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Finance Ministers' Meetings

Statement of G-7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

Washington, D.C., April 16, 2000

  1. We, the Finance Ministers of the G-7 countries, the Central Bank Governors of Canada, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom, the Euro-11 Presidency, and the President of the European Central Bank, met today with the Acting Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund to review recent developments in the world economy. We, the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the G-7 countries, discussed reform of international financial institutions and reviewed progress made on follow-up work on strengthening the international financial architecture, including financial regulatory policy issues. They also reviewed current work on money laundering and financial crime and implementation of the HIPC Initiative.
  1. We welcomed the selection of Horst Köhler to be the new Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and expressed confidence in his ability to lead the institution forward. We also expressed our gratitude to Stanley Fischer for his excellent work as Acting Managing Director.

Developments in the World Economy

  1. Prospects for expansion in industrial countries and the world economy more generally continue to brighten. The underlying fundamentals of the expansion of the major economic areas have strengthened since our last meeting. Nonetheless, continued vigilance and further action are needed to promote a more balanced and therefore more sustainable pattern of growth among our economies. We agreed on the continued importance of directing both macroeconomic and structural policies in all our countries at this objective, with emphasis on taking full advantage of the investment opportunities created by new technologies to raise potential growth rates.
  1. We re-emphasized our commitment to maintain or create conditions for strong, sustainable growth in each of our countries. In this context, we stressed the importance of continued cooperation among the G-7 countries. With respect to individual economies:
  1. We welcomed the initiation of WTO negotiations in agriculture and services and support efforts to build a consensus for the early launch of a new round of multilateral trade negotiations designed to bring benefit to all countries, including the poorest. We urge the IMF and World Bank to work with the WTO and other relevant institutions to improve the effectiveness of trade-related technical assistance, and to more fully incorporate policies promoting international trade and capacity building into Fund programs and Bank operations.

Exchange Rates

  1. We discussed developments in our exchange and financial markets. In this context, we emphasized our view that exchange rates among major currencies should reflect economic fundamentals. We will continue to monitor developments in exchange markets and cooperate as appropriate.

Emerging Market Economies

  1. Emerging market economies continue to strengthen and investor sentiment has further improved. However, it will be critical for countries to maintain the momentum of reform and continue to work to address potential underlying vulnerabilities. We welcome the stronger than expected economic recoveries in many Asian economies but note the importance of further progress in corporate and financial restructuring. In some cases, taking advantage of exchange rate flexibility could help in managing the policy challenges posed by shifts in capital flows. For the strengthening economic recoveries in Latin America to be sustained, policies must be directed at reducing vulnerabilities, in particular by improving underlying fiscal positions and debt structures.


  1. We look forward to the articulation of economic reform proposals and objectives by the new President’s government. The Russian economy has strengthened during the past year, offering a unique opportunity to move forward with reform by utilizing its high economic potential. However, fundamental economic reforms will be essential if this positive trend is to be sustained. In this context, we urged the Russian authorities to take action on critical economic challenges, such as establishing an impartial rule of law, including secure property rights and contract enforcement, as well as implementing structural reforms to spur competition and restructuring. These reforms are necessary to create an attractive environment for domestic and foreign investment. Multilateral and bilateral support should increasingly be focused on these areas. We expect Russia also to work closely with the IMF to implement an economic program focused on macroeconomic stability, with associated supporting structural reforms, including in the banking system, and further reducing the role of barter in the economy. We also highlighted the need to intensify the fight against corruption and money laundering, and urged the Russian authorities to follow through on commitments to seek passage of a strong anti-money laundering law in line with international standards. We will be supportive of action to address these challenges by the new government through policies supported by the Russian population.

