Region-Building: Common Objectives Part 6

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ECONOMIC & MONETARY INTEGRATION
AFRICAN UNION:
Profile: African Union – BBC News, Feb. 6, 2012 – Conceived by the then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as a “United States of Africa”, its structure is loosely modelled on that of the European Union. It inaugurated a pan-African parliament in March 2004… There are far-reaching plans to set up a human rights court, a central bank and monetary fund, and by 2023 an African Economic Community with a single currency.
African central bank governors seek monetary integration – Newstrack India, August 31, 2012 – African central banks’ governors have called for speeding up of the process of monetary integration in Africa as a step towards achieving the goals of creating the African Central Bank (ACB) and ultimately issuing an African single currency.
AU concludes work on African Monetary Fund, others – The Guardian (Nigeria), March 1, 2012 – Stressing that the African Union Commission was working hard on financial integration of the continent, Mkwezalamba announced that work was also at advanced stage towards the establishment of the African Investment Bank and the African Monetary Union. He charged the Association of African Central Banks to work hard on the final push for the take-off of the African Central Bank and the common currency for the region.
EAC monetary policy to be finalized this year – Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, November 23, 2012 – The biggest challenge however has been the monetary policy which would see member states have a common currency.
East Africa: Europe Crisis Won’t Halt East Africa Monetary Union Plans – AllAfrica, October 17, 2012 – Under the arrangement of the Monetary Union, the five member States will form a regional central bank, introduce a single currency and harmonise the monetary policy.
East African Community turns to West Africa for integration lessons
Africa Review (Kenya), August 22, 2012 – East Africa’s Monetary Union protocol currently under negotiation not only targets a single currency but also uniform fiscal and monetary regime by end of this year.
African central bank governors meet August to consider continental apex bank – WorldStage, July 23, 2012 – While noting that the institution of a Common Currency was symbol of autonomy of Africa, as the African Union (AU) and ACB governors have agreed to get experts to come up with draft document, he stated that endorsement of the of the draft by the African leaders would translate the long cherished dream for a continental Central Bank and common currency a reality.

ARAB LEAGUE:
How to form an Arab single currency?  – Gulf News (Dubai, UAE), October 3, 2012 – Lately, the Arab League…decided to study the possibility of setting up an Arab single currency, based on a proposal submitted by the Arab Importers and Exporters Union.

ASEAN:
Standardized banking rules for Asean pushed – Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 13, 2012 – BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said that under the plan, a bank in one Asean country would be allowed to operate in another member-country under the same terms and conditions that applied to local banks.
Asean framework will also allow local banks to expand regionally – The Star (Malaysia), November 9, 2012 – However, he believes the potential entry of banks from other Asean member countries into Malaysia will increase competition in the industry in the future.
Asean Central Banks Close To Launching Framework For Banking Sector Integration, Says Zeti – Bernama (Malaysia), November 7, 2012 – The Asean central banks, which endorsed the Asean Financial Integration Framework in 2011, are in the final stages to launch the framework for banking sector integration, said Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
Asean regional integration heightens competition among insurers, banks – The Philippine Star, October 30, 2012 – By 2015, the country’s insurance industry will be competing for the thin local market against its counterparts from the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean).

EURASIAN UNION:
Medvedev considers introduction of single currency in Eurasian Economic Union – Voice of Russia, June 15, 2012 – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has suggested considering the introduction of a single currency in the Eurasian Economic Union that’s due to be set up by five CIS nations by January 1st, 2015.
Euro Crisis Gives Impetus to Eurasian Common Currency Discussion – Moscow Times, June 17, 2012 – Portansky said wooing Ukraine into the customs union would bring the introduction of the common currency closer because it would significantly boost Russia’s mutual trade with other bloc members. Creating a single currency will mark the final stage of forming the Eurasian Union and help strengthen the bloc, Stanislav Bogdankevich, former chairman of the National Bank of Belarus, told RIA-Novosti on Friday.
What Euro Crisis? Russia Seeks Single CurrencyMoscow Times, June 18, 2012 – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is calling attention to the introduction of a common currency for the Eurasian Union of former Soviet countries as a hedge against growing volatility in global financial markets.
Positive opinion in Russia’s parliament about a common currency in the Eurasian Union – Russia-media.RU, June 18, 2012 – After the introduction of a common currency the Eurasian Union will be a real supranational union. Otherwise, it remains still as an “initiative that exists in the papers”, underlined Slutski. “We need a common currency, common language, common borders, common law and a unified parliament” he added.
Putin Sets Sights on Eurasian Economic Union - Financial Times (London), August 16, 2011 (Google link) – Twenty years after the Soviet Union collapsed, Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, may not, as is sometimes alleged, be trying to recreate it. But he is pursuing a different project – to build a “quasi-European Union” out of former Soviet states….At a Moscow summit this month, prime ministers of the three states set an even more ambitious target – turning the grouping into a “Eurasian economic union” by 2013. There is even talk, down the line, of a common currency.
Karasin arrives to discuss common currency  – Charter ’97 (Belarus), Jan. 31, 2012 – The issue of currency of the Common Economic Area was discussed at a meeting of State Secretary, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Grigory Karasin with Belarusian MFA representatives in Minsk on Monday. “The financial aspect was among the topics: the future of the ruble and if the new currency is needed for the Eurasian Economic Union,” Karasin told journalists, Interfax-Zapad news agency reports.
Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan may have common currency in future – Putin – RIA Novisti (Russia), Dec. 15, 2011 – Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan may introduce a single currency in the future within the Eurasian Economic Union between the three former Soviet republics, a new entity meant to promote cooperation both with Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
Lukashenko: New Single Currency should Operate within CES – Telegraf.by (Belarus), Jan. 19, 2012 – President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko believes that some new currency like the euro should be created in case of single currency introduction within the Common Economic Space of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. “The Russians, Kazakhs and we, Belarusians, agree on the fact that it’s quite a normal practice,” said the President in an interview with the Chinese media on January 17….The Head of State also notes that the progress made in November 2011 is not the last stage of integration, so the CES countries will seek closer cooperation within the Eurasian Union.
Expert: ruble will be Eurasia’s common currency by 2016 – PanARMENIAN.Net, Nov. 24, 2011

