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Group of Seven to meet on Asia chaos


Financial Post, Weekly edition, Saturday, December 13, 1997

German Finance Minister Theo Waigel said Friday he would hold talks next week with top U.S. officials on the turmoil in Asian financial markets, which is also on the agenda of the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

Waigel said he will meet with U.S. President Bill Clinton, International Monetary Fund head Michel Camdessus, U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

``The situation on the international financial markets will stand at the centre of the political talks, especially in Asia following the IMF programs with [South] Korea, Indonesia and Thailand,'' a statement said.

Waigel, in Luxembourg for a European Union summit meeting, confirmed the bilateral talks and said the G7 was also concerned about the market turbulence.

``This is a very topical issue at the moment. It will be a topic for the G7 at the start of February at the latest. Our deputies are already talking about it,'' he said.

G7 financial officials -- from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. -- usually meet early in the year to discuss topical issues affecting the global economy.

Asked whether any concrete action would emerge from talks with U.S. officials, Waigel said: ``Our two countries cannot take concrete action on this,'' but added talks seemed appropriate in light of the overall G7 interest.

The IMF has put together a series of rescue packages to stave off a looming debt crisis in the three Asian states, with the largest being a record US$57-billion bailout for South Korea.

Some bankers say, however, Seoul may need up to US$100 billion in extra funds to avert large-scale default on foreign debts.

Source: This information is provided by the Financial Post.

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