Architecture Issues, Including IFI Reform, Private Sector Involvement, and Financial Regulatory Policy

  1. We exchanged views on the role and functioning of the international financial institutions (IFIs). In the context of the changing global financial landscape, in particular the increasing importance of private global capital markets, it is appropriate for the international community to continue to examine the role and functioning of the international financial institutions. In this context:
  1. We agreed to continue to work together and with the wider membership of the institutions on these core issues and look forward to exploring this agenda further.
  1. We also agreed to continue our work to implement fully the wide range of measures to strengthen the international financial architecture endorsed at the Cologne summit, including promoting appropriate private sector involvement. Private external creditors, including bond holders, have contributed to the financing of several recent programs of policy reform and recovery. This has confirmed the importance of making operational the framework Ministers laid out in their report to Heads in Cologne, which provides for flexibility to address diverse cases within a framework of principles and tools. In this context, we agreed that the IMF should consider whether private sector involvement is appropriate in programs, using the operational guidelines described in the annex. The IMF should play a central role in deciding if private creditors should contribute to any program financing, while taking duly into account the specific circumstances of individual cases. The IMF should also review the results of the country’s efforts to secure financing from private creditors. We agreed on the further steps to put this approach into operation, as described in the attached annex.
  1. We welcomed the reports of the Financial Stability Forum Working Groups on Highly-Leveraged Institutions, Capital Flows, and Offshore Financial Centers, as well as the Task Force on the Implementation of Standards, and agreed to promote progress in their implementation. We supported the recommendations for better risk management by HLIs and their counterparties, better disclosure practices among financial institutions, including enhanced disclosure requirements for HLIs and their creditors, improved oversight of creditor institutions, and enhanced national surveillance of financial market activity in view of concerns about systemic risk and market dynamics caused by HLIs’ activities. We will review these measures and their implementation to determine whether additional steps are necessary. We also welcomed recognition of the importance of managing country risks, and in this regard, urged prompt development of guidelines for public debt and reserve management, with special attention to the risk created by short-term foreign currency liabilities, and taking account of countries’ vulnerability to capital account crises, including those vulnerabilities arising from the liabilities of the private sector. We also welcome the work on the potential threats posed to the international financial system by those offshore centers which do not adequately meet international standards. We support the identification of priority jurisdictions and the focus on improvements in transparency and international cooperation. We call on the IMF to play its part in implementing the various recommendations of the FSF Working Groups. Finally, we look forward to additional work by the Forum on promoting regulatory and market incentives for implementation of standards, as well as further development of guidance on deposit insurance schemes.

Money Laundering and Financial Crime

  1. We note the broad support among G-7 countries to address money laundering and financial crimes as part of the on-going international effort to counter risks to the international financial system. A number of G-7 countries have taken significant policy and legislative initiatives on money laundering and financial crime. Along with several multilateral initiatives well underway, we believe this sets the stage in the period ahead for accelerated and sustained progress in our fight against money laundering and financial crimes. In this context, we look forward to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) report on non-cooperative countries and territories due in June.
  1. We strongly support the work being done by the OECD’s Forum on Harmful Tax Practices to curb harmful tax competition through preferential tax regimes and tax havens. We welcome the report by the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs on access to bank information for tax purposes, and call on all countries, using the report as a starting point, to work rapidly towards a position where they can permit access to and exchange bank information for all tax administration purposes.

Enhanced HIPC Initiative

  1. We note the progress achieved in the implementation of the Cologne Debt Initiative, and reaffirm the importance we attach to bringing countries quickly to the point where they can benefit from debt relief. We strongly support the efforts of HIPC countries to develop Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), in the context of a sound policy framework. We look forward to further work to strengthen these strategies, so that the resources freed up by HIPC relief are used effectively to reduce poverty and boost economic growth. We urge the IMF, the World Bank, and eligible countries to cooperate closely to secure the implementation of the HIPC Initiative with the aim that the eligible countries reach their decision point by the end of 2000, in line with the Cologne target. It is critical to secure over time the needed financing for the enhanced HIPC Initiative. We welcome the progress that has been made in this respect, and note that some bilateral contributions to the HIPC Initiative have been made, including to the HIPC Trust Fund, but some require legislative approval. We call upon those IFIs which have not yet finalized the basis for their participation to do so quickly, including the maximum use of their own resources. We urge all bilateral creditors which have not yet done so to take action to deliver their share of debt relief under the Initiative as participation of all creditors is key to its success. We reiterate our willingness to actively contribute to the success of the enhanced HIPC Initiative and its more general goal of reducing poverty. To this end, we have committed ourselves to grant, on a bilateral basis, additional debt relief on top of that provided for under the HIPC Initiative by increasing to 100% the debt reduction on commercial claims eligible for treatment in the framework of the Paris Club. We urge other creditors to follow the same route.