EUROPEAN UNION:
Single supervisor for all eurozone banks in 2014
Malta Independent, September 2, 2012 – There are disagreements between the 17 eurozone members as well as in the wider European Union over how fast and to what extent to centralise the current system which relies on national supervisors loosely monitored by the London-based European Banking Authority (EBA).
Europe forges fiscal union, sees way out of crisis – Associated Press, Dec. 9, 2011 – To prevent excessive deficits, countries in the treaty will have to submit their national budgets to the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, which will have the power to send them back for revision.
A Banking Union Baby Step – BusinessWorld, July 3, 2012 – Economic (and political) logic requires that the eurozone will soon also need a common bank rescue fund. Officially, this has not yet been acknowledged. But that is often the way that European integration proceeds: an incomplete step in one area later requires further steps in related areas. This incremental approach has worked well in the past; indeed, today’s European Union resulted from it.
How We’ll Build European Monetary Union 2.0 - By Olli Rehn (vice president of the European Commission and commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro) , Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2012 – The sovereign-debt crisis has both underlined the need and created the conditions for Europe to rebuild and reinforce its economic and monetary union. Thus the euro zone will continue to defy its detractors.
European Union to turn into United States of Europe?  – Pravda (Russia), August 2, 2012 – The interdependence of the economies in Europe is too high, so the collapse of the South in any case will have a catastrophic effect on its north. A creation of something similar to the “United States of Europe”, but under the auspices of Berlin, can be another way out.
Think Again: The Eurocrisis – Foreign Policy, July 23, 2012 – But before writing the euro’s obituary, let’s remember: The driving force behind a European currency union was never purely or even principally financial. It was political — and these binding forces remain strong.

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL:
Gulf Arabs shouldn’t delay single currency: Qatar bank official – Al Arabiya (Dubai, UAE), July 27, 2012 – A Gulf official has told Reuters that the countries taking part in the single currency project are still dealing with organizing the institutions and there was no decision yet on any program or timings.
Qatar Central Bank Official: GCC Should Pursue Monetary Union -Reuters – Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2012 – Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council “should benefit from the euro experience and continue with the GCC monetary union project without a delay,” an official of Qatar’s central bank said, Reuters reports on its website Thursday.
GCC SINGLE CURRENCY ON TRACK: SAUDI CENTRAL BANK - Khaleej Times, September 16, 2011 – The launch of the Gulf single currency, which had been delayed following the withdrawal of the UAE and Oman, is on track, Saudi Arabia’s Central Bank Governor Muhammad Al Jasser said.

NORTH AMERICA:
Placing a New North American Initiative in its Economic Policy Context
[This document, released by WikiLeaks on April 28, 2011, is a 2005 U.S. embassy cable from Ottawa signed by then-U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci.]
THIS MESSAGE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE USG [U.S. government] CHANNELS – 2005-01-28….CURRENCY UNION: Canadian economists are split on whether a return to a fixed exchange rate, or adopting the U.S. dollar, would benefit Canada in current circumstances…. The central bank governor has taken the position that “monetary union is an issue that should be considered once we have made more progress towards establishing a single market.”

SOUTH PACIFIC:

Australia and New Zealand could adopt single currency - The Telegraph (London), April 3, 2012 – Australia and New Zealand will consider adopting a single currency under a proposal jointly floated by the countries’ productivity bodies. The productivity commissions of the two nations indicated a shared Trans-Tasman currency could reduce business costs but pointed to Europe as an example of possible downsides.
Kiwi or not Kiwi, that is the question – The Interpreter (Australia), May 4, 2012 – This study by the Oz and Kiwi Productivity Commissions on the future of the relationship is really a set of questions for New Zealand about what further adjustments it is prepared to make to get closer to Australia’s economic strength. The study is an attempt to gaze out over the next 15 years towards a common currency and shared monetary and fiscal policies.
One Pacific Currency - Samoa Observer, June 8, 2011 – The call for Samoa to push one currency for the Pacific, including New Zealand and Australia, is gaining momentum. Made by Tautua Samoa Party MP, Motuopua’a Dr Aisoli Va’ai in Parliament, deputy Prime Minister, Fonotoe Lauofo welcomed the suggestion.

SAARC:
BANGLADESH EYES $400MILLION LOAN FROM INDIAN CENTRAL BANK – Reuters|Dawn (Pakistan), May 21, 2012 – Bangladesh is likely to borrow $400 million from the Reserve Bank of India to ease balance of payment problems, the Governor of Bangladesh central bank, Atiur Rahman, said on Monday. The RBI recently created the $2 billion fund for countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

UNASUR:
South Bank would be operational next year - La Arena (Argentina), November 1, 2012 – The South Bank (Bansur), financial institution promoted by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), will start operating next year, as stated by the Secretary of International Affairs of the Ministry of Economy of Brazil, Carlos Márcio Cozendey.
‘South America to Have Single Currency in the Future, Lula Says’ Bloomberg.com, January 26, 2008 – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the creation of a South American bloc is a step towards the adoption of a single regional currency. South American leaders signed an agreement May 23 to establish the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, a bloc modeled on the European Union. The treaty sets goals for integration of energy and transportation networks and immigration policies. It also creates a South American parliament in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

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