Updated June 7, 2001
Second Summit of the Americas
STRENGTHENING, MODERNIZING AND INTEGRATING
The Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas called on governments to:
"Strengthen banking supervision in the Hemisphere through: implementation of the Basle Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision; training programs to strengthen supervisory capacity; and the establishment of sound, high-quality reporting and disclosure standards for banks, and creation of a Working Group to assist countries in this process.
Improve banking and securities market clearance and settlement systems in the Hemisphere, in order to facilitate the transparency, efficiency and security of internal and cross-border transactions."
On October 5th, 1998, the Committee held its XI meeting at the headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington D.C. The representatives continued discussions on strengthening the regional economic and financial surveillance process, following the most recent meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors held at the IMF in September.
Discussions focused on recent global economic developments and current prospects, as well as policy options for responding to the more difficult external environment characterized by unstable capital movements. The officials noted the significant efforts countries had made to respond to the more difficult global financial environment. They affirmed that continued strengthening of macroeconomic policies and financial sectors was important to combat financial turbulence. They reiterated that countries should not step back in the liberalization process. The representatives also reviewed progress on the implementation of the initiatives set forth during the ministerial meeting last December in Santiago to strengthen and modernize financial systems in the Hemisphere. Updates were provided on the Working Group on Transparency and Disclosure, the implementation of the Basle Core Principles, Bank Supervisor Training and Clearance and Settlement Systems. Committee members reaffirmed the importance of ongoing meetings for the effective financial integration of the region.
Much of the work done to date in the context of the CHFI has entailed actions to assess weaknesses in the legal, regulatory and supervisory environment at the national level, and devise mechanisms to help countries redress those shortcomings and bring their systems in conformity with international norms. Examples of some of these endeavors follow:
Such efforts to deepen, modernize and liberalize domestic financial markets and develop adequate information, regulatory and supervisory infrastructure have the broader objective of improving the international financial system at large. These efforts also help to promote financial integration in the region. Likewise, the regional and sub-regional focus of training programs and institutional strengthening measures at the national and regional level aimed at enhancing prudential regulation, supervision and surveillance of crossborder transactions can be expected to contribute to the eventual harmonization of norms and procedures region-wide.
Financial developments over the last year or so have also sharpened the focus of regional concerns. Thus, at recent meetings of the CHFI and elsewhere, Finance Ministers and Deputies have begun to contemplate the possibility of joint action - at the sub-regional or regional level - to better counter the threat of financial market volatility and contagion. While still at a very tentative and preliminary stage, discussions have centered largely around two possible alternative lines of action: 1) The pooling of a portion of countries' reserves supplemented by funds from other sources (such as multilateral financial institutions and even private entities) into a contingent 'mutual liquidity fund', to fend off speculative attacks on member States' currencies; and 2) Dollarization schemes to try to forestall the exchange risk altogether.
13th Meeting of the Committee of Hemispheric Financial Issues
The 13th Meeting of the Committee on Hemispheric Financial Issues took place on the margins of the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, September 28, 1999 in Washington D.C..
Discussions during the meeting centered on two agenda items. The first of these were presentations by representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank, the IMF and World Bank on recent economic and financial system developments in the Hemisphere for the second quarter of 1999. The presentations included forecasts for year-end and the year 2000. The second item was making the necessary preparations for the Third Western Hemispheric Finance Ministers Meeting.
In regards to the presentations made by the multilateral financial institutions (IFIs), all presented similar situations: better growth performance of the non-fuel commodities in the first and second quarters of 1999; the slight increase in the FDI in the first quarter of 1999; an expected growth of 4% along with an inflation rate of 7% or 8% in the region for the year 2000; and a slowdown in August in the growth of capital flows in the region due to US concerns with the Y2K problem.
There was considerable discussion on the performance of Ecuador and its current economic crisis. Different points of view were expressed regarding the effectiveness of national policies and the international community's actions to help countries in crisis. Nevertheless, there was general agreement on the need to establish policies to prevent similar crises in the future.
Finally, a report on Y2K, prepared by the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico (SHCP) was presented during the meeting.
IMF: Code of Good Practices on Transparency in monetary and Financial Policies: Declaration of Principles
III Meeting of the Western Hemisphere Finance Ministers
The Third Western Hemisphere Finance Ministerial was held in Cancun, Mexico, on February 3, 2000. As a result of the Meeting, the Ministers signed a Declaration that reflects the main topics for discussion. These topics include an overview of the reforms of the international financial architecture, transparency and accountability, capital account liberalization and exchange rate regimes, managing vulnerability to financial crises, standards, money laundering, Summit of the Americas mandates and free trade issues. (For more information on the III Western Hemisphere Finance Ministers Meeting, please see the official homepage of the Mexican finance ministry, click here).
IV Meeting of the Western Hemisphere Finance Ministers
On April 3-4, 2001, the Western Hemisphere Finance Ministers met in Toronto, Canada, to discuss recent financial trends and define goals for the future. Meeting for the fourth time, these Ministers emphasized the need for sustained growth and poverty reduction, financial sector regulation and supervision, and the strengthening of corporate governance. They also encouraged countries to continue combating financial abuse through a transparent and fair process. Challenges in globalization were addressed, along with benefiting from greater trade liberalization, connectivity and the Ministry's follow-up work. For a more complete report on this meeting, please see the Joint Ministerial Statement (in French, as well).
The mandates and initiatives pertaining to finance were reinvigorated and fortified at the 2001 Quebec City Summit of the Americas. For more information on these mandates, and to continue with follow up activities in this area, please click here.
Updated June 7, 2001
/1 Portions of this paragraph and the subsequent one are sourced from "Committee on Hemispheric Financial Issues Concludes Meeting At IDB on Strengthening Hemispheric Financial Systems", International Development Network[Finance/tracker.htm]