Annex I – IMF Reform

  1. We welcome the discussions that have taken place in the IMF Board and among the deputies of the International Monetary and Financial Committee on the role and functioning of the IMF. In this context and drawing on those discussions, we have outlined in this annex our views on key principles and appropriate priorities that should guide efforts to equip the IMF for the challenges ahead. We agreed to continue to work together with the wider membership of the IMF on these issues and look forward to exploring this agenda further at the meeting tomorrow of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and thereafter.
  1. In our discussions of IMF reform, we emphasized the following key principles:
  1. Strong surveillance must be at the center of the IMF’s efforts to strengthen the world economy and the architecture of the international financial system. In this light, we underscored the importance of a substantial qualitative shift in the nature and scope of the Fund’s surveillance needed in light of globalization, large scale private capital flows, and the emerging framework of internationally agreed codes and standards.
  1. We agreed that the IMF also has an important role to play in promoting transparency and the flow of information. In order to promote the use of available information by the markets, we welcomed the IMF’s decision to highlight in a quarterly publication countries’ efforts to publish a full range of high-quality data in a timely manner in compliance with the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS).
  1. We agreed that the IMF’s financial operations should continue to adapt to the globalization of capital markets, while preserving the flexibility to support all member countries, as appropriate, including those with no immediate prospects of market access, in light of their specific circumstances. Against this background we welcomed the preliminary review of facilities undertaken in the IMF and agreed on the importance of streamlining the IMF’s non-concessional facilities. We welcomed the Executive Board’s actions in recent months to simplify the array of IMF facilities (eliminating four obsolete facilities – the External Contingency Mechanism, the Buffer Stock Financing Facility, Debt and Debt Service Reduction and Currency Stabilization Fund – and scaling back the Fund’s compensatory financing).
  1. Going forward, we attach priority to the creation of a streamlined structure for IMF lending consistent with this approach that would: (i) provide clear incentives for countries to put in place strong ex ante policies to prevent crises, to observe internationally agreed standards and best practices, and to maintain good relations with private creditors; (ii) address short-run balance of payment imbalances and, where appropriate, support reforms with a medium-term horizon, while at the same time encouraging countries to move toward sustainable access to private capital; (iii) allow the IMF to respond rapidly and on an appropriate scale to crises of capital market confidence, with appropriate terms to mitigate moral hazard and encourage rapid repayment; and (iv) maintain a strong, focused role for the IMF in supporting sound macroeconomic policies in the poorest countries, integrating its efforts with those of the World Bank given the latter’s responsibility for promoting poverty reduction and growth-oriented programs.

    We look forward to early progress in the IMF in achieving such a simplified, incentives-based approach to its lending activities, that will encourage countries to develop in a progressive manner sustained, stable access to private capital markets and to adopt preventive measures against contagion. This could be achieved by adapting the maturity, pricing structure, and other terms of the existing system of facilities, in particular with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the CCL without compromising the initial eligibility criteria, and by avoiding prolonged use of the SBA and EFF and to strengthen post-program monitoring.

