies, starting with swaps that will involve exchange of interest and exchange of currencies to lessen reliance on the U.S. dollar, which is subject to fluctuation.
He said the 13 countries — the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations members plus China, Japan and South Korea — have yet to finalize when the scheme will be implemented, but it will be discussed in detail in the upcoming meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors. In their two days of talks, the ASEAN finance ministers and central bank governors also highlighted collaboration on ASEAN payment connectivity, cybersecurity resilience and information-sharing platforms amid the emergence of electronic finance.
The ministers also discussed the issue of making electronic payments across the border, as many countries have been developing the infrastructure needed for a cashless society. For instance, Thailand has developed the infrastructure to accommodate payments using QR codes, internet and mobile.
Cooperation in this sector will make things more convenient for consumers and make financial transactions in Asean countries much easier. The region will also implement the Asean Single Window for sharing information and facilitating trade and investment, Lavaron said, adding that this is already in place in nine countries with the exception of Laos. ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.