The IMF, as in the Asian financial crisis of 1997, is unlikely to change its policy of favouring the interests of Western states over those of the East. The punitive demands and exorbitant interest rates charged to Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia by the IMF will not have been forgotten, nor the strict conditions imposed upon those nations that sought assistance that benefited their competitors favoured by the IMF and undermined the value of Asian exports. Even assuming that these charges against the IMF are rejected, it is clear that, by treating Asia identically and imposing the same conditions as they imposed on radically different nations and circumstances in South America, they, at very least, fail to understand the economics or politics of Asia. Consequently, the necessity for an independent Asian alternative to secure a regional network, funded by Asian countries, to overcome current and future economic crises, is clear.
We hereby invite the People's Republic of China, along with the Republic of Korea and ASEAN - Brunei , Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - otherwise known as the ASEAN Plus Three Group of previous international conferences - to discuss the establishment of an Asian Monetary Fund. The future inclusion of other nations to the AMF, such as Australia and New Zealand, can be discussed at a later date once the AMF itself is established. This proposal is building on the existing Chiang Mai Initiative of those same nations - whose annual meetings in Thailand as early as 2002 have already concluded that:
Similarly, Asian representation in the IMF is incredibly poor: while Japan supplies 23.3% of the funding for Asia, its voting share is only 5.6%. The People's Republic of China supplies 5.8%, but receives a voting share of only 2.3% in return, while the Republic of Korea supplies 2.9% and receives a voting share of 0.5% - while Brunei, despite its 2.9%, receives only 0.1% of a vote - let alone Singapore, that supplies 5.8% but receives a voting share of only 0.2%. The IMF has resisted change time and time again.Structural reform, while necessary, is not enough. There is a need for a safety net through a regional financial arrangement. Asia needs an Asian system, operated by Asians and for Asia.
To be clear -the AMF is not intended to entirely replace the IMF. However, it intends to be a fund to support the interests of all Asian nations, rather than the financial interests of other actors. It will be able to quickly react to avert disaster while the IMF deliberates on global implications and is required to take into account the interests and advantages it can gain for its creditors outside Asia. It will also offer rescue packages more suited to Asian conditions - and avoid severely harming the economies of Asia, as the IMF did in 1997-1998. To start with, a fund of US$25 billion will be provided.
We hope that, in response to this brewing crisis, the nations of Asia will choose to stand together to weather the storm, and protect themselves from the potential consequences of this financial instability - just as those of Europe and the Arab world have done, long ago.