G-15 calls for restrictions on currency speculations

ira ira at escape.com
Fri Feb 12 21:21:15 PST 1999

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G-15 calls for restrictions on currency speculations

Copyright ? 1999 Nando Media Copyright ? 1999 Associated Press


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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (February 12, 1999 6:39 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - Leaders of several developing nations on Friday called for restrictions on currency speculators and huge multinationals to prevent them from wreaking havoc on small economies.

Yearning for a stronger voice on the world stage, the diverse nations of the Group of 15 meeting in Jamaica agreed that a more humane financial world order was needed to prevent a few rich players from getting richer at

the expense of hundreds of millions of poor people.

"We have been reminded of the spread of the consequences of the process of globalization in a world that has become increasingly cold and heartless," Jamaica's Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said in closing the summit of the G-15 - which actually has 17 members and represents about 30 percent of the

world's population.

At the close of a summit dominated by bitterness over the dark side of globalization, the leaders declared that the fall-out from Southeast Asia's

financial crisis shows that industrialized nations must address the developing world's concerns.

The G-15 leaders emphasized their commitment to free trade, but they said it must be regulated.

Asia's crisis "did not stem from resistance of the affected economies to a globalizing world ... (but) our failure to manage the integration," said Indonesia's economy minister, Ginandjar Kartasasmita.

The diversity of interests of the G-15 - which includes Brazil, Mexico, India and Egypt - was reflected in a statement at the end of the three-day meeting.

It called for:

- International rules to monitor large financial players, especially hedge funds and currency speculators blamed in part for the Asian crisis. The suggested measures fell short of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's calls for an international regulating body.

- "Social safety nets" in development policies and programs to meet the needs of the poorest.

- Speedy implementation of initiatives by the Group of Eight industrialized

nations and the European Union to forgive the debts of the poorest countries.

- Urgent programs to fight increasing poverty and unemployment "as a means for ensuring international peace and stability."

- Opposing "disguised protectionist measures" by industrialized nations and

the use of trade sanctions to achieve environmental objectives.

- Resisting "unilateral measures with extra-territorial effects" - an apparent reference to the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.

- A comprehensive international convention to combat terrorism.

The leaders also called for more dialogue with the G-7 to change policies at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which they said reacted too late and with too little aid to the Asian crisis.

Developing nations say the institutions, whose loans are tied to stringent measures that often hit the poorest hardest, should offer more flexible lending packages.

The statement was agreed to by senior ministers from all the participating countries: Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

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