Sponsorship Speech: Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) as an International Organization

February 12, 2018

Sponsorship Speech of Senator Loren Legarda
Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) as an International Organization
12 February 2018 | Senate Session Hall


Mr. President, I have the honor to seek approval of the proposed Senate Resolution No. 614, under Committee Report No. 236, entitled: Resolution Concurring in the Ratification of the Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office, or AMRO, as an International Organization.


The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) was established to contribute to securing the economic and financial stability of the region through the conduct of regional economic surveillance and by supporting the implementation of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), a multilateral currency swap arrangement among ASEAN+3 members.


AMRO was initially established as a company limited by guarantee in Singapore in April 2011. This Agreement is intended to transform the AMRO to an international organization with full legal personality. The end-goal of the AMRO’s transition to an international organization is to promote further financial stability in the region.


The Philippines signed the AMRO Agreement on October 10, 2014 and the Office of the President ratified the same on May 29, 2015. With the change in Administration, the Office of the President once again ratified the AMRO Agreement on January 6, 2017.


The AMRO Agreement has entered into force on February 9, 2016 with Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Brunei Darussalam as well as, the “Plus Three Countries”, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, having completed their respective domestic processes to ratify the Agreement and deposited their respective Instruments of Ratification with the ASEAN Secretariat.


The Philippines remains as the only ASEAN+3 Member that is yet to complete its domestic ratification process of the AMRO Agreement. Given these developments, ratification of the AMRO Agreement by the Philippines is urgent.


Since its creation, the AMRO has been an effective macroeconomic surveillance institution, providing the ASEAN+3 Members with economic outlooks and policy recommendations. The AMRO publishes Monthly and Annual Regional Economic Outlooks on the ASEAN+3 Region as well as Annual Consultation Reports on individual ASEAN+3 Members. These AMRO documents have proven to be useful tools for policy makers to make informed financial and economic decisions in their respective economies.


AMRO has also been acting as secretariat and providing support in the implementation of the CMIM, the ASEAN+3’s financial stabilization mechanism, which provides financial support to an ASEAN+3 Member in the event of a balance of payment crisis. In these capacities, the AMRO has provided the CMIM with effective monitoring of ASEAN+3 Members’ economic and financial health.


Moreover, the AMRO has been involved in providing capacity building to developing ASEAN Members namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. These training programs involve technical staff from the Ministries of the said countries being seconded to AMRO and trained in economic surveillance analyses and reporting. At the same time, the AMRO has also been conducting seminars and workshops for ASEAN+3 Members. The seminars and workshops mostly tackle current regional economic and financial challenges, and how authorities and policymakers may address these challenges.


In its drive to become an international organization, the AMRO has been increasing its linkages with other international organizations. It has recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the International Monetary Funds (IMF) on information sharing, and has had at many times co-organized seminars with the IMF. Similar arrangements with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are also being worked out.


Last December, the AMRO has been given Permanent Observer Status in the United Nations (UN) and has commenced its application to be registered with the International Labor Organization (ILO). In recent APEC and ASEAN Summits, including those chaired and hosted by the Philippines, the AMRO has been proactive in providing knowledge materials making their reports available in major meetings and conferences.


The Senate’s concurrence in the ratification of the Agreement on the Establishment of the AMRO as an international organization will complete the transition of the AMRO to international organization status. This status will provide the AMRO with a higher profile, at par with other premier international institutions such as the ADB, the IMF and the World Bank.


Mr. President,


The international organization status will afford the AMRO an intangible capital that can give it access to intelligence, research and other resources owned by other international organizations, and regional and global fora. This will provide greater macroeconomic surveillance capability for the institution, and consequently benefit the Philippines as one of its clients together with other ASEAN+3 Members.


In view of the foregoing, I respectfully urge this august body to concur in the ratification of this Agreement.


Thank you.