  1. We highlighted in particular the importance of work underway to strengthen safeguards on the use of the Fund’s resources. We agreed that IMF Board’s decision to adopt a new framework for the conduct of safeguard assessments, strengthened measures to discourage misreporting and a requirement that countries making use of Fund resources publish annual financial statements independently audited by external auditors in accordance with internationally accepted standards should be applied vigorously – as this is critical to buttressing the integrity of the IMF’s financial operations.
  1. We continue to place high priority on further steps to increase the transparency and accountability of the IMF. We welcome in this context the transformation of the Interim Committee into the permanent International Monetary and Financial Committee. We welcomed the recent decision to publish quarterly the financial transactions plan (formerly known as the "operational budget") and encouraged the Fund to take further steps to make its financial accounts and statements more understandable. We also welcomed progress made toward establishing a permanent Independent Evaluation Office inside the Fund, and urged that steps be taken to bring this office into operation as soon as possible.

Annex II – Private Sector Involvement in Crisis Prevention and Resolution: Operational Guidelines

More attention needs to be devoted to crisis prevention. Emerging market economies participating in international capital markets and their private creditors should seek in normal times to establish a strong, continuous dialogue. The IMF should also encourage the use of appropriate measures, including collective action clauses, to facilitate more orderly crisis resolution. We agree to facilitate the use of collective action clauses in international bonds issued by emerging market economies in our own financial markets. We urge the World Bank and other Multilateral Development Banks to work to have such clauses used in international sovereign bonds or loans for which they provide a guarantee.

With regard to crisis resolution, we agreed that the approach adopted by the international community should be based on the IMF’s assessment of a country’s underlying payment capacity and prospects of regaining market access, informed by the country’s economic fundamentals, payment profile, history of market access, and the market spreads on its debts. All programs will need to include analysis of the country’s medium-term debt and balance of payments profile, including a section explaining the assumptions taken about the sources of private finance.

In some cases, the combination of catalytic official financing and policy adjustment should allow the country to regain full market access quickly. In some cases, emphasis should be placed on encouraging voluntary approaches as needed to overcome creditor coordination problems. In other cases, the early restoration of full market access on terms consistent with medium-term external sustainability may be judged to be unrealistic, and a broader spectrum of actions by private creditors, including comprehensive debt restructuring, may be warranted to provide for an adequately financed program and a viable medium-term payments profile.

In those cases where debt restructuring or debt reduction may be necessary, we agreed that IMF programs should be based on the following operational guidelines:

  1. Put strong emphasis on medium-term financial sustainability, with the IMF determining the appropriate degree of economic adjustment required by the country and the IMF and the country agreeing on a financing plan compatible with a sustainable medium-term payments profile.
  1. Strike an appropriate balance between the contributions of the private external creditors and the official external creditors, in light of financing provided by IFIs. In cases where a contribution from official bilateral creditors (primarily the Paris Club) is needed, the IMF financing plan would need to provide for broad comparability between the contributions of official bilateral creditors and private external creditors. The Paris Club, if involved, should of course continue to assess the comparability desired and achieved between its agreement and those to be reached with other creditors.
  1. Aim for fairness in treatment of different classes of private creditors and for involvement of all classes of material creditors. The IMF should review the country's efforts to secure needed contributions from private creditors in light of these considerations, as well as medium-term sustainability.
  1. Place responsibilities for negotiation with creditors squarely with debtor countries. The international official community should not micromanage the details of any debt restructuring or debt reduction negotiations.
  1. Provide greater clarity to countries at the start of the process about the possible consequences for their programs, including in terms of official financing, of any failure to secure the necessary contribution from private creditors on terms consistent with a sustainable medium-term payments profile. Such consequences could include the need for a program revision to provide for additional adjustment by the country concerned or the option of reduced official financing, or, conversely, a decision by the IMF to lend into arrears if a country has suspended payments while seeking to work cooperatively and in good faith with its private creditors and is meeting other program requirements.
  1. When all relevant decisions have been taken, the Fund should set out publicly how and what certain policy approaches have been adopted, in line with the Cologne framework.

Source: Canada, Department of Finance.

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