Thank you for kind introduction.
His Excellency Heng Swee Keat, Head of Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for Finance Peter Ong, Managing Director Ravi Menon, Vice Minister Chanthavongsa, Vice Minister Shi, Honourable Ambassadors, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
A very good morning.
1. On behalf of AMRO, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all our guests who have gathered here today to commemorate the successful transition of our office to an international organisation.
2. First of all, I would like to thank the member authorities for their tireless and dedicated efforts to expedite the ratification process.
3. Actually, due to the severe shortage of manpower right after the establishment of our office, I had to draft some provisions of the treaty by myself. Thus, I am deeply impressed by the effectiveness of AMRO Agreement today.
4. I also would like to thank the Government of Singapore for the support it has extended to us as the Host country as well as the MAS for the preparation of this opening ceremony.
5. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my special thanks to Mr Klaus Regling, Managing Director of the ESM, who has greatly helped us in our transition by providing invaluable advice based on his experience in the 2 transition from EFSF to ESM.
6. Our transition to an international organization provides us with many valuable opportunities to enhance the quality of our activities.
7. For example, the functional privileges and immunities granted to our office will enable us to obtain a wider scope of data and information. Such data and information are critically important to improve our assessment of macroeconomic and financial developments in the region. They will also enable us to formulate policy recommendations to more effectively cope with risks.
8. In addition, with enhanced privileges and immunities, we will be able to deepen our existing collaboration with other IFIs, in areas such as staff and information exchange.
9. All of these measures would contribute towards strengthening our surveillance capability.
10. Now allow me to explain the other aspects of the conversion. From this month, AMRO will be able to expand the scope of our business beyond economic surveillance.
11. For example, unlike the period as a private company limited in Singapore, AMRO will now be able to formally play various supporting roles for the CMIM, following instructions by our member authorities.
12. Additionally, AMRO is also prepared to play a larger role to help redefine the relationship between the global and regional frameworks.
13. Though the Global Financial Crisis has had negative repercussions on the global economy, it also provided an excellent impetus for change, especially with respect to the role of regional financial safety nets in the international financial architecture.
14. In recent years, the IMF and G20 have acknowledged the importance of regional financial safety nets in complementing the existing global financial safety net.
15. It is therefore crucial to work out how the multiple layers of safety nets – bilateral, regional and global – should coordinate and collaborate with each other, while avoiding the issue of moral hazard. AMRO is prepared to work on these matters.
16. We will also introduce a technical assistance programme with the aim of improving macroeconomic and financial data adequacy, as requested by our members.
17. Finally, AMRO as an international organization now enjoys greater flexibility in external communications.
18. We believe that it is timely for us to intensify our efforts to raise our visibility on the global stage. As a first step, we have spent the past six months redesigning our website, with the aim of enhancing our online presence.
19. As I come to a close, I would like to express my special thanks to my predecessor Mr Wei Benhua. Without his dedicated effort to lay the solid foundation for AMRO’s future development during his term, we would not have been able to commemorate the transition today.
20. Once again, I would like to thank our esteemed guests for being here to witness our opening ceremony. I am confident that with the support of our member authorities, AMRO will continue to expand and develop to be the region’s trusted surveillance unit.
Thank you